Phones from Nokia's glory years

The end of an era came on April 25, 2014 when Microsoft completed its acquisition of Nokia's handset division. Though our Finnish friends haven't lost their touch in building high-quality smartphones like the Lumia Icon (pictured above), the company has spent the last few years trailing behind its rivals in developed markets.

Yet, as any mobile phone geek can tell you, there was a time when Nokia was the cell phone company that mattered. Starting in the 1990s and until the advent of the iPhone and Android, it produced many of the planet's most successful phones. Join me to relive some of Nokia's biggest hits and craziest leaps of faith. Note that when appropriate, I've included a link to the original CNET review.

Editors' note: This slideshow was first published in September 2010 and was last updated on April 25, 2014.

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Nokia 1011

Introduced: 1992

The 1011 wasn't the first commercially available mobile phone and it wasn't the first GSM handset, but it was the first mass-produced GSM phone.

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Nokia 2110

Introduced: 1994

The 2110 wasn't much for looks or features, but it was the first Nokia phone to have the company's now-iconic ringtone.

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Nokia 5110

Introduced: 1998

Almost everyone seemed to have the 5110 as the millennium approached. Indeed, it was the very first cell phone that I ever owned. Sturdy and almost indestructible, you could swap the candy bar phone's outer cover for new ones of various colors. The Nokia 232 was a somewhat early version of this phone; it was released in 1994.

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Nokia 8110

Introduced: 1998

The distinctively styled 8110 was more than just the first of Nokia's "Premium" 8000 series: it was the first Nokia phone to have a slider design. The phone was also called the "banana phone" (it had a curved shape when the slider was open) and the "'Matrix' phone" (it appeared in the film). It lacked a speakerphone, and the phone book accommodated only 125 entries.

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Nokia 7110

Introduced: 1999

The 8110 was succeeded by the 7110, which had a spring-loaded slider and a thumb wheel for navigation. What's more, it was the first Nokia phone to have a WAP browser. Six years later, the design would appear again in the stainless steel Nokia 8800.

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Nokia 8210

Introduced: 1999

The 8210 was one of the smallest and lightest phones of its time, and it was another model that almost everyone had. It had an infrared port -- sort of a Bluetooth precursor -- and it starred in many television shows and movies including "Absolutely Fabulous" (Patsy mistook it for a small shoe) and "Charlie's Angels."

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Nokia 3310

Introduced: 2000

Based on the wildly popular 3210 from 1999, the 3310 had voice dialing, interchangeable covers, and a user-friendly design.

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Nokia 6310

Introduced: 2001

Long and thin, Nokia marketed the 6310 as a business phone. It offered an amazing new feature called Bluetooth -- it was the first Nokia to do so -- and it had an infrared port, Java games, a voice memo recorder, and support for GPRS networks. Though it had a green monochrome screen, color displays weren't far behind. The 6310i, which came the next year, added Java, triband reception, and a blue monochrome screen.

CNET review bottom line: The 6310i's design is ho-hum, but it's an affordable workhorse mobile with a strong feature set and impressive battery life.

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Nokia 3530

Introduced: 2002

The 3530 was one of the first Nokia phones to feature a wacky keypad. Indeed, it would not be the last, as the similarly designed 2300 came just a year later. The phone's featured included a WAP browser, Java support, and polyphonic ringtones. The 3595 was a successor model.

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Nokia 7650

Introduced: 2002

Another movie star -- it got its turn in "Minority Report" -- the 7650 was the first Nokia phone to feature an integrated camera. It also was known for its slider design, the Symbian operating system, a color display, and a navigation joystick.

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Nokia 1100

Introduced: 2003

Simple to the core, the 1100 was designed for customers in emerging markets who needed only the most basic features. Later, it also landed at prepaid carriers in developed markets. It remains one of the world's best-selling phones.

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Nokia 3200

Introduced: 2003

The 3200 was a unique phone on a few counts. You could take apart the handset's shell and replace the paper faceplate with a selection of designs that came in the box, or you could draw your own. Also, instead of nine individual buttons, six oval keys set in uneven rows had two characters each. Its features included a flashlight, a CIF camera (remember those?), an FM radio, an infrared port, and support for EDGE data networks.

Nokia later released a CDMA version of the phone called the 3205, and T-Mobile got a revamped version, the 3220.

CNET review bottom line: Though it comes with some nice features, the Nokia 3200's dare-to-be-different design will not appeal to everyone.

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Nokia 3650

Introduced: 2003

A groundbreaking handset in many ways, the 3650 was one of the first phones in North America to have an integrated camera. It also had a display that supported 4,096 colors, Bluetooth, a speakerphone, voice dialing, and an external slot for MultiMediaCards. Yet, not everyone loved the phone's hefty size, and the circular keypad required a lengthy adjustment period. Nokia later kept the features and the basic shape, but opted for a more traditional keyboard on the 3620.

CNET review bottom line: The 3650 is a cutting-edge mobile that sports all the must-have features for a less than astronomical price.

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Nokia 5100

Introduced: 2003

It was fitting that the 5100 was part of the company's "Active" 5000 series. Encased in a durable rubber shell that protected it from moisture, shocks, and dust, it gave Motorola's Nextel phones a run for their money. Seriously, you could throw it against the wall and it would keep on ticking. The offbeat feature set included a thermometer, a flashlight, a calorie counter, and an FM radio. And if you didn't like the blue shell, you could change it for one in orange, green, or dark gray.

