A new Nokia 8110?? Surely not

Interesting piece today on the recently announced ‘re-imagining’ of my favourite retro phone:


Mobile World Congress 2017 saw HMD Global revive the Nokia 3310 feature phone and now they’re at it again.

I already use an 8110i as my second phone yet… yet I’m tempted by this one. Even the legacy banana phones I restore only have 3-4 days standby time. This has 25 days plus 4g tethering plus some other features.

Anyone else tempted by it?

Interestingly I’ve also noted that eBay listed handsets – even barebones phones with no batteries or aerials – have jumped in recent weeks. Retro is big at the moment. I’m also getting more people visiting this blog and asking me 8110- related questions.

I’ll post a review if I get my hands on one!

Apparently “These five retro phones should join the Nokia 3310 in making a comeback”

I’m with them on the Motorola Razr V3 (2004) which was a great phone and a handset I’ll be featuring on here at some point.

In second place the Nokia 8110 (1996) and yes enough said. I think I’ve discussed that one enough on here for a good while. I’d buy a retro remake even though it wouldn’t be the same. Morbid curiosity perhaps.

#3 LG Chocolate BL40 (2009) though? Is that even ‘retro’? At the time it felt like LG flailing around a bit trying to find a niche. It didn’t really do anything particularly well apart from being shiny.

And the T-Mobile Sidekick (2002) at #4? What even is that? It looks and sounds pretty bad. This bit just made me feel ill.

Unlike LG, T-Mobile succeeded in making the Sidekick a hit with celebrities, and the phone was seen in the hands of such illustrious talents as Lindsay Lohan, Kim Kardashian and both Nicky and Paris Hilton

Urg. Please make it stop. I forget what 5 was as I lost interest.

The article itself is here.


Reckon you can put a better list together? Comment below.

How much is your old mobile phone worth?

Interesting question. Whilst second hand (or pre loved if you prefer the newly marketed way of putting it) phones have jumped in the last few years, you still see some phones go for ridiculously high amounts… and conversely some for a lot cheaper than ‘book value’.

I put it down to the fact it’s only quite recently become a ‘thing’ and there isn’t yet a critical mass of people looking to collect a full set of Nokia cellphones or get the full run of handsets they ever had. Perhaps that’s why it’s a good time to start collecting.

This Is Money tried to quantify it a few months ago and following is a rather random table that may give you an idea of value. It doesn’t seem to be based on value or scarcity and seems to be a subjective list of randomly selected handsets but still potentially helpful. Enjoy:


1. Motorola DynaTAC 8000x (£1,000)

2. Nokia 3310 (£10 – £55) 

3. First ever Nokia Mobira Talkman 1981 (£900)

4. Apple iPhone 2G (£150 – £1,000)

5. Motorola StarTAC (£30 – £100)

6. Motorola Razr V3 (£15 – £60) / Dolce & Gabanna model (£150)

7. Sony Ericcson W880i (£30 – £50)

8. Nokia N95 (£60 – £90)

9. HTC One (£40 – £50)

10. Nokia 9000 Communicator (£20 – £50)

(Estimated value in brackets) 

2g iPhones raises an eyebrow (mine cost a tenner a few years back). As does the Nokia Mobira Talkman at nearly a grand although I’m not interested in that generation. I personally like phones that I remember having or using and that work on modern gsm networks. You can switch on a Nokia 7110 or 8110i  (or whatever) and use it. If this blog was a car magazine it would be ‘Practical Classics’.

Original article here:





Are YOU sitting on a fortune in old tech (hint: probably not)

This is quite an interesting one and does reflect the increasing prices we’re seeing for old phones, consoles and technology in general.

Original Game Boys up to £75? When did that happen? I remember selling my original for a tenner. Perhaps I should have held in to it but then again you can’t hold onto everything unless you get a bigger loft. I do the love the way these old phones, gadgets and games consoles keep going though. Built to last with no lead – free solder in sight.

A bit on my current favourite too:

Nokia 8110 handsets, made famous in the 90s Matrix films, are changing hands for up to £41, according to the research.

The phones, which featured a spring-loaded slider in the science fiction cult classics, were the favourite of lead character Neo – played by Keanu Reeves.

They actually seem to be going for a lot more than that if refurbished and with reconditioned battery but £41 for untested sounds possible. I wouldn’t say they were a favourite of Neo’s in the matrix movies though. The phones only appeared in the original (an awful Samsung featured in the remaining films) and he didn’t really pick it as a favourite as much as handed it in an envelope. The spring loaded effect the special effects people added was pretty cool though… maybe that should be the next project. I remember someone coming up with an autoslide mod years ago. Perhaps the instructions for that rather cool modification are still out there somewhere…

Article here:


Quite an interesting piece on the increasing popularity (and consequently value) of vintage cell phones

I was sent this link and whilst I don’t read The Mirror normally… thought it was interesting.

The prices are off (£150 for a 2G iPhone?? £60 for an n95?? Mine cost a fiver. HTC One?? That only came out five minutes ago) but this bit from a collector did resonate:

“Finding an old handset in the back of a drawer can be an evocative experience. People tend to remember the phone they had during significant periods in their lives, such as a certain job or a particularly memorable holiday. It’s interesting that a piece of technology can induce sentimental feelings in many people.”

