Nokia 8110 4G review (hands-on): The banana phone/Matrix phone is now available for £49

The Nokia 8110, otherwise known as the phone from 1999’s The Matrix or, rather charmingly, the “banana phone” is finally available to buy in the UK.

Announced at this year’s MWC conference in Barcelona six months ago, the 4G version of the Nokia 8110 can now be bought for a mere £49 from Carphone Warehouse or Amazon for a rather nice £69.

To help you decide if you want to spend your hard-earned dosh on a 4G-enabled revamp of the past, our original review from MWC is written out for you below.

Nokia 8110 review: hands-on with the revamped Matrix phone

Since Finnish startup HMD bought the Nokia brand from Microsoft a remarkable 70 million Nokia phones have been sold worldwide, partly driven (I’d like to think) by the interest generated by the return of the cult Nokia 3110 last year.

READ NEXT: MWC 2018 highlights

Flush with the success of the last 12 months, Nokia is at it again, this time with another famous phone, the Nokia 8110 – best known for its outing in the opening scenes to classic 1990s sci-fi flick: The Matrix.

The idea is similar to last year. Take a cult phone of yesteryear, bung some new technology in it and hope that the warm retro glow drives a few sales – and in the process a lot of awareness. HMD is also hoping the 8110 will sell for a different reason in 2018: because it’s actually useful.

READ NEXT: Nokia 8 Sirocco review – Nokia’s “special edition” flagship looks lovely but lacks substance

Nokia 8110 4G review: Specifications, price and release date

Display2.4in QVGA
ProcessorDual-core 1.1GHz Qualcomm MSM890
Battery life20-day standby, 8hr talk time (4G)
Release dateJuly 4th 2018

Nokia 8110 4G review: Design, key features and first impressions

The clue is in the name: the Nokia 8110 is a 4G phone. Now, you might wonder what the point of this is on a handset with a tiny 2.4in QVGA (320 x 240) non-touch enabled display. What Nokia wants its customers to do with the new 8110 4G is to use it as a 4G hotspot.


Fair enough but, given 99.9% of phones have this feature built in, I still think it’s a bit of a stretch. Better to think of it as a festival phone – or perhaps a phone you might hand over to your kids if you want them to be contactable but don’t trust them with a smartphone yet. Well, maybe not, because the phone has a Snake and a Facebook app pre-installed – so plenty of opportunity for timewasting there.

As for the design, that’s pretty much in keeping with the original “banana phone”. It’s curved and, well, banana shaped and there’s a cover that extends to reveal the phone’s numeric keypad. In a bizarre move, though, this isn’t spring-loaded like on the original (the mechanism adds unnecessary bulk and weight says HMD), so you won’t be emulating Neo’s famous opening scene with perfect accuracy.


What you do get here is 1990s levels of battery life. Nokia is claiming 20 days standby and eight of talk time on 4G networks, which is considerably more than even the best smartphones can manage. And because it doesn’t have a massive, super-bright touchscreen on it, you won’t be continually checking your social media feeds on it or preening yourself for pouty self-portraits, so it’s actually likely to last multiple days of actual real-world use.

Unless you’re training to break the Snake world record, of course.


Nokia 8110 4G review: Early verdict

It’s as hard to know what to make of the Nokia 8110 4G this year as it was the Nokia 3110 12 months ago. Despite the flush of Snake and Neo-driven nostalgia, I’m struggling to think of a reason why I’d spend €79 (~£70) on one of these when I can pick up a perfectly competent, proper smartphone for the same or even less money. And, yes, even smartphones this cheap can do 4G and hotspot tethering these days.

Sure, it’s good to see a manufacturer try something different and I can see some people who might be tempted by one of these. It might be good if you’re attempting a soft digital detox. But mostly this seems to be a phone designed to draw attention to Nokia’s shiny new Android phones, most of which actually seem to be quite good.

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