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I acquired a Nokia 3109c as a work phone when I first started at my current company (a major civil engineering firm) just over two years ago. I must have inherited it from a former employee as it came second hand with some phone numbers and messages stored upon it. I use it mainly for making work calls, with some occasional texting and internet use.
The phone itself is the traditional old school Nokia build, around 10.5cm long, 4.5m wide and 1.5cm thick. This makes it thicker (and heavier) than most modern phone but provides a nice size for holding in one hand. The plastic material of the phone seems to be coated with some form of rubberised material that makes it easier to grip, though this is showing the phones age by scratching off. The screen is large and easy to view, though again this has been scratched through years of being in pockets alongside keys, nails and being dropped, and is nice and bright. The buttons are also large and easy to press compared to some modern handsets.
The phone is light on extras (though it does have a basic calendar, calculator etc) and does not have a camera but this makes it very battery efficient. I can go 3-4 days of fairly heavy use without recharging and if not used for calls (eg when on holiday) will easily last 10 days or so on a full battery. The bluetooth is easy to use and has had no problems communicating with my car or more exotic devices like my GPS surveying kit.
One of the best features of this phone is it's robust build. I have dropped it countless times, left it outside in the rain and even dropped it into a road gully full of water and it has survived every experience. The screen, though scratched is not cracked and all the functions still work, even now there is dirt and dust in all parts of the phone. This is a great advantage in my field of work and has allowed this phone to survive long after some of my colleagues' newer phones have thrown in the towel. Whilst it is now reaching the end of it's useful life, mainly due to the scratching on the screen, I shall be sad to see it go.
The battery life is excellent. I have had mine for approximately 2 years and have never needed to charge it more than twice a week. This is with using it for calls for probably around 20 minutes each day.
The display is clear and you can easily read phone numbers and text messages.
The memory is very large - I currently have around 400 text messages stored and around 60 contacts. This is far more capacity than I have had with previous phones.
The keys are a decent size which means that you are not mistyping anything by hitting two keys simultaneously.
It looks quite basic which is fine for some but not those who prefer a more snazzy phone (for example there is no camera function which a lot of phones have now).
Predictive text can often not find words and it is not that quick to switch between the predictive and manual texting modes.
Quite a basic phone but functions well.
The Nokia 3109 is a very good basic mobile phone. Like other reviewer's of this model mine too is a work mobile. Whilst i probably wouldnt have purchased it myself for a basic phone its hard to fault it.
Initial set up like any mobile is easy enough. Its pretty easy to get the battery cover off. The sim card slots into a metal cradle underneath the battery, again this is pretty easy to do.
The phone turns on with a button on the top as with most Nokias. After that there's the usual time/date etc questions and you're good to go.
Look and feel:
This is a basic phone, having said that it feels pretty solid. The keys are remarkably large for a modern phone and therefore very easy to use. The screen is a reasonably large full colour screen, underneath that you have the standard Nokia soft keys, answer/reject buttons and the navigation keys for the main menu.
The phone is less than 1cm thick and has a very slight rubbery texture on the rear casing making it easy to hold and use.
As with most basic Nokias the menus are very intuitive. The soft keys can be programmed to access the most useful features, as can the main navigation buttons.
Volume controls are on the side of the phone for easy access/use during a call.
Phonebook, call log, messages, settings, media, organiser, web, etc are all accessible from the main menu. The menu is easy to navigate and understand with the intuitive pictures.
Whilst basic this phone does have some features you expect from a modern phone. It has a music/media player, voice recorder, games, 'Push to Talk', and is WAP enabled.
Whilst these features are by no means as strong as those on a modern smartphone its nice to have them there.
A great basic phone. Very ergonomic, easy to use menus and a reasonably array of features. Great for the basics of talking and texting.
I would like to start by adding that his mobile phone was not a personal choice of mine as I acquired it as a work phone when the contract expired on my previous one.
It is probably one of the most modern basic phones on the market but does everything you need it to. There are two types of model for this phone, the 3109 and 3109c (classic) with the only difference being that the 3109c model doesn't come with a camera, so if you need one then I would recommend getting the non classic model.
Fitting the Battery & Sim Card
The first thing I needed to do out of the box was to fit the battery and Sim card. There is a plastic button that you have to push up which allows you to remove the back case to gain access to where these components need to be installed. Simply undoing the metal clip for the Sim card compartment allowed me to easily install the Sim which clicks securely in place (making sure the chips are facing the connectors). The battery is a simple 2 second install as it will only fit in one way by lining up the metal pins and pushing into place.
