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Handspring Visor Cell Phone and iPhone: old skool versus bleeding edge

Handspring Visor cell phone versus iPhone
In the midst of packing for my big move to Brooklyn, I ran into some interesting legacy technology that I've been lugging around with me everywhere -- cassette tapes of 80s music, movies on VHS, film point-and-shoot cameras, and this blast from the past: the Handspring Visor with the cell phone attachment!

Man, I loved that crappy old PDA phone.  I lined it up next to my iPhone, and it actually wasn't as enormous as I remembered it, at least from the front.

It's when you turn it on it's side that you see the difference:

Handspring Visor cell phone versus iPhone
Definitely not sexy that big bulky thing sticking out of the back of the Handspring.  Impossible to keep in even a cargo pocket, with a knobby antenna sticking out the top.

Handspring Visor cell phone versus iPhone
The back is even uglier, with a big battery case protruding out of it.  (No, that's not my number anymore.)

Aesthetics aside, the Handspring Visor was a nice device.  Advantages over the iPhone:

  • Sim card based phone -- so not locked into a single (sucky) cell provider!
  • Lots of third party apps
  • Lots cheaper (I think I got mine for around $125?)
  • Cool peripherals you could add through expansion slot (GPS, games, camera, keyboard, etc.)
  • Worked with stylus or just your finger
  • Ran for 2-3 weeks on one battery charge!
  • Three color options: metallic, blue and red
  • Metallic cover to protect the face

That said, it really wasn't a very good cell phone. Audio quality was just crap, even by 2001 standards.

But for the time, it was a great little machine.

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