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All the phones I’ve ever had

Just for fun, I want to give you my personal mobile phone history. Good or bad; this is every mobile I’ve ever owned.

I had to rack my brains and do some serious internet combing to find model numbers and pictures of them all but I think I’ve documented them fairly well. So have a read… if you’re a total nerd like me.

Motorola AM3180 – Vodafone

Everyone remembers the first phone they ever had and I’m no exception. This unwieldy heavy beast made the pocket of my school trousers bulge when I was in year 11 (1999). It was one of the earliest PAYG handsets and typical of its time was very light on features. Alas it did all the jobs it was meant to do (calls and texts) perfectly well.

I was the only one I knew at that time with a Motorola. Cool when you consider that around this time the company was releasing its game-changing Star-Tac line of clam shell phones and the world was going mad for them. And so what if someone didn’t appreciate it. You could throw it at them for a quick hospitalisation.

Pros: Street cred, handy weapon.
Cons: Big, heavy, devoid of features

Sony CMD J6 – Vodafone

I got this sweet baby in my first year of college and kept it for the whole duration of my A Levels (1999-2001). Its sleek, lightweight design and refreshingly different, jog dial based UI made it stand out to me. At a time when the “cool kids” all had blocky, bland old Nokias I felt like a champion of good design.

It was really well built being Sony and was packed with decent features such as the newly emerging WAP and great sounding ring tones. Sadly the talk-time battery life was a bit of a let down, flat-lining around the 3 hour mark. For its time the J6 had a very high resolution display, albeit still monochrome. After pixelated green/black WAP porn sites lost their novelty factor, however the J6 didn’t offer much in the way of fun. Games were limited and a bit pants.

Pros: Compact, sleek, light, good UI, good build quality
Cons: Low talk-time battery life, poor games

Nokia 6510 – O2

This miniscule little phone was my first contract phone and also my first Nokia. Not only that, it was the smallest handset I’ve ever owned. Based loosely on the iconic 8210, the 6510 was geared more towards the executive market with its non-offensive colours and blue back-light instead of the usual green or white. What was also pretty awesome was that the LEDs behind the keypad were stupidly bright so you could pop the cover off and have a pretty sweet flashlight.

The 6510 sported the same great Nokia UI that had become famous with phones like the classic 3210 and games like snake and free cell were all there too. Where it fell short, however was with its lack of modern features such as polyphonic ring tones. These features were just starting to appear on phones released around the same time and would have been more than welcome on the 6510.

Pros: Small, light, executive look, great UI, doubles as flashlight
Cons: A bit light on cool features

Nokia 6600 – O2

Ah, my first “smartphone”. To this day I still love this phone and consider it to be one of my favourite nokia designs of all time. The 6600 was one of Nokias first widely adopted S60 camera phones, mainly because of its compact, stylish design and wealth of clever features such as video recording out of the box.

Although the design was lovely, the build quality left a little to be desired. The fit and finish was a little bit crappy and dirt worked its way into the seams and onto the screen. Not a huge deal but it did start to piss me off. Also, the series 60 OS, still in relative infancy was pretty buggy and the phone seemed to crash more than it should.

Pros: It sure was a looker, camera with video
Cons; Poor build quality, Buggy OS

Nokia 3230 – O2

I traded in my 6600 for something similar in features but smaller and with a better camera. The 3230 had a nice part-aluminium case and a modern screen orientated design. It ran S60 again but featured a supposed faster processor and more memory.

The reality of this phone was a nightmare. It was one of the slowest phones I’ve ever had the misfortune of using and it crashed like every 5 minutes. It took 20-30 seconds to capture a photo and the screen became caked in pocket dust inside 48 hours. No interchangeable covers meant that you had to dismantle the phone to get this crap out. 3-4 times a week.

One cool thing about this phone though, was the games. It came with a rally game and the first augmented reality app I’d ever seen in the form of a space invaders type game that used the camera to make an image for the background.

Pros: Kinda cool games
Cons: Slow, buggy, crappy fit and finish resulting in screen dust

Nokia 6310i – Orange

Now I didn’t actually own this phone, it was given to me as a work phone to use when I was on callout. It was a strictly business, function over fashion handset with no colour screen, no camera and a basic design.

