back to article Could YOU identify these 10 cool vintage mobile phones?

The winner of the competition for a Poppy 3D viewer from Firebox is Martin Harding from Great Yarmouth. Martin is a self-confessed geek who twitches at Matrixis, but even he could not identify all the mobes. He did, however, correctly identify nine of the 10 mystery phones. Indeed none of the entrants got the 10th phone right …


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  1. Khaptain Silver badge

    6 out of 10

    All I got was 6,

    Were the Pebl, MPX 300, Aura and Sendo really well known ?


    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: 6 out of 10

      The Pebl and the Aura, yes. They were major design wins at the time. Although I still prefered the baby Nokia 9000 series slider in titanium.

      As an expat, I'd never heard of Sendo.

      The MPX300 is also new to me.

      1. Conrad Longmore

        Re: 6 out of 10

        I've been trying to get hold of an MPX300 for my collection for a while. Very rare. Not as rare as the Sendo though.. another very rate one of those is the Symbiab-based Sendo X2.

  2. Alistair


    Sendo? what?

    and the Aura actually did get made? The spec sheet I saw didn't look like that.

    (20 years in the business.)

  3. Francis Boyle

    Interesting read

    but given that these are "vintage" phones let down by the lack of dates.

  4. D@v3

    not sure how many i got

    I recognised the images, didn't know the name of the phones, never mind.

    We did have a communicator pass through our office recently. I really, really wanted to find a valid use for it, but just couldn't

  5. phil 27

    Identify them? Ive owned 5 of them! There's 3 I wouldnt know to be honest though.

    I owned 4 instances of the 9110, a cross between bad luck and very subseptible to absorbing liquids, my last one the insurance told me no more replacements and I spilt some chemical cleaner on the bench near it and it wicked it up in a instant and ate the solder inside the phone so it was declared an unrepairable unit by the insewerants repairer, every chip ruined, so I went back to a 9000i for a bit then gave up after I developed the needed giant muscles to carry it around and started carrying a ipaq installed with familiar linux instead. I remember using a app on the nokia's that you could set an alarm on when it entered a certain cell tower, and I used to set it to wake me up on my evening commute back home when I took the train. I bought the pebl to the salesman's disgust because it fitted in a little angled pocket on my bike leather jacket that zipped up well.

    I still have some 9000i's, a razr kicking round, I remember the 888 and thought it looked dated at the time, I also remember friends with the nokia slider phones continually returning them under guarantee when they opened and carried on and shot the slide section off completely, always good for a office laugh when they were trying to look cool.

    Memory lane eh?

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon

      I had a Nokia 9110 Communicator and with a few bolted together connectors etc. and the zed? software I managed to console onto Sun boxes, and also Cisco routers etc.

      Good bit of kit at the time.

  6. Magnus_Pym

    Best selling?

    The best selling list makes interesting reading. Not surprisingly a Nokia is reconnected to be the best selling of all time, not the 3310 though it is apparently the 'emerging markets' 1100 with 250 million units sold. In fact of the 12 phone models that have sold more than 100 million only 2 are not Nokias; the Motorola Razr v3 and the Samsung E1100.

    I think that shows just how badly Nokia messed up.

    1. Cian Duffy

      Re: Best selling?

      I've contributed to both the Nokia 1110 and Samsung E1100 sales figures a number of times - as burn phones (media work), grabbing a PAYG handset I recognised at the lowest price point in a foreign country or when a phone has been in for warranty repair. Whereas I had one 3310. Actually still have a working E1100 here but its locked to TalkTalk and I could buy an unlocked landfill Android for the cost of an unlock code.

      Somehow doubt its statistically significant compared to the actual emerging market sales of each though!

  7. xyz Silver badge

    Ah...memory lane

    I didn't have any of the 10, but my personal favs were a Nokia 8850* which seemingly was the most removed phone on the planet from people orifices due to it's strong vibrator** and 2 Haier phones, a penphone and a black pearl.

    * taped to my iPaq and connected via IR, it meant I could look at the web on the train in 2001

    ** To confirm, I never used mine for any wet work.

  8. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    I don't think I knew any - is that good or bad?

