In Past Tense: The story of Victor's phones

03 March 2018
Past Tense is our latest feature where we share how the industry evolved and how it shaped us, one phone at a time.

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  • AnonD-632062

Interesting Read. But I'll pass the smartwatch article...

  • AnonD-152638

"Plus, there is really no sense in whining about missing features, in an industry that has clearly been prioritizing looks over functionality for some time now, with no real signs of change on the horizon."

I think you are misstaken on that part.
The modern smartphone is designed for the typical user, and the common design is because that is simply the most effective. For many non typical users, it is mostly an ok compromise. And then there are some non typical users that want something different, but many of them want different trhings from eachother. We non-typical users that want something different are not considered large enough market.
Nokia is the company that did most devices were form came over function... the designers missed in terms of look, though. But Nokia didnt know where to go, and they threw anything out the to see what would stick. It's like they hired artists instead of industrial designers.

Yes the edge display on high end samsung devices are for show. True. But that is such a small part of what those phones are.
The notch of displays is clearly function over form.
The new aspect ratio, is also function over form, as then kept the devices from getting too wide, while extending the amount of information that can be seen, in the typical user scenario (portrait mode).
Fingerprint readers usually looks quite bad, but they do give users a function.
Cameras stick out on a lot of phone, because function was priorotized over form.

And then there are things like the removable batteries.
Higher capacity in the same body.
Better protection against elements (the S5 water protection seal was underdesigned, so that is no example on how a properly water-tight design would look).
Smaller bodies, because there had to be no mechanics for opening up for access to the battery.
And then, one big issue with removable batteries, was that either every new phone would need a new battery, making the market impossible. Or they would have to rely on previous batteries when designing a new phone, and that is simply not effective.
So there is function to be gained with both decisions.

Dropping headphone plugs, is also not as simple as one is clearly form, and the other is function.
There are advantages to dropping the headphone plug. Although I would have preferred to still have it, because I use a varied selection of headphones/hands-frees, so there is a risk I will forget to bring the adapter. The thing though is that connecting adapters has been possible for some time, even on devices with the headphone plug. The charging issue is solved by those providing a split adapter, unfortunately they aren't all.

What I really want is a phone with a keyboard. But since I'm swedish and we do have extra characters in our language, the layout of BlackBerries and Samsung keyboard covers don't isn't pratical. There used to be phones that covered that, though.
But I do a lot of typing, the typical user do not anymore.

  • Anonymous

Nokia 3210 => Nokia 3410 => Nokia 3200 => SonyErricsson k750i => Nokia N900 (5 years of use and still in some use today) => Nokia Lumia 730 => Honor 8

I've picked Honor 8 instead of galaxy note 4 as the latter is just too old now and for stylus work I use note 8.0 tab and wacom cintiq hybrid.

sadh, 03 Mar 2018E7 to galaxy y?yep my e7 stolen and i dont have much money

nvle69, 03 Mar 2018mine started with nokia 3230 -> nokia n95 8gb -> nokia n97... moreE7 to galaxy y?

Mine was too simple
Started with Xperia X8 -> Xperia Z2 -> Xperia XZ PREMIUM.

I'm an Xperia fan boy. My father and sister had several Sony Ericsson phones (K800i is the remarkable) that's made me fall in love with Xperia.

My Story would be almost as long
Let's See
Nokia 3310 ->Nokia 2100 -> Samsung N620->Samsung Blue Eye(A300)-> Nokia NGage-> Samsung True Eye(S500)-> Nokia NGage QD->Nokia 6012(Degrade)->Moto Razr V3i-> Samsung Star (S5230) -> LG Optimus (Android) -> MIcromax A90 (SuperAMOLED) -> Lava Iris 504Q ->Blackberry Z10 -> Xperia Z Ultra -> Lumia 535 -> iPhone 5 -> Moto E (1st) -> Redmi 2 Prime -> Lenevo Vibe P1 ->One Plus 3 -> iPhone 7 -> LG G6

Imperator Neubaticus, 03 Mar 2018The note 4 had an ir blaster though. Also, i don't understan... moreThank you for the opinion. I am undoubtedly spoiled in tech terms, but not necessarily in the conventional sense. I still claim that a large 16:9 panel is much easier to hold with one hand, provides more room for two handed typing on the same diagonal and does not require quite as much thumb stretching. Of course, this is a matter of personal preference, but I still find little to no benefits of extra tall aspects in my daily use. As for the Note8, it is clear that the positives still outweigh any issues I have with it. I like it a lot, but what I would truly love would be a Note 4 (2018) edition.

