We're feeling retro this week at Mobile Choice. ‘Remember the clamshell?' we asked each other. ‘They don't make phones like that anymore.' And they don't. But in case you're old-school like us, or just old, and really want one of those flippy phones that you can snap shut so satisfyingly at the end of a conversation, check out our five favourite clamshell handsets.
PS. By total coincidence, every phone here has a two-megapixel camera. Moral? Don't buy clamshells to take photos.
BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220
Cottoning onto clamshells about four years late, BlackBerry released their first-ever flip-phone just a couple months ago. And it trumps every phone here, being a bona fide smartphone with a full HTML browser, Wi-Fi connectivity and of course RIM's top-notch email function with easy access to corporate email. The keyboard is an excellent size for a clamshell, and the Flip rocks the same great user interface as the Storm and Bold, with bright, well-designed icons. No GPS or 3G, but still a solid device.
Sony Ericsson W980
Sony E's Walkman line rarely balls it up, and the W980 is another good offering with dedicated music player buttons and a whopping 8GB on on-board memory. The front of the phone has a screen for music player info, and its unsung feature is the online experience - HSDPA data speed and push-email. Also, we lied a bit, the camera is 3.15-megapixels not two, but we still didn't get great images out of it.
Toshiba Portégé G910
We're not sure when Toshiba went all smartphone-y, but the Portégé G910 is an interesting take on the clamshell - it opens sideways, like a book. (Though the full QWERTY means you turn it round to use it anyway.) The killer app - aside from the clamshell design, obviously - is its connectivity. It's HSDPA- and Wi-Fi-enabled, and has GPS as well. Then there's the music player, full HTML browser and a crystal-clear VGA screen. The G910 may not be running on the fastest processor, but it does pack a lot of features.
Remember when Motorola released a lot of phones, and basically made the clamshell what it is? Was? Anyway. Back in '07, the M's much-vaunted super-sexy clamshell series RAZR made a gasp for relevance with the V8 - an ultra-slim flip-phone with excellent music player, a nice 2GB of internal and some marathon battery life (500 min talk, 280 hours standby). The V8 also had CrystalTalk technology, which automatically adjusts audio so that calls are clear, despite background noice. Yep, a phone that had more than just RAZR(ha!)-sharp good looks.
Nokia's just got to have their fingers in everything haven't they? Like this RAZR-esque media phone that, with features like Symbian S60 OS and 3G, also happens to have been the first clamshell smartphone. It's ever so slightly fatter than the V8 at 13.7mm (the V8 got down to 11.9mm), but it's also got a bit more going on under the hood. Dedicated music player controls make it a good music phone, and a 3.5mm audio jack tops it off.