With news that the RAZR might be coming back on all of our nostalgia radars right now, many of us are wondering how the best phone of the early 2000s will translate to 2016’s technological landscape. But even though I’m sure that features like touch screens and Angry Birds will probably make an appearance, I’m also kind of hoping that these things I miss about RAZR flip phones might make a comeback, too. I mean, yes, they’re all mostly based in outdated technology… but good gravy, they were fun.
Although a lot of people associate their first RAZR with high school, I didn’t get mine until college. In fact, I think I was actually midway through college before I finally owned something more advanced than my little navy blue Nokia brick; furthermore, I kept using that RAZR until midway through graduate school. (In case you were wondering, yes, I classify as an older Millennial). But although I was happy to get my first smartphone then, I still kind of miss my RAZR periodically; we had some good times together. Wacky adventures. Lots of travel. You know the drill.
I actually did spend some time last night searching through a few of the boxes stacked in my closet to see if I still had my old RAZR. I know I had it two apartments ago; however, given that I’ve moved not only twice, but to two different states since 2013, I wasn’t totally sure if I’d managed to hang onto it throughout all the upheaval. Alas, it appears I did not — I must have ditched it somewhere along the way, knowing that I would probably never use it again. But I still remember it quite fondly, along with these 10 details about it. The phone itself may be gone, but the memories are forever.
1. The Boot Screen
You know the one I’m talking about — when you turned your RAZR on, a delightful, full-color animation greeted you with the words, “Hello, Moto.” How friendly!
2. The Fact That It Actually Fit In Your Pocket
My smartphone does many things, but fitting neatly into my trouser pockets is not one of them: If I shove it in one of my back pockets, it falls out every time I sit down, and it doesn’t even fit in the front pockets. The RAZR, though? It was both small enough and thin enough that sticking it in a pocket while you were on the go was easy — also a lot less likely to result in a phone left in the back of a cab because it dropped right out while you buckled up.
3. The Joy Of Experiencing Your First Camera Phone
Nowadays, a phone that doesn’t come with a camera is almost impossible to find. Back then, though? For many, the RAZR was the first camera phone we had. The pictures were low res and difficult to get off your phone — remember when our phones didn’t necessarily allow us to check our email at any time and in place? — but that didn’t matter. All that mattered was that you could capture any moment, as long as you had your trusty RAZR with you.
While it’s true that most smartphones now come in at least a couple of different colors — and that you can access an infinite number of new schemes and patterns simply by snapping on a cover — the RAZR gave us so many options that there was, quite literally, one for everyone. I’ve never been wild about yanking a neon green or magenta phone out in public, so I went for the sleek, classic silver design; if you were a little more adventurous with your phone choices, though, you could go with anything from bright yellow to bold purple. Given that most of us had been limited to the same navy blue Nokia up til that point, having so many options was incredibly revolutionary.
5. The Keyboard
So slick. So futuristic. Such a far cry from the little push-button keyboard most cell phones had prior to the RAZR’s arrival. Heck yes.
Psst! For more talk about all things nostalgia, check out our podcast, The Chat Room.
6. The “Sending Text Message” Animation
As YouTuber PhoneDog points out in his look back at the 2004 V3, the RAZR’s operating system wasn’t exactly intuitive; for example, many more steps were required to send a text message than were strictly necessary. However, I did always get a kick out of the little “sending text message” animation that played after you finally got through the whole process. What can I say? I’m easily amused.
7. Shopping For Ringtones
These days, I make my own ringtones; it’s quite easy to do, and you’ve got basically an infinite array of options allowing you to customize your phone’s notification sounds however you like. During the days of the flip phone, though, we had to actually shop on our carrier’s website for ringtones and get them sent to us via text — and we took it all so seriously. Ringtones could be pricey, so I tended to keep my purchases to a minimum; there was nothing quite as fun as hearing “Take Me Out” by Franz Ferdinand blare from your pocket whenever someone called you, though, so it was totally worth it.
There’s a reason that most cell phone games before smart phones were limited to things like Snake, and that reason is that there’s only so much you can do with controls that amount to little more than a D-pad. Although the RAZR’s game selection wasn’t perfect, and although they were kind of clunky, I appreciate the way they tried to break free of the standard phone games of the day. Billiards was my personal favorite, but if Golf was more your speed, that was an option, too.
9. Picking Out The Perfect Theme
True story: Wallpapers used to be one of my favorite things about technology. On my phone, on my computer — picking out the perfect one based on how I was feeling (or, more typically, what I was obsessed with) at any given time was one of my favorite ways to unwind. An odd hobby? Perhaps, but still loads of fun.
10. Knowing That Star Trek-Style Communicators Were Finally A Reality
Dammit, Jim, I’m a doctor, not a cell phone technician!