Back in Time: Nokia’s 21 Most Iconic Phones that Attained Cult Status

We all certainly now know that Nokia Devices and Services is a part of Microsoft. On September 3, 2013 Microsoft bought Nokia for $7.2 Billion dollars, and the deal completed on April 25, 2014.

Nokia Devices from now will be called as Microsoft Mobile. Nokia dates its root back from 1865. In 1871, mining engineer Fredrik Idestam opened his second wood pulp mill at the banks of Nokianvirta river which inspired him to name his company Nokia Ab.

Over the course of years Nokia has worked in many sectors like electronics, plastic, chemicals, cables, paper products, tires, rubber boots, telecommunications and more. In 1967 Idestam’s Nokia Ab merged with Finnish Cable Works Ltd and formed Nokia Corporation. In 1981 Nokia introduced the first fully digital local telephone exchange in Europe and later World’s first Car Phone for Nordic Mobiles. Nokia developed on breakthrough technology GSM back then and started releasing newer phones and later what we know is all history.

Its been near three decades, Nokia has been developing mobiles and what it is popularly known for. So right here are Nokia’s 21 phones that attained a cult status all over the world.

21 most iconic phones from nokia

Mobira Cityman 900

Back in the day when mobile phones used to weigh in excess of 5 Kilograms. Nokia succeeded in developing a phone that weighed only 800gms. It was the first of the compact phones. The phone was nicknamed as ‘Gorba’ in Finland. As it was used by president of Soviet Union (back then Finland was still a part of Russia) Mikhail Gorbachev to call Moscow during a press conference in October 1987.

Mobira Cityman 900

Back in the day; it featured 8 number Monochrome display. It gave a talk time of 50 Minutes (outrageous by today’s standards). If you look at this image here, you could still see Nokia had the same logo design as it uses in today’s phone.

Nokia 1011

Nokia 1011 was launched in 1992 and was priced around $1,773. It was the first phone from Nokia to send and receive SMS. It was even the first mass-produced GSM phone. It was even referred to as Mobira Cityman 2000.

Since it was launched in 10 November, 1992 hence the model number was 1011.

Nokia 2110

The first mobile to commercially send and receive SMS. It featured the Nokia’s symbolic ringtone.

It featured a 4X13 character monochrome display and a 550mAh battery.

Nokia Communicator 9000

Back in the day, Nokia Communicator 9000 was the first smartphone even before the term smartphone was coined. It featured Email, Fax and Web Browsing back in 1996. Under the hood was an Intel’s 24MHz CPU with 8MB RAM.

Nokia Communicator 9000

It did had two display units. The primary screen had a resolution of 640 X 200. The phone’s OS was developed by Geoworks called as GEOS.

Nokia 282

This was the first clamshell design phone from the Finnish company. Came in four different colors like Red, Velvet, Indigo and Silver. The display was 3 line monochrome.

It only weighed 180gms.

Nokia 3310

In the turn of the millennium, The company developed a phone that is indestructible till date. Termed as the Chuck Norris, Rajnikant and Superman of phones. It sold 126 Million Units due to its reliability.

It did featured the most popular mobile game Snake. It even was the first phone to feature productive apps like Calculator, Stop Watch and Reminder. Here is a video demonstration of 3310’s destruction test.

Nokia 5510

The 5510 was one of its kind phone to feature a landscape design. The keys being placed on either side of the screen. The phone was similar to 3310 except for the keyboard design. It hade a 64MB storage memory. Could even play MP3 and AAC music files.

Nokia 5510

But it did came with a drawback. These music files had to be converted into encrypted format. The phone only supported encrypted music files. The 5510 was responsible to give birth to phones like Nokia 6800 and Nokia 6822

Nokia 7650

First Nokia phone to feature a digital camera and Symbian OS. It featured first S60 platform. This phone had a unique slider design. Was even featured in Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report Movie. This led to the phone having the popularity it had back then.

The phone featured bluetooth and could shoot images at 640 X 480 resolution.

Nokia 1100

If you’d think an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S2 might be the highest selling smartphone of all time. Then I’d gladly say you’re wrong. Here is Nokia 1100 which sold over 250 Million Units till date. It was a pretty basic phone but the USP of 1100 was a torchlight on its head.

Most of the units were sold in developing countries where advanced functions weren’t required. This phone fit the bill pretty well. It was designed with the developing nations in mind. Its front face was made with dust proof material. And it sides made it slip proof during humid weather conditions.

Nokia 6600

In a year, where the company developed a basic phone like Nokia 1100. On the other side it developed the Nokia 6600. It was most advanced smartphone of its time. It featured Nokia’s legendary joystick navigation and a unique egg like design.

Nokia 6600

Loved by both office going people whereas the college students too. Was even used extensively in movies and daily soaps which led to its growing popularity.

