These were the classic flip phones that everyone used (and we miss them) (2023)

Flip phones: they had relinquished their dominance in the market by the time the first true smartphones became commercially available around the mid-2000s. But for a long time– during the late 1990s and early 2000s– they were the most popular kind of phones. They were seen as cooler, hipper, and a step above compared to "candy bar" phones that were also widely adopted during the time. It was also kind of neat how you had to flip the phone open to accept a phone call. The motion itself was also satisfying the opposite way around when closing the phone to hang up. When did flip phones come out?

What was the first flip phone?

It actually doesn't matter which phone was the first to utilize this form factor; what matters is which clamshell phones have successfully etched their names in the history of mobile technology.

Nowadays, many people think of flip phones as antiquated, but others regard many of themas classic phones. In this piece, we’re going to go down memory lane to remember some of those classic flip phones from yesterday – the ones that everyone happened to own! We bet that if you had a phone during the 1990s and early 2000s, you were probably using a phone from the ones that we’ve listed below. What were some of your favorite memories about them?

Just note that the list below is in no particular order.

Motorola RAZR

These were the classic flip phones that everyone used (and we miss them) (1)

The Motorola RAZR is arguably the most iconic flip phone of all-time, redefining the look and style of the form-factor when it was released in 2004.

Who doesn’t remember the original Motorola RAZR, which was first introduced in 2004 and spawned a slew of variants in the years after its release? The RAZR’s design is a timeless work of art that still defies the imagination. As its name implies, the phone was notable for the svelte, razor-like profile it was flaunting – something that was unseen before 2004. Adding to its prestige, it also sported what was at the time deemed a futuristic-looking electroluminescent keypad. Unlike the backlit dial pads of its contemporaries, the RAZR’s electroluminescent keypad was completely flat and produced a hypnotic glow in the dark.

Even though it carried a hefty cost initially, the RAZR's price was eventually lowered a year after its release – allowing it to reach a wider range of consumers. Combining its striking design and subsequent lower cost, it was the phone that everyone was itching to buy and call their own. Impressively enough, the original RAZR V3 model mustered up sales totaling over 130 million units, which made it the best-selling phone at the time!

(Video) These Were The Classic Flip Phones That Everyone Used!

Motorola V300

These were the classic flip phones that everyone used (and we miss them) (2)

It wasn't as sleek or stylish, but there were still plenty of people rocking the Motorola V300 and its variants back in 2004.

If you didn’t have the money to spend on buying the Motorola RAZR back in 2004, then you were probably settling for another alternative at the time – the Motorola V300, or its many variants. This flip phone wasn’t nearly as polished as the RAZR, but when you’re on the other end of the price spectrum, it was simply the phone that many people decided on buying for the savings.

Covered in nearly this rubbery bluish material, the V300 was still a looker for a flip phone at the time. It pretty much covered the basics, offering users a VGA 0.3MP camera, an external blue backlit display, and polyphonic ringtones. The Motorola V300 may not have spurred sales similar to Motorola’s other offerings, but it was still a phone that many people were using because of its inexpensive cost.

LG VX-6000

These were the classic flip phones that everyone used (and we miss them) (3)

When the LG VX-6000 was released for Verizon Wireless, it helped to kick off the camera phone craze.

If you were a Verizon Wireless subscriber back in the early to mid-2000s, when

camera phones were still in their infancy, then you were probably rocking the LG VX-6000. Part of its popularity was due to the fact that it was indeed LG’s first camera phone for Big Red. Taking snapshots with the 0.3MP (VGA) camera was undeniably a new concept for anyone at the time, but boy was it neat to have a gadget that could make phone calls and snap photos. There was even a mirror for self-portraits!

(Video) Why I'm downgrading to a flip phone.

Beyond the camera, the LG VX-6000 was also memorable for the OEL (organic electroluminescent) external display it was rocking. It wasn’t like some of the washed out external LCDs that other phones were utilizing at the time. It was actually clear and offered the most relevant information – like signal strength, battery indicator, caller ID, and more. Better yet, there was this neat looking TRON-like animation with the colored dots. You could argue that the VX-6000 was the phone that helped LG become a relevant name in the phone space back in 2004. And this was before the ENVY series on Verizon!

Sanyo SCP-5300

These were the classic flip phones that everyone used (and we miss them) (4)

Sprint customers were one the first to experience having a camera in a phone with the Sanyo SCP-5300 back in 2002.

