Cell phones are ubiquitous today, but back in the 1980s owning one was the ultimate flex. The 80s cell phone was big, bulky, and expensive. Some even came with a briefcase that looked like something out of a James Bond movie. Though often referred to as a “brick”, back in the 1980s if you owned one of these bad boys people knew that you were a serious player.
While most were busy playing with their Nintendo and Sega games, a select few were rocking these larger than life cell phones. It was one of the coolest inventions of the 80s that let everyone know you were hip to the game!
The 80s Cell Phone
If you were privileged enough to own one of these brick cell phones during the 1980s, chances are you will remember owning one of the models below.
With all these great vintage phones to choose from, let’s take a trip down memory lane and look at some of the most popular 1980s cell phones!
1. Motorola DynaTAC 8000X
The Motorola DynaTAC 8000X was the first commercially available cell phone. It was released in 1983 and was a big hit with businessmen. The phone was large and bulky, but it was cutting-edge technology at the time. They cost $4,000 when they were first sold in 1983.
A full charge took approximately 10 hours and provided about 10 minutes of talk time, or six hours of standby time. Users often carried portable batteries that could recharge their phones on the go to extend the battery life.
2. Motorola DynaTAC 8000S
The Motorola DynaTAC 8000S was released in 1983 and was the first “lightweight” cell phone ever made. It weighed only 2 pounds and had an excellent battery life of 3 hours talk time or 8 hours standby time. Priced at $3,995, it was marketed to government agencies, truckers, and executives who needed to be reachable on the go but did not want to carry a heavy object around with them all day long.
3. NEC 9A
The NEC 9A was released in 1987 and was the most innovative design of its time. It was the first phone to have a built-in answering machine and could also be used as a pager. It was also the first phone with caller ID. Priced at £1795, the NEC 9A was ahead of its time and is still considered one of the most innovative cell phone designs today.
4. Nokia Mobira Cityman
The Nokia Mobira Cityman was one of the most popular cell phones of the 1980s. It was small and lightweight, making it easy to carry around. It was also among the first handheld cell phones with a great design that fit well into your hand.
Plus, you could buy accessories for the phone to use such as a portable answering machine or calendar. At £4,500, the Cityman wasn’t cheap, but it was an excellent investment at the time if you had the cash.
5. Motorola DynaTAC 8500X
Released in 1987, the Motorola DynaTAC 8500X was a powerful phone with voice-activated dialing and an antenna that could fold inside the phone. It was an improvement of earlier models like the Motorola DynaTAC but not as revolutionary as its predecessors like the NEC 9A. It had a slightly sleeker design and was available in dark gray color.
Final Words On The 80s Cell Phone
In a nutshell, the 1980s was the decade for the rise of the cell phone. The invention of these portable devices revolutionized the way we communicated with each other and helped bring the world closer together.
They may have been big and bulky by today’s standards, but they were revolutionary for their time. They also had a price tag that matched the sheer massive size of these things, but if you were lucky enough to be able to afford one, they were the ultimate symbol of cool. Though these brick dinosaurs seem to have been long forgotten, we will always fondly look back when it comes to the 80s cell phone.