What was your best phone ever? Here’s mine!

I was scrolling through the back archives of Mobile Industry Review / SMS Text News and I came across this post (“What was your best phone ever? Here’s mine!“).

I was writing about the Sony CMD-Z5. I wrote the post in October 2007.

And I find it quite surprising that, even after 2 more years of mobile devices hitting the marketplace, the CMD-Z5 is STILL my best phone, ever.

Here’s what I wrote:

I have been thinking a lot, for some UBER strange reason, about the Sony CMD Z5 handset. Do you remember it?

Here’s a picture:

cmd z5

It was, without doubt, one of the best handsets I’ve ever owned. Obviously it doesn’t cut it now in today’s world of high tech gizmos. Stick it next to a Nokia N95 and it looks positively stoneage.

I bought one, a while back. I felt like I should — it was only £20 from eBay. I think I used it once — it’s now sat gathering dust (perhaps rather predictable…).

The battery is still fantastic, the screen nice and large, the 20-second on-board voicemail (you can listen to people leaving the messages) is still operational. I think that was my favourite feature; that and the flip — I always found the little flip bit entirely satisfying. And when the flip was closed, it wouldn’t obscure the entire screen so you could always see who was calling. Sony jog dial. Forget your Blackberry jog dial, the CMD-Z5 had that years before they did! Perfect size too. Metal. You didn’t have to worry about it in your pocket (unlike the StarTac – remember that? I remember putting the StarTac in my pocket the wrong way and almost crushing it as I sat down).

I’ve no idea why I was thinking about this phone. I might, actually, have a bet with myself and try using it for a week! Goodness knows how I’d sync all my contacts to it. I doubt the memory goes beyond a few hundred numbers (I looked it up — 500 numbers max).

It’s potentially worrying, if you stop for a moment and consider: Who else sits daydreaming, now and again, about age-old handsets?

Well, perhaps you could help make me look less of a weirdo but confessing what your favourite-ever handset is?

(Photos from GSM Arena)

What’s your best phone ever?


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  • My best phone ever was a Sony Ericsson T65, I got a refurbed unit for about £30 on Virgin. The screen was huge and clear and it must have been nuclear powered as it did not require charging. Only problem it was not waterproof and died when dropped in the loo. I think our best handset days are over, now they are just too complicated and delicate.

  • I personally think the Nokia 5800 is the best phone i've owned, sure the camera isn't the best, but it's a solid, stable little work horse, was happy to get back to it after my N97 went back, and the N86 too actually (although the came on that is FANTASTIC!)


  • You don't have a back-in-the-day memory, Kip?

  • MarkW

    Nokia 6310i. No doubt. Solid, massive battery life, ultra reliable, droppable, and the first phone I could easily tether for data on the move. I still keep two unlocked ones around with PAYG SIMs in them, just in case…

  • I remember the T65! I used to have the T610!

  • weirdshanghai

    at the time 2006 the N73 was the best all around i owned, until the iphone came along. then it did all i ever wanted but get me a job, and do my work for me… stupid jesus phone.

  • The 6310s were workhorses. That's a serious just-in-case strategy, Mark. Is that for when the zombie apocalypse hits us?

  • I got my N73 from 3UK and was consistently delighted with it!

  • weirdshanghai

    also about 2000/2001 the SE T68 was the smallest, and most feature laden mobile I had the pleasure of owning. ah the good old days in mobile innovations. Now a days its all about the apps stupid 🙂 less hardware innovation for the fun side. Everyone trying to catchup with the jesus phone. Samsung i8910 god what a monster but pretty toy 🙂 recently played with Nokia E52 forget it in the drawer for 2 weeks, still had 4 our of 7 bars battery life in it, used it for 1 more week before battery went over. But camera not as sharp as the old N73.. shame really. otherwise great new slim handset.

  • edcave

    The original Nokia 6110 was and has always been a favourite of mine. Robust and reliable and looks good as well 🙂


  • rodolforosini

    Problem is those were all phones. And nothing else. Today I expect so many things from my device (rich presence, messaging, social network interaction etc) but my mobile operator has not figured that out. They expect change and innovation but not the business model adjustment it brings. Basically all mobile operators are circuit switched voice providers with appendages that do other stuff that it's not really important. 99% of the devices from dominant players are still built like that.