It’s amazing how flip phones were some of the first phones to feature built-in cameras, providing users with another useful tool. For those in the US, the Sanyo SCP-5300 for Sprint was credited for being the first commercial phone to pack a camera, which is probably why it appealed to a lot of people. No longer did they have to carry another gadget around for the purpose of taking photos, since it was now an option with the SCP-5300. Sure, the phone itself was rather chunky in size for a flip phone, but to its credit, people didn’t mind because it had the ability to snap photos.

Sprint customers undoubtedly had something precious at their disposal, so early adopters were certainly relishing the fact that the Sanyo SCP-5300 added something new into the mix that wasn’t seen before. Some people were even willing to migrate to Sprint because of this phone, which goes to show the appeal of being the first on the block to offer a totally new feature!

Samsung SGH-X426

These were the classic flip phones that everyone used (and we miss them) (5)

The Samsung SGH-X426 may not be remembered by as many people, but it was a simple flip phone that a lot of people were using during 2004.

Samsung’s current dominance in the market wasn’t achieved overnight. It took them a long time to reach where they’re at now. But during the mid-2000s, Samsung was just a small fish in a pond, overshadowed by the likes of Motorola, Nokia, and Sony Ericsson. If you were an AT&T Wireless or Cingular customer during 2004, then you may have become acquainted with the Samsung SGH-X426. It was one of those entry-level flip phones that the carriers offered, boasting only the bare necessities.

Back then you might’ve disregarded it more than you would probably admit, seeing that there were far more alluring options to choose from, but the low cost of the phone and polished silver accents did make it attractive to a certain degree. It wasn’t all too surprising to find many first-time cell phone owners using the phone due to those characteristics. You can make a case that the X426 helped Samsung to be recognized as a phone manufacturer in the US.

Ericsson T28

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Finding its success among business professionals, the Ericsson T28 featured a nifty spring-loaded mechanism.

Phones weren't attempting to look stylish with their designs back in the 1990s. Back then, they were as straightforward as they come with their hulky sizes and monotone colors. However, the Ericsson T28 from 1999 went towards a different direction with its compact design. This flip phone was actually the lightest and slimmest phone during its day, but strangely enough, it wasn’t necessarily the phone that everyone owned. Instead, it was positioned as a premium offering, which was reflected in its price over other models at the time.

Despite lacking the broader mainstream appeal like some other members on this list, the Ericsson T28 struck a chord amongst business professionals. It was the phone that many of them were using at the time for a number of reasons. Not only did it feature a nifty spring-loaded mechanism for flipping open the flap to reveal the dial pad, but it was the first to feature a replaceable stubby antenna and the first to use a lithium polymer battery.

(Video) I used a flip phone for 30 days

Motorola V60

These were the classic flip phones that everyone used (and we miss them) (7)

Before the RAZR's success, the Motorola V60 was a big hit with consumers during the early 2000s.

Just before the arrival of color screens in cell phones, the Motorola V60 from 2002 took the world by storm and appealed to a broad range of consumers. You could argue that the V60 gave the subsequent Motorola RAZR some inspiration, seeing that the V60 sported a metal housing resulting in a substantially more premium feel – while also packing excellent software and features that gave it outstanding versatility over comparable phones. Adding to the arsenal was the fact that it was also a true global phone, offering support for three cellular technologies (GSM, TDMA, and CDMA).

With the V60, Motorola showed that it was placing even more emphasis on the design of its phones. And for a flip phone, it surely was a stunner in just about every capacity, which made it a prized possession for many people. Flip phones by this time were beginning to become the dominant form-factor, so it was especially satisfying to see Motorola delivering the goods and setting the bar high with the V60.

Motorola MicroTac

These were the classic flip phones that everyone used (and we miss them) (8)

The Motorola MicroTac introduced the flip form-factor back in 1989.

(Video) TCL Flip Pro Review

Way back in 1989, things were a lot different in the space. There wasn’t a huge variety of cell phones for consumers to choose from, and the Motorola MicroTac stood out amongst the few that were around. That was partly due to the fact that it introduced consumers to this brand-new “flip” form-factor. Prior to its arrival, cell phones were hulky sized things – giving birth to the term “brick” phones.

The MicroTac also made headlines upon its release because it was the smallest and lightest cell phone at the time. All of these qualities definitely made an impression on people who could actually afford to buy a cell phone and the service that they required. Thanks to its popularity, Motorola released subsequent variants of the MicroTac, realizing the appeal of the flip form-factor.

Motorola StarTAC

These were the classic flip phones that everyone used (and we miss them) (9)

Another widely popular classic flip phone from Motorola came during the mid-1990s with the release of the StarTac.