The Micro SD card was a bit harder to fit as it took me a few minutes to figure out how to release the metal clip (push down then lift) and then you have to make sure you slot it in the clip rather than place it underneath and close it. I'm sorry but I never read manuals unless I have to!
By then re-attaching the back cover and powering on the mobile I was ready to go. You are then greeted by a familiar Nokia handshake logo with that annoying power-on tone which was the first thing I decided to disable in the phone settings.
Look & Feel
The phone itself is quite a slim simplistic model (108.5 x 45.7 x 15.6mm) that is grey in colour with curved edges which fits perfectly in your hand weighing 89g that I find reasonably light.
The buttons on the front of the phone are large enough for even the most large-fingered person to use. The side of the phone
Pictures of Nokia 3109 classic
Nokia 3109 classic Nokia 3109 classic
Nokia 3109 classic front and side view.
has basic buttons to increase tone or caller volume with an infra-red sensor on the opposite side. At the bottom of the phone you have the usual plug for the battery charger to be inserted along with a USB adaptor which is hidden away behind its pull-out cover.
The menu system on the phone is very easy to navigate (grouped like a Windows Control Panel) although I preferred to customise the menu layout into columns which I find much easier to use.
The coloured screen resolution is only 128 x 160 but this is quite large for such a basic phone.
This model has a standard 9MB user storage built into the phone which I find is quite poor unless you add a Micro SD card (up to a maximum of 2GB) as you'll end up filling this in no time at all without the added storage media.
The alarm clock function has the added feature of repetition days so that you don't have to set the alarm manually everyday for the same time which is great if you use your phone to wake you up in the morning for work. Alarm tones can be set to play an MP3 tone stored on your handset, which is a common but nice addition.
Although I do not have Internet access as part of my contract, the phone does have a built-in Web browser to allow you to browse the Internet using GPRS and set bookmarks. There is a history option to view recently viewed pages but this is as far as the Internet options go.
You also need the Internet access enabled and configured on the phone for the E-mail facility to work. You can configure this for IMAP4, POP3 and SMTP but it has a very basic layout, unlike specific e-mail products on the market such as a Blackberry or HTC Touch. As far as a basic phone is concerned, it will still allow you to read and write e-mails but you would have to scroll down a lot on the page when reading an e-mail as the screen is only small.
Media Player will allow you to play MP3s direct from your phone or memory stick continuously without interruption so you can use other functions and still listen to music at the same time. Strangely there is no stop button on the media player as you have to select the pause button and then exit out of the application to cancel playing a track. The quality of the speaker output is quite decent compared to other similar priced phones on the market. I have also compared this to a much more expensive phone and it beats this for quality output hands-down.
Media Recorder with save function gives you the ability to record anything you like for up to a total of 60 minutes. I found it was tricky at first hand finding out where the saved files were being stored but once you discover where they are they are easily accessed from a separate menu. If you do install a memory card then you need to change your save option to point to this device.
There are a total of 6 profile settings for customisation based on your environment (i.e. setting it to 'Outdoor' to make everything louder and 'Meeting' to set to silent) and 5 pre-set themes to change the look and style of the menu system. I found this to be a god send as the default theme isn't very attractive to look at and use.
In addition to MP3, the phone will also play AAC, AAC+, AMR-NB, eAAC+, MIDI, Mobile XMF, MP4, SP-MIDI, True tones and WMA. You will probably find that you won't even use any other formats other than MP3 and WMA for music tracks & tones but the phone is compatible with them if required. Even though it will play MP4, the quality of the video isn't very good and detail can be hard to see.
The 3 Built-in games will keep you amused during boredom for all of a few minutes. Snake 3 and Sudoku are half decent games to play but the Soccer 3D is useless and difficult to control. You can download other games to the phone which you have to pay for if you wish.
Sport updates such as football, rugby, cricket, racing, tennis, golf and motor sport are available but I have never used this function as it costs to receive updates. It's a shame the provider doesn't do more to give us this sort of function for free as I would probably use it a lot to check football score updates. I'm unsure as to how fast these updates actually are but I would imagine they are no more than a few minutes outside real-time.
Bluetooth is probably the best feature the phone has to offer as you can pair it with a hands-free kit in your car or connect to other mobile phones to transfer data. All the Bluetooth settings are in the connectivity section of the phone in one place so it only took a few minutes to set this up with a name and enable it. You do have an Infra-red option on the phone but this is now old technology and very slow. It does however allow backwards compatibility with regards to transferring data to and from older phones which is always nice to have.
Picture messages can be sent and received from the phone, although if you are with Orange you need to enable this feature. You would also need to make sure you have expanded memory as the 9MB onboard storage mentioned previously is quite easily filled.
