Retro Review: My First Mobile Phone!

– I remember it like it
was, well, 18 years ago. I had borrowed my mother's
cell phone for a day for some reason, and being able to call anyone from
anywhere gave me a sense of autonomy that not even getting my driver's license had. So I walked into RadioShack,
we still had those back then, and talked
to the only carrier that would sell a phone to an
18 year old with no credit. Sprint, $129 later, what I walked out with was Mr Mobile's first mobile phone. (light music) Straight from the Ebay
box, the first thing that comes back to me about
the Samsung SCH-3500, is how futuristic it felt
when it was launched in 1999. Sure, the display was a
monochrome LCD with pixels you could count with the
naked eye, but the phone around it, that was unique. It made clever use of space by including a hole in the flip, so
you didn't always need to open it to use it. Motorola had done this
before with the I-1000 but this, this was almost
as petite as the Star Trek communicator I devoutly wished it was.

Sadly, there was no speaker
phone on this model, but the Samsung software
did let you customize the welcome banner, so I
was able to sneak a little star fleet into this thing. And it packed a futuristic
feature for the time, voice dialing for up to 20 phone numbers. Great for making calls while driving, which was probably outlawed in my state right after I bought this. Cool thing about dusting
off phones this old is that it conjures up
memories of old networks too. See the word Dual on the
front of the flip here? That means the phone ran on
Sprint's digital CDMA network, oh hey Qualcomm what's up? But, if it couldn't find
that digital signal, it could also roam on analog networks. That's part of the reason
for this extendable antenna here, and I remember
using analog precisely once.

A minute of staticky
mestering which I heard fragments of a stranger's conversation, that's a phenomenon called cross talk. But couldn't hear the
person I called at all. What order? Who is taking Genesis? Yeah, that call cost me a $1.29, and I never used analog roaming again. Now staying digital meant
I got to use wireless data. Yeah, even in 2001, five
bucks a month got me unlimited news, weather, text, and
instant messaging delivered at a, hold on to your hat,
100 kilobits per second.

And I used it too, I
remember being on a sail boat race around Long Island and
using AOL instant messenger to talk to my best friend
by tapping out words on the keypad. And this was before any predictive text. Why not just call him? Well, back in these days,
phone calls were more expensive than pizza
deliveries to the international space station, that really
happened in 2001 by the way. My $40 plan gave me only 350
week day minutes per month, which worked out to
about 16 minutes a day. I had to wait until after
sunset or after Friday to use my much larger pool
of night and weekend minutes. And at this time, carriers
would fight for customers by offering not just more
minutes, but how early those night and early
weekend minutes would start. If it sounds absurd, yeah, it really was. And the phone calls on
this thing weren't even that great, Samsung had a
reputation for poor reception on its phones until 2004 or so.

And the earpiece on this
model was also rather quiet. Thankfully the ringer was anything but. (cell phone ringing) Speaking of that earpiece,
who woulda thought that this old phone would
give me a lesson in chemistry? You've probably noticed
how gross this flip is, and no, that's not something
we blame on the previous owner. Some googling lead me to a
site called Polymer Solutions, which explains that this is an example of something called rubber reversion. Basically, before Samsung
molded this earpiece into an comfortable soft touch material, it started out life as a
liquid petroleum product and it's gotten so old
that it's now behaving more like a latex, slowly reverting
back to its liquid state. Like Odo after too long
away from his Bucket. So the next time someone
scoffs at your new phone having broken too easily,
they say they don't make them like they used too. You can remind them
that none of this stuff was ever really built to last. Let's close out on that subject, lasting, this phone featured
a removable battery.

But, as a college student
I was always too poor to buy another one, and
because the pack was only rated for about two and
a half hours of talk time, I remember spending
several long calls with the phone still charging on its cradle. Could I be any more 2001? So, at the end of the
day I'll always carry fond memories of my first cell phone. But I sure am glad I don't still have to use it today. (light music) but you may have noticed a
bunch of other YouTuber's posting their first phones today too. I'll drop links to their channels and the description, and thank
them for including me in this fun day of looking back.

You can join the fun, share
with me your first phone experience in the
comments below and please subscribe to the Mr Mobile on
YouTube while you're there. Until next time, thanks for watching and stay mobile my friends..

As found on YouTube

When Phones Were Fun: LG Crystal (2009)