    But then, I think I've only owned two, maybe three phones in the last ten years and a couple of work-supplied ones before that.

  9. Alan Gauton

    I had a Sendo handset (before I got my Razr. Can't remember the model number though - the phone was great, the keyboard not so.

    I still use a Slvr (red) though for an old Orange OVP Virgin SIM.

    1. paulf

      Orange OVP Virgin

      I've got an old number on the Orange OVP Virgin Tariff that I like to keep going. Like PAYG but with no minimum usage requirement to keep it alive and the balance paid as if it was a contract. Cracking price plan.

      It was a shame when they started charging 25p/min for voice mail earlier this year. I tried to work around it by calling the voice mail service from another phone only to find out they billed me for that as if I'd called from the Orange handset! (Plus the cost of calling an Orange number from another network).

  10. Jean Le PHARMACIEN

    What about Nokia 6310?

    I had a Nokia 6310 - lovely battery life - days and days and....

    Could do web but was an awful experience due to pitiful ota data rate and - better when used as data modem via infra red with my Psion Revo. Now that WAS the beginning of mobile internet!

    Still got my 6310 - use when skiing as emergency contact phone (battery life).

    Also why no Nokia 9500? That was good phone and PDA

    1. Slap

      Re: What about Nokia 6310?

      Are you me?

      Everything you said there mirrors what I did with the 6310i and what I do with it these days.

      1. jason 7

        Re: What about Nokia 6310?

        I keep a 6310i charged and ready on my shelf at all times. It's my "Apocalypse" phone.

        I'll still keep on trucking for a couple of weeks or more while the hordes of wandering masses with iPhone chargers in hand, roam the streets (or is that Heathrow Airport?)

  11. hammarbtyp

    Still in use

    My wife still uses a Motorola V3 Razr. Every once in a while I suggest an upgrade to something more modern, at which point she goes and hides clutching the phone to her chest.

    Saying that, in terms of industrial design, it could give Mr Ives a run for his money. the downside is the software which was obviouisly designed by committee and afyter 4 text messages the buffer is filled up

  12. Tanuki


    I don't really class any of them as ~Vintage~ they've all got LCD screens!

    [My first cellular mobile-phone was a "BT Steel" with a big carrier/recharger frame which bolted to the car transmission-tunnel. Before that, we had Pye Westminsters on the old BT System-4 VHF mobile network. ]

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: Vintage?

      When I was a wee lad working in Shepherd's Bush in the late seventies, a friend and I car-shared and used often to meet the same Jag under the Westway flyover.

      This was in the days when you had to book calls to a mobile phone, and the technology took up half the boot. Mr Jag made a point whenever he was stopped at the lights of holding the phone to his face.

      One fine night we arranged to have a handset with curly wire and lead ends. We pulled up alongside him at the lights, my friend holding the phone as if speaking. Mr Jag looked at as a bit annoyed... until my mate dropped his window, tapped on the window of the Jag, said 'it's for you' and handed the handset over.

      We then booted it across the lights, leaving Mr Jag sitting there with a phone in each hand and a rather confused look on his face.

      We saw him after that, but never with a phone in his hand!

      1. asdf

        Re: Vintage?

        Guess you had to be there. Or as the kids would say cool story bro.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Vintage?

      Was that the Light Steel or Heavy Steel? There were 2 models with different battery sizes depending on whether you wanted a single or double hernia.

  13. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge


    I've still got a Nokia 2140 in the glovebox for emergency use.

  14. Edwin

    Your 9110 is a 9210

    Bounce was the game showcasing the 9210s colour screen - the 9110 ran GEOS and didn't have the colour screen. I had both, and while the 9210 was better, the 9110 had much more geek appeal for the ability to launch a DOS prompt.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Your 9110 is a 9210

      I don't know about the 9210 but the 9110 had a VT100 emulation mode - 80x24 in minuscule characters.

      Back in the day I had the box I was minding email me reports from all the overnight runs so in the morning I'd normally check them through to make sure everything was running OK.