Making a Call
When pressing the numeric pad on the phone when dialing, the numbers are displayed in a very large and clear font on the screen which makes it ideal for those with poor vision. Pressing the green phone button will then attempt to connect to your dialed number giving you the added option of turning on the loudspeaker once the phone starts ringing (which is clear with no muffled sound). I have found that although the speaker on the phone is good quality, you have to hold the handset in a way that ensures the speaker is actually right on your ear, otherwise you cannot hear the person on the other line very well. The majority of the time however this is fine without any problems.
If you want to use the re-dial feature then this can be done in seconds by firstly pressing the green phone button to access your call history then selecting the required number with the direction pad and selecting the green phone button once more to connect to that number.
Arguably the most important aspect of all, this phone is not very battery intensive unless you are playing music for hours on end. If you charge the phone to full capacity it will guarantee to last you about 5-6 days before you need to charge it again. Talk time will allow up to 4 hours, but the stand-by time will allow up to 16 days. The main screen on the phone will always give you a battery life indicator in the form of a green bar; when it gets empty it needs to be charged again.
Don't get me wrong, there are hundreds of better models out there on the market but if you want something cheap that can make a call, play MP3s and have the ability of Bluetooth then this is the phone for you.
If you want something to play videos and use on a daily basis for accessing Internet and E-mail then you should stay clear from this phone.
The phone has been very reliable over the past few months I've used it with no crashes, locking up or turning itself off when in use.
The major downfall of this model is obviously not having a camera but I guess they created the classic model to lower the retail price of the phone as it would contain fewer components making it cheaper to manufacture.
Depending on where you go you can pick this phone up for around £30-60 pay-as-you-go. It's probably not worth having this phone on a contract for personal use as you wouldn't be getting a good investment or benefit from it but it would be ideal for a company looking to multi-purchase a well priced phone containing all the features they would need.
This is my 3rd work phone in 2 years.... I don't work in an environment which my phone is prone to abuse (construction etc...) but I do have an element of disregard for the phone being paid for by my company and not myself.
This model seems to be lasting extremely well in comparison to the previous Nokias I have received, it's very solid and durable in its design and the paint is yet to start wearing on the corners.
The features are pretty much standard, no camera, no memory card slot, just a simple phone. It does however have music and media player options, but don't expect a great user experience.
As this is a work phone, the main items I use are the call functions, calendar, text and Bluetooth. All work well, the calendar can be synchronised with my work pc, there's a simple work appropriate ring tone, Bluetooth connects instantly to my car kit and the texting experience is the same as any other button pressing Nokia.
One point to note is the battery runs down significantly faster with the Bluetooth on, so much I only turn it on once in the car. With it off I can get a good 2 days out the phone taking into account all my work related calls arrive on this phone.
As a phone which serves its purpose, I can't complain....but don't expect features which will blow your mind, it simple and effective!
I have recently been given one of these handsets to use as my work mobile. Whilst it's unlikely I'd have chosen it myself, it has proven itself to be a great little handset - hence this review.
The phone is ergonomically pleasing, having lots of rounded edges and with key parts of the phone (that make the most contact with the skin when the phone is in the hand) being accented with a tactile, very slightly rubbery material which makes the phone more comfortable to the touch and easier to grip - useful for performing operations such as texting.
The screen is large and the colours bright and pleasing, and the buttons themselves are large, very easy to depress, and easy to read from a distance.
Battery power is good - a full charge lasts a good week if the phone is not used heavily. The phone's charger is also slim and fits more easily into the socket than some larger chargers which have to jostle for space with other plugs.
The main downside of the phone from my point of view is perhaps a little unfair - it has few real features beyond the very basic. If you want a phone that will also take your pictures and play your music this is not the phone for you.
After using more modern phones such as the Nokia N95 and the Motorola Z8, I have begun to appreciate the simplicity of the older models and also the ease of use that comes with them. Every day, I find myself sorrounded by Bluetooth this and movies that. I'm now thinking to myself, do I really need to watch a film on my phone? Do I need to spend such large amounts of money on mobiles that soon become dated? Then I stumbled upon the 3109. This mobile showed me the true nokia spirit, with simple navigational bars, a nice colour screen and a wireless connection just incase a friend has a funny video he wants to send me. I was drawn in by this simplicity as it took away my fear of losing an expensive phone, and replaced it with a sense of satisfaction. It's almost like walking back in time and obtaining somethings just...nicer! If you feel like I, and want to get in touch with your simple side, then the 3109 is the phone for you. As expected, it has the usual features of mp3 player and increased memory via MicroSD cards, but still maintains the simplicity of an 'old school' mobile (please excuse the term). I hope you find the review inspiring and take a leaf out of my book, go back to the origionals!