Finally, we get to the true classic on this list – the Motorola StarTAC. When it was released in 1996, it instantly moved cell phone designs forward with its slim and compact size. No, it may not have been as svelte or stylish looking as the RAZR, but for a phone that was released during the mid-90s, the StarTAC was the phone to own for its looks. In fact, it was the smallest and lightest handset at the time of its release, so the allure in owning such a thing made it coveted amongst cell phone subscribers. In addition to making phone calls, the StarTAC is also notable for being able to send text messages.

Now, the beauty about the StarTAC is also seen in how it made owning a cell phone obtainable by the average person. No longer was a cell phone reserved for the rich and elite, so a lot of credit was given to the StarTAC for helping to broaden cell phone ownership to a higher degree. And for this reason, it was one of the phones that everyone seemed to own during that time period.


What was the old flip phone called? ›

Motorola's StarTAC was the first flip phone. It was released in 1996, and its small, portable size and light weight (less than 4 ounces) helped make it popular among consumers for several years. The StarTAC's popularity helped everyday Americans develop a familiarity and comfort with cellphones.

What was the very first flip phone? ›

1996 – The Motorola StarTAC: the world's first

It all started on January 3rd 1996 when Motorola released the very first flip phone. The StarTAC dubbed “the first wearable phone” came in at approximately 3.7 inches tall and had a plastic casing.

Were flip phones used in the 90s? ›

The First Flip Phone (1996)

The StarTAC, created by Motorola in 1996, was the phone that started the whole revolution of flip phones. Most people college age or older probably had some sort of flip phone in their life before the iPhone was introduced.

When were flip phones most used? ›

The clamshell-style phone was extremely popular in the 1990s, when cell phones became more mainstream. Motorola's StarTAC flip phone, released in the mid-1990s, was an enormous success, as was the company's sleeker subsequent flip phone, the RAZR.

What are the old type of phones called? ›

A candlestick telephone is also often referred to as a desk stand, an upright, or a stick phone. Candlestick telephones featured a mouth piece (transmitter) mounted at the top of the stand, and a receiver (ear phone) that was held by the user to the ear during a call.

What were the original phones called? ›

Philipp Reis, 1861, constructed the first telephone, today called the Reis telephone. Alexander Graham Bell was awarded the first U.S. patent for the invention of the telephone in 1876.

What was the first flip phone 1989? ›

Motorola MicroTAC 9800X (1989)

In 1989, Motorola upped the status symbol ante by releasing the first "flip phone," the MicroTAC 9800x. At the time of its release, the MicroTAC was the lightest and smallest cell phone on the market.

What was the smallest flip phone? ›

The Pantech C300 is the world's smallest camera flip phone available commercially. It is manufactured by the South Korean cellphone company Pantech Curitel. The Pantech C300's dimensions are 2.72 by 1.69 by . 76 inches.

What cell phones were popular in 1993? ›

1993. In 1993, the start of the smartphone era began when IBM and Bellsouth released “Simon”. The IBM Simon was a high-tech, touchscreen PDA featuring an address book, calendar notepad, and email. It had a full keyboard and came with a stylus.

What was the first cell phone in the 80s? ›

The Motorola DynaTAC 8000X commercial portable cellular phone received approval from the U.S. FCC on September 21, 1983. A full charge took roughly 10 hours, and it offered 30 minutes of talk time. It also offered an LED display for dialing or recall of one of 30 phone numbers.

What phones were used in the 80s? ›

In the early 1980s, the first commercially available phone hit the market. For just $4,000, which is currently about $10,000 adjusted for inflation, users could get their hands on Motorola's 1.7-pound monster, the DynaTAC 8000x.

When did flip phones become unpopular? ›

The clamshell form factor began to experience a decline in popularity in the late 2000s and early 2010s, due to the increasing popularity of touchscreen smartphones such as the iPhone, which use a slate-like form factor and large, non-folding screens.

Did they have flip phones in the 70s? ›

Answer and Explanation: The first flip phone was released by General Telephone & Electronics (GTE) in 1978. This flip phone did not use cellular technology, and had to be connected to a traditional land line to the users telephone company.

Why do old people use flip phones? ›

They don't typically have a touch screen. Instead, you get easy-to-use tactile buttons. Many older adults prefer this over the swiping and clicking of a touchscreen smartphone. Flip phones also keep things simple.

What were phones called in the 1940s? ›

Rotary phone - 1940s

A typical 1940s rotary phone.

