A walk down memory lane: Our favorite phones from the past

A walk down memory lane: Our favorite phones from the past

Human memory is a very strange thing. According to scientists, we break our memories into little fragments and store them in different parts of our brain. To experience a memory, we have to piece together visual cues and information from other senses like smell, touch, taste, etc. And yet, we have these vivid recollections that send shivers down our spine or make us smile.

Usually, such memories are closely related to emotional moments in our lives and people close to our hearts. But can an electronic device like a phone trigger similar experiences? Of course! Today we take a walk down the memory lane with our favorite phones from the past, that etched little memory fragments deep inside our brains.

I’ve asked my colleagues to share their most precious memories, regarding their favorite phones of the past. “Lead by example”, people say, so I’ll be the first to share in.

Mariyan Slavov – Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray

Despite having lots of interesting stories in my bag, including the one about finding a lost Nokia 3210 in a cafe and then losing it shortly after (proving that karma exists), my favorite phone from the past is the Xperia Ray.

It was my first smartphone that I bought with my first salary as a writer back in 2012. I remember opening the box and thinking: 

It was a small phone even by standards at thе time, but it was gorgeous with all the right angles and curves. As I learned later, it was designed especially for one-handed use, to allow Japanese people to travel safely in the subway, while using the phone.

I still have the phone today and it’s still operational. And I’ve embarked on a journey to find a similar compact phone today and relive the feelings of my youth, but it’s been fruitless to this moment. 

Victor Hristov – iPhone

There were a bunch of gadgets in the past that I fondly remember, a few Nokia phones like the Nokia 6800 that folded out to a full keyboard, a dream of the past, or the Nokia N73 for what then seemed a crazy powerful phone with an awesome camera, and I can surely also tell you a few stories about Sony Ericsson and Siemens phones from my childhood.

But while it may sound cliche, the phone that really strikes a nerve with me is the original iPhone. 

I remember riding the bus to downtown Baltimore in 2008 where they had an iPhone on display and you could use it, I just had to see it in person. And I was blown away with what an incredible leap that was in technology.

I couldn’t afford it back then, so I actually got a used one after a couple of years. It had a broken display, but still worked just fine, and I would use that phone for years and to this day I still keep it on my desk as a reminder of the past. It was truly a monumental change in smartphones and one that still blows me away when I think about it.

Iskra Petrova – Nokia 2720 Fold

My favorite phone of the past is my Nokia 2720 Fold in dark red color. It was the first phone I really wanted (before that I never took much interest in phones). When I saw it in the shop, I was really excited about getting my hands on it. 

On the first day, this baby was in my home, I was watching my favorite Japanese TV show while drinking a cup of hot green tea. Then, I accidentally dropped the poor phone in the cup… my heart sank. I thought it was gone. I got it out of the tea with tears in my eyes, just to realize it still worked. I will never forget this.

I used it happily for a couple of years after that, with no issues whatsoever, and loved snapping it shut when finishing a call. I don’t know how much it cost, though. I was a daddy’s girl back then. I guess I could google its price… but maybe I don’t want to ruin it by putting a price tag on it. It’s priceless because it made me very happy, it was pretty, elegant, and it worked. I am looking forward to foldable smartphones getting better and more future-proof and I, for sure, am gonna spend some savings on one.

Radoslav Minkov – Sony Ericsson Zylo

Although I have nostalgia for much older phones, the one I still vividly remember is the Sony Zylo. Released in 2010, it was not only among the first phones I bought on my own but also the first one that could do incredible things for the time, such as play videos and MP3 files. Up until then, I was used to monochrome screens and beeps. It had a cool slide-out design and was marketed as a Walkman phone. 

The Sony Zylo also featured basic 3D games and a gyroscope, which were also new concepts for a phone at the time.

Georgi Zarkov – Nokia 3330

My favorite phone of the past is the first phone I was proud to own: Nokia 3330. I’m not even sure what the differences between the legendary 3310 and the 3330 were, but I remember I had the latter. The Nokia looked much better than the Motorola phone I had before that, one with a longish antenna that protruded at a weird angle. 

The 3330 was also my first taste of customization, both physical and software. Aftermarket panels for the Nokia 3310 were abundant and cheap and, of course, they worked with my 3330 as well. I remember that for a long time I had the stock white panel on the front and a third-party one with some car-themed graphic on the back.

Inside, I had managed to replace the carrier logo on the home screen with a drawing I made myself. I also changed my ringtone to a song I liked back then. That meant I had to manually “compose” it while looking at the notes online and the result was a vague monotone resemblance of said song. That was pretty much the extent to which my customization skills extended.

And lastly, what’s more nostalgic than playing Snake on your Nokia phone? I always played it at the highest speed and after one point, started using the phone’s up and down arrows for controls instead of the keypad. That made things slightly more challenging.

Radoslav Slavov – Apple iPhone 4

My favorite phone is the iPhone 4 – to this day, I believe the most beautiful phone ever made (accounting for technological progress, of course). It was so perfect and forward-looking, it was immediately evident just how much work and love went into it. 

The design, the technology, the execution, the business impact… I have no idea how such grand projects walk the path from vision to reality, but the fact that it’s possible makes me love humanity more.