Nokia N-Gage QD

Nokia N-Gage definitely featured a unique handheld gaming console like design. This made it very popular among youngsters. Even corrected major flaws found in original Nokia N-Gage. One of it was, removing the earpiece from the edge of the phone and placing it on the face of the phone.

Nokia N-Gage QD

Nokia N-Gage didn’t featured a FM Radio, MP3 playback and USB support. Though one could play MP3 files with help of 3rd party app. And since there was no USB support. One had to attach memory card to a Card Reader to transfer data. Since it was built horizontally, it always required two-handed operations.

Nokia N90

At the time in 2005 when camcorders began to surge. Nokia came up with N90 to target this segment. It featured a rotating camera along with 270° swivel screen. Here a video demonstration of Nokia N90.

Along with an amazing 2MP Carl Zeiss lens camera, it came with two screens. The primary screen had a resolution of 352 X 416. The secondary screen had a resolution of 128 X 128 with 65,000 color support.

The phone did received a slack due to its chunky design, very high price and even complicated OS.

Nokia 6233

Nokia 6233 featured the best stereo speakers in a mobile till date. No phone till now could match up to the sound of Nokia 6233. Speakers were located on either side of the phone. It even featured surround sound.

The phone came with 3G connectivity, 2 years before 3G was introduced in India. It came with a TFT LCD screen with a resolution of 240 X 320. It could take pictures at resolution of 1600 X 1200.

A music edition of Nokia 6233 was launched, which came with dock style stereo speakers.

Nokia N95

The first phone to feature 5MP camera, first to feature a 2-way slider, first to feature an 8GB internal memory. In year 2007, Apple iPhone was the only competitor to Nokia N95. This phone outsold the iPhone and other competitors that year.

Did came with a GPS receiver along with Nokia MAPS app and free voice guided navigation. Featured a user-friendly OS and great revamp in Nokia N-series user experience.

At the time two version of Nokia N95 were launched. One came with a silver color with 160MB internal memory and 64MB RAM. Later the second version featured 8GB internal memory with 128MB RAM and came in full black color.

Nokia E71

At the time when Blackberry smartphones were outselling every other smartphone; Nokia came up with the business class smartphone, the Nokia E71. At that year, it outsold every other Blackberry smartphone. Nokia E71 featured a QWERTY keyboard along with 3rd edition of S60 OS.

It came with a 2.36″ screen with a resolution of 240 X 320 and support for 16 Millions. It even did featured a 3.2MP camera with flash along with Assisted GPS.

Nokia 5130

In the year 2009, when XpressMusic phones were the most popular phones out in the market. There was news all around of Nokia coming up with a low-budget XpressMusic phone. And it did. Nokia sold almost 65 Million Units of 5130.

The phone ran on Nokia’s latest S40 platform which supported Java MIDP 2.0 and Adobe Flash Lite 3.0. The phone was pretty lightweight at 88gms and sturdy too. Mine suffered almost 100+ drops (not over-hyped) with no damage to the exterior or its innards whatsoever. It even featured music keys toward the right side, while the face of the phone had lights, which lit up as per the music. This was a major addition to a low-budget XpressMusic.

“Nokia XpressMusic 5130 supported continuous music playback of 21 hours on a full charge”

Nokia 5230

At the time when touchscreen phones were becoming lot of popular due to Apple iPhone. Nokia too jumped out on the touchscreen bandwagon. It launched Nokia 5230 which was a budget touchscreen phone.

It came with a large 3.2″ nHD display with a resolution of 640 X 360. The phone sold almost 160 Million Units worldwide. Under the screen was a resistive display which operated on 5th Edition of Symbian S60 OS. The phone was much similar to Nokia XpressMusic 5800 except it had no 3G, Wifi and front camera. Even the secondary camera was 2MP.

Nokia N8

Nokia N8 had many first’s for Nokia and the mobile industry. It’s 12MP camera with large sensor was main USP of N8. It even featured a Xenon flash instead of LED flashlight. It had an HDMI-out interface, USB on-the-go interface (first for a phone) and was wrapped in an anodized aluminium case.

The built was sturdy and the phone came with a 3.2″ nHD capacitive display with a resolution of 640 X 360 pixels. It even featured Nokia’s Clear Black display technology. This allowed the screen to be viewable even in direct sunlight conditions.

“While N8 had many features going for it. Its brand new buggy Symbian 3 made the phone look like a total mess. Even the Symbian Belle update didn’t turn the tables in N8’s favor”

Eventually it did managed to sell 6 Million Units worldwide.

Nokia Lumia 800

At the time when everyone expected Nokia to adopt Android OS. It eventually joined hands with Microsoft and launched the Nokia Lumia 800 based on Windows Phone 7.5 OS.

