Nokia basic phones
Photo illustration of a collection of mobile phones made by Nokia. Reuters/Kacper Pempel

Nokia has officially made its triumphant return to phone-making. Most mobile phone users remember the Finnish company as the former number one cell phone manufacturer in the world, before Apple and Samsung handsets took over. Nokia captured the hearts of millions during its heyday thanks to its phones’ usability, practicality, style and built.

Nokia had it all from bar phones to flip phones to slide phones and even released all sorts of gaming phones and business phones. But all of them had more or less the same distinctive qualities and features that make former users long for some old-fashioned Nokia handset. Here are some of them.


There are no regular phones that are as tough and sturdy as Nokia handsets. They can sustain and survive years of bumps, drops and accidental throws. Nokia phones are the tortoises of the mobile industry.

Battery life

Old Nokia phones lasted for up to seven days depending on usage and model. Some handsets even lasted up to a day with the “low battery” notification constantly going off every few minutes. Modern smartphones typically last for about 24 hours, which is why power banks are essential nowadays.

Physical keys

Typing messages is faster and easier with Nokia feature phones because users can actually feel the keys. The buttons are spaced apart just right for those with large fingers. One doesn’t even need to look at the phone’s screen when composing a message with a physical keypad.

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Nowadays, mobile phone companies try to one-up each other by boosting their handsets’ display sizes. Some new phones can’t even fit in some pockets and certain hands due to how bulky they are. Nokia phones of the past were adequately sized and fitted anywhere they were placed.

Variety of designs

Old Nokia phones had some of the most outrageous designs the world has ever seen. The Finnish company didn’t just stick to typical bar phones, flip phones and slide phones. It also brought about phones that were oddly designed like the Nokia 7600, which was shaped like a leaf, and the Nokia 7280, which looked like a lipstick. The Nokia 3650 also featured a circular keypad, while the Nokia 6810 had a fold-out QWERTY keyboard.


“Snake” was the biggest mobile phone game for years. Owners of old Nokia phones used to spend hours making the snake as long as possible until it filled up the whole screen.

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Picture messages

Nokia’s picture messages were the emojis of the past. Being on the receiving end of picture messages used to be really special for a time.


Phones like the Nokia 3310 have extra loud speakers that are almost impossible to suppress. Calls and messages are rarely missed with such handsets unless they are put on silent mode.


Millennials will forever remember the golden age of ringtones. Nokia monophonic ringtones were simple and fun. Some models even had the Composer app where users summoned their inner Mozarts.


Basic Nokia phones are as cheap and practical as they come, with prices ranging between $25 and $30. Even the company’s latest release, the Nokia 150, is priced at only $35 before local taxes and subsidies.