In the middle of XX century, when the cell phone industry has just started to emerge, manufacturers have not adhered to the general design, and came up with their own solutions. Some manufacturers offered phones with a large keyboard, while others, for example, hid the keyboard under a retractable panel. At the same time, they came up with the clamshell phone technology, which is popular even in 2022.
The story of how it came about.
As we said above, manufacturers produced smartphones “blind,” because it was hard to know what customers wanted. Therefore, the phone “frog” should not be attributed to innovative ideas, because it is an ordinary experimental version, which was released by companies at their own risk.
The first attempt to create a foldable communication device was made by Motorola on January 3, 1966. The company released its own phone called the Motorola StarTAC, which gained popularity in the first year in the U.S. and Europe.
When these phones began to gain popularity, manufacturers began to qualify them as “clamshell form factor devices. It is noteworthy that up to the end of the era of push-button phones, the main competitors of the “clamshell” were considered a slider phone and a monoblock without moving parts.
Pros and cons
When the first folding gadgets, critics were quite skeptical. The first thing that disappointed them was the shelf life of such a device. With frequent opening of the screen, the binding structure wore out a bit. After a few years, this led to a complete disconnection of the screen and keyboard.
The second unpleasant feature could be related to the assembly of a particular model. For example, manufacturers may not have foreseen and made a fragile screen, which instantly cracked when carelessly closed. Some specialists “connected” the disclosure of the gadget with software functions, such as disabling the alarm clock. This initiative led to many mishaps, and therefore was discontinued.
Otherwise, these phones did not have any drawbacks, if judged by the standards of the time. They weighed little and were easy to fit in a pocket, both open and closed. Particularly pleased with the increased privacy, because to read a message on a closed screen is much harder than on a conventional phone.
Tips for choice
Of course, most of the “clamshell” in our top – are outdated push-button phones that are not distinguished by high performance, a good camera or a bright display. Therefore, when choosing a phone, we recommend paying attention not to these modern features, but the weight, size and usability of the gadget.
Also, do not forget that the microphone in older phones works very bad, and therefore you should find out its location beforehand. We will try to describe all the listed characteristics of each model.
The best phones – clamshells
In spite of the fact that to release own folding phone tried almost every second company, it turned out not at all. Some did not consider the software features of this technology, and others took a careless attitude to the hardware component. We analyzed all the phones that were on sale and compiled our rating.
This category included the most standard representatives, remembered by almost everyone born before 2006. They will not surprise you with their design, have basic functionality and a minimal number of components. This, in turn, has affected their price. If you need a cheap and compact “dialer”, then these models are for you.
The phone, which is remembered by the majority of buyers with its big screen and minimal set of functions, begins our rating. It is noteworthy that it is because of these features that the phone was most often bought for the elderly. To begin with, the diagonal of the display in this model is 2.8 inches, and as a matrix is set color TN for 65 thousand colors. By the standards of the time, these are fantastic and barely achievable numbers.
There are no complaints about the design of the connection between the two parts of the device, because the connecting part practically does not jam and long enough to wear out. Especially pleased with the logical location of the devices for communication: the speaker is right at the ear, and the microphone is installed at the bottom of the case. The camera of this model, in addition to having terrible resolution, is located several centimeters below eye level. This makes focusing and taking pictures much more difficult.
- location of the speaker and microphone;
- color reproduction.
- low battery life.
Price: 2 500 rubles.
Philips Xenium E255.
In this model, the mechanism connecting the display and housing to the keyboard and navigation buttons has been significantly redesigned. Manufacturers have made a minimum distance from the connecting mechanism, and therefore the chance of getting there dust or foreign objects reduced to absolute zero. It is noteworthy that such a change has had almost no effect on convenience.
Despite the close distance, the phone is just as easy to open and close without any effort. The diagonal screen in this model is 2.4 inches. The 1050 mAh battery maintains the autonomy for several days in a row, which makes the phone especially comfortable.
- sound quality.
- Uncomfortable central navigation button;
- the quality of photos.
Price: 2 700 rubles.
Phone with an extremely unusual design, which usually draws attention after the purchase. The fact that this model has a rather large distance between the keys with digits, which simplifies the entry number. As practice shows, it is very easy to make a mistake when the keys are too close.
