Phones have been black, rectangular slabs for a long time because neutral tones sell best. While vendors have thrown out wild card colors over the years, a recent trend toward eye-catching finishes is stirring up shelf appeal and making phones more craveable -- that is, until you put them in a case.
Boring black or rippling blue: It's easy to see which jumps off the shelf.
This gorgeous phone has a pop-up camera mechanism that helped maintain an all-screen design: The camera lens rises out of the housing when you need to take a photo instead of taking up space on the display.
The gradient shifts from purple to blue on this finish, and there's another white-blush gradient for those who prefer a more subtle phone.
The colors come to life as they catch the light.
In the light, the purple streak forms an S-shaped curve.
The slide-out screen puts two camera sensors on the front and two on the back, on a midrange, midprice handset.
It's definitely a more unusual-looking device the moment you start snapping photos.
In the US, it's not so much a phone as it is an accessory, but elsewhere, you could technically pop in your own SIM and use it as a standalone model.
The Palm never failed to turn heads in the office or out on the street, and the finish and feel are remarkably upscale for such a tiny little thing.
When it first arrived on the scene in 2018, it was in the first wave of phones to use an in-screen fingerprint reader, gesture controls, and face unlock.
Its back casing also had a see-through effect that, while not a "real" window into the internal components, nevertheless made a statement.
It's slider camera once again attempted to circumvent the need for a notch screen by hiding the camera inside the phone.
We called it "supersize, superpowered, superpricy", fit to challenge the Galaxy S9 that reigned last year.
The HTC U Ultra of 2017 was an important precursor to gradient finishes because of the astounding depth that HTC added to each color. The white, for example, had pearlescent qualities that photos can't quite capture.
HTC achieved the feeling of deep color by the use of colored glass. The two main drawbacks of any finish like this: fierce reflections and fingerprints.
Compared to the straight-sided Galaxy S6, the Edge here felt like a completely new phone that drew you into its center.
The Pebl had a "sexy design and comes with Bluetooth, a speakerphone, world phone support, and solid call quality," German wrote in his 2006 review.
Flip phones in 2003 sure didn't look like the Motorola V70, which earned CNET's approval for its innovative design. More than a flip phone, you rotated the face to reveal the keyboard and position the phone's microphone.