The 10 best phones Nokia ever made

It’s the end of an era. Microsoft’s deal to buy Nokia’s handset business for €5,4bn means the end of Nokia smartphones as we know them. But that raises the question: what were the best phones Nokia ever made? Here is TechCentral’s entirely subjective list. By Craig Wilson.

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Soon the Nokia name will vanish from high-end devices. Nokia has sold the Lumia and Asha trademarks to Microsoft as part of their €5,4bn deal, announced on Tuesday, but Nokia’s name will vanish from smartphones.

Curiously, Microsoft will continue to use the Nokia brand name on low-end feature phones, but high-end Lumia devices will no longer bear the name that once synonymised mobile phones.

In light of this shift, TechCentral has decided to pick what it thinks are the 10 best and most memorable handsets Nokia ever made before former outgoing CEO Stephen Elop pushed the company from the “burning platform” and committed itself to Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform.

Which Nokia phones would be on your list? Tell us in the comments section below.

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10. Nokia N9
The first and last device to run Nokia’s ill-fated MeeGo operating system, the N9 provided plenty of design inspiration for the Windows Phone-based Lumia range that followed. Despite being doomed to early obsolescence from a software perspective, so popular was the N9 that consumers petitioned the company to continue developing for MeeGo. Reviewers at the time heaped praise on the N9, with some bemoaning Nokia’s decision to move to Windows Phone for its smartphones exclusively.

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9. Nokia N95
This 2007 device, released in the same year as the original iPhone, slid open in two directions. Moving it one way revealed a regular numeric keypad, while sliding it the other way allowed access to dedicated media playback controls. With its wide array of multimedia capabilities and hardware such as a GPS and an accelerometer, the N95 was one of the first mobile phones deserving of the “smartphone” moniker, which, for a time, made it the handset most desired by geeks the world over.

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8. Nokia 7650
Another of Nokia’s forays into “slider” form factor, the 7650’s claim to fame was its built-in digital camera, Nokia’s first in a phone. Though only capable of capturing images at a resolution of 640×480, when it was launched in late 2002 the 7650 pioneered the idea of putting a camera in a mobile phone to the delight of citizen journalists and the dismay of gubernatorial candidates in years to come.

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7. Nokia E55
In its heyday, the E55 was the pinnacle of design and functionality for the business user who wanted to be able to read their office e-mail in traffic. Its unconventional keyboard, with two letters sharing a key rather than three, and its dedicated keys for frequently used punctuation, made it a discreet and understated mobile phone with all of the features.

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6. Nokia 9000 Communicator
In many ways, the 9000 Communicator was the precursor to netbooks and tablet computers. Weighing almost 400g and with 8MB of memory, the 9000 included a 24MHz processor, a 4,5-inch monochrome display and cost more than most desktop computers. Introduced in 1996, the 9000 even made its way into pop culture with appearances in the 1997 remake of the film The Saint and Bret Easton Ellis’ novel Glamorama. The 9000 deserves to be on this list because of it was so groundbreaking. Our favourite Communicator, though, was the 9500, introduced in 2004.

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5. Nokia 3310
One of Nokia’s best-selling phones — at over 125m units — the 3310’s enormous success stems from its sturdy construction, intuitive user interface and the fact that it embodied just the right mixture of functionality and price. As the first mobile phone to allow users to send three SMS messages in one, it also proved incredibly popular with teenagers, students and anyone else with plenty to type.

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4. Nokia 808 PureView
Nokia’s long prided itself on the quality of its cameras, and the 808 PureView has the dual accolade of being the phone with the world’s largest sensor and resolution (41 megapixels) and the last device to run the Symbian operating system. The same imaging technology is set to make an appearance in Nokia’s forthcoming flagship device, the Lumia 1020, which also may be the last smartphone bearing the company’s name.

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3. Nokia E71
Nokia’s Eseries handsets set the bar for business devices before BlackBerry stitched up that market (for a time) with its Bold range. The E71 included a full Qwerty keyboard, and support for Wi-Fi, and dedicated keys for functions like calendar, contacts and e-mail. It also included a 3,2-megapixel rear camera and and Nokia’s mapping software.

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2. Nokia 6310i
The fourth reworking of the massively successful 6110, Nokia’s 6310i included support for e-mail, text and picture messages as well as Java applications, making it the first choice for business users and one of the first mobile phones to hint at the hyperconnected world to come. Added to this was a triband antenna, making it the perfect travel accessory. Launched in 2002, it was discontinued in 2005.

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1. Nokia 2110
Released in 1994, the Nokia 2110 was the first mobile phone capable of sending SMS messages and the first to offer Nokia’s now unmistakable ringtone. It also included the ability to store the last 10 dialled, received and missed calls. Its retracting antenna also made it the device of choice for busy professionals who liked little more than pulling out the antenna with their teeth while dashing between meetings and looking far busier than their phoneless peers.  — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media

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