Not much more to say. Bought mine second-hand; enjoyed it for a few years, got numerous major OS upgrades. Everything went smooth & fine. That’s why I’m looking forward to the iPhone 12, which is expected to return to an iPhone 4-inspired design. We haven’t seen that specific kind of look for many years, and I’m eager to find out what a modern reimagining of this breakthrough product is going to be like.

Preslav Kateliev – Sony Xperia X1

The Sony Xperia X1 still holds a special place in my heart. Mainly because it was my first device that kept me connected to the Internet at all times. I also liked its unique design, the colorful UI, and the slide-out keyboard — that was cool, I thought.

That very sliding mechanism is probably why I feel such a connection to this phone. Since the belt cable (on my unit) had a tendency to pop out of its socket after x amount of slides, 

The device was kind of wobbly and the keyboard wasn’t actually satisfying to use. The stylus it came with was kind of necessary because it was often hard to tap precise points on its resistive touchscreen. To my dismay, I found out that it would disconnect from Wi-Fi every time you put the phone in standby. It turned out that I should’ve listened to my friend, who was heavily suggesting I go with a Symbian phone instead.

I can’t really say I miss it. I like it, but that’s probably due to it reminding me of the feeling little wide-eyed me got when I was holding what looked like a mini-laptop in my hand. I still have the unit at home, but can’t boot it up — my last repair of the belt cable connection didn’t go so well.

Joshua Swingle – HTC One X

My favorite phone of the past is also my first ever smartphone – the HTC One X – which I purchased in August 2012. I spent around six months researching which device to buy and over a year saving my money in anticipation of the purchase. I was only 13 years old at the time and I wanted to make sure I was getting the most for my money.

This phone represented a massive upgrade over the crappy LG KP500 Cookie with no Wi-Fi support that I was using before. It was also pretty unique, at least here in Spain, and constantly caught the attention of others due to its ‘big’ 4.7-inch display.

The HTC One X was ridiculously quick at the time and, unlike Samsung phones, it didn’t slow down dramatically over time or after major Android updates, which is partly why I loved it so much. The camera was impressive too. Nothing like the ones you see today, but one of the best on the market in 2012 and surprisingly fast.

I owned the HTC One X for two years and I loved it no less the day I upgraded. If it wasn’t for me spending months researching it, a process that kickstarted my passion for smartphones, I probably wouldn’t be writing this today.

Cosmin Vasile – Benefon Delta and Sony Ericsson T68i

I had so many phones throughout the years that at some point, my brain simply decided to overwrite my memories to save space. For reasons unknown though, two memories have been left untouched, which is why I can tell you that my favorite phones are the Benefon Delta and Sony Ericsson T68i. I remain fond of these two phones to this day for very different reasons, which have nothing to do with what they look like or how powerful and advanced they were.

It’s a bittersweet memory that I treasure nonetheless. Sony Ericsson T68i was the first phone I bought with my own money. In fact, I had to commit to a very expensive plan to be able to get one, which proved to be a very bad decision. I ended up paying thrice the cost because I couldn’t keep up with the monthly bills, so the carrier sued me. Despite all of that, I still think it was all worth it – Sony Ericsson T68i was such an eye-catcher.

Florin Troaca – Sony Ericsson K770i

I bought the Sony Ericsson K770i in late 2008 and used it for a little over a year. I loved this phone for its nice, comfortable design and great build quality, although its 2.2-inch screen was a bit on the small side (and, of course, this was not a touchscreen display). The Sony Ericsson K770i was not a smartphone, but it did have some advanced features, including 3G and a front-facing video calling camera.

The K770i was a Cybershot-branded phone. In other words, one of its main strengths was its photo camera. Nowadays, the 3.2MP rear camera of the K770 is something to laugh at, but I really liked the images that I was able to take with it back then. I also loved the sliding mechanism that protected the camera when not in use.

I wish I had kept my K770i with me – for nostalgia’s sake – but I gave it to a friend when I switched to a touchscreen smartphone, and never saw it again.

Peter Kostadinov – Nokia E52

Although touchscreen phones were already gaining tons of traction, my humble self and Nokia still had a penchant for physical buttons back in late 2009. That’s when I got my hands on a Nokia E52, a Symbian-powered Nokia smartphone that truly blew my mind away. It had apps, games, multimedia browser and even a microSD card slot, which was a big deal back then.

I wonder if I perceived the Nokia E52 as a big device back in the day, because it certainly isn’t one today; actually, the phone itself covers barely half of the display I’m currently using. Still, it’s a phone that still brings back tons of memories as well as the sweet taste of nostalgia, which isn’t something I can say about nowadays’ phones.

Sadly, the days of the E52 and the rest of its kin were numbered with the unstoppable advent of iPhones and Android-powered devices. Still, I used the Nokia E52 up until late 2013, and it[s actually still sitting in a drawer, a bit broken and scratched, but still completely functional.

Anam Hamid – Nokia 5700

Long before selfies were a thing, Nokia, which was very much alive and kicking at that time, came out with a phone that was quite unusual in 2007.

The lower part of the phone was twistable and as soon as I saw its ad, I knew I wanted it. In fact, my best friend got one too!

Swivel the keypad once, and it would let you take a selfie with its primary shooter that doubled up as a front camera because of the phone’s unique design.

And that’s not all, as rotating that part twice made the phone more of an MP3 player. Needless to say, it was as cool as it got at that time, and it will forever hold a special place in my heart.

What about you? What was your favorite phone and why? Share your stories in the comments!

Source: Phonearena


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