It’s fall now. In summer, Slate linked to Ashley Feinberg’s Gizmodo article describing her experience in 2014 with using the Motorola Razr V3 for one month. Used to using iPhones, Feinberg was surprised by how much less functionality this classic phone had. At least its batteries lasted longer.
In July of 2004, Motorola debuted the Razr V3, one of the most iconic cellphones of all time. Exactly 10 years later, I shed my iPhone for a month to experience the world where apps don’t exist and T9 reigns king. Maybe I did it for the nostalgia. Maybe I did it because I hate myself just a little bit. Either way, one thing is certain: Using 2004’s hottest phone in 2014 is hell.
It may be hard to remember now—or to believe at all, if you’re under 20—but at the time of its release the Razr was the final word in mobile technology. For the first time, you got a sleek, powerful, and wildly expensive bit of metal to call not only your cellphone but your status symbol, too. A couple of years and a few slashes into the $700 price tag later, you could barely go outside without seeing someone flip open a Razr. In four years, Motorola sold 130 million of them, a record that wouldn’t be touched until well into the iPhone’s run.
That lingering coolness factor only makes it all the more depressing when you realize that, today, the Razr is a barely functional, actively-out-to-sabotage you bit of technological refuse. What was once displayed with pride on a shiny store pedestal, I found on eBay for $36 and sandwiched between a bulk set of broken chargers and discontinued memory cards.
[. . .]
Maps are hard. I am perhaps the most directionally inept person I know. I always assumed that, were it not for my phone’s GPS, I would have been forced to settle down in the nearest park to build a new life for myself long ago.
[. . .]
There was a reason we used to carry around digital cameras. As far as the casual consumer is concerned, cellphones today are more than capable of handling our various photo-taking needs. I was quickly reminded that this was not always the case.
[. . .]
We take threaded conversations for granted. And they have made me impossibly lazy. I’m so used to being able to see entire messaging conversations at a swipe that I hardly even bother to absorb the words I’m looking at. Because normally, I can take an absentminded glance (mostly to stave off notification anxiety), and later, when I’m ready to respond, the entire back-and-forth is staring me in the face.