These were the classic flip phones that everyone used (and we miss them)


Flip phones: they had relinquished their dominance in the market by the time the first true smartphones became commercially available around the mid-2000s. But for a long time – during the late 1990s and early 2000s – they were the most popular kind of phones. They were seen as cooler, hipper, and a step above compared to "candy bar" phones that were also widely adopted during the time. It was also kind of neat how you had to flip the phone open to accept a phone call. The motion itself was also satisfying the opposite way around when closing the phone to hang up.

Nowadays, many people think of flip phones as antiquated, but others regard many of them as classic phones. In this piece, we’re going to go down memory lane to remember some of those classic flip phones from yesterday – the ones that everyone happened to own! We bet that if you had a phone during the 1990s and early 2000s, you were probably using a phone from the ones that we’ve listed below. What were some of your favorite memories about them?

Just note that the list below is in no particular order.

Motorola RAZR



Who doesn’t remember the original Motorola RAZR, which was first introduced in 2004 and spawned a slew of variants in the years after its release? The RAZR’s design is a timeless work of art that still defies the imagination. As its name implies, the phone was notable for the svelte, razor-like profile it was flaunting – something that was unseen before 2004. Adding to its prestige, it also sported what was at the time deemed a futuristic-looking electroluminescent keypad. Unlike the backlit dial pads of its contemporaries, the RAZR’s electroluminescent keypad was completely flat and produced a hypnotic glow in the dark.

Even though it carried a hefty cost initially, the RAZR's price was eventually lowered a year after its release – allowing it to reach a wider range of consumers. Combining its striking design and subsequent lower cost, it was the phone that everyone was itching to buy and call their own. Impressively enough, the original RAZR V3 model mustered up sales totaling over 130 million units, which made it the best-selling phone at the time!

Motorola V300




If you didn’t have the money to spend on buying the Motorola RAZR back in 2004, then you were probably settling for another alternative at the time – the Motorola V300, or its many variants. This flip phone wasn’t nearly as polished as the RAZR, but when you’re on the other end of the price spectrum, it was simply the phone that many people decided on buying for the savings.

Covered in nearly this rubbery bluish material, the V300 was still a looker for a flip phone at the time. It pretty much covered the basics, offering users a VGA 0.3MP camera, an external blue backlit display, and polyphonic ringtones. The Motorola V300 may not have spurred sales similar to Motorola’s other offerings, but it was still a phone that many people were using because of its inexpensive cost.

LG VX-6000



If you were a Verizon Wireless subscriber back in the early to mid-2000s, when camera phones were still in their infancy, then you were probably rocking the LG VX-6000. Part of its popularity was due to the fact that it was indeed LG’s first camera phone for Big Red. Taking snapshots with the 0.3MP (VGA) camera was undeniably a new concept for anyone at the time, but boy was it neat to have a gadget that could make phone calls and snap photos. There was even a mirror for self-portraits!

Beyond the camera, the LG VX-6000 was also memorable for the OEL (organic electroluminescent) external display it was rocking. It wasn’t like some of the washed out external LCDs that other phones were utilizing at the time. It was actually clear and offered the most relevant information – like signal strength, battery indicator, caller ID, and more. Better yet, there was this neat looking TRON-like animation with the colored dots. You could argue that the VX-6000 was the phone that helped LG become a relevant name in the phone space back in 2004. And this was before the ENVY series on Verizon!

Sanyo SCP-5300




It’s amazing how flip phones were some of the first phones to feature built-in cameras, providing users with another useful tool. For those in the US, the Sanyo SCP-5300 for Sprint was credited for being the first commercial phone to pack a camera, which is probably why it appealed to a lot of people. No longer did they have to carry another gadget around for the purpose of taking photos, since it was now an option with the SCP-5300. Sure, the phone itself was rather chunky in size for a flip phone, but to its credit, people didn’t mind because it had the ability to snap photos.

Sprint customers undoubtedly had something precious at their disposal, so early adopters were certainly relishing the fact that the Sanyo SCP-5300 added something new into the mix that wasn’t seen before. Some people were even willing to migrate to Sprint because of this phone, which goes to show the appeal of being the first on the block to offer a totally new feature!


Samsung SGH-X426




Samsung’s current dominance in the market wasn’t achieved overnight. It took them a long time to reach where they’re at now. But during the mid-2000s, Samsung was just a small fish in a pond, overshadowed by the likes of Motorola, Nokia, and Sony Ericsson. If you were an AT&T Wireless or Cingular customer during 2004, then you may have become acquainted with the Samsung SGH-X426. It was one of those entry-level flip phones that the carriers offered, boasting only the bare necessities.

Back then you might’ve disregarded it more than you would probably admit, seeing that there were far more alluring options to choose from, but the low cost of the phone and polished silver accents did make it attractive to a certain degree. It wasn’t all too surprising to find many first-time cell phone owners using the phone due to those characteristics. You can make a case that the X426 helped Samsung to be recognized as a phone manufacturer in the US.

Ericsson T28




Phones weren't attempting to look stylish with their designs back in the 1990s. Back then, they were as straightforward as they come with their hulky sizes and monotone colors. However, the Ericsson T28 from 1999 went towards a different direction with its compact design. This flip phone was actually the lightest and slimmest phone during its day, but strangely enough, it wasn’t necessarily the phone that everyone owned. Instead, it was positioned as a premium offering, which was reflected in its price over other models at the time.

Despite lacking the broader mainstream appeal like some other members on this list, the Ericsson T28 struck a chord amongst business professionals. It was the phone that many of them were using at the time for a number of reasons. Not only did it feature a nifty spring-loaded mechanism for flipping open the flap to reveal the dial pad, but it was the first to feature a replaceable stubby antenna and the first to use a lithium polymer battery.

