Back to basics mobile phones from Lekki
By Paul Ridden
December 23, 2010
Remember a simpler time when people used mobile phones to make calls? When just about everyone owned a Nokia, and most of those were a model with cutting-edge features like an internal antenna, vibrate call alert and the facility to create your own ringtones? If you're too young to remember the iconic Nokia 3210 or were too set in your ways to own a mobile back in the dark ages of the late 1990s, then a French company called Lëkki is now offering you a second chance. Refurbished and revamped, there are currently two legendary phones on offer as part of the company's Back to Basics ethic.
I remember only having to charge up my Nokia 3210 about once every two weeks and wasting away hours and hours playing an infuriatingly addictive game called Snake. Mobile phones have come a long way since then, with some now being just as powerful as portable computers. Yet there are those who yearn for the good old days when mobile phones were used for talking, or if you were a real trend-setter – texting. Lëkki has the answer.
The company notes that the average lifespan of a modern phone is around 18 months, but the impact of its production on the environment lasts a good while longer. Lëkki's response has been to secure a supply of classic, second-hand phones from the 1990s, clean them up and repackage them as a Back to Basics answer to the slick slab of overcomplication that now resides in most of our pockets or handbags.
The first SIM-free, revamped model out of the blocks is the Motorola StarTAC 130, with retractable antenna, monophonic ringtones and vibration alert. The phone is shipped with a brand new battery and hands-free kit and promises a good 48 hours stand-by and 120 minutes talk time. This model will only work on GSM 900 networks (there's a list of compatible European operators on the website) and is priced at EUR125 (US$163) for green, magenta, yellow and black, and EUR145 (US$190) for the "Make Your Own" option. There's also an original available for EUR135 (US$176).
Next up is the iconic Nokia 3210. This one will work on GSM 900 / 1800 networks and has a monstrous 200 hours stand-by, 4 hours talk time. Again provided SIM-free and shipped with a new battery, it sports monophonic ringtones and vibration alert, and also comes with that most wonderful of time-wasters – Snake. This one's available in green, yellow and black versions for EUR75 (US$98), or for an extra EUR10 (US$13) you can "Make Your Own" color combination.
Lëkki's founder told Gizmag that there are some more 1990's classic revamps planned for release next year, but is keeping tight-lipped about which ones are set to make an appearance. We'll keep you informed.