10 “Awesome” Phones Before “Smartphones” Were Cool

10 “Awesome” Phones Before “Smartphones” Were Cool

This is a look back.

The time when all you can do with your phone was call or text, play Snakes in black and white, send amusing stick figures, and compose your own ringtones. The days when Nokia was king, when getting a backlight and changing phone casings made you cool, and when you would bombard your contacts with quotes because you were subscribed to unlimited texting. 

The time when your phone can last a week with a single charge.

That was the era when design on phones mattered. We would go for those phones that looked flashy instead of these plain brick slates with one or no physical button at all (that turned us into zombie-like beings looking on our devices even when walking on the streets).

But the change is a welcome one. It’s great that we can do more now with our phones (we call them “smartphones” now because they are”smart”, still cannot make a sandwich though). However, sometimes we cannot help missing our old phones, especially the first phone we ever had.

It could be a birthday or graduation gift, a hand-me-down from your older sibling, or a phone that you’ve saved money for. Whatever it is, I bet you will always remember your first phone.

10. Motorola StarTAC

Awesome Phones Before Smartphon - Motorola StarTAC(Image from: Wikipedia)

This was the second phone I had and I got it from way, way back. (Wanna know the first phone I owned? Read til the end.) I am talking about the GSM version of the Motorola StarTAC, the model that can make calls but cannot send a text message. Yes, that’s right, all it can do is make and receive a phone call. Back in the day, I guess that’s what’s important, “talk”.

It is super light to carry living up to the name “mobile” phone. It felt so cool having it then since there were only a few of us who had a mobile phone in school. Plus, I’ve seen it in a couple of films or something that looks like it. (Images from: PhonesinMovies.com)

Awesome Phones Before Smartphones - Motorola StarTAC (3)Movie: 8MM 

Awesome Phones Before Smartphones - Motorola StarTAC (4)Movie: Scream 2

Awesome Phones Before Smartphones - Motorola StarTAC (2)Movie: Eyes Wide Shut

Also, when is it not awesome to answer a call on a flip phone? Never.

I miss flip phones, you don’t see a lot of these today.

9. Bosch 509e

Awesome Phones Before Smartphon - Bosch 509e(Image from: richstokoe.com)

While I had the Motorola StarTAC, I remember one of my classmates having the Bosch 509e. I don’t remember much about its features but I do remember that it came in that striking orange color.

Plus, coming from a StarTAC user, I was super amazed of its ringtones. Though monophonic, it was still way better than the “ring ring” that my phone can only do during that time.

And it can send text messages!!!

8. Siemens SL45i

Awesome Phones Before Smartphones - Siemens SL45(Image from: ownta.com)

I think this was one of the “advanced” phones I held back then. I said advanced because in a world dominated by Nokia phones with four-liner screens, this one had more than four due to its bigger screen. Wow! Now, I don’t have to scroll down all the time because it had more screen space.

It also had an MP3 player so beat that listening to FM stations on the radio!

7. Nokia 1100

Awesome Phones Before Smartphones - Nokia 1100(Image from: macworld.com.uk)

The small but terrible phone.

According to Wikipedia, “the Nokia 1100 sold about 250 million units since it was launched in 2003, which makes it the best-selling phone handset and best-selling consumer electronic device in the world”.

I had two of this phone. I remember one was blue and the other one was white.

I remember that it’s most awesome feature, for me, is its flashlight.

6. Sony Ericsson P800 

Awesome Phones Before Smartphones - Sony Ericsson P800(Image from: terra.com.br) 

I didn’t own this. I wish I had but I didn’t. But it’s okay because I had two Nokia 1100 at that time.

It was bulky though but that is reasonable because it offered the best of all worlds. It has a keypad, a touchscreen display, and a stylus. It looked and felt like a PDA but offered communication features. 

Most of all, it was one of the first colored phones that I held. I think it’s an old phone that is closest to the smartphones we have today. Pretty awesome if you ask me.

5. Nokia 7650

Awesome Phones Before Smartphones - Nokia 7650 (Image from: nokia.com)

This is a very popular phone from way back. It is notable for its unique design as it comes in a slider form factor. You rarely see this form factor nowadays.

Many got this one because it was the first Nokia to sport a camera and it was used in Tom Cruise’s sci-fi film, Minority Report.

I remember a lot of people having this phone, taking their first photos using a mobile phone, and unconsciously starting the “selfie” revolution of today.

4. Motorola V.box(V100)

Awesome Phones Before Smartphones - Motorola VBox (V100)(Image from: howardforums.com)

Believe it or not, this is a phone. What looks like a Nintendo DS Lite is known as the Motorola V.box (V100).

It can send text messages and it can make/receive calls. However, to make/receive calls, you need to plug its headset. Unfortunately, that’s all what the headset is for since it doesn’t have an FM radio or an MP3 player feature.

Still, it was an awesome phone due to its looks and people who are into hardcore texting found its QWERTY keyboard amazing.

3. Alcatel One Touch Max

Awesome Phones Before Smartphones - Alcatel One Touch Max

We all know this as the “Safeguard” phone because its shape resembles that of the anti-bacterial soap.

And it only has two lines for messages, so it messes up the text message if you try to be cute and send stick figures that are meant for four-liner screens.

It was one of the most underrated phones in the past but truly reliable when it comes to communication.

2. Nokia 3210

Awesome Phones Before Smartphones - Nokia 3210(Image from: bootcampideas.com) 

This is my first Nokia phone. It felt cool having it because it was one of the first few phones then that didn’t come with an antenna that protrudes out of the body. At that time, a hidden antenna was already considered phenomenal.

This is also the phone I spent a lot of time procrastinating over non-stop games of Snakes.

1. Nokia 5110

Awesome Phones Before Smartphones - Nokia 5110(Image from: flickr.com)

The Nokia 5110 is one of the first phones to offer all the basic phone functionality (call and text). 

It was rather bulky and it’s definitely leagues behind compared to the phones of today but it was one of the most sought-after phones then because of its call and text features.

I think this phone introduced me and a lot of other people to texting.

Snakes was also in this phone, though it seemed cooler when played on the antenna-free Nokia 3210 or its successor, the smaller Nokia 3310.

As promised, here is my first phone, the Motorola Pocket Classic 1200. All it can do is make/receive a call and nothing more. Still, it felt awesome flaunting it around back then.

Oh, it can be an awesome paperweight too.

Awesome Phones Before Smartphon - Motorola Pocket Classic 1200(Image from: tuttisfrutti.blogspot.com)

Feeling nostalgic?

Anything on the list familiar to you? 

What is your first phone?

10 “Awesome” Phones Before “Smartphones” Were Cool






Related Stories