In Past Tense is our series of articles in which the Chillicious Team takes you on a nostalgia-infused ride through the phones that impressed them the most through the years.
Growing in a family of phone aficionados, the most logical path for me was to pursue a career in mobile technologies. I remember the times of my early journalistic days when I said: Man, I want to be like the GSMArena guys. Fast forward several years later and that’s a reality, I am reporting the latest industry news for you daily.
I still remember the first mobile phone I played with – a Siemens C35i in Hurricane Yellow. I was so scared not to break it, and it felt heavy in my (10-year-old) hand. I immediately thought – why would someone carry this massive thing in their pockets?
Several years later I got my first phone – Siemens A36. It had one line display, bulky body, and cheap plastic keys. But it was mine, and I cherished it as a treasure. I loved the responsibility my parents gave me – I owned something new and valuable. Back in the days, the closest thing to a social media was IRC, so me and my friends communicated mainly there. We rarely used the actual phones, because calls were expensive.
An unfortunate experience I share with Peter, my first phone eventually got stolen. I was bummed, but my parents gifted me a Mitsubishi Trium Mars that was a massive upgrade over the A36. It had animations and games – oh the games.
One of them that stuck with me through all these years is Push. You had to move crates to their destination, and it was the most fantastic phone game in the mind of a 13-year-old. We already had games such as Halo and Half-Life 2 on PC, but nothing like that in your pocket on demand.
Mitsubishi Trium Mars
Months went by, and it was time to upgrade to a phone with a camera. Enter Sony Ericsson K530i in Thunder Black. I loved how the dedicated camera button worked – half-press to focus, hear the beep, hard press to snap the picture. Here are some camera samples from the 2 MP snapper that had an f/2.8 lens.
Sony Ericsson K530i camera samples circa 2009
Colors are a bit dull, but with the proper light setting the K530i managed to produce impressive images. You can see a massive difference when the lighting is different – cloudy weather, sunny weather, dusk or dawn.
Nokia 3120 classic
Later I also got the Nokia 3120 classic, which was hardly an upgrade, I was just rocking two phones at once. It’s main intent was games – I spent an absurd amount of times playing Rally 3D until the middle of the night instead of going to sleep like a normal person.
Nokia 3120 classic camera samples
The platform of the 3120 classic provided everything needed back in the days – there was 3G internet, so I managed to browse effortlessly and even uploaded a photo on Facebook once or twice. Music was also quite an impressive experience, given the phone is not made for the audiophiles. It had a dedicated microSD slot, so all the MP3 tracks were on the 3120 classic while the K530i kept its role as a cameraphone.
Always being a fan of smartphones, I continued my path with a Nokia N73 with its dedicated photo button and slide cover for the 3.15 MP Carl-Zeiss camera. I spent a lot of time with this phone, mostly because it was sturdy, reliable, and had everything you needed from a Symbian. But after three years of browsing, listening to music and taking selfies across many nations, decided to jump on the Android bandwagon.
Nokia N73 samples with the main shooter and the selfie snapper
I was quite late in doing this – my first actual smartphone was the first device with quad-core CPU by LG – the Optimus 4X HD P880. I still have it somewhere in my drawer, but once I powered it up, I knew the world of smartphones is opening its doors wide.
LG launched the phone as a direct competitor to the HTC One X and the Galaxy S III. Its body was almost entirely made of plastic like most of the flagships back then.
While battery and performance were impressive for a device built in 2012, the UI was full of bloatware, making the phone usage unbearable. Thats when I decided to change my philosophy and instead of being loyal to a device was switching every time something better came around.
LG Optimus 4X HD camera samples
Already old enough to work as a news editor in the smartphone industry, I took a vow never to stay with a phone too long to avoid getting too attached and possibly form some sort of bias. I went through all the Android flagships, really tried and failed to love the BlackBerry Z10, and you can still find an Apple iPhone 4 in my drawer in this very moment.
To this very day I can hardly pick a phone as my favorite. I was impressed with the Honor 9 last summer, having the specifications of Huawei P10 but with a more affordable price tag, but then a more powerful version arrived in the face of the Mate 10 series (which got knocked from its throne by the Huawei P20 Pro several months later).
Goodness knows what comes next. But the boy that once treasured its Mitsubishi phone has now grown up to know all about the different brands, but not fully committing to any one.