  • Excellent point Rodolfo

  • I still have one in that is used regularly when travelling overseas – stick in a local PAYG SIM and avoid roaming charges, battery lasts forever… only problem is its a bit plasticky and the screen is prone to cracking if you sit on it!!

  • Nostalgia isn't what it used to be… 😉 I'll have a little think and get back to you.

  • Nokia 6150 – I had two of these in the late 90's early 00's, they lasted forever, battery life was amazing with the extended life battery, they were virtually Indestructible – you could throw them at people in team meetings if they were talking too much! One of the first phones I remember where you could download your own ringtones and graphics…

  • I had the SE S25 around 2000 and was able to link it with a Psion Series 5 for faxing (possibly by infrared) and also use number codes to dial into and check bank account balances. Still haven;t been able to work that one out on any phone since.

  • MarkW

    “Is that for when the zombie apocalypse hits us?”

    It might!!! Seriously though, saved my bacon while in the middle of ultra-rural France when a client hit a crisis and I needed a connection on the laptop. The data was slow, but it was there. I wasn't a boy scout for nothing!

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  • essuu

    Nokia 8210 is my favourite handset ever. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia_8210

    I used to use it in conjunction with a Palm V as a PDA.

    I'm all nostaligic for it now but I suspect that I'm too used to the all-in-one goodness of the iPhone to want to go back to carrying multiple devices.

  • njar

    Nokia 5110.. up and down and across the screen only way to get top score on Snake if i remember right..

    Love the way the cover falling off these nokia's acted as shock absorbance when you dropped them..

  • Ditto! Although for me I only keep one rather than two. One of my colleagues still uses it as his main handset and we have about a dozen in our store room… which is how my stop motion video was made possible:

    Long live the 6310i!

  • minal

    6310i. solid as a rock. there is no contest for battery. okay no internet, no online sync, but you can cable/bt sync it to your outlook.
    its always in my case when i go abroad.

    finally.. the phone just *works* 🙂

  • T65 – utterly reliable and never let me down. And, unlike all of my recent phones (N95, E71, iPhone) never needed to be reset/ defaulted to cure some obscure problem.

  • MarkW

    I remember the video well! Watched it a couple of times on Really Mobile. Was (and still am) very impressed.

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  • Definitely Nokia 8210.

  • raoul

    by far: Ericsson t39m.
    It was the last real rough’n tough ericsson.
    Small, reliable and very powerful.

    It was one of the first devices having Bluetooth – it also featured GPRS and HSCSD making it the first phone on which I’ve read mails – and as coolest feature it had a titan steel body that was hard enough you could open a beer bottle with it.

  • tim

    N90 – Great speaker, camera, build quality, keyboard, features. Loved it.

  • Always loved the N90. Such a revolution.

  • This is a very dangerous subject to get me onto. Many hours have been spent in our office reminiscing on handsets of old.

    My favourite old handset has to be the Nokia 7650 followed closely by the Nokia 7110.

    One was the first ever to have an integrated camera, the other the first wap browser.

    There have been many other good handsets though and I keep meaning to do a list/blog post of them all.

  • 6310i is probably my all time favorite.
    6190 changed the mobile world, that's when it went mainstream in the US.

  • Seconded, I still keep one for my travels. At least a weeks worth of battery if you are conservative.

  • fonearena

    Nokia 6630 .

    I seriously loved this phone for the large screen , nice keypad and battery life. Camera was not the best but decent. I purchased this phone for around $250 and sold it for around $150 even after 1 year of rough usage.

    The form factor of the phone was a bit funny but Personallly I loved it

  • I have fond memories of my Nokia Orange which was ground breaking in 1994. Launching with this handset quickly established Orange as a serious player in UK mobile comms.

  • gedcarroll

    For me it was the Ericsson T-39 handset. Great battery life, compact size. Bluetooth, voice recognition

  • Nokia 6820 hit the spot circa 2004: candy bar size, blazing S40, decent XHTML browser, great little email client, a week of battery – and a foldout QWERTY keyboard.

    The hardware genius of this device was that there was barely any form-factor sacrifice for the gull-wing – unlike its prototype (the 6810) and its clumsy S60 descendants (E70 et al).