      The IIUG (Informix user group) was organising a chapter in the UK. They called for interested parties to a meeting with a couple of US members to set up a local committee so I went along. After the meeting we somehow ended up sitting round a table in a pub's beer garden. I opened the phone dialled into the modem in the back of the server (you could get away with such things in those days), fired up elm & rather belatedly ran through the reports. One of the US guys was sitting next to me & could hardly believe it; shouted to the other "Look here. He's DBAing his box on his phone!". Nice to get one over on the Yanks.

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Re: Your 9110 is a 9210

        Being able to get a vt100 dialup or telnet-over-ppp (we were more trusting back then) to the work servers from the pub was the main reason I had a 9110!

        1. Edwin

          Re: Your 9110 is a 9210

          I'm pretty sure there were terminal emulators for the 9210 (and later models) but on the 9110 you could actually get a native DOS prompt. I seem to remember you couldn't do very much with it, but the point was that you *could* get right into the bowels of the OS, which was unique. I think it involved hacking some of the configuration files to the device booted to a prompt rather than GUI.

          Pointless, but cool.

  15. fixit_f

    Maybe I'm old

    But none of these are what I'd call "Vintage"

    Now my first phone - that's what I call vintage

    1. Judge Chuck
      Thumb Up

      Re: Maybe I'm old

      Wow, that is old!

      IIRC, my first phone was this one:

      I can't remember having any earlier one than that, anyway... It was a long time ago... ;-)

      1. Judge Chuck
        Thumb Up

        Re: Maybe I'm old

        Edited to add: No, it wasn't that one! That IMEI website is a real stroll down memory lane. I'm pretty sure this was my first:

        Favourite phones through the years have included:

        A classic Nokia in all respects

        My first foray into Smartphones. Loved the flip-numberpad that you could remove and the scroll/click/rocker wheel on the side!

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Maybe I'm old

        "Wow, that is old!"

        No it isn't. It's GSM. Before GSM was TACS. And as the guy who had the (TACS) Steel pointed out in another post, before that was System 4 which ran in parallel with TACS for a while being shut down in the early '90s IIRC. I assume before that there must have been 3 previous generations. So much for 2G, 3G etc.

        1. Oz

          Re: Maybe I'm old

          I bought my first mobile as soon as getting a job after University. It was one of these bad boys:

          It was quite good, from what I remember, although I rarely used it as there weren't that many people I tended to call - plus the call costs were mad!

  16. Zog_but_not_the_first

    Evolution or convergence?

    Scrolling thought these images is like perusing pre-Cambrian fossils. Interesting, varied and quirky. Until life phones evolved into rectangles with rounded corners.

  17. Ian Michael Gumby

    What no Bricks?

    No Bag phones either?

    I guess I must be showing my age. ;-)

    I can remember ~15 years ago people in rural areas paid a premium for bag phones. (They had enough power to connect to the towers from remote areas when the digital units failed to get a connection.)

    1. ItsNotMe
      Thumb Up

      Re: What no Bricks?


      My first...and second cell phones were bag phones. Even had a spare 12 volt battery for them so I could maximize their usefulness. Got the first one in that's vintage!

  18. Stoneshop
    Thumb Up


    Had one, together with the 5MX mentioned in the article. Sending mails while on the move, back in 1998.

  19. Haku
  20. wolfetone Silver badge


    Where's the 7110? The "Matrix" phone? I'd say that had to be one of the coolest phones out there at the time.

    I owned a RAZR (V3i), quite simply the best phone I ever had until I snapped it in half while arguing with my (now ex) geordie whore girlfriend. I haven't had much affection for a phone after that until I got my Z10.

    P.S: Sorry if I offended any Geordies, but she was a Geordie, and a cheating slapper of a woman.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 7110?