What is the oldest phone brand? ›

Motorola, on 3 April 1973 were first company to mass produce the the first handheld mobile phone. These early mobile phones are often referred to as 0G mobile phones, or Zero Generation mobile phones. Most phones today rely on 3G or 4G mobile technology.

What kind of phones did they have in the 1920s? ›

Telephones in the '20s typically had a separate mouthpiece and receiver. The design was known as the candlestick design and newer versions had a dial on the front so a person could call numbers directly.

What is the oldest type of phone? ›

The Motorola DynaTAC 8000x, aka the “brick phone”, became the first commercial cellular phone to receive FCC approval on September 21, 1983, making it the oldest cell phone ever in the world. Motorola had produced mobile phones for cars for several decades and wanted to develop portable mobile technology.

What was the most popular flip phone in 2005? ›

Motorola Razr V3

The Razr launched in 2004 and made flip phones cool again. The Razr V3 had a 1.3-megapixel camera, full-color screen and a sleek aluminum body. The Razr was on the market for four years and sold 130 million units, making it the most popular flip phone of all time.

What is the phone that flips up and sideways? ›

Galaxy Z Flip4 Flip Smartphone.

Is the Z flip a girls phone? ›

After having experienced almost every flagship device that Samsung has put out for the better part of the decade, nothing has given me the confidence that it was developed with the ladies in mind than the Galaxy Z Flip. Yes, it's a great fit for men too, but it's exceptionally well suited to women.

What was the first cell phone in the 90s? ›

1995 - The Motorola StarTAC

The first flip phone, the Motorola StarTAC (seen here in Clueless), was becoming commonplace in the mid-'90s. Finally phones were approaching a reasonable size.

How much did flip phones cost in 1996? ›

Motorola StarTAC ($1,000): Consumers wanted small and portable cell phones, so in 1996 Motorola released the StarTAC with a price tag of $1,000. It was 3.1 ounces and not much bigger than the size of a man's wallet. It also further pushed the flip-phone design by having the entire device fold in half like a clamshell.

What phone came out in the 70s? ›

Motorola developed the first portable cell phone in 1973. The hand-held device was shaped like a brick and weighed around 2.4 pounds. It was called the DynaTAC 8000X. The device only operated for a maximum of 30 minutes talk time, and that was with a huge 10 hours of charging!

What was the first cell phone called in short? ›

The Motorola DynaTAC 8000X. In 1983, it became the first commercially available handheld cellular mobile phone.

How much was a flip phone? ›

Flip phones are quite affordable relative to most smartphones. Most cost around $100 or less and can be found for as low as $30.

What was the smallest phone? ›

Unihertz Jelly Pro 3GB+32GB, The Smallest 4G Smartphone in The World, Android 8.1 Oreo Unlocked Smart Phone, Black (NO Charger, Supports only T-Mobile) Only 14 left in stock - order soon.

What cell phone was popular in 1994? ›

Cell phones

In '94, the closest thing to a smartphone was the IBM Simon -- the cell phone, featured in "The Net," also worked as a PDA (personal data assistant) with a calendar, address book, calculator, email and a keyboard. It cost $899 and had a battery life of just one hour.

What was the most popular cell phone in 1995? ›

Motorola StarTAC would still cost the most in today's money

The Motorola StarTAC, which was the best-selling phone from 1995-1997 and the world's first 'flip-phone' had a cost-price of £1,400 – which would be a whopping £2,251 in today's money if adjusted for inflation.

What cell phones were popular in the 90s? ›

  • 1 Orbitel TPU 900 (1991)
  • 2 Nokia 1011 (1992)
  • 3 Nokia 2110 & 2110i (1994 and 1995)
  • 4 Motorola StarTAC (1996)
  • 5 Nokia 8110 (1996)
  • 6 Nokia 6110 (1997)
  • 7 Siemens S10 (1997) & SL10 (1998)
  • 8 Nokia 3210 (1999)
Nov 20, 2022

What cell phones were out in 1999? ›

1999. One of the most popular mobile phones in history was the Nokia 3210, with over 160 million sold. It was one of the first to allow picture messages, but only preinstalled ones like "Happy Birthda,y" and was one of the first to be marketing toward young people.

What phones existed in 1982? ›

The first mobile phone – introduced in 1982 by Motorola (model DynaTac 8000X) – had astonishing weight of two-pounds. At present, the mobile phone devices are far advanced compare to the computers of nineties. Interestingly, the two-pound Motorola mobile set has been converted into 7mm slim Motorola Razr now.

