With its flashing lights and instant-messaging support, the Nokia 3220, like before it, is squarely aimed at the youth market. If you're looking for Bluetooth, an infrared port, or other business-oriented features, try elsewhere--this handset appeals to those seeking a small and stylish phone with some fun details. The 3220 delivers on this promise, but a few irritating features could keep this phone off of many users' must-have lists. The T-Mobile phone is a bit pricey for teenage pockets ($229), but you should be able to find it at a with service. At 4.11 by 1.74 by 0.74 inches and 3.03 ounces, the Nokia 3220 is small and thin enough to fit into your front pants pocket without your worrying about crushing the phone or showing any unseemly bulges. Of course, the phone's compact form factor results in some trade-offs. The five-way scroll pad is rather small, and because the center selection key is integrated within the other directional buttons, it's often difficult to hit the key squarely in its center to make a menu selection. Even after two weeks of use, we were constantly hitting the top or bottom scroll buttons rather than the Select key. You can program the toggle as a shortcut to four user-defined functions, but even those with smallish fingers will probably find this design frustrating. On the other hand, the 65,536-color display has a higher resolution than most handsets from the company. Though it's a tad small (1.5 inches diagonally), it was easy on the eyes for both playing games and navigating the user-friendly menus.
Nokia is known for its unique keypad designs. Although the layout on the 3220 is conventional, the implementation is no less creative. With the 3220, each dial-pad key holds two characters (the 1 and the 4, the 2 and the 5, and so on) separated by an indentation. Though the keys are tiny, the design does make for easy touch dialing; sending text messages, however, can quickly become tedious. The keys are also brightly backlit in white, so dialing in dark environments isn't a problem. The power button at the top of the handset is among the best we've seen on a Nokia phone. Where you have to strain yourself to push the power button on other Nokia models, this one is easy to press, yet it's firm enough to make it unlikely that you'll turn the phone on or off accidentally.
Four rubber grips on the side of the phone illuminate in red and green when the phone rings and when you're placing a call. If your ring tone doesn't attract attention, the arcadelike flashing lights certainly will--you can turn them off, however. The grips do provide a more secure feel, and you can swap them out, as you can the faceplate as well. We liked the eye-catching blue cover that's included, but more colors are available ($14.95) from Nokia or you can design your own paper faceplate as with theThe Nokia 3220 offers a fairly basic set of features. The 500-entry phone book supports multiple fields per contact (with an additional 250 names on the SIM card), but it's a bit of a hassle to add that information. After entering a contact name and number, you then have to save that information as the default number before returning to the contact list to add extra details such as Web and e-mail addresses or call groups. It would be easier to enter all of this information at once. Contacts can be organized into caller groups or be paired with a picture or any of seven polyphonic ring tones. . The camera lens is on the back of the mobile, but there's no flash or mirror for self-portraits.
Additionally, the handset includes a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messaging, a WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser (with support for GPRS/EDGE data speeds), a voice recorder, a calendar that holds as many as 100 entries and can be synced with a PC, a speakerphone, an alarm clock, a countdown timer, a stopwatch, and support for AOL instant messaging. One nice feature is the automatic volume control, which adjusts the speaker level to ambient background noise. This feature worked well, increasing the volume when we moved outside or when we manually set the volume too low.