      I vaguely recall that although Nokia had done a marketing/product placement deal with the Matrix producers, because the actual 7110 was not available for the filing, they had to use a modified 8110 with spring for the slider (because that was a key marketing feature of the 7110). I had the unmodified former as my first phone on the One2One free weekend calls tariff (back when mobile calls were generally 40p/min across the board)

      I also had one of the original V3 razors, in the first week of release when they cost an extra £200 on top of the large contract (before they became so prevalent, due to being ostensibly classy, yet free on contact, and hence common as muck). The more memorable (to me) factor was the supremely over engineered/ over specced box it came in - a very hefty brushed aluminium job you would (almost) be happy to see an external hard drive come in.

      going back a bit, I had the T68, as a pleasant surprise free upgrade on a faulty T29. Had the T68i...Oh go on then, here comes the list of my mobiles, as far as I can still remember, and in no particular order (I generally only had 1 at a time, and the better model, later):









      Samsung Omnia 800


      Sony Ericsson P800

      Nokia N95

      Samsung Galaxy S2

      Samsung Note2 (last 2+years)

      Now I can't be arsed to upgrade really. Same with the PC. My 'Geek libido' is too low these days ;(

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: 7110?

        I'd be interested to know how you found the Galaxy S2. I had one for a month and sold it. I would get on the tube at 8am in the morning (when I worked in london) and by 6pm the same day the battery will have died. It was total tosh.

    2. Slap

      Re: 7110?

      Actually the matrix phone was the 8110, which incidentally didn't have the spring action. It was retro fitted with the spring mechanism just for the film.

      I guess they liked it, so they put a spring on the 7110.

      1. Judge Chuck

        Re: 7110?

        I liked my 7110, but it was a bit odd... The screen was *huge* compared to the rest of the phone and the spring cover broke fairly quickly IIRC.

        Having WAP was okay, but ISTR that it was quite flaky.

        1. Edwin

          Re: 7110?

          The huge screen was one thing I really liked about the 7110 - perfect for the carkit!

          I never had a spring on the mic slider break, but the catch on the end occassionally failed, causing the cover to fly through the room when you tried to answer the phone. Aside from being mildly humorous, it also meant you could only hear (not talk) until you'd clicked it back on since it also housed the mic.

  21. CmdrX3

    You can f****** keep them

    I'm between smart phones at the minute (sold my old one and waiting delivery of the new one) so I bought a cheap Samsung E1200 to cover the gap. I can't tell you how shit it is to go back to a 1 inch screen, no internet, 4 apps, 1 game, a crap signal, and that crappy old predictive text. Mind you, I bought it on Monday, fully charged it and it still has all it's power bars... maybe because it takes that fucking long to do anything on it I stopped bothering. My text replies now usually consist of "Yes", "No" or "Phone me"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You can f****** keep them

      But the point is that you use it as a phone. You know, speech, and, welll.......erm.....speech.

      But having said that, I wish I still had my Ericsson T28. There was design that showed that tosser Ive up for the complete knob he is. It was just soooooooo cool. And even though the damped flip panel was a bit fragile, it was still cooler than Ralgex freeze spray on your knackers.

      I'd trade all of the computery-shit of a modern smart phone for an update of the T28 that just did calls and battery life brilliantly, and omitted all the crappy mobile interweb, second rate sat-nav, fart apps, and games for the hard of thinking. There is one extra thing I would like my updated T28 to have, and that's a media player and SD card slot - and I'd accept a small touch screen keyboard as the price for that.

      Do we need to get this idea on Kickstarter?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You can f****** keep them

      "can't tell you how shit it is to go back to a 1 inch screen, no internet, 4 apps, 1 game"

      So in other words you want a toy, not a phone. That sums up most smartphone users IMO.

  22. Number6

    I never had any of those, I went from a Nokia 6210 to a SE K800i, then back to Nokia for an E71, an HTC Wildfire S and now a Galaxy 4. Phone companies must hate me, only my fifth phone in thirteen years (and the G4 is only a month old).

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Wow, but we have to say, Motorola have indeed led the way from quite a while but I loved Sony Ericsson more.

    In that light, where is the T28i? I also loved my T68i both of which I think I still have it lying around and I think it still works too. And what about the candybar W902i? I even got the X10i when they just launched it. It was a lovely phone but Android quite failed them on that front.

    Was never a Nokia fun so I only got to own a Nokia this year with the Lumia 930 before they kicked the bucket in that market to become M$.

