The days when Nokia ruled the smartphone and mobile phone markets are long gone - we all know that. The Finnish company sold off its Devices and Services unit to Microsoft this year, so it’s no longer a phone maker. Still, we mustn’t forget all the great phones that Nokia released throughout the years. Right now, though, we’ll present you some of the company’s weirdest phone designs (which may, or may not have been great).
Just like Samsung
, it seems that Nokia released its weirdest handsets in the mid 2000s. In fact, those were the years when most manufacturers made unusual phones. That’s because there were a lot of buttons that needed to be included on the front (or sides) of devices. Plus, there was no standard form factor for handsets. Flip phones, candybars, sliders, swiveling phones - everything was a go, and manufacturers often combined design elements from these form factors.
Obviously, many of our readers are already familiar with quite a few of the Nokia devices that we’ll present below. But newer generations of smartphone users may have not had the chance to see them. So, enjoy - and let us know if you have any favorites, or if any of these designs seem too ugly to you.
11 of Nokia's weirdest phones
11 of Nokia's weirdest phones
1. Nokia 3600, 3620 and 3650
These three Nokia handsets have the same overall design (resembling a TV remote control), with differences only when it comes to their keypads. The 3650 was released in 2002, while the 3620 and 3600 arrived a bit later, in 2003. Sporting screens with 176 x 208 pixels, the 3600, 3620 and 3650 ran Symbian Series 60 - thus being smartphones.
2. Nokia E70, 6822, 6820, 6810, 6800
Starting with the Nokia 6800 (released in 2002) and finishing with the Nokia E70 from 2005, what we have here is a series of messaging devices. When closed, these look like bulky candybars with standard alphanumeric keypads. But their secret is a fold-out QWERTY keypad which, when fully opened, makes these handsets look like giant wristwatches.
Since the Nokia E70 is the newest among these devices, it’s also the most advanced, offering 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity, Symbian S60 3rd edition, a 2.1-inch display with 352 x 416 pixels, 64MB of internal memory, and a 2MP rear camera. The E70 was priced at about $500 at launch, obviously being a high-end smartphone back in those days.
3. Nokia 7600
It’s been 11 years since Nokia launched the 7600 (as its second 3G-capable phone), and the handset is still a rare sight to behold. Of course, its bulky, leaf-like design made it uncomfortable to hold in hand, but customers who bought it probably didn’t do it because of the phone’s ergonomics anyway. The 7600 had a 2-inch display with 128 x 160 pixels, and a VGA camera.
4. Nokia N-Gage and N-Gage QD
Nokia tried to make the perfect handheld gaming device that’s also a Symbian smartphone: the N-Gage. It tried… and failed. Launched in 2003, the Nokia N-Gage was widely criticized for not delivering a good gaming experience, while not being a decent phone, either (mainly because of its shape). The successor to the N-Gage, called N-Gage QD (pictured on the right), was introduced in 2004, but didn’t manage to change people’s opinion about the whole experiment. Both the N-Gage and N-Gage QD share their design with the Nokia 3300, which was a standalone phone.
5. Nokia 7700
The Nokia 7700 is like an upside-down N-Gage. It doesn’t have a proper keypad, instead featuring a 3.5-inch touchscreen display with 640 x 320 pixels, and a stylus. The 7700 was announced n 2003, but Nokia cancelled its release the following year - so the handset was never sold.
6. Nokia 7710
While the Nokia 7700 didn’t make it to the market, the Nokia 7710 did, in 2004 - becoming the company’s first commercially available smartphone to offer a touchscreen display (3.5-inch TFT, 65k colors, 640 x 320 pixels). It was also the first - and only - to run Series 90. Moreover, the 7710 was the world’s first mobile phone that could act as a satellite navigation system (though the satellite receiver was offered separately).
7. Nokia N90, N93 and N93i
The Nokia N90 (2005), N93 (2006) and N93i (2007) have a similar design, being flip smartphones with swiveling screens - this making them look like dedicated video cameras. Their strength? A Carl Zeiss camera with LED flash (2MP on the N90, and 3.2MP with 30fps video recording on the N93 models). All three are really bulky, being expensive in their glory days.
8. Nokia 7280
Nokia 7280, aka the lipstick phone, literally looks like a lipstick - a quite large one, we must say. Released in 2005, the 7280 is just a feature phone, not a smartphone. It offers a small display with 208 x 104 pixels, and doesn’t have a keypad, instead providing a Navi-Spinner which makes text input a frustrating experience.
9. Nokia 3250 and Nokia 5700 XpressMusic
Here we have two Symbian smartphones made for music lovers (although only the second one shows this in its name): Nokia 3250, released in 2005, and Nokia 5700 XpressMusic, released in 2007. Both have a twisting part - the one at the bottom - which contains an alphanumeric keypad, a 2MP camera, and dedicated music controls. The 5700 XpressMusic even has 3G connectivity.
10. Nokia N91
With 4GB of internal memory, the Nokia N91 was a dream come true for all users looking for a multimedia-centric smartphone in 2006. The handset also offers an excellent audio quality, dedicated music controls that slide down to reveal a keypad, 3G, Wi-Fi, and a 2MP rear camera. The N91 is a very thick device (22mm), but this was not seen as a major issue back then.
11. Nokia Twist 7705
Our list of weird and unusual Nokia phones ends with this little oddball called Nokia Twist 7705. It was launched by Verizon in 2009 as a phone that put “a new twist on messaging”, featuring a swiveling QWERTY keypad, and a hole (or a “contact light ring”) in the bottom-right corner. The Twist 7705 is very small when closed. It was far from being a success, as its awkward design didn’t find too many fans. Once again, this was Nokia trying to make something different... and failing to also make it successful.