Skip navigation

Check out these old school cell phone reissues

old school cell phone

Let’s be honest here, everybody loves a good dose of nostalgia. Whether it’s that movie you loved as a kid or the tune that was playing when you finally got the nerve to ask Jessica Worthington to dance at prom (I still miss you and your elegant bowl cut, Jess), we’re all suckers for them memories. Luckily for us, cell phone manufacturers are very aware of this fact and have begun offering modern versions of old school cell phones. It’s a win-win for everybody: our hankerin’ for retro phone goodness is satiated, and we’re running to them all like:

Futurama character Fry saying 'shut up and take my money'

So what’s out there for those of us wanting to trot down Mobile Memory Lane? Sadly for 80s aficionados, the modern versions of the infamous Zack Morris brick phone are either plug-in headsets or not modern at all 2G relics. But from the Nokia “candy bar” phones that littered the high school landscape in the 90s and early 2000s to a complete reimagining of an iconic flip phone, we’ll give you a glimpse at the very vintage old school cell phones you can get your hands on these days. 

Motorola Razr “v4”

When the original Motorola Razr v3 was released in 2004, it was wildly successful. Selling over 130 million units by the end of its run, the impossibly thin (at the time) and stylish handset single-handedly resurrected Motorola’s stagnant cell phone division. It’s no surprise that Motorola attempted to use the Razr name on a number of subsequent offerings, but none recaptured the magic of the v3. That could all change with the upcoming Motorola Razr foldable phone.

While Motorola has only just officially announced the new Razr, specs and even an artist’s rendering of the phone leaked months ago. The actual phone is almost identical to the rumored version. This is both a good and a bad thing. The star of the show is a cutting edge folding screen. The proprietary hinge that allows it to fold without a gap or prominent crease may well save it from issues the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X have experienced. And while the screen doesn’t have quite as much real estate as its competitors, those phones aren’t a dead-ringer for one of the best-looking phones of all time, so we feel like it evens out.

Not as stunning are the specifications, which have been described as “underwhelming,” but here are some rumored specs for the phone that should see a release by the end of 2019:

  • 6.2-inch internal plastic OLED display
  • 2142 x 876 resolution
  • Secondary external display
  • 16 MP main/selfie camera, 5 MP internal camera (for video conferencing etc)
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 710
  • 6GB RAM
  • 128GB storage
  • 2,510 mAh battery

With an 18-month-old chip and fairly middle-of-the-road (for a flagship device) specs, this isn’t targeted towards the power user. And unlike the slew of Nokia throwbacks, the new Motorola Razr isn’t going to be a boon for the budget-conscious crowd craving a dose of nostalgia. While it won’t be as eye-wateringly expensive as the $2000+ Samsung and Huawei, its $1500 MSRP is still quite a few shekels more than many of our bank accounts can manage. But with throwback looks that once again make it a contender for the best looking phone on the market and a revolutionary screen, it may recapture that must-have desirability of the original. On a completely unrelated note, anyone want to lend us $1000?

Nokia 3310

Nokia 3310 in four different colors

In the 90s, some genius at Nokia, who we can only assume is now referred to as “Marketing God” by the Finnish populace, realized that kids weren’t particularly excited by the somber styling of Dad’s Motorolla cell phone. The result of this epiphany was a concentrated effort to design and market phones with the youth target audience in mind. The Nokia 5110 was probably the first of these, but they perfected the formula with the 3310. The insanely popular phone went on to sell 126 million units and wreck the social lives of teens who didn’t have one and therefore excluded from those oh-so-serious Snake high score battles. Parents, meanwhile, were happy to buy their irresponsible kids a phone that could be dropped from a plane and barely suffer a dent.

It’s no surprise that the reissue of the phone was met with overwhelming excitement from 30-somethings who had been claiming they would totally rock a “dumb phone” if they could find a decent one. With 3g capability, a color screen, 2MP camera and up to 128MB of storage, the phone is a nifty little number that can pull off the basics in a modern setting. Sadly, Nokia decided not to bring back the Xpress-On interchangeable faceplates (omg, Sarah, your Hello Kitty faceplate is SO RAD), instead offering a number of colorful finishes. And before you ask, yes, obviously you can play Snake on it.

Even more Nokia

Ever the smartypants, Nokia hasn’t stopped at the 3310. While just a year ago retro options were few and far between, Nokia alone has created an entire line of throwbacks they call their ‘classic phone’ line. And they know what the people want. Remember the Matrix phone that stole scenes from Keanu (and arguably out-acted him as well)? Take a gander at the new 4g 8810:

The 'Matrix phone' Nokia 8810 - old school cell phone

We know what you’re really here for, though. You want to hear about that Nokia flip phone goodness. Well, it seemed we were plumb out of luck, but then the company recently announced the revival of their classic 2720. Relive (or experience for the first time) the joy of smacking a phone closed to abruptly hang up on that friend who’s being a total jerkface.

Flip phone Nokia 2720 - old school cell phone

While the 3310 is the only Nokia Original officially offered to the U.S. market, it’s pretty easy to snag any of these online. Just make sure to check compatibility with your mobile provider. 

Phones we’d love to see make a comeback

Sony Ericsson w810i

old school cell phone

Listen. If you were a fan of music or photography in the mid to late 2000s, a Sony Ericsson Walkman phone was your one and only choice. While its predecessor the W800 was the first to carry the Walkman moniker, the diminutive W810i was the one you wanted due to its great looks and improved features. Memory card support for up to 4GB (and unofficially 16GB) to store all your music pre-streaming? Unbelievable. Support for not just MP3 files but WAV and AAC as well? Shut the front door. And is that a (gasp) 2MP camera on the back, which itself looks like a high-end point and shoot phone? Be still my beating heart. So c’mon Sony, make our hearts race again. A larger phone with surprisingly powerful stereo speakers and – I don’t know – the first factory detachable zoom lens? We won’t even ask for credit, just send us one when it’s ready. 

Motorola StarTAC

old school cell phone

No, we’re not kidding. To answer your first snarky question, yes there were cell phones that didn’t look like military field telephones in the 90s. The StarTAC was the world’s first flip phone, and a quantum leap in terms of features, portability and style. At $1000 (which, today, would be more than $1600) rolling with one of these exclusive items was far more impressive than any of today’s widespread, piddly little $1000 flagship phones. It’s no secret we’re fans of the brand so clearly, Motorola, you’ll have to come correct with this reissue. Let’s wait a few years so it can live up to the ‘star’ portion of its name. No need for a big screen – the world’s first holographic projection touch screen should do the trick. What’s that? Yes Motorola, obviously we want it to have a fake retractable antenna. 

Thanks to these throwbacks, we no longer need to stare wistfully at those obsolete phones in our ‘maybe I’ll use these again one day’ drawer (besides, we should be doing something useful with our old phones anyway). 

For those of you who swear by a simple, good looking flip phone, the Alcatel Go Flip in the Ting Shop is both an incredibly affordable and surprisingly capable choice. And with our pay-only-for-what-you-use model and multiple cost-saving initiatives, you may feel like it’s 2003 when you get your bill. Already got the perfect retro phone? See if it can come to Ting Mobile!

What’s in store?

What’s in store?

In the Ting shop you’ll find everything from good ol’ flip phones to the latest iPhone and Android phones.

Browse the Shop