Motorola v.60

Abuse-Resistant Cell Phone

I don’t go out of my way to destroy phones, but my absent-mindedness makes it seem as if I do. Also, I want a phone to be primarily a practical device, not a fetish object loaded with gimmicks. Hence my enduring affection for the humble Motorola v.60.

Protected by a metal clamshell case, this phone has survived more abuse than any other that I’ve owned. I have dropped the v.60 on wood floors, kitchen tiles, and concrete parking lots (many times). Once, while I was in a distracted frame of mind, I dropped it, then trod on it (hard), and then kicked it inadvertently across the room. When it hit the wall its back panel flew off and its battery fell out, but after reassembly, everything still worked. The phone is now scuffed, scratched, and dented (see photos) but I think its battle-scarred look adds character.

Also I like its unfashionable retro functionality: It doesn’t take photos and has only a small monochrome screen with limited backlighting (thus a long battery life). It lacks an extensible antenna yet performs better than my friends’ phones in marginal reception areas in Northern Arizona. It does have speakerphone built in. Motorola doesn’t make them anymore but you can still buy them on eBay–in fact they’re so cheap, I bought a second one to keep as backup, pending the day when my inconsiderate treatment finally destroys the first one.

If 1960s cars can be fashionable in Hollywood, surely late-1990s phones must stage a comeback at some point. When people look with surprise at my “piece of junk,” I tell them I’m just ahead of my time.


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