Motorola V60



Just before the arrival of color screens in cell phones, the Motorola V60 from 2002 took the world by storm and appealed to a broad range of consumers. You could argue that the V60 gave the subsequent Motorola RAZR some inspiration, seeing that the V60 sported a metal housing resulting in a substantially more premium feel – while also packing excellent software and features that gave it outstanding versatility over comparable phones. Adding to the arsenal was the fact that it was also a true global phone, offering support for three cellular technologies (GSM, TDMA, and CDMA).

With the V60, Motorola showed that it was placing even more emphasis on the design of its phones. And for a flip phone, it surely was a stunner in just about every capacity, which made it a prized possession for many people. Flip phones by this time were beginning to become the dominant form-factor, so it was especially satisfying to see Motorola delivering the goods and setting the bar high with the V60.

Motorola MicroTac



Way back in 1989, things were a lot different in the space. There wasn’t a huge variety of cell phones for consumers to choose from, and the Motorola MicroTac stood out amongst the few that were around. That was partly due to the fact that it introduced consumers to this brand-new “flip” form-factor. Prior to its arrival, cell phones were hulky sized things – giving birth to the term “brick” phones.

The MicroTac also made headlines upon its release because it was the smallest and lightest cell phone at the time. All of these qualities definitely made an impression on people who could actually afford to buy a cell phone and the service that they required. Thanks to its popularity, Motorola released subsequent variants of the MicroTac, realizing the appeal of the flip form-factor.

Motorola StarTAC



Finally, we get to the true classic on this list – the Motorola StarTAC. When it was released in 1996, it instantly moved cell phone designs forward with its slim and compact size. No, it may not have been as svelte or stylish looking as the RAZR, but for a phone that was released during the mid-90s, the StarTAC was the phone to own for its looks. In fact, it was the smallest and lightest handset at the time of its release, so the allure in owning such a thing made it coveted amongst cell phone subscribers. In addition to making phone calls, the StarTAC is also notable for being able to send text messages.

Now, the beauty about the StarTAC is also seen in how it made owning a cell phone obtainable by the average person. No longer was a cell phone reserved for the rich and elite, so a lot of credit was given to the StarTAC for helping to broaden cell phone ownership to a higher degree. And for this reason, it was one of the phones that everyone seemed to own during that time period.

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16 Comments

1. smoked_2na unregistered

Loved the StarTAC, if they made it today for the 3G network with just straight up calling and text only, I'd be on it for sure.

10. thxultra

Posts: 451; Member since: Oct 16, 2014

I agree it was such a solid phone too. Got at least a week on a charge and never had any problems with it dropping calls.

16. ZombieHunter

Posts: 265; Member since: Oct 13, 2013

Star Tac was awesome! And... Battery for days

2. libra89

Posts: 2272; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Omg these phones take me back! My sister had the Lg phone here. I also remember wanting the Razr, Nokias and Sidekick phones but those were on carriers that my parents weren't on, (I think the Razr was at some point but that was before I got a cell phone) so it was just lust.

3. RoryBreaker

Posts: 208; Member since: Oct 11, 2015

StarTAC is one of the best phones of ALL TIME...and it came with a holster!

5. libra89

Posts: 2272; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

My mom had one, it really was.

4. cncrim

Posts: 1586; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

Still have one of my Razor v3 in closet and try it for a day got to switch back smartphone, text is clunky, picture quality is horrible, speaker is tiny, music is not great.

6. pimpin83z

Posts: 511; Member since: Feb 08, 2019

In order on this list I've had the T28 (first ever cellphone), the V60 (first phone I ever bought outright) & tnr V300 (first camera phone). Thumbs up to this nostalgic post.

7. Leo_MC

Posts: 7237; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Had 4 of them (well, I didn't actually had the V60i, I got the V180 instead, but I considered it)

8. Jrod99

Posts: 716; Member since: Jan 15, 2016

I had the V60g and RAZR. Had a v400 that was replaced with a v551 I think. It was blue like that v300.

12. monoke

Posts: 1157; Member since: Mar 14, 2015

Had the v300 for free back then. Ahh. The days of actually taking calls and playing snake. That was about it. Lol. Had a 1 megapixel camera too. Lol.

9. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3125; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

Had the MicroTAC back in '92 with the then-Bell South Mobility then a slew of Motorola iDEN Nextels for the next few years before ditching Sprint and getting a RAZR on GSM. It was a flip phone but not listed here that I also owned and one of my all-time favorites - BlackBerry Style 9670.

11. monoke

Posts: 1157; Member since: Mar 14, 2015

My buddy had the Startac. It was a huge deal cuz before then, phones only came installed in cars or the big expensive handheld bricks which nobody owned. Lol.

13. lJesseCusterl

Posts: 96; Member since: Apr 27, 2015

I never jumped on the RAZR 1 bandwagon, as I loved my Sidekick 2 at the time. I did get the RAZR 2 and thought it was borderline perfect as a device. It was slim, sleek, had an outstanding camera for the time with great battery life and was just a beautifully-engineered piece of kit. Probably my favorite flip phone of all time, but not a classic one like the listed ones.

14. Rocket

Posts: 642; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

The Sanyo SCP-5300 was my favorite back then.

15. ijuanp03

Posts: 573; Member since: Dec 30, 2014

I remembered being envious about my dad owning the Razr V3i and he only bought me a different Motorola phone - the SLVR L7 which is razor thin as well in its time.

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