The diagonal of the color screen is 2.4 inches, and the weight of the device is only 89 grams. It is noteworthy that the device interacts very smoothly with the Bluetooth-module, which is a rarity for that time. The obvious pluses include the presence of two SIM card slots.
- Extremely little memory.
Price: 2 400 rubles.
F+ Ezzy Trendy1
Yes, in the days of the birth of telephones there was a fashion not only for funny designs, but also for strange names. This model combines both the former and the latter. To begin with, the device is available in red and black colors. Instead of the usual four navigation buttons, the phone has only two: “Up” and “Down”.
It is noteworthy that the keypad has two buttons for starting the FM-radio and for muting. Interestingly, the 3.5 mm jack is on the left, not at the bottom or top. To summarize, the manufacturers tried to make not so much a phone as a portable player. This is evidenced by the 32MB memory.
- the main speaker;
- Large “Accept” and “Reject” buttons.
- Weak conversational speaker.
Price: 1 800 rubles.
Completes the category of simple button phones model from the company, which became famous for her cameras. Despite the fact that the camera in this phone as weak and has a resolution of 0.5 MP, it is controlled by additional buttons on the keyboard. The central navigation joystick is divided into two buttons: “Up” and “Down”. Unfortunately, the camera is the end of the innovation, because otherwise it is the same cot as the models above, but only more fragile.
- additional buttons;
- The convenient location of the buttons to accept and reject calls.
- fragile connecting mechanism.
Price: 3 600 rubles.
With two screens
At some point, manufacturers decided that users would find it impossible to open the phone “frog” to see the time and date, and therefore made another screen, which is located on the back. Even among such an unusual innovation, there were some distinguished models.
Nokia 2720 Flip Dual sim
Nokia does not require any special introduction. This brand is remembered for its rugged body, extremely high autonomy and the start of the alarm clock when it is turned off. It was funny to hear the familiar morning call from a phone that was lost months ago. To be clear, this model came out in 2019, and therefore was already produced by a completely different company.
The phone supports 4G communication standard and comes pre-installed with Google services. However, in our top gadget got because of the second screen, which displays information about the date and time. The diagonal of the main display is 2.8 inches. The autonomy suffices only for a few days of work, but this is forgivable, given the installed processor Qualcomm 205. All in all, a model for those who need both modern chips and a vintage folding gadget.
- 4G support;
- optimized OS;
- screen size.
Price: 6 500 rubles.
BQ 2814 Shell Duo.
The cheapest phone with a double screen. The diagonal of the main screen is 2.8 inches. It is noteworthy that the second display is hardly inferior in size to the first, and therefore there is more information on it. This model uses the Bluetooth 3.0 standard. This means higher speed (up to 24 Mbit/s), but also high power consumption. All in all, given that Bluetooth is the most popular way to transfer files on pushbutton phones, the new generation of this technology is considered a big plus.
- sturdy hinge.
- Weak case.
Price: 2 500 rubles.
The touch-sensitive clamshell phone
Today, manufacturers are constantly trying to surprise buyers with three characteristics: a good camera, performance and screen. If the first two points evolve gradually and almost infinitely, it is impossible to constantly increase the screen. Manufacturers have found a solution in folding smartphones, where one large touch screen folds in half. Below are the most prominent representatives of such an initiative.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3
The first flagship representative in our top, which has a dual touch screen. The total diagonal of the display is 7.6 inches. The matrix used is Dynamic AMOLED with a pixel density of 372 ppi. Users appreciated the most powerful processor to date Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, which loses in performance only to the processor A15 Bionic. The non-standard case and dual screen affected the weight, which is 271 grams.
- type of matrix;
Price: 144 500 rubles.
HUAWEI Mate Xs.
Sums up our top model from the Chinese manufacturer. Unlike Samsung fans, Huawei fans did not expect such a technical solution, and therefore this model gained quite low popularity. The lack of Google services also contributed to this.
The main display diagonal in this model is 6.6 inches. The presence of fast charging technology was a pleasant surprise. However, the built-in battery of 4500 mAh is barely enough for one screen, and here there are two, so you should not expect autonomy.
- 5G support;
- fast charging technology;
- bright screen.
- Lack of Google services;
- low battery life.
Price: 201 800 rubles.