Priced at $549, Lumia 800 featured a polycarbonate body with 3.7″ AMOLED Display. The display had a resolution of 800 X 480 pixels.

Similar to N8, Lumia 800 too had great design and hardware. But due to Windows Phone 7.5 OS limitation it didn’t managed to win many hearts. It sold only 1 Million Units.

Nokia 808 Pureview

Symbian eventually had run out of its course with the rise in popularity for iOS and Android. The Finnish company eventually felt the need to say goodbye to Symbian. But there was still one thing in the company’s armor.

It launched the Nokia 808 Pureview with a mind-boggling 41 Megapixel. The best camera till date. Due to some propriety software the phone could shoot images at 41 MP and compress it to a 5MP image without degrading image quality and light sensitivity. The camera could even manage to shoot great low light photographs.

It brought shame to every digital cameras and some DSLR’s. But still the 808 Pureview was the last horse from the Symbian stable.

Nokia X

A year before its launch. Nokia X was making a lot of buzz around of being a first Android phone from the Microsoft owned company. Not many believed it since Android was developed by Microsoft’s rival Google and Microsoft too had its own OS.

But we did witnessed the launch of Nokia’s first Android smartphone. The X eventually filled gap between the low-end Asha phones and high-end Lumia phones. While the X did featured Android Jellybean 4.1.2 it was heavily modified by Nokia. The OS is now called as Nokia X Software Platform 1.0. But instead of usual Google services, the X was void of Google Play Store and Google Apps. Instead it came with Microsoft own apps and Nokia’s App Store.

Do you have any more phones in mind that fit the bill? Do let me know in the comments section. And feel free to share this article. Have a great day.

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  1. says

    Hi Abhishek,

    To be honest, when I went through this article, I felt that feel of nostalgia man. Seriously, those old days, before the days of passing 10th standard, came to my mind. That was when Nokia and its durable, tough and feature filled phones were ruling the market!

    So many fond memories attached with those times. It was after much money saving that I was able to buy Nokia 6600, that too second hand! 🙂 Man, I was thrilled to have a phone that could snap pics and play music!

    Now, with the introduction of Android smartphones, I have largely forgotten the old Nokia generation. But then, occasionally, reading such articles and references, the memories flood back!

    I found the link to this post on Kingged.

    Arun Kallarackal recently posted…24 Things You Don’t (But Should) Know about SnapchatMy Profile

  2. says

    Same here Arun,

    Me to while creating the article felt nostalgic about remembering all these phones. As specially the Nokia XpressMusic 5130.

    To be true, phones right now are very much smart compared to previous generations phones. But all these smartphones nowadays look the same, feel very same, no extradition.

    While every Nokia phone from 1987 to 2014 had its own identity. I don’t know if i’ll ever remember my MMX A110 as much as I remember my Nokia 1100 and Nokia 5130.

    Thanks for the comments Arun. Appreciate it man. Have a great day!

  3. says

    Wow, that Nokia 3310 indestructible. Any smartphone won’t survive a hammer test as the screen is sensitive and it got everything on the screen.

    I am amazed to know that way back, Nokia did introduced smartphone’s with internet access. How can one forget the amazing snake game, it never gets complete, and still very addictive.

    The basic phones of Nokia have been in market and will be in market forever. Great information Abhishek.

    I found the link to this article on kingged.
    rohan recently posted…A Poem of EnergyMy Profile

  4. says

    Well not just Nokia 3310 Rohan. Many phones from are built to last (read last forever). I think I haven’t seen a phone from Nokia that felt down and broke its screen, or a part or any button.

    Though usually the back cover and battery might pop out. But still you could collect the pieces and join it back. I still remember showing my friends how strong is my Nokia 5130 by dropping it from waist height and would bounce up in the air.

    Even still now, the Lumia’s, Asha’s and the X series are stronger than another smartphone out there.

    And Yes! Can you image Email, Web Browsing and Fax all back in 1996 using just a handheld device. This showed how Nokia had imagined the future beforehand.

  5. says

    Hey Abhishek,
    you compiled a great list of Popular Nokia Phones. They are not smartphones but still they have place in our heart.

    Nokia 1100 is the best phone I’ve used. And these comment is posted using a Nokia C2-00 phone.

  6. says

    I appreciate the fact Swaraj that you’re still using one of popular Nokia phone i.e. the C2-00.

    And I’m very glad you took time for leaving a comment and adding value to the article.

    Appreciate it a lot bruh… Have a great day!

  7. says

    It fine Samir. I too don’t get much time right now to visit

    But I make sure to keep visiting the site frequently and know about various updates.

    And do make the best of money making from comments on

    This is a very great oppurtunity.

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