Similar models included the 5210 (also with rubber casing and a changeable shell) and the 5140.

CNET review bottom line: The sports model of cell phones, the rugged Nokia 5100 is packed with nifty features but offers middling performance.

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Nokia 6600

Introduced: 2003

A powerhouse of its time, the 6600 smartphone was the company's most advanced model at the time. Sure it resembled a brick, but the 6600 had Bluetooth, the Symbian operating system, an infrared port, a VGA camera, a MultiMediaCard expansion slot, an integrated RealOne player, e-mail, and an XHTML browser.

The nearly identical 6620 was adapted for North American cellular networks, and the 6630 upgraded the feature set in a design with a rounded bottom end. In the riveting 2004 movie "Cellular," Kim Basinger's rescuer spoke to her on a 6600.

CNET review bottom line: The Nokia 6600 isn't the sexiest or the smallest cell phone we've seen, but it packs plenty of high-end features that will please smartphone addicts.

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Nokia 7600

Introduced: 2003

Who other than Nokia could make this phone? Part of Nokia's "Fashion" 7000 series, the teardrop-shaped 7600 had a 65,000-color display with keys arranged on either side. It also offered interchangeable covers, a VGA camera, an MP3 player, Bluetooth, an infrared port, and USB support. The Nokia 7610 that came later opted for a more conventional keypad design while keeping the teardrop shape. Then in 2009, the 7705 Twist coupled a square shape with a swivel design.

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Nokia 3300

Introduced: 2004

An early pass at combining an MP3 player with a phone, the Nokia 3300 got a few things right, including great sound quality, an FM tuner, support for  voice commands, and an external memory. But if the split keyboard didn't put you off, the weird way you held the 3300 to make a call (with its  spine resting against your face) would.

CNET review bottom line: If you want to carry around fewer gadgets, the music mobile might be for you, but serious cell phone users should look elsewhere.

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Nokia 6820

Introduced: 2004

The follow-up to the bulkier 6800 from 2003, the 6820 featured a novel flip-out keyboard for messaging. It was very cool at the time, and I loved how the display switched orientation when you opened the keyboard. Though not a true flip phone, the company began producing clamshells like the 2650 and 6103 about the same time.

CNET review bottom line: The full-featured Nokia 6820 is a solid phone and is sure to please text-messaging fans.

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Nokia 7280

Introduced: 2004

Yes, this was a phone. Also called the "lipstick phone," the 7280 pulled apart in the middle to answer calls. It lacked a keyboard of any kind, which forced you to interact with the handset solely through a scroll wheel, a menu/OK button, and two soft keys. Though dialing phone numbers on it was a pain, texting was surprisingly easy to do even without numbered keys. Inside there was a VGA camera, an FM radio, and Bluetooth. It even had a WAP browser, though it was frustrating to use on the tiny display. I only saw one person using it in the wild

In 2005, Nokia released a second version with the gold and shiny 7380. Other notable handsets in the "fashion" series included the 7370 swivel phone and the 7390 flip handset.

CNET review bottom line: While its design is purely a matter of taste, the 7280 is a feature-packed cell phone that performed well in our tests.

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Nokia 6230

A classic Nokia candy bar, the 6230 was a workhorse. Features included an external memory card slot, Bluetooth, an FM radio, a digital music player, a VGA camera, and USB support. The next year, the 6230i kept the no-nonsense design, but was one of the first Nokias with a megapixel camera.

CNET review bottom line: Nokia spared no expense with the 6230's laundry list of features, but it dropped the ball with its dull design and shoddy keypad.

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Nokia 9300 Communicator

Introduced: 2005

A successor model to the original 9000 Communicator, the 9300 had a color display and a spacious keyboard. Though slimmer than its ancestor, it still was bulky and relatively heavy (5.9 ounces).

CNET review bottom line: The Nokia 9300 includes handy features for corporate users, though some of them could use work.

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NOkia 3250

Introduced: 2006

Made for music, the 3250 had a unique twisting design that enabled you to rotate between a numeric keypad and dedicated music controls. And it came in pink! It could store up to 2GB of music with a memory card; by rotating the camera lens, you could take photos with ease.

CNET review bottom line: The Nokia 3250 has some very strong features, but we found its most significant design element -- the twist mechanism -- to be more irritating than intuitive. We accept that you may love the system, though, so the watchword for this handset is try before you buy.

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Nokia N95

Introduced: 2007

One of many Nokia N Series phones, the N95 was bulky, but it had a generous load of features including a 5-megapixel camera that could also record VGA-quality video, a robust media player with a 3.5mm headphone jack, a dual-slider design, and integrated GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. Nokia corrected some mistakes on the upgraded model, but neither device ever landed at a U.S. carrier. We also liked the bulky N93.

CNET review bottom line: With a 5-megapixel camera, advanced multimedia capabilities, and GPS, there's no doubt that the Nokia N95 is one of the most feature-packed smartphones to date, but poor battery life and sluggish performance make it hard to justify the high price tag.

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Nokia E71

Introduced: 2008

One of the first of Nokia's E Series, the less sophisticated alternative to the N Series, the E71 was a slim workaholic phone that almost looked like a BlackBerry.

CNET review bottom line: Mobile professionals who need a powerful but sleek messaging-centric smartphone will be well-served by the Nokia E71; just be prepared to pay a price.

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