    Also… back in the day I loved my (classic) Nokia 3110. It was marketed on the basis of providing only one-button for menu navigation. Not strictly true (as you can see at http://www.gsmarena.com/nokia_3110-23.php) but this was Nokia exhibiting an Apple-like zen… in 1997.

    Fond memories, eh?

  • adalrymple

    Loved my K800 – my first phone that took useable pictures, prior to which I had a T600 which I liked. To confess prior to that, I mainly had Motoralas before then and hated every single one of them. Of course now I really like my BB 8900 to a near indecent amount…. (note I do have a vested interest but it remains true!)

  • Ianw1965

    Has to be the Ericsson T68i which had a colour screen, great battery, bluetooth. Have to say that the Motorola F3 was a close second as a phone it was like a Kalashnikov but all it did was voice and text.

    But what handset was the biggest disappointment?

    For me it was the Razr which was like a Philippine Ladyboy from a distance it looked excellent but once you had a close look it was totally useless.

  • mick

    Ericsson SH888i

    Indestructable, lasted all day, you could twirl it around by it's aerial, loud as hell. And the pulsing green LED was beautiful. http://telefon.gsm.pl/porownanie/Ericsson/SH-88

  • Kirsty

    I've just stumbled across this article as I was having a nostalgic look back over all my old phones – the Sony Z5 was my absolute favourite too! There's no point looking at all the gadgets and gizmos, there's really nothing to compare. It's all about the feel of the phone, I've never owned one before or since that was so right – and the jog wheel perfected it 🙂
    Off back to real life now – mobile pc that is fantastic and runs my life, but needs rebooting oh so often to keep it working. Bring back the good old simple days!

  • I had a Sony CMD J70 and loved it. Defiantly my best ever phone.
    Let a mate borrow it one night and he got mugged. Gutted.

    Replaced with a Siemens SL55 which comes a close second. I liked it a lot.

    Never liked any of my phones since then. Mostly Samsungs… never again.

  • Patryk

    My best phone ever? The Nokia 6310. I also have a spare 6310i with a dead vibration motor and the original Nokia car kit. The Sony Ericsson K750i comes pretty close, third place belongs to my current phone – Samsung i780, Windows Mobile equipped, but it's pretty great, though the out of the box experience was below average 😉

  • of course: 6310i
    Nokia 6310i schwarz

  • leekernan

    I've still got my T610. Love the form factor on it, and it still works beautifully. I use it as my back-up phone (last time I had to use it was 3 months ago when my N95 packed up for a week, never did work out why, but just started working again!)

    However, my best loved phone was my W950i. It had a mad keyboard, with a very obtuse OS and annoying touchscreen, but it did everything I wanted it to with aplomb, and no-one else had one. Dearly loved and still missed ;o).

  • leekernan

    I've still got my T610. Love the form factor on it, and it still works beautifully. I use it as my back-up phone (last time I had to use it was 3 months ago when my N95 packed up for a week, never did work out why, but just started working again!)

    However, my best loved phone was my W950i. It had a mad keyboard, with a very obtuse OS and annoying touchscreen, but it did everything I wanted it to with aplomb, and no-one else had one. Dearly loved and still missed ;o).

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  • The Lead Zeppelin

    I came in here looking up the Z5 CMD, had many years ago..I still remember its buttons touch,the dial, the fishing game!! and box..I think it had a stand with charger too? I'm not sure..but if I find one on ebay I would love to grab it just for how lovely this phone is..it still looks cool and slim for me to carry,I shouldn't have let it go..

    My other fav. is a Nokia 8850,..its looks is timelessly elegant..feels like a cigar pack or a fancy lighter..got a refurbished one from ebay last year,never used it..it also collects dust as I don't want to go into the hassle of sync and setup contacts..
    u think I should hang on to my N95 for future nostalgic reasons? or these newer models don't have character like the timeless ones..

  • Adooooo

    Sony CMD Z5 was far away best phone made at this time.

  • Agreed!

  • gabyu

    The Z5 made me come to visit this page. A remarkable piece of user experience way before anything else made by Apple and others.

    The Sony Z5 does not even have a presence in Wikipedia, which I found quite revolting.

  • A brilliant, brilliant phone!

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