Counterclockwise: celebrating the weird form factors of yesteryear
A couple of weeks ago we look at weird ways to mount a phone's camera. That inspired us to dive into weird form factors this week.
Phone form factors generally fall into four categories - static, slider, flip and swivel. Static is the simplest, but that certainly doesn't mean boring. The Nokia 7280 is a favorite to bring up in this tip of articles - look at it - like a prop from a sci-fi TV show. Not that the 3650 or 7600 are any saner. Or the Siemens SX1.
Nokia 7280 • Nokia 3650 • Nokia 7600 • Siemens SX1
The flip form factor is home to some of the most popular to some of the best-selling phones of all time. Show of hands, who here hasn't seen a Moto RAZR? No one? That's what we thought.
Then there's the Backflip, which puts the QWERTY on its back. A more traditional flip design with Android is the LG Wine Smart, but they are rare (especially outside of China). Of course, some phones combine multiple actions like the Nokia N93i - it does flip and swivel.
Motorola RAZR V3 • Motorola BACKFLIP • LG Wine Smart • Nokia N93i
We've seen vertical sliders like the Samsung D600 and horizontal sliders like the Nokia E7 and odd-balls like the Xperia Play. The BlackBerry Priv is probably the last of the true sliders (that is if you don't count what the Oppo Find X does as "sliding").
Samsung D600 • Nokia E7 • Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY • BlackBerry Priv
Swivel is perhaps the rarest and like the slider it is used to hide the keyboard. The Siemens SK65 is an early example, but the X shape is perhaps not the most practical. The Motorola Aura is unique with its round screen that serves as a pivot for the swivel mechanism. Another Moto, the FlipOut, combines a squarish charm and a hardware QWERTY. The Nokia 7370 looks almost pedestrian in comparison.
Siemens SK65 • Motorola Aura • Motorola FlipOut • Nokia 7370
Rumors of "foldable phones" abound with many major companies showing tech demos at trade events. The ZTE Axon M is not unique in its implementation - it shares a design with the Sony Ericsson Xperia P and the Kyocera Echo - but it's more of a flip phone, really. True foldable phones should have a single uninterrupted screen. A slider solution is also possible, though with more screen and less keyboard than the LG DoublePlay.
ZTE Axon M • Sony Tablet P • Kyocera Echo • LG DoublePlay
Okay, here's a question - is the Nokia 6810 a flip phone? What about the Sony Ericsson P800? Is the Oppo N1 one of the swivel phones or in a category of its own? And LG G Flex looks like the usual slab, but it's curved and even more unique - you can bend it! That's a long way away from boring.
Nokia 6810 • Sony Ericsson P800 • Oppo N1 • LG G Flex
Which is your favorite phone with a weird form factor or just a kooky design?
- 24 Jul 2018
Where's the HTC Desire Z and the Sony Ericsson W900 phones alongside the handsets that you've discussed on this article? Those phones were oddly designed but sleek and superb devices which I've personally used before.
- 04 Jul 2018
Siemens SX1 was very odd device my friend had it, it was amazing phone back in a days, and very capable one. Biggest problem of this phone was kind of getting use to text with it and bad internal component quality. Like most Siemens phones back in a ...
- 03 Jul 2018
i love physical qwerty too, only blackberry is putting in effort for this passport, and keyone has good keyboards, the PRIV, is really awesome too, works like a charm