In terms of sheer attention-grabbing ability, it was the star of the recently concluded Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. And no, while we do not think that the relaunch of the Nokia 3310 heralds the return of feature phones and the end of Ze Smartphone Era, we certainly would not mind seeing SOME feature phones come back into our lives.
No, not all of them are just lookers. Some of them actually worked very well and a few were before their time. A bit of a hardware refresh, some software debugging, decent pricing and we wager they will still have takers in this day and age! (we have kept Nokia out of this piece because hey, we already covered their classic phones in detail earlier, remember?)
Moto Razr V3
Oh yes, you were expecting this, weren’t you? For a while, the bestselling phone in the world, the RAZR for many of us defined the ultimate when it came to phone style with its flip-to-open clamshell, metallic form factor. We also loved the implementation of twin displays and that edgy metallic keyboard. Yes, we think the V3i and the Razr II had slightly better designs than the original, but hey, we still think many would love to invest in this device simply because there (STILL) ain’t nothing quite like it, baby.
LG Chocolate KG800
About a decade ago, LG did make some very stylish phones. And in our humble opinion, the delightfully crafted Chocolate KG800 was very much one of them. The phone had a slide-out keyboard but was mainly designed for music lovers (stereo Bluetooth support in 2007, dude!), even though it did not have a 3.5 mm jack (yeah, even then, like!). We heard many people lament about the touch panel controls for the music below the display, but heck, this was a terrific phone for multimedia lovers. And with its delightfully jet black looks, was a head turner.
A phone dedicated to social networking way baaaack in 2008? Like, seriously? Well, the folks at iNQ were clearly ahead of their time in this regard. The iNQ 1 was a delightfully compact slider phone whose biggest asset was a near seamless integration with “Facebook, Skype and Windows Live”. And while some cursed the absence of Wi-Fi, the fact is that even at that time, it just worked incredibly smoothly, even syncing contacts between your phone and social networks. We would just love to see it back.
Sony Ericsson Walkman W910i
Aye, the Walkman phone. Such things did exist in 2007, a time when Sony was Sony Ericsson. This phone was incredibly compact (a slider form factor which was the rage in those days), came in amazing colors like Noble Black and Hearty Red, and designed mainly for music, which it delivered brilliantly. It could even try and even tried classifying music by mood using something called SensMe. No, the camera was not much to write about but this phone looked gorgeous and sounded very good indeed, especially with the paired headphones. And we saved the best for last – you could change a track by just shaking the phone. How rad! We would love it even now just as a supremely pretty music player.
Moto PEBL U6
Oh yeah, the RAZR was the “edgy” one when it came to the design, but Moto had some other very neat devices up its clamshell form factor sleeves. And one of our favorites was the PEBL U6, which as its name indicates, actually looked like a smooth piece of stone, but would flip open to reveal a display and a keyboard. No, the specs were absolutely nothing to write home about, but hey the whole phone was smaller than the display of the first iPhone and looked so smooth and Pebble-y. Make that PEBL-y.
Samsung B5310 Corby Pro
At a time when the iPhone was not just expensive but darn much restrictive and Android was taking baby steps in the market, Samsung’s Corby range of devices was a rage and none of them was as useful as the C5310 Corby Pro, which was pretty much the feature phone Communicator.You could use it to make and receive calls and then slide out a full (yes, FULL) QWERTY keyboard from the side to type in those really long text messages and even the occasional mail. The resistive touchscreen was a pain to use at times but hey, we were not complaining, given the convenience and super battery life.
Sony Ericsson K850i
Yes, Sony’s Cyber-shot series of phones had always served up some of the best photography we could get from phones, but the K850i actually ran real cameras (the point and shooters, no one used the “DSLR” term at that time) really close. The 5.0-megapixel CMOS sensor took some seriously good pictures even though it was a trifle sluggish by modern standards, and came with, a covered camera, dedicated buttons to switch between camera and camcorder mode as well as a number of shooting options. Yes, the keyboard and some of the navigation keys were awful, but we would love this one back, even purely as a smart camera!