    1. Alain

      Re: T68i

      "Sony" Ericsson? just Ericsson at that time :-) I've been a big fan of SE phones for several years (the K750i especially) but that came much later.

      The T68i is a successor of another Ericsson model I had. Same kind of shape although taller, with an external antenna. This one didn't have a colour screen but a b/w screen with a coloured backlight! You could choose among 4 or 5 different colors, and even let the phone alternate between the available coulours. I liked it a lot, for this and the pulse-flashing LED that was typical to Ericsson phones at that time and allowed one to check if the phone was getting a signal in a blink of an eye (did they invent this?) I still have it in a drawer somewhere.

      Another fancy model I had (ca. 1999) was an Alcatel phone with a pull-out antenna and a unique feature: you could remove the battery, flip a plastic bar at both ends of the battery slot and put 3 AA batteries instead! Who needs powerbanks? ;-)

      My very first one was the Nokia 5110.

  24. x 7

    Suggesting the SH888 "did data" is a bit disingenuous. Yes it could connect to a Psion or PC via a com port or IR and act as a slow modem, but thats all. There was no native data capabilities - you couldn't read your e-mail on it, or browse. It was just simply a modem capability - nothing else

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "the Razr sold 100,000,000 units."

    Probably the majority now dumped in landfill when though no doubt most of them still worked. What a wasteful and frivolous society we live in. All this tech tossed out just so we can have new shiny inconsequential toys to play with.

    (No, I don't own a smartphone).

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  26. Grubby

    A few

    I recognised a few but I'm not good with names of stuff so just referred to them as the spinny one, that dead thin Motorolla one and the Nokia one that looked small in every picture I ever saw of it but in real life was like a brick.

    The one thing I did find interesting though is how different they all looked, good or bad they all non-uniform. Unlike now where 'difference' is measured in tenths of millimetres and whether or not the back has a brushed steel effect or brushed aluminium effect, or brushed silver, or brushed...

  27. cambsukguy

    Would be nice if some of these old phones were passed along

    There are people who could really make use of them in places with little or no money and where the good battery life and tougher inherent design is useful.

    I held out having a cellphone for a long, long time, my first was a SH888, linked up to various PalmPilots it could do amazing things for the time.

    That one was lost/stolen but the Nokia 8210 (wonderful device) that followed it went to Oxfam. The T68i (neat phone, had the camera too), when to Oxfam.

    I kept a Nokia 6210 as my previous backup because my later old phones went to offspring but now I have an N900 as a backup, the 6210 can follow the 6220 off to a place where it will be loved and useful.

    I wonder if the recipients will appreciate getting old Galaxy S2s now or in the future and bemoan the tough, reliable, battery-sipping phones they had before.

  28. OrsonX

    From the days when phones were real phones.

    And small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were...., well, you know.

    I still pine after my flip phone. I wish there was a decent modern replacement. Flipping it open, closing it, flipping it open again, life was pretty good back then...

    1. G7mzh

      Re: From the days when phones were real phones.

      I used to have a Motorola flip phone (forget the model number). It was supplied by the employer, and while it was nice to use the RF section was as deaf as a post. Many conversations were punctuated with "pardon? what? let me stand by the window". When my division closed, they insisted on having the phones back (despite being offered money for them) becasue they were all under contract to Cellnet. Within months, they all turned up at car boot sales.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That 9210

    Back in 2001, I regularly found myself bouncing around in the back of a taxi, in Mumbai, frantically typing emails on a Nokia 9210 (plus taking and making calls). I had a local SIM that supported 9600bps data, and the Indian equivalent of Freeserve. It did what I needed it to do. Thanks to the 9210, by the time I usually made it back to the Taj (one hour roller coaster taxi drive, from an office near Mahim Junction), my day was over (i.e. Go to bar. Go directly to bar. Do not pass go. Do not do any more emails, unless absolutely bloody necessary). Looking back, I was pretty much blazing a trail :-).

    Most of us Brits hadn't heard of Blackberry, back then.

    Until just a couple of years ago, our local GP practice would only take repeat prescription requests in person, or by Fax. The 9210 handled that!