As also a note user I agree that they are best breakthrough device, coming back as lone and only pen hi end device, even until now. Pen became popular in tablets and pcs, so is visible that its not just some toy feature. However as I like pen, I like Best camera in phone and same brand hw+os, as its too big mess for me to have double apps, services and backups, not to mention poor os support - which even if there is, is not without errors and that made me leave. Hopefully surface device will come to be as pocketable with pen, not sure if camera will stay ahead of competition, but OS and hw being made by one brand is now most important to me.

"Sorry for the long story and a proverbial potato..."
Ah, I see you're a man of culture as well!

The note 4 had an ir blaster though.

Also, i don't understand your note 8 rants either, although i agree about the bit on battery life. The only "un"-ergonomic aspect of the note 8 is its dismal fingerprint sensor placement. But it's very easy to hold, you get used to the weight and tallness quite easily, and it's not top heavy at all. The curve on the note 8 is rather minimal so i don't notice any distortion. It just seems like nitpicking on your part. Complaining about 18:9 content is childish - you just want what you want right now without thinking that innovations take time. By the end of this year we'll be having 18:9 support left and right what with every other oem following suit on the new aspect ratio. Just a matter of time, which makes that argument of yours just a matter of being spoiled.


Nokia 2700C
Nokia 6303i
Nokia C3-01
Nokia N701
Samsung Galaxy S3
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini
Nokia C3-00
Lenovo Vibe Shot
Huwaei P10 Lite
Nokia 6
Huwaei Nova 2 Plus

  • Yet another username

Thanks for sharing Victor.
I missed out on Nokia as a personal phone, but had one at work, shared between the managers in the office! My wife loved her progression of Nokia phones, but felt they lost it when they hit smart phone.
I had all the Motorola V3 phones - the first to have a decent sized screen, and the first to make me actually want a phone of my own . The later ones left me play with ring tones.
My world completely diverged by going down the pda route of Psion 3,3a,3c then Psion 5 and 5mx. Proper replaceable batteries that have never been equaled in the modern world of smartphones. You took out the 2 AA batteries, and the built in watch battery kept the device going for the few seconds until you put in the fresh AA batteries. No reboot, you just carried straight on working. I bought quicken and scrabble on big solid state discs, of which you could insert two at a time.
Nokia's attempt to combine phone and pda (which you had) was dreadful so I never actually bought one, though I longed for the convergence of the two.
The last of my Psions broke its hinge, as they all had done. I bought an HP hx4700 iPAQ running WM2003SE. Converting all my data from Psion format with their utterly wonderful documents, spreadsheets and card databases was a difficult journey, but the extra ability was well worth it. It had a stylus and slots for a flash card and an SD card. I even bought a plug in keyboard to try and get back the typing experience from my Psion 5,to no avail. It mostly stayed in its bag unused and unloved. How I missed that keyboard on which I had been able to type 4 fingered.
That convergence came with the HTC HD2, a gem of a device.
I got my first glance into modding, with Co0kies home screen and later custom ROMs. I was looking forward to the improvement promised for Windows mobile 6.5, but it never came. Instead we got 7 over a year later. The horde of developers and modders had all by then abandoned windows to go to the upstart Android. At the beginning it would have been a drastic down grade from what I could do with my HD2.
I toyed with supposedly highly reviewed phones, even buying two, but sold them on quickly.
The killer blow was when Sygic refused to develop their SatNav software any further for the device, because Windows mobile only allowed 512Mb of RAM to be addressed, and that was no longer enough.
When the nexus 4 came out, I jumped to it. Finally, Android that could actually do something. But oh did it lack so much. No removable storage. No stylus. No replaceable battery. A screen that felt smaller by the day. A glass back that broke and forever put me off glass baked phones. An early update that broke rSAP and forever lost connectivity with my car.
I was also still playing with the HD2, installing custom ROMs for Windows and even android
The nexus 5 with a bigger screen and battery and storage was in my hands almost as it was released. The same problems, just slower to see.
By now is carrying around a 20000mAh battery pack due to poor battery life.
The next iterations of the nexus line seemed poor by comparison. Batteries became smaller not bigger. Thin became the goal. Fashion over practicality, form over function. Yeuch.
I was lucky enough to review a Note 4 for O2, but on balance was not upset to send it back. A good but not great device.
Then I reviewed a windows phone, Lumia 640. Boy was it fast and smooth. But try as I might, I could not replicate the apps I was using daily, nor come close to the functionality of those apps.
The nexus 5 eventually fell 4 inches from my pocket onto a bench, and cracked its screen badly. A repair was nearly as expensive as a second hand phone!
I looked and looked and nothing appealed until the note 7. My pre-order went in. The day it was due to be delivered, I got an email telling me there was a payment problem, and my order was cancelled. The bank knew nothing of it. The vendor could not see why either, but could not or would not reinstate the order. By this time I was on a waiting list, and never got to have one.
But it rekindled my interest in a stylus and I bought a note 4 second hand. 3 whole months of enjoyment, and a normal update from Samsung put it into a boot loop. It appears that the overheating chip problem caught me.
The Huawei mate 8 came out with an enormous battery and huge storage on board. I bought one and never regretted it for an instant. Fast, smooth, insanely quick fingerprint login. Yes it has frustrations. The on /off button and volume rocker are the wrong way round. Bluetooth switches off when not in use so by the time I use my car again, it needs restarting.
I cannot understand the long and narrow screens now being pushed by journalists. Why is being able to stretch across the screen one handed better when you can't track the menus at the top? The phone sticks out of pockets. If put in a front or back pocket that length is under huge stress when sitting down. Yours is one of the few I've read that comments adversely on that stupid curved edge with its awful reflections each side. Now we're getting a notch, which is more realistically two ears that show notifications.

