It’s not so much a smackdown as it is a “what were they smoking?”…
5th Place – 7610
I got to see Nokia’s first 1 megapixel cameraphone with my own eyes during a stopover in Frankfurt in 2004 (at the Nokia City Shop if you must know). In red and black (instead of the gold seen above) it was stunning, and the keys were actually quite comfortable to use, provided you were looking at them — how else could you possibly remember that the asterisk button was three times the size of the #3 key?!
Funny thing is, Nokia dumbed down their cutting-edge number-pad for the North American market with the 6670, and the buttons on that thing were actually much worse.
4th Place – N-Gage QD
You could lump the first-gen N-Gage in here as well, obviously. Usability takes a big hit when you move the entire number-pad over to one side of a device, although in this case editing blocks of text would actually be easier with the d-pad on the opposite end of the handset.
Sure, these were unabashed gaming machines; but at some point you’d have to, you know, dial a number or something. At least with the QD you wouldn’t look like a complete idiot when taking a call…
3rd Place – 3650
I’ll freely admit that when I first spotted this handset in a Hong Kong romcom I wanted one, bad. It was the first Nokia to offer video recording and marked the return of the Xpress-on covers that I missed so much from my 5190 at the turn of the century.
But that button layout? Come on Nokia, in retrospect you have to admit that hearkening back to the rotary dialer on a keypad that didn’t rotate didn’t make much sense, did it? I know you tried to make things right with the 3660 but by then it was too late…
2nd Place – 7600
Less of a handset and more of a projectile weapon, really — and that’s despite being Nokia’s smallest and lightest (and ugliest) 3G handset of the day. They were rare with good reason; I’d go so far as to say that your only chance of ever getting your hands on a production model would be if you were in Japan on May 4th, 2004 and your name was Joi Ito.
1st (i.e. last) Place – 7380
It should come as no surprise that Nokia’s worst keypad abomination of all time was a handset without a keypad at all. Or a touchscreen. Amazingly, the only way you could compose a text was by using that scroll-wheel at the top of the handset… or the bottom; I think that photo is upside-down.
If it sounds like a familiar joke, it isn’t — check out Nokia’s own online tutorial and choose “Messaging” from the “Feature demos” menu to the right. It was published as a guide for the earlier 7280, which I prefer for its art-deco colour scheme but would never, ever buy. That would be stupid.
Are there other Nokia keypad WTFs that I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments below!