Oh, those lovable Nokia bricks. Those things never broke down on you, this was how you first experienced text messaging and being able to talk to your friends whenever was the greatest.
1. Low resolution mirror pics
Camera phones didn’t come out until a bit later, and once you got yours you were obsessed with taking pictures of everything, but mostly of yourself. Selfies are huge now, but back then there wasn’t a front-facing camera so you had to take your selfies in a mirror. They were perfect for Myspace.
2. Tiny phones ruled
Due to all the scorn those original brick-sized cell phones of the ’80s got, everyone wanted to have the tiniest cell phone possible back in the day. Now, with iPads and tablets, we seem to be veering more towards bigger is better, but back then the tiniest gadgets were the coolest.
3. Having an emergency phone
A lot of us probably had that phase before we technically had our own cell phone where we carried around a phone that our parents told us to only use in case of emergency. That little plastic temptation would just sit in your pocket unused for weeks, until your parents finally caved and let you use the phone for social reasons.
4. Power for days
Smart phones might be superior in many ways but one check against them is battery life. Now, iPhones need to be charged at least once a day, but back in the good old days you could go days or even weeks without charging your phone.
5. Phone charms
For a while, it was cool to accessorize your cell phone by hanging a ton of little figurines or charms from it. Who knows why we ever thought this was a cool idea — it was a different time!
6. Pressing a ton of keys
T9 was supposed to help make texting easier, but it still involved tapping your keys multiple times to get the right letter. Let’s just face it; we all deserve a medal for how well we were able to text on those old cell phones, because it was really not easy.
No, not emojis: emoticons. Way before we were able to select the perfect emoji for any situation that could possibly arise, we had to make the faces we were feeling with some combination of colons, parenthesis, semicolons, slashes, and whatever other characters fit in.
8. Flip phones
When flip phones came out, they were immediately the coolest thing to have. And honestly, they still are pretty sweet. Flipping your cell phone open in just one hand to take a call was always so dramatic and fun; plus slamming it closed when you were done just made you feel so powerful.
9. The Razr
Any flip phone was cool, but the Razr was without a doubt the coolest cell phone to have at the time. Just like having the latest iPhone is now, having the Razr was a status symbol that let all the other kids know that you were better than them.
Before there was Candy Crush or Angry Birds or any other phone games, Snake was the game that ruled all cell phones. Whenever you were bored, and even sometimes when you weren’t, you loved to take out your phone and guide that ever-growing snake to more and more dots.
11. Recorded ringtones
One of the best ways to show off what song you were jamming to at the time was to make it your ringtone. Some kids may have paid $1.99 to download some 8-bit segment of “Semi-Charmed Life,” but most of us just used our phones to record a song playing from the radio or our CD players and then set that as our ringtones. The quality wasn’t great, but so what?
12. Crappy ringtones
Or, if you couldn’t decide on a song to record, you could always choose one of the, like, three sucky ringtone options already programmed into your phone. You might have flipped between that spacey or underwater sounding tones for a little, but eventually faced the facts that anything other than the normal ringtone would just be weird.
13. Ringback tones
Ringtones were one thing, but ringback tones were a whole different ball game. You were basically forcing people to listen to your music while they waited to talk to you. It was like being in a waiting room with a Kidz Bop CD.
14. Night and weekend minutes free
Most of us started out with phone plans that included only a limited number of minutes. The one catch was the free night and weekend minutes. Having your friends call you at 9 PM to talk was your way to talk to your heart’s content without having your parents yell at you about the phone bill.
15. Colorful Nokia cases
The one thing Nokia phones did have going for them (besides being indestructible) was the fact that they were totally customizable. Waking up and deciding which color of snap-on case you were going to put on your phone that day was your way of telling the world how you felt.