Now the thing about humans is that nostalgia often brings us back to the toys, sports, teams and (yes) cell phones that remind us of the past. A famous fictional character once said that every day, the future looks a little bit darker but that the past… even the grimy parts of it… keep on getting brighter (kudos to anyone who can name that person).

So yes, people collect the vintage Star Wars figures or pick up a Super Nintendo, or buy a classic car they’ve wanted for years… or find their way back to the phone they had at university or school and played their first game of snake on. Or the cellphone they always wanted but never had or smashed that time they were drunk.

And that’s why the prices for second hand retro phones on eBay keep going up. And that’s why they’re remaking the Nokia 3110. And that’s why sites like this one are springing up.

They’re looking at remaking more old phones you know? I’m not sure I’d want a ‘re-imagined’ Nokia 8110 for the same reason that driving the modern Volkswagen Beetle left me feeling empty.

It makes as much sense to me as a £150 iPhone from 2007.

Using the Nokia 8110 in 2017 – tutorials

First in a series of videos I’ve created to show how to refurbish, maintain and put new cells into the 8110 series of phones. Please let me have any comments below.

About the Nokia 8110

It was the first of Nokia’s high-end 8000 series mobile or cell phone and was released in 1996. The 8110i came a little later in 1998.The styling was the first example of a ‘slider’  type form factor with a sliding cover protecting the keypad and extended downwards when in use, which brought the microphone closer to the user’s mouth.
Opening the cover answered an incoming call. The curvature of case, particularly, earned it the nickname banana phone.
When released it was aimed at business users and was very much a premium phone and could be seen retailing for several hundred pounds.
You can still get them second hand on auction sites although if you can, get one that is confirmed fully functional. You can get these for as low as fifty pounds.
As well as the Nokia 8110 and 8110i there are gsm-1800 variants in the form of The Nokia 8146/8148. These were offered by orange uk as the as NK502 and NK503.
These phones can still be used today with the correct sim… and a refurbished battery. 


Start a blog they said…

…it’ll be interesting they said.

Cue an organisational ‘restructure’ at my place of work leading over the course of several painful months to a redundancy and no opportunity to really do much with it at all. Sorry.

That hasn’t stopped me dabbling in some retro mobile phone fun where time allows. A ‘Neo in Matrix’ style Nokia 8110i phone has kept me busy, including learning how to re-condition and solder in new cells. That may be the subject of my next blog. In fact I have several Nokia 8110 series and have been pleasantly surprised at how useable they are nowadays. Assuming all you want to do is make and receive calls and send the odd painfully-laborious text.

More soon…

Welcome to retromobilephones.com

I always loved mobile phones. For reasons I won’t bore you with I was lucky enough to be gifted at an unreasonably young age an Orange 5.1 in the late nineties. It changed everything.

Suddenly you could talk to people while ‘out and about’. You didn’t need to wait next to that land line hard-wired line into your house to be able to speak to people. Mobile phones were a relatively new thing (phone boxes were still a fixture on more city streets than not) and people looked at me like I was… an alien. They looked at me in a very similar way to how I look at the people nowadays going around town on hover boards (which by the way are not boards and do not hover).

A few years after that I ugraded to a Nokia 5110, a Nokia 3210 and then a whole host of phones I can bore you with another time if you’re unlucky. Over the course of the next decade I had 5 or 6 more cellphones. Mainly Nokia or Samsung with one Alcatel that I still get flashbacks about and not in a good way.

Fast forward a few decades and not that long ago I was onto my 7th smartphone in the space of a few years. After my first generation iPhone I’d tried a HTC Hero, HTC Desire, Samsung Hercules, Samsing Galaxy 2 or II and a few more before settling on a Samsung Note 2 which was a nice, big smartphone which was very good. Until I dropped it innoculously a few feet onto a carpeted floor and smashed the screen.

I recalled that a survivor from years before, my trusty 5110, was still in a drawer somewhere. In desperation I grabbed it, charged it and after a gap of 15 years… it only switched on. Unexpected. I slammed my SIM card into it expecting it not to work and it did and with way better reception than I had received for years which was a bit surprising. Now I realise that I had happened upon a phone that matched the 900MhZ frequency my current provider uses.

By the time the Note 2 came back with a nice new screen I was hooked and carried on using the 5110 out and about. It just felt… nice. Like a phone rather than a shrunk down computer. I got a new battery which boosted time between charges a few more days.

Since then I’ve amassed a collection of classic and vintage handsets, many of which I have had to repair and recondition myself. I’ve come across many other enthusiasts, most of whom have got collections, tips and tales of their own and would similarly like to share them with others… so we thought it would be great to have somewhere to share the latest car boot find or showcase some of the great collections out there… which is where this site hopefully comes in. At some point perhaps we can expand it and introduce a discussion board (if I can find the time or leave some of the old handsets alone long enough) but one step at a time…

Hope you enjoy it.