Old is New: London's retro phone movement

Old is New: London's retro phone movement - Lovefone, London

Do you ever yearn for a simpler way of life? We’re not talking about donning a club and reverting back to a hunter-gatherer existence. We’re thinking of those halcyon pre-smartphone days when your mobile phone really was just a phone. There were no apps, no social media feeds and no news pages. All you could do was chat, text, look at your calendar, do a few sums on your handy calculator and play Snake. 

Well, now might be the time to dig out your old mobile, because the word on the street is that the sturdy mobiles of yesteryear (well, the early 2000s), with their prodigious batteries and annoying ringtones, are back. 

Regression not progression

You don’t have to be a moustachioed hipster from East London to appreciate that sometimes, newer isn’t necessarily better. The world is constantly seeking to progress, but often it’s not until we have pushed things forward that we realise just how great things used to be.

The same can be said for mobile phones. A growing number of people are realising that yes, it is handy to be able to keep in contact with people on the move, but no, you don’t need an all-singing, all-dancing device that will slowly consume your soul.  

Of course, it’s also about being different. Everyone has a smartphone these days and they all look alike. Couple that with the over-connectedness of today’s society and the counter-culture reaction is to revert to the mobile phones of old.

3 of the best vintage phones

Some old Nokias, Ericssons and Motorolas are so in-demand that they’re selling for as much as £1,000 a piece. But surely that defeats the object. We think vintage mobile phones should be about functionality, not fashion. If you share our mantra then here are three of the best vintage phones we’ve love to see join the Nokia 3310 and make a long-awaited comeback...

    • 1. Ericsson T28

In our book, if it flips, it’s hip. This retro number from Ericsson can not only flip with the best of them, but it was also the first mobile to use a lithium polymer battery, which meant the battery lasted for days. Its success lay in the fact that it was the smallest and lightest phone on the market, and given the ever-increasing size of smartphones, we think those are two features that would make this bar-shaped phone equally popular today. 

    • 2. Motorola Razr V3

After the Nokia 3310, the Motorola Razr is arguably the best-loved mobile phone of all time. Released in 2004, the Razr V3 sold more than 50 million units and was the must-have super-thin flip phone with an innovative array of what were state-of-the-art features, including a 2MP camera. With Motorola being largely left behind in the battle for smartphone supremacy, perhaps they should hark back to the days of old and re-release this little beauty. If they did, we’d certainly buy one.

    • 3. LG Chocolate


The LG Chocolate was one the first phones to capitalise on the demand for colourful handsets. LG sold loads of variations of this slider cellphone-MP3 player hybrid, which, with its touch-sensitive panels, had something of the futuristic about it. In fact, in 2007, CNET called it ‘the best looking phone we have seen this year’, which is high praise indeed. However, they did only give it three and a half stars. But who cares, we’d love to see this slim profile slider phone come back, even it does ‘scratch easily’.

What are your favourite retro mobiles and would you buy them if they were on sale today? Share your favs in the comments below.

Published
November 24, 2017