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:
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.
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.
3 thoughts on “Handspring Visor Cell Phone and iPhone: old skool versus bleeding edge”
That’s awesome. I love comparing off-shelf tech with on-shelf. You often reflect “this was so cool back then.” And the visor has nearly a steampunk vibe to it too.
/me pines for an iPhone…
Just found this great vintage post, and it was great memories for me. I had the same gear, and am still using my Treo 700p until the Pre is released. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!
Dies ist ein großer Ort. Ich möchte hier noch einmal.