Novelty phones, like novelty records, aren’t for life. But they’re fun while they last. Top10.com has delved into the kookiest corners of the phone world to bring you the best and quirkiest gimmicky handsets we’ve ever encountered.
1 LG watch phone
This timepiece-cum-handset, officially dubbed the LG GD920, garnered a lot of media attention when it dropped last year. But the sales figures didn’t match the column inches.
That’s a shame. Because it looked cool and it packed everything that you’d expect to find in a mid-range smartphone into its 13.99mm thick form (think: a camera, MP3 player and 1.42-inch touchscreen). More importantly, you can make video calls too, so that you really do feel like you’re in a Cold War era Bond movie when you’re using it.
2 Motorola Droid R2-D2
What’s not to like about an R2D2 Android phone? Nothing at all when it's as well executed as this retooled Droid, which packed in the then-up-to-the-minute Froyo iteration of Android, plus a raft of exclusive Star Wars content. It also had Google Maps and GPS, so you could get turn by turn directions even in a galaxy far, far away.
3 John’s Phone
Created by advertising whizzes John Doe, this basic blower makes and takes calls. That’s it. That’s its whole M.O. It can’t even handle SMS messages.
But it scores highly with us for the undeniably cute icons that adorn its keys and the fact that it offers a whopping three weeks of battery life on a single charge. And it’s all done with real wit too, as evidenced by the physical pen and paper attached to the back for ‘storing’ contacts, notes and important numbers.
4 LG Optimus 3D
A harsh inclusion in the gimmicky top ten? Perhaps. But the first-ever 3D smartphone has got a lot of baggage to overcome if it’s going to convince people, that it’s got legs beyond novelty appeal.
While watching vids on YouTube 3D and the option to create your own clips is going to wow buyers early doors, the lack of big-budget content could be what stymies it in the end. Still, as gimmicks go, we like this one.
5 Cigarette packet phone
We don’t condone, endorse or approve of smoking. Let’s get that clear from the get-go. But in China, where this phone is manufactured, attitudes to the demon weed are somewhat different.
Fashioned to look like a packet of snout, its big USP for smokers is a compartment for seven bifters. Choose the VIP edition and you’ll also get some free fags to get you started. Warning: we’ve heard smoking is habit-forming and harmful to your health. Best avoided, if you can.
6 Red phone booth
We can see this one appealing to the same super patriots who picked up the Royal Wedding phone and US anglophiles who really, really wish they were born “Brid-ish”.
Based on the iconic K6 booth, the London Calling handset features the obligatory God Save the Queen and Rule Britannia ‘tones. The only downer is that they didn’t follow this up with a model based on the much-missed police phone booths, or as it's now known to most, the TARDIS.
7 Star Trek Communicator
Although modelled on the bit of sci-fi kit that kickstarted the whole mobile phone industry, this won’t let you make and take calls while you’re on the move. Rather it’s a VOIP phone that brings a touch of retro-futurism to your Skype calls.
8 Winnie the Pooh phone
If you’re in the market for cute, you could do a lot worse than this Pooh-themed clamshell handset. The feature set isn’t too bad either: there’s slots for two SIMs, an MP3 player and a 1.3-megapixel snapper.
We can’t vouch for the quality of reception you’ll get in the wilds of 100 Acre Wood, though.
9 Aesir E+Y phone
Fashioned with all the painstaking care and precision that you’d normally only find on a high-end Swiss timepiece, this 18-carat gold bauble is the Rolex of handset world. It’s also got a UI with a custom typeface and icons.
But what it doesn’t have is much in the way of functions. And for £42,000, I’d expect a fuller feature set than speed dialing, call waiting, conference calls and some rudimentary apps.
10 Royal Wedding phone
To commemorate the nuptials of Wills and Kate, Alcatel has adorned its One Touch handset in themed union jack livery. So for £14.95, you get a special wallpaper of the happy couple, a wedding march theme tune and the date of the wedding engraved on the back. If you want to cut a dash among the hordes cramming along the Mall, we’re sure there’s nothing better.