Editorial

I kind of miss how pretty Nokia Lumia Windows phones looked

Microsoft Lumia phones on a purple background with a logo superimposed

This morning, I had an idea for an editorial along the lines of "I turned on my Nokia Lumia 630 Windows phone after seven years, here's what still works". I rummaged around in my cabinet drawers for around 15 minutes before I finally managed to locate it in a shopping bag containing old phones. I excitedly plugged it in, however, much to my disappointment, the phone's display doesn't turn on even though there's a vibration when I plug in the charging cable.

I do remember that Lumia phones showed the charging icon when you plugged them in, but there's nothing on the display even after waiting for several minutes. Even pressing the power button doesn't yield any response. So it's definitely not completely dead, but it's useless since it doesn't turn on.

I was a bit sad because that also meant that I had to bin my idea for an editorial which I was quite looking forward to, but as I tried different things to resuscitate my beloved Lumia 630, I also began to marvel at how pretty it looked, even compared to my primary, and relatively more high-end handset, the Samsung Galaxy A51.

Nokia Lumia 630 standing in the grass
This is an older photo of the Lumia 630

Although numerous OEMs have recently started to gravitate towards more colorful phones, it was arguably Nokia Lumia Windows phones which popularized this trend of having a noticeable (flashy?) and aesthetically pleasing exterior for the phone.

Sure, people argued at that time that the polycarbonate shells that Nokia and Microsoft used were a cheaper option compared to the metal designs being used by more premium phones of that time, there was very little debate over how pretty they looked and how nice they felt to hold.

Nokia Lumia turned upside down on a table with the 41MP camera in focus
Nokia Lumia 1020

Although Microsoft and Nokia did release your standard black and white colors, it did experiment with a bunch of other more flashy colors such as red (magenta), yellow, orange, blue (cyan), and green too. Even though the Lumia 1020 (photo above) came in white and black colors too, the color that likely comes to mind when the phone's name is spoken is yellow. Nokia and Microsoft went with bolder colors and those became synonymous with Lumia handsets.

Maybe I'm speaking from personal experience but when purchasing a Lumia handset, you were less concerned about the OS and specs - since the OS was quite well optimized up until at least Windows Phone 8.1 - and more concerned about which color would best suit your style.

I fondly remember my dad calling me from the store and asking me that he has located the Lumia 630 I want, but which color do I want him to pick? There were five options: orange, yellow, green, black, and white. I went with orange and to this day, I have no regrets. At college, it always used to attract eyeballs from people around me and then they would borrow my phone for a bit while they discussed the color, the design, and the OS itself. So, I guess in a way, it was free promotion for Nokia and Microsoft too.

The polycarbonate shells were swappable as well but both firms never really capitalized on that idea. It was definitely floated around but it never became mainstream, at least in Pakistan, even though many Lumia phones were officially sold here. It would have been even more fun if you could purchase a bunch of shells, maybe even have some built custom, and then swap them according to your liking.

Lumia 720 in the hand
Nokia Lumia 720

At the same time, I fully understand that colorful phones were not and are not everyone's cup of tea. Even back in the early 2010s, the few people in my circle who did have Windows phones did not always go for the flashiest color out there.

That said, I can't help but reminisce about all the relatively daring experiments that Nokia did with Windows phones, the colorful exteriors became an identity of Lumia Windows phones and is something I still fondly remember. Yes, some OEMs release phones with relatively colorful exteriors but they are still quite muted compared to the Lumia phones of yesteryear.

I am not saying that black and white colors should be removed altogether and we should all go for the flashiest phones out there, I'm just saying that it would be nice to have the option to have more snazzy colors. But maybe that was a different time and we were different people, and maybe something like that wouldn't really work nowadays. But maybe it also wouldn't hurt to try with some mid-range phones? I'd be the first in line to buy a phone with an orange, blue, yellow, or green polycarbonate shell. But maybe that's just the nostalgia speaking.


What do you think about having more colorful exteriors for the phones of today? Would something "daring" like that still work? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!

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