And the best phones ever are...
That screaming you heard from the Stuff office was the final deadly squabbles over this list of the best phones ever. Including a surprisingly vicious bout between exponents of the Nokia 3210 over the Nokia 3310. Blood runs deep in Nokia fans.
Now, as we go in hunt of Savlon, we’re handing the final result over to you. Vote below for your favourite of our five finalists. There’s no weirdness, no forms to fill in – just click on your winner and we’ll be publishing the results in a special Gadget Hall of Fame magazine coming out on 1 September. And, naturally, here on Stuff.tv too.
Apple iPhone 3G (2009)
The Apple iPhone 3G brought with it... the App Store
Why the iPhone’s second iteration, not the original, for our Hall of Fame? Two words: App Store. Suddenly, we were like Veruca Salt, Augustus Gloop and the rest frolicking in a chocolate wonderland, only that river was flowing not with chocolate but instead with apps and games we never knew we needed and instantly fell in love with.
Though its poor camera and lack of video, Flash support and cut ‘n’ paste placed it at a technical level below other flagships of the day, the combination of iOS and the App Store marked the beginning of something truly marvellous. Suffice to say, people ignored the tech specs and sought out the 3G in droves.
The other thing notable about the 3G was that, although we didn’t realise it at the time, its launch marked the beginning of an Apple behaviour that continues to this day. Namely, introducing fixes for the failures of the previous version and getting applauded for it. (In this case, the recessed headphone jack that only the bundled Apple headphones fitted.) Nice work, Apple.
Blackberry Curve 8300 (2007)
BlackBerry Curve 8300: fingers at the ready
If Ma Nature had wanted us to use touchscreens, she would have given us translucent fingers. Instead, she gave us an extraordinary sense of touch, a feature that Blackberry phones doggedly pursue with physical keyboards, even today.
The sight of a BlackBerry superuser hammering out messages on the march rivals anything you’ll see in nature. (Probably.) The keyboardy Curve came at a time when BB was breaking out of business circles – still with that classic wide format, but loaded up with such non-business fripperies as camera and media-playing apps. Radical.
HTC Hero (2009)
HTC Hero: Chin up!
“Not by the ball on my chinny-chin-chin” is the kind of office catchphrase that slabby modern smartphones rarely launch. But, as with so many things phone during this era, it was software, not hardware, which truly justified the HTC’s bold name.
Google’s Android OS was only emerging but this was the first time we’d seen a manufacturer give it a comprehensive in-house skin, Sense UI. Now, of course, skins are out of favour compared to barebones Android, but at the time, the customisable homescreens, live widgets and multi-tasking were marvellous, compared to Apple’s laborious opening and closing of individual apps.
The Hero was the first Android phone with the class and smash to worry the iPhone, and we loved it.
Motorola RAZR V3 (2003)
The flipping Motorola RAZR V3
Oh, clamshell phones, when will we see your dual-display face again? Your intuitive open-to-answer, your ergonomic face-shaped form? Actually, there are fundamental flaws to folders such as the Motorola RAZR that history doesn’t recall quite so readily: fumbling to open it with one hand, and the lack of space to put a decent battery, for example. But those concerns were as nought to us at the time, so in love were we with the RAZR’s stunning industrial design.
Motorola loved it too, launching successor after successor when it should, perhaps, have been keeping pace with candybar competitors such as Nokia and Sony Ericsson.
Nokia 3310 (2000)
The venerable Nokia 3310
The 3310 itself didn’t do a great deal, just calls and texts. But it has immense power as a memory mobile, taking you on a grand journey back through the years to the time that you owned one.
The font that the word ‘Menu’ uses, the signal bars, Snake – it’s all so damnably evocative. Unless, that is, you were born in the '90s and so skipped this generation of mobiles altogether. To you we say, while tapping out our pipe out on the mantelpiece: you wouldn’t have your fancy 4G internets and Facetimes if we hadn’t established the demand for mobile networks by using thousands of these drab blue clunkers. Are you even listening?