Nokia nostalgia: 5 of our favourite phones, from ‘the banana to ‘the lipstick’

With the news that Nokia has licensed its name to a new company that will make smartphones and tablets, self-confessed Nokia nut Kevin Kwong recalls the best of the brand

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 May, 2016, 2:53pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 May, 2016, 2:54pm

Nokia lost its position as mobile-phone market leader to Apple and Samsung years ago, and in 2014 quit the market altogether, but there is still a ring to the Finnish brand – which is now being revived on smartphones and tablets – especially if you are a vintage handset collector.

Unlike most phone makers today, who keep churning out models that have the same monotonous looks (like, a slab) Nokia used to release models that had daring and cutting-edge designs.

Sure, the smartphone operating systems of its latter years - remember Symbian? - were as buggy as the Amazon rainforest (Hello 7710), but some of their models truly stood out from the crowd and left a mark in the evolution of mobile phones.

Nokia mobile phones are back; new firm to make Android smartphones, tablets

These are five iconic Nokia models that once wowed the market, if not with their functionality then with their extraordinary shape and size. Oh for the good old days, when the brand - like its default ringtone - was cool and had real character.


Affectionately known as “the banana” because of its shape. Even Neo (Keanu Reeves) uses it in The Matrix (1999), so how cool is that?


Measuring 97 x 43 x 20 mm, this was one of the smallest phones Nokia released. It has an infrared port, radio and extraordinary durability. I still have one that works perfectly some 15 years after its release.


Is it a phone, a hand-held game console or ... what? When the 3300 was released, people were baffled by its curvy shape, colours (orange) but most of all its unusual dialling pad. It has a loudspeaker and was marketed primarily as a music phone. You cannot play games on this – that’d come later with its follow-up model, the N-Gage.


Even more baffling is this model, which was dubbed “the lipstick”. In the shape of an, err, lipstick or a spy camera, the 7280 was part of Nokia’s “fashion phone” line, featuring a “navi spinner” for dialling. This 2004 model really did turn heads.


Of its N series, which ran on Symbian, this slider phone, with its many features, was probably the most popular and made Nokia the most desirable mobile phone brand at the time (2007). Of course, the iPhone soon came along and, with Samsung adopting Android, an operating system far superior to Symbian, Nokia went into a tailspin from which Microsoft, which bought the firm’s phone operation, was unable to engineer an exit.