In fond remembrance of Nokias past.

Nokia N86

Yesterday The Verge asked me if my first cell phone was a Nokia. Indeed it was.

I despised it at the time, only because it was bought for me as a birthday present and I was stuck paying the ongoing monthly bills for service. This was in 1996, mind you, before phones could do anything useful other than make calls and burn a hole in your wallet.

I can’t even say for sure what the model number was — 638, I think? — but no matter; there would be many more memorable Nokias to follow in the years to come. Here are the best of them:


My first PCS handset, with call display! Also, my first handset on an upstart carrier — clearNET in 1999. I was so enamoured with its sharkskin green finish I didn’t use a case, and scratched up said finish every time I dropped it, which was often.


Text messaging blew my mind, and Xpress-On covers were an added bonus.


It wasn’t quite the Matrix “banana phone”, but it was my first Nokia with a web browser. I gave it back to Fido only because there wasn’t anything I could actually do with it.


The Nokia that could dance. Don’t believe me? Click the link.

Also, the only Nokia ever hurled at me by an angry girlfriend. Good times.


I never actually owned this beast  — seeing how it wouldn’t work in Canada anyway — but I’ll never forget seeing it for the first (and only) time in 2002 at a mall in Sydney, Australia. My colour Treo and I were instantly jealous.


I went straight from a BlackBerry to this, and I’m glad that I did. Oh, I’m sorry… did your BlackBerry 8700g have a Game Boy Color emulator on it? Of course it didn’t, so shut up already.


Better than the E61i in every way, this was far and away my favourite Eseries of all time. Its camera even had a macro lens, which was astounding to me at the time.


I never actually owned this device, and couldn’t even get it to connect to WIND Mobile’s data network during the week or so that I had it. But it deserves a special mention as the first device I ever put another operating system on.

Debian Linux on a phone? Mind blown. Again.


I fell in love with this classic Nseries on a points-burning trip around the world in 2009. The camera was so good, the vertical slider form factor so perfect that I gave up qwerty and made do with T9.

… So I can think of a few other notable Nokias that haven’t been mentioned above. Add your favourites below, and let’s celebrate together the glory days of  Finland’s famous phone maker.