10 special old phones that deserve to get an 'SE' makeover ASAP


The unimaginable has happened: Apple has invented a time machine. How do we know? The company has just recently unveiled the iPhone SE, a phone that looks almost exactly like the iPhone 5s from 2013.

SE stands for 'special edition' and it's indeed special! They don't make 'em like that anymore: with a tiny, 4" display, the iPhone SE - despite being leaked months before launch - still feels like a big surprise.

Apple claims that a market for small devices still exists. It exists for Apple, that's certain: the company sold a whopping 30 million such phones in 2015, but does a global market for such devices exist? Admittedly, many who buy a smaller iPhone these days are driven by its price and the fact that it carries an Apple logo, rather than just by screen size criteria.

But if Apple could make an old phone new again, we figured there are some other phones that are definitely worth such a makeover. Here are our top 10 phones that we think should get their own 'SE' makeover ASAP.

#10 (Duh!): Nokia 3310


Originally released in 2000

Duh! The most talked about phone of all time, the Nokia 3310 is the one device that deserves a place in the hall of fame. Naturally, it deserves a makeover. We don't know how can this phone be modernized and it seems like an impossible task, but we're sure that whatever talent is left in Finland at Nokia has the chops to make a 'special edition' of the unbreakable and legendary Nokia 3310.

Nokia, if you're really planning a return to the phone market late this year, think about this and make it good. We want our indestructible phones back.


#9: HTC One mini


Originally released in 2013 | Specs | Review

The HTC One mini is a device that - if given a modern makeover - would stand a fight against the iPhone SE easily. The aluminum 4 incher is super compact, looks extremely stylish with a modern metal build, and could certainly cost less than the $400 iPhone SE. We would not mind a fingerprint scanner and a truly no-compromise camera, along with the promise for quick updates as well.


#8: Nokia Lumia 720 / 730


Originally released in 2013 | Specs | Review

The Nokia Lumia 720 and then the Lumia 730 are our favorite designs of the Lumia series. That pillow shaped form had seen many iterations, but in the super affordable Lumia 7xx it was thin and super comfortable to hold and slip in the pocket. With a practical and well-made plastic body, we won't really miss metal terribly. What will make these phones special, though, will be modern, no-compromise silicon: a great processor and camera.


#7: Sony Xperia S / U


Originally released in 2012 | Specs | Review

While we would not bring the Xperia S in its exact form, we would definitely take some cues from its design. Make it thinner, make it elegant and make it glow. We feel Sony was really up to something with that light strip that would gave those devices so much character, but the idea has to be polished. We imagine a Tron-inspired, futuristic phone with the Sony logo and something different than what everyone offers today. Can you pull it off, Sony?


#6: BlackBerry Passport


Originally released in 2015 | Specs | Review

BlackBerry is quite obviously in a lot of trouble: the phone maker that was synonymous with the whole industry some 10 years ago, is now practically irrelevant. Its phones are niche offerings that only the most loyal fans buy. Yet, there was one recent device that really stood out: the BlackBerry Passport. A square device with a strange form factor, the Passport was a businessman's best friend: its screen was particularly great for reading email and dealing with spreadsheets, but its design was also well thought out, and it had an absolutely stunning keyboard that doubled as a touchscreen. This unique combination of features makes the BlackBerry Passport a prime candidate for a 'Special Edition' makeover: just make it run on Android this time, BlackBerry, alright?


#5: HTC One M7


Originally released in 2013 | Specs | Review

The HTC One M7 was such a strange bird: we feel like it has one of the best designs on Android paired with the ample BoomSound speakers, but it featured a largely disappointing UltraPixel camera. If HTC improved that one key aspect and equipped this phone with modern silicon, we can definitely see it attracting a lot of attention.


#4: Samsung Galaxy Alpha


Originally released in 2014 | Specs | Review

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha was a transitional phone for Samsung before it jumped on the stainy glass front. Sure, the Galaxy S6 and now the S7 are absolutely stunning, but wait until you start using them in hand and they quickly accumulate fingerprints and become that greasy mess.

With its elegant and stylish body, the 4.7" Galaxy Alpha was nothing like that: it was compact and good-looking, but it didn't stain, and featured an easily removable back cover that you could change and have it look like new. Bring that small phone with cool design back, but update it with modern silicon and you'd have quite the special phone, Samsung!


#3: HTC One S


Originally released in 2012 | Specs | Review

Speaking of ancient phones, how about going back even further back in time, to the HTC One S. This stunning 4.3 incher absolutely blew our minds with its carefully crafted aluminum body and sturdy construction in times when this was unheard of. Coming from the golden days of HTC, this little One S could easily turn into an 'SE' of sorts to please phone aficionados with a doze of modernized nostalgia: we would love to see it with a better processor, camera and system chip, of course, and the promise for future Android updates would definitely seal the deal for us.


#2: Google Nexus 4


Originally released in 2012 | Specs | Review

When it comes to Nexus phones, there is one design that really went above and beyond for the time and that would still look great to this day. We're speaking about the ancient Nexus 4, a phone from 2012, that looks every bit as good as a phone in 2016, and has a cool matrix-like glittery effect on the back.

Equip it with a modern system chip, a great camera and a decent battery, and you have a device that would be just as special as that special edition iPhone, but will also cater to all Android purists. What's not to like.


#1: Nokia Lumia 1020


Originally released in 2013 | Specs | Review

Nokia has a cult following in the phone world, almost as much as Apple, but even a cult following cannot fully explain why up to this very day, we find commenters lamenting the fact that the Lumia 1020, the monstrous 41-megapixel camera phone, does not have its due successor. And trust us, we don't get much comments about three year-old devices... except for the Lumia 1020.

So come on, Microsoft or Nokia! Get your act together, and pull some PureView super-megapixel magic on us and all the fans that have been waiting all those years. And please, consider using Android this time around. We hear people dig it better than Windows Phone.

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