Nokia 301

By Enda Crowley on April 27th, 2014

Enda Crowley is reminded of simpler times, when neck beards and snobs didn’t dictate how your phone should work in his review of the Nokia 301.

The older I get, the less I care about technology. There used to be a time when I’d engage Android users and their arguments about how they could spend hours on the toilet customising their widgets as opposed to my obviously lesser iPhone. These days, when this type of neckbeard tries to engage me in a smartphone feat of strength, I merely glance at my phone and say something along the lines of “Is that what this is? I didn’t know, it just rings.” This is what it boils down to for me now: my work is handled in Google’s Drive and Mail, outside of that I text, tweet and check Facebook. I can’t be bothered with keeping track of which calendar or weather app the hipsters are using this week.

Phones just don’t excite me anymore, if I can use it for work and it can tell me how to get home from the pub then I’m delighted. I was thinking there had to be a phone for people like me out there, a no-nonsense phone for the 21st century, a phone for people with things to do, a phone for people who don’t give a shit.

The Nokia 301 truly excited me when it was announced. It reminded me of the first phone I ever owned, the Nokia 3310, a beautiful blue and white-coloured candy-bar brick of a phone. The 3310 defined mobile telephony for a generation and did more for my social life than anything else I know of. I could almost hear the Dandy Warhol’s ‘Bohemian Like You’ in my head as I unboxed the 301, the old Vodafone “How are you?” commercials playing in the back of my mind. I can still text faster on this using T9 than I can on my iPhone. Its amazing, its like riding a bicycle – you never forget how to do it.


This is an entry-level phone, but that doesn’t mean compromise. This phone is what Nokia does best. They’ve taken their years expertise building solid phones and applied it to the needs of 2013. This phone ships with Facebook, Maps, Twitter and WhatsApp pre-installed. The camera is 3.2MP and takes some pretty good shots if you have enough light. You can download a Gmail app from their App Store. Yes, it has an App Store. The one downside I could find with this was that there was no Snake installed.

This phone is not for everyone, probably not even for most Kernel readers. But I’m sick of the snobbery that revolves around high-end smartphones, this idea that you need a $199 (plus two-year contract) smartphone to “get by” is ludicrous. The phone I reviewed was only a loan unit from Nokia, but I’m absolutely purchasing one to be a regular part of my briefcase and I suggest you do too.

The Nokia 301 retails for $85US/£73GB unlocked.