The Best OG Cell Phones of All Time

From retro mobile phones like Nokias & Motorolas to cell phones like Sidekicks & iPhones, here are the best old phones of all time.


Image via Getty/South China Morning Post


Ever get nostalgic for the good old days, when you could customize your ringtone, and QWERTY keyboards were something to celebrate? Yeah, neither do we. The smart phone revolution has given us WiFi access practically anywhere we go, battery life continues to improve, and FaceTime and Animojis have us in 3008—there’s no way we’re ever going back to old school mobile phone technology. 

Mobile phones have come a long way since AT&T was known as Cingular. Phones like the iPhone XR and the Google Pixel 3 are all the rage, but believe it or not, retro cell phones still have some value—you can buy and sell them on sites like eBay. So if you have an old Sony Ericsson or a Motorola StarTac lying in a drawer somewhere "just in case," it might be time to kiss that old dinosaur good-bye. Your new phone will surely keep you warm at night.

The best old cell phones will always hold a special place in our hearts. Here are the ten best classic cell phones of our generation.

Year: 2005

If a Motorola Razr gets flipped shut in the woods and nobody is around to hear it, does it still make a sound? Arguably the most iconic flip phone of all time, the Razr was a sharp, compact cell phone that quickly became a popular selection among middle school girls and middle-aged moms alike. Its slim fit was the first of its kind, and the metallic colorwave was enough to make up for its bare-bones functionality. If the Razr made a comeback, you could catch us in line for the midnight drop.

Year: 2007

If you were a pre-teen between 2006 and 2010, there are fair odds that an LG enV was buzzing nonstop in your back pocket for a hot minute. A perfect starter phone for first-time users, the enV was a chunky little mobile with the look of your run-of-the-mill mid-2000s cell style. It flipped open horizontally to reveal a second screen and full-sized keyboard, which made keeping up with your five friends who also had the LG enV much easier. The only hard part about owning this baby was deciding which color to rock.

Year: 2007

A tiny flip phone that was both slender and fun, the Samsung Juke was the original skinny legend. Though it was meant to double as an MP3 player, the Juke’s long swivel screen that flipped open and closed to hide the keyboard was enough entertainment for anyone who owned one. The Juke was cute, but its overall small size and itty-bitty keyboard made it unrealistic for anyone who didn’t have hands comparable to a baby’s.

Year: 1999

It may have been targeted towards the working businessman, but no phone with a keyboard click that powerful could be kept from teenagers. Between the Pearl, Bold, and Storm models, the Blackberry franchise was the top dog of versatility and turned out new products nonstop. The crossover between business and pleasure made it the perfect all-in-one day planner and source of entertainment, and flexing on your friends with a cell phone that made you look like a boss baby—and the added bonus of the Blackberry-exclusive Blackberry Messenger (BBM)—was a feeling like no other.

Year: 2002

Only kids who went into the pit at Saosin concerts will remember this one. The T-Mobile Sidekick was an absolute game changer when it was first released in 2002, featuring its signature swivel screen and internet access. Every variation of the Sidekick, from the Motorola Sidekick Slide to the final Sidekick 4G that was introduced in 2011, was increasingly cooler until full touchscreen phones wedged out full keyboard phones and made texting at lightning speed even easier.

Year: 2000 

It’s no secret that your OtterBox case is nothing compared to the skeleton of a Nokia 3310. Basically meant to survive with the cockroaches when the Apocalypse hits, Nokias were notoriously indestructible and typically used by one of two people: first-time cell phone owners, and teenagers who tried everything in their power to get their parents to replace their broken phone but instead got stuck with a Nokia. Regardless, Nokia’s 3310 is a quintessential blip in the history of cell phone-kind and the only proper way to play Pong and Snake. Facts!

Year: 2006

Before full keyboards were the hottest feature, a sliding screen like the one found on the LG Chocolate was the slickest cell phone trend. Available in a variety of colors, the Chocolate’s defining characteristic was its compatibility with music; its look even mimicked that of an mP3 player, thanks to the round keypad. The glossy coat was another distinguished attribute that drew users in, but we think those tasty and oddly sultry commercials had something to do with this phone’s popularity as well.

Year: 2010

Sadly, the HTC Droid Incredible is a prime example of smartphones that fell victim to the reign of the iPhone. It had everything—a full touch screen, a streamlined shape and size, and fully loaded functionality powered by Google. But its release in 2010 saw the beginning of the end for most touch screen devices that weren’t built by Apple, and Droids were soon left in the dust as a distant but recognizable memory. All that remains is the Droid message tone that will play on repeat in your nightmares tonight.

Year: 2007 

You may not have gotten it as a teenager, but the phone that truly revolutionized the use of mobile devices is now one of, if not the, biggest players in the tech game. The original iPhone was announced in Steve Jobs’ keynote speech at the 2007 Macworld Conference & Expo, where he showed off one of the first fully-touchscreen phones to hit the market. Though we’re constantly blessed (and sometimes stressed) with iPhone software updates and physical alterations, the simple but effective first iPhone was named TIME’s Invention of the Year and we will always praise the ancestor of our current handheld computer.

Year: 2012 

This one may not be quite as nostalgic for some, but the Samsung s3 was iconic enough to start a line of mobile devices that actually competed with the iPhone. Well, at least until the batteries started exploding. Since then, Samsung has locked down its production of quality phones. But the Galaxy s3 was one of the first cell phones to have Apple haters around the world claiming superiority over iPhone users.

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