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nokia 7650 err

    The Nokia 7650 was not Nokia's first Symbian phone; that was the 9210, as I recall. And I've never heard of the Philips Accent before - the first Symbian phone I heard of was the Ericsson R380, although perhaps that shouldn't be categorised as a Symbian phone as technically it ran EPOC Release 6u, although I think Symbian Ltd released the final code to them.

    Good article overall though. Fun reminiscing over all those old phones. Even I didn't recognise a couple of them.

  31. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge


    Nobody told me a RAZR V3 was vintage. I still use one.

    A DynaTac is vintage. Which I still have in a vintage car (just as a conversation piece now that analog service is gone).

  32. Rainer

    What about the Siemens SK65

    I really miss it.


    It was such a cool phone. With more or less a full querty keyboard.

    These days, phones are much thinner - but so much wider.

    1. Conrad Longmore

      Re: What about the Siemens SK65

      I have.. two. Which is two too many really.

      Siemens were masters of industrial design, but they were really not very good when it came to quality (especially for a Germany company). Remember the SL55? That was a cool device.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nokia 8210

    is my backup phone. With a battery that lasts 6-7 days.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bounce on the 9210 was great and the keyboard was the best compact qwerty I've used. All of my texts on that had proper punctuation and capitalisation.

    I remember the T68i too, awful camera.

  35. crediblywitless

    Replaced an SH888 with a T68i. I used the SH888 with a Palm 3 for email-on-holiday, and it worked very well even in bright sunlight when IR transmission was aided by a carefully-cut tube of heavy black paper. The T68i is still my Favourite Phone Ever, though.

  36. anthonypoh

    is it sad that I owned 8 out of the 10 phones?!?

    Only one I couldn't place was the Sendo.....

  37. Conrad Longmore

    A cheap thing to collect

    It you're interested in this kind of retro stuff, a lot of it can be picked up very cheaply for around £30 or so on eBay. Some things are very rare (like the MPX300) or sometime very expensive (Nokia N950). They're all far more interesting to look at than what you get today, although my dull slabby Android easily beats them when it comes to features.

  38. MonsieurTM

    What about the Nokia 7280?

    The "lipstick phone"[1]? This retro 60s styled phone was iconic.

    In a time of "me-too" flip phones & keyboards (announced Q3 2004), now taken over by the "Monolith" style, i.e. none, the 7280 was a mould-breaker: small (terrible battery life), yet extremely cool: you could just whip it out, slide it open & talk, slide closed to dismissively hang up. The only cool GPRS/EDGE phone that could be put down on a table and, seriously, people would look at and envy. I was stopped in the street by people admiring my phone (which was a pain sometimes). A swine to text with, because it had no hardware keyboard, but who cared? It made you feel so important that anyone that texted was soooo uncool; talking was seriously cool again (apparently). And the most impressive trick: it glowed red at the end with codes to indicate missed calls, messages, etc. (It had infra-red so could do data, but the kool kats that owned one NEVER would be seen doing THAT in public...)

    I had two.



  39. RogerW

    Ah, but what about the Sony CMD Z1 - circa early 1997?

    Jog dial menu access, really intuitive (and I've got an iPhone now!); extending antenna (!); flip down to answer/close call microphone. Main body only 4 inches long!

    It lasted a long time and it still has that look of cool, even though its battery is thicker (and heavier) than my current phone!

    And ... I can still use it ... I put a 99p SIM card in it a month ago just to put it side by side with my iPhone 6 for my Silver Surfer students!

  40. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    No one mentioned Palm Treo 600/650/680

    Lovely phones. Crap cameras though and the 600 was RAM based, not flash so it would forget if the battery went flat.

    My old 650 even survived a sojourn into the bilge of a canal boat. Retrieved it, whipped the battery out, washed off the oily water, dumped it into a cupboard in the engineroom in a food container with some rice and left it there for a week. Still worked OK years down the line.

  41. OdysseasP

    The photo of number 6 mobile phone is the Nokia 9210 Communicator and not the Nokia 9110 Communicator.

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