That’s not to say it was a bad phone, far from it. The battery life was bordering on supernatural. I’d regularly exceed 2 weeks of standby time on a single charge. Also, everything about it was super-robust. It was built tough, the OS never crashed and it had one of the most stable Bluetooth implementations I’ve ever seen.

Pros: Massive batter life, good build quality, stable software
Cons: Only very basic features

Nokia N80 – Orange

After suffering the horrible 3230 for a year I looked for a phone that actually delivered on its promises. One of the original lineup of Nokia’s N Series, the N80 boasted 3G, 2 cameras including an unheard of 3 megapixel beast in the back and a beautiful high res screen.

Aside from a few minor crashes and a slightly cheap feel to the slide action this phone was a belter. The OS was stable, the UI was really nice and the camera took surprisingly crisp photos. The battery life was not the best but I’d regularly get 3-4 days out of a charge which is all I could really ever need. I liked this phone so much that I kept it for longer than my minimum contract.

The only thing that pissed me off was the fact that a beautiful all black version was released a few months after I got my silver one.

Pros: Cutting edge features (for the time), high res screen, fast and stable OS
Cons: Cheap feel to the slide action, underwhelming battery life

Nokia 6500 Slide – Orange

I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t choose this phone because of its features. The main reason I got this phone was because Orange gave me an iPod touch for free. On paper the phone was an upgrade… it had similar features to my N80 but they were all slightly improved. The camera shot the same resolution but Carl Zeiss optics made the images way clearer. The phone was built better, was smaller and the slide action felt reassuringly solid. So solid in fact that the phone was actually notably heavier than the N80.

It was a looker, too. Gloss black and brushed stainless steel made it look and feel really nice.

The downside to this phone was the UI. It lacked the intuitive simplicity that the N80 had and certain parts looked jagged and unfinished. Using the phone just wasn’t as pleasurable as it had been with the N80. I don’t regret having it though; the iPod touch made my mind up about what the next phone I bought would be.

Pros: Solid build, good camera
Cons: Nasty UI, heavy

Apple iPhone 3GS 16GB – O2

This brings us up to date. The phone I currently have is the iPhone 3GS. I gave the previous two versions of the iPhone a miss because, although they were good phones, they lacked some pretty fundamental features such as 3G and video capture. When the 3GS was launched with video, improvd camera with tap-to-focus and improved GPS with the added compass I only had a few months left on my 6500 contract so come December I got myself one.

Quite simply the best phone I’ve ever owned, the iPhone takes smartphone power and makes it easier to use than any other device on the market. Tens of thousands of apps mean that each phone is unique to the requirements of the user but the cutting edge UI means that the ease-of-use never suffers. And with each hardware and software release, the iphone just keeps getting better.

Pros: Best UI on earth, unparalleled app market, shaped the landscape for future mobile devices
Cons: Hard to name any but the battery life is pretty bad and the lack of flash *can* be annoying.

The timeline.

So there you have it. It’s not many phones by any means but I think it tells a story. What are your favourite/least favourite phones. What have you got now?

4 comments

  1. kym - May 24, 2010 9:10 pm

    You old bastard, Dan 😉 That Motarola is sexy.

    An interesting read, nice idea for a post.

    I never owned any of these phones haha.

    One of my favourites was the Nokia 3210, loved it, and as much as I can’t wait to get the iPhone, my BlackBerry has been a hardwearing little phone.

  2. Marc - May 24, 2010 9:59 pm

    Awesome read. Loved seeing you research all of this. Dedication right there, and that Sony was a beast and still is now.

  3. Luke Jones - May 24, 2010 10:39 pm

    Awesome article, Dan.

    I’ve got an iPhone now and I *love* it.

    My first phone was a crappy Motorola, it was the balls.

  4. Olly - June 18, 2010 11:19 am

    My first phone was a Nokia 402..

    It was the name orange gave the 5110 for some reason..

    Had changeable front covers, and snake :)

    #win

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