  • AlienFromNextDoor

I echo your thoughts on this new looks before function era. I can't stand the edgea on the Galaxy phones. They're hard to hold, cause distortion, glare and light bleed and above all make information on the edge harder to read. The new aspect ratio is even worse with black pillars on the sides and phones being overly top heavy. Glass on the back that breaks easily, no ir blaster, no removable battery...

Twice, nay thrice the price.

Thanka Samsung.

mine started with nokia 3230 -> nokia n95 8gb -> nokia n97 -> nokia e7 -> samsung galaxy y s5360 -> samsung galaxy s5 & samsung galaxy note 3 -> samsung galaxy note 4 -> iphone se -> oneplus 3t, samsung galaxy alpha & xiaomi redmi 3 pro.

My friend is still very happy with his note 4.
I don't get you note 8 rants. All of that is observable in the first minutes with the device (and you can get a touch of it for free in a shop or in your office). If you did buy it after all, then you accept its flaws the moment you did it.

  • AnonD-258449

Started with Sony Ericsson K700i, Nokia 7610 (one of the most stylish handset of its times) then Sony Ericsson w810i, then Sony Ericsson's W200i (it was a degrade), then went with Sony Ericsson K810i (I still admire this handset due to its stylish keypad, excellent camera for that time coupled with a xenon flash) still miss it. Then went to Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc (again a very beloved handset), then Sony Xperia Z, >SONY Xperia Z1 Compact > Sony Xperia Z3 Compact (another favorite, still miss it for its compactness, style and battery) Samsung Galaxy S5 (sold within a month, it stuttered and lagged like nothing I have used in the past so went for Nokia feature phone for the time being) then came Sony Xperia Z5, and currently I am using Sony Xperia XZ. And waiting for the XZ Premium's successor.
So you have known it, that I am a Sony fanboy from the days when it was only Sony Ericsson and Nokia. Sony had made me believe them and I believe in them. I am a hobbyist photographer and some of my best photograps have come from Sony's Xperia.
Look at the early photos, the latest ones are taken with Nikon d7100.

  • Ben

This "proverbial potato " :)

  • Anonymous

SE T10-> SE T20-> Nokia 8250-> Nokia 3200-> SE T630-> SE W810-> Nokia N95-> Samsung Omnia II-> HTC Sensation XE-> iphone 4s-> Redmi note 3G-> Redmi 5

  • AnonD-740460

Mines was similar story as yours until Samsung note 3.