What cell phones were available in 1998? ›

Pages in category "Mobile phones introduced in 1998"
  • Nokia 5110.
  • Nokia 6130.
  • Nokia 6150.
  • Nokia 8810.

What cell phones were out in 1984? ›

Motorola produced the DynaTAC cell phone in 1984 after more than a decade of work in cellular research and technology. The Motorola DynaTAC (an abbreviation of Dynamic Adaptive Total Area Coverage) was the first commercially available portable handheld cell phone.

What kind of phones were used in the 1950s? ›

By the 1950s about two-thirds of American households had at least one telephone. At that time, people did not own their telephone, they rented it from the telephone company. Telephones had rotary dials and were either freestanding or wall mounted.

Did people in 70s have phones? ›

The very first mobile phones were not really mobile phones at all. They were two-way radios that allowed people like taxi drivers and emergency services to communicate. All that changed on April 3rd of 1973, when Martin Cooper, a Motorola executive, made the first handheld cell phone call.

Do old flip phones still work today? ›

AT&T and T-Mobile shut down their 3G networks last spring and Verizon turned off the last of its 3G CDMA network on December 31, 2022. Older cell phones (likely models from 2012 or earlier) that use 3G and 2G won't be able to receive calls or text, including to 911, according to the Federal Communications Commission.

When were BlackBerry phones popular? ›

At its peak in September 2011, there were 85 million BlackBerry subscribers worldwide. However, BlackBerry lost its dominant position in the market due to the success of the Android and iOS platforms; its numbers had fallen to 23 million in March 2016, a decline of almost three-quarters.

Are burner phones real? ›

Burner phones commonly are available for purchase at convenience stores, big box retailers and online. Users also can download a free burner app to give their existing smartphones the privacy capabilities of a physical burner phone.

What was the first mobile phone called in 1973? ›

On April 3, 1973, Cooper introduced the DynaTAC phone at a press conference in New York City. To make sure that it worked before the press conference, he placed the first public cell phone call, to engineer Joel Engel, head of AT&T's rival project, and gloated that he was calling from a portable cellular phone.

Were there cell phones in 1977? ›

Mobile's Early Days. Public cell phone testing began in 1977 in Chicago. Under the permission of the FCC, the Bell Telephone Company got the license in an initial partnership with AT&T. The first mobile phone was known as “the brick”, weighing in at a hefty 30 ounces!

Were there cell phones in 1978? ›

In 1978 and 1979, AT&T tested the first major public cellular network—coined Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS)—in Chicago. This was closely followed by the release of commercial cellular service in 1983. Chicagoans could now purchase two-and-a-half-pound car phones for around $4,000 each.

Why do people keep their old phones? ›

If it's in the drawer, have you ever stopped to think about why you're still hanging onto it? Two of the most common reasons are that the device still has data on it, or will occasionally get used.

How can I get a free flip phone for seniors? ›

The federal program called “Lifeline” was created to provide cell phones or free home phone service for anyone for emergencies; this is especially important for seniors. The Lifeline program provides a free cell phone and free minutes every month.

What is a simple cell phone for seniors? ›

Many seniors are visually impaired. Accordingly, we are looking for a phone to have good contrast and large text. The four cell phones reviewed in this article are the RAZ Memory Cell Phone, the Jitterbug Smart3, the Jitterbug Flip2, and the Consumer Cellular Link II.

Did they have flip phones in the 80s? ›

Motorola regained their advantage in the mobile market at the end of the 80s with the MicroTAC 9800X introduced in 1989. This was the world's first flip phone, a precursor of the modern clamshell. The aerial popped out when the phone was opened.

What kind of phones existed in the 70s? ›

The very first mobile phones were not really mobile phones at all. They were two-way radios that allowed people like taxi drivers and emergency services to communicate. All that changed on April 3rd of 1973, when Martin Cooper, a Motorola executive, made the first handheld cell phone call.

What cell phone came out in 1997? ›

1997. The Simon was good, but the Nokia 9000 Communicator was what really brought on the smartphone era. It was the first cell phone that could also be called a mini-computer (though it had limited web access).

What cell phone was out in 1997? ›

In 1997, Ericsson broke new ground again, coining the term “smartphone” in conjunction with the unveiling of the GS88 handset – a full 10 years before Apple's iPhone hit the shelves.

What phones were out in 1980? ›

In the early 1980s, the first commercially available phone hit the market. For just $4,000, which is currently about $10,000 adjusted for inflation, users could get their hands on Motorola's 1.7-pound monster, the DynaTAC 8000x.


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