this video is sponsored by hellofresh america's number one meal kit the last time i brought you back to 2009 to show you a semi-transparent phone the label on the casing said sony and the clear part was the screen this time around the name on the box says lg and it's the keypad that's crystal clear all right before we get started a little psa for those of you who may have caught the vintage mobile phone bug from some of these episodes that's great but if you're buying an old gadget please confirm with the seller that it works first it sounds obvious i know but it's so easy to get caught up in the excitement and pull the trigger on a rare device auction before doing your due diligence that's what happened to the device that was supposed to be the star of this video the aol mobile communicator whose password its owner forgot sometime in the 20 years since he bought it and in a cruel twist the same thing happened to my first backup choice the oft requested samsung juke eventually i'll get other samples of these or figure out how to reset my way around the lockouts those videos will be done but just learn from my mistake verify functionality before you shell out all right on to the device of the day the lg gd900 better known by its code name lg crystal was widely requested in the comments of my xperia pureness video and now that i have one in my hands i understand why while the sony is flashier from a futurist perspective the lg is much more practical keep the phone shut and it easily blends in among its contemporaries echoing the lines of the lg voyager while recalling the company's chic prada line with this brushed metal effect on the function keys sadly the effect is just that as with almost every phone you could buy in 2009 the majority of this device was plastic that almost seemed to come out of the box already greasy but no other phone gave you a slide out touch pad quite like this it's glass and for good reason it's not just a keyboard but a capacitive trackpad that means you could control parts of the interface using gestures or move a mouse pointer on screen without obscuring the screen itself that sounds familiar maybe you were a blackberry fan many of that brand's devices starting with the passport and carrying right on through to the key2 offered a similar capacitive keyboard but i never knew when i first saw that feature in 2014 that lg had beaten blackberry by some five years and because it's glass on the crystal you're not dragging your thumb over physical keys to do it it is really identical in feel to using a touchscreen and honestly i think that's how lg achieved this it seems to be just the digitizer component of a touch panel built into glass with etched numerals and some led side lighting that never stays on long enough for me to get the shot but that's beside the point the crystal was forward thinking in other ways too in an era when front-facing cameras were still rare in the us this phone packed one of course its vga quality doesn't hold up to any of the modern marvels from 11 years later but the point is it was there the counterpart to this camera was an 8 megapixel primary shooter around back pretty high res for the day which you could activate with the dedicated shutter button and don't you dare even think about using the crop style digital zoom the old-fashioned way no no for that you trace the shape of a circle on the keypad to zoom in or out slowly and painfully while trying to make this work i couldn't help but think about some of lg's more recent experiments in user interface design i guess some things never really change powering the phone was a 1 000 milliamp hour battery it's about a third the average size of a modern smartphone which you could remove and replace but you didn't have to do so to get at the microsd card slot which was a somewhat rare convenience also audio files get your pearls ready for clutching this was one of the many devices of the period to omit a full-size headphone jack with lg instead bundling special earbuds that plugged into the micro usb port of course bluetooth was also available should you want to be one of those guys to my eye the crystal holds up quite nicely in 2021 seems like every time i look at it i find a new aspect to appreciate like the tasteful gradient that traverses the battery door from transparent through smoky grade piano black just before the word transparent appears to tell my brain what my eyes already know but you know while this series is called when phones were fun i got to tell you there are things i do not miss about this period in proto smartphone software design let me go cook up that list while i share with you some other stuff i've been cooking lately what if i told you the difference between this and this is less than an hour with no trip to the grocery store today's video is sponsored by hellofresh who sent over a calorie smart meal kit this month because with all this winter weather i haven't been able to get as many steps in as i'd like on top of that i haven't been cooking as much so my kitchen skills have gotten a little rusty as it turns out though hello fresh is so easy even i couldn't screw it up instead of undercooking the cranberry dijon pork tenderloin and overcooking the wasabi soy chicken like i expected each one came out perfectly and you know if i sound proud of that i am i never expected to be able to serve a meal that tastes delicious cuts calories and saves time just by following directions well hellofresh does all that with pre-portioned ingredients that give you everything you need and nothing you don't whether you go meat veggie pescetarian carb smart whatever you want to do plus it works with your schedule so you can add a meal or skip a week whenever you need go to and use code 10 mr mobile to get 10 free meals including free shipping again go to and use code 10 mr mobile to get 10 free meals including free shipping thanks to hellofresh for sponsoring this video okay so yeah in the wake of the iphone of 2007 and the first android phone of 2008 almost every manufacturer that wasn't using an existing smartphone platform was trying to push its own custom solution the lg crystals was called s-class and while it actually won an award at the time i'm forced to agree with flora graham who in a contemporaneous review for cnet wrote that s-class was low-class this is just the absolute perfect storm of all the overwrought design decisions that were happening at the time you've got a spinning 3d cube for a home screen widgets that are allowed to stack on top of one another for some reason every icon drips with the cloying skeomorphism that apple made popular with the first iphone but tragically the responsiveness of that iphone and android contemporaries like the motorola droid is nowhere to be found here in other words the crystal is slow but of course it was a product of its time and buried among all the lag and cuteness are some delightful totems of the turn of the decade for example accelerometers were still a fairly new addition to phones so lg loaded this thing up with gesture driven games that taught you how to use it with a virtual ping-pong paddle or a virtual fishing pole manufacturers were also opening up other phone sensors to developers for the first time too so you had apps like mellow candle with a flame that would react to how hard you blew on the microphone sure it's all stuff you can get for free in the app store today but at the time this was as groundbreaking as that lightsaber app for the nokia n95 or yeah the beer app for the iphone it was all about exposing you to sensors on the phone that you didn't necessarily know about and usage paradigms that you didn't necessarily consider and then there's the side benefit of reminding you that lg has always known how to build a powerful [Music] speakerphone [Music] eleven years after this phone hit the market for about 700 us dollars we're entering the biggest period of uncertainty that lg mobile has ever faced as such i'm currently working on a tour of some of the company's phones that i've found most interesting over the years but while i've never owned it myself this one in particular is special despite its software flaws which lg would effectively solve by sensibly shifting its focus to android soon after its release the crystal is a singular blend of everything i've long appreciated about lg an eye for beauty but an appreciation for restraint and a willingness to try something crazy if for no other reason then no one's ever done it before it's a totem from a time when twin touchscreens still felt like the future and phones were fun this episode was produced following an insanely rushed day with the gd 900 crystal purchased by mr mobile lg had no say in its production and provided no compensation for same quick shout out to os reviews on youtube for an in-depth walkthrough of this phone that taught me a few things if you haven't had enough of this phone i will link you to that video below check out earlier videos in this series at the mr mobile on youtube and please subscribe so you don't miss future features on old and new mobile tech alike until next time thanks for watching and until you get that jab in the arm remember to stay safe and mask up while you stay mobile my friends you

As found on YouTube