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The 13 most well liked telephones in the United Kingdom throughout the 1980s

Taking a look again on the construction of the cell phone business could make for dizzying analysis. The velocity of trade, and the level to which telephone fashions were given smaller, extra tough and extra helpful over quick bursts of time is jaw-dropping on reflection. 

In the event you rewind way back to the 1980s, you’ll be able to in finding your self on the very genesis of the cell revolution, with the primary cell name ever in the United Kingdom being positioned in 1985 on Vodafone’s newly-opened community.

It is 35 years since that first name was once made through Michael Harrison, the son of Vodafone’s chairman, and to mark the instance the vaults have opened to exhibit probably the most telephones that individuals used again in that seminal decade. Within the quick 5 years between 1985 and 1990 you’ll be able to already hint the velocity of construction, because the fashions get smaller and not more bulky.

Now we have collected in combination probably the most best-selling telephones from the ones 5 years, as a go back and forth down reminiscence lane for you, or, if you were not round again then, some way of underlining how a ways the generation you depend on has come. In every case, as a bit of bonus, we will allow you to know what you possibly can have needed to fork out to get one, in addition to what that value is identical to in as of late’s cash.


VM1 (1985)

The first actual cell phone that Vodafone offered, the VM1 stretches the definition of “transportable”, as you’ll be expecting from an early strive. Whilst, sure, this is technically a wearing maintain, it weighed just about 5 pounds, so was once actually supposed to be bolted right into a automotive, whilst the handset would trip up entrance subsequent for your riding seat.

It even had an aerial that might be drilled into your automotive for reception. So, extra automotive telephone than cell phone, however the VM1 nonetheless took the newborn steps that have been wanted.

Value in 1985: £1,475

Inflation-adjusted value as of late: £4,400


Moveable Vodafone VT1 (1985)

The VT1 adopted sizzling at the heels at the VM1, and was once equivalent in lots of regards, particularly so far as being beautiful large was once involved.

A actually attention-grabbing comparability from now to then may also be discovered in terms of the VT1’s charging time — hooked as much as your automotive, it might fee for 10 hours to offer 30 mins of name time ahead of it might conk out. Spectacular for the time, nevertheless it places our fashionable impatience into some viewpoint. 

Value in 1985: £1,650

Inflation-adjusted value as of late: £4,900


Motorola 8000 X (1985)

In comparison to the VT1 and VM1, that is the primary telephone that is actually recognisable as transportable with no need a automotive to make it so. Motorola’s first effort has that iconic “brick” glance to it, however was once a major improve at the older fashions we have checked out. This time spherical, a 10-hour fee would get you an hour of speaking time.

The 8000 X have been out in The usa for a few years, amassing steam, and was once an actual favorite during the 80s, regularly coming down in value over that point. When it first got here out, regardless that, it was once dear to a point we would possibly name loopy these days. 

Value in 1985: £2,995

Inflation-adjusted value as of late: £8,900


Panasonic C sequence (1987)

Simply because Motorola had a slinky quantity out, regardless that, doesn’t suggest that each one telephones have been unexpectedly small. The Panasonic C sequence was once nonetheless beautiful transportable compared to earlier efforts, and a a lot more inexpensive handset, if nonetheless vastly expensive. 

It got here with a wearing case so you’ll want to sling it over your shoulder, and weighed Three pounds, so you would be the usage of that case than now not. 

Value in 1985: £1,500

Inflation-adjusted value as of late: £4,400


Motorola 4500X (1988)

Motorola did not dangle about within the 80s, eh? It is subsequent effort was once in reality impressed through, and derived from older automotive telephones, however iterated on them to herald an LCD display and extra serve as buttons. 

The telephone additionally had an cope with guide for telephone quantity garage, which is any such characteristic that makes it really feel like an actual transfer against fashionable cell phone requirements. 

Value in 1985: £1,000

Inflation-adjusted value as of late: £3,000


VPI ‘Citiphone’ (1985)

VPI is among the identify in this listing that has remained somewhat difficult to understand, not like others. The Citiphone is an actual looker, for the days, regardless that, with a swish design and small measurement.

It is maximum fondly remembered for having an overly helpful characteristic — when you dialled 001 it might play ‘God Save the Queen’. You realize, simply in case. 

Value in 1985: £1,875

Inflation-adjusted value as of late: £5,600


Mitsubishi Roamer (1986)

That is proper, Mitsubishi was once within the telephone sport again in 1986, exporting tech from Japan and arising with a gorgeous intriguing design for the Roamer. It had its battery fastened to the facet of the telephone, reasonably than its again, making it just a little thinner and probably more straightforward to hold relying to your bag. 

The Roamer did actually smartly in the United Kingdom, too, turning into probably the most 80s’ most well liked telephones. 

Value in 1986: £1,996

Inflation-adjusted value as of late: £5,900


Nokia Cityman (1987)

Some other large identify entered the fray in 1987, with Nokia’s Cityman already betraying hints of the undying ‘brick’ classics that have been to return. By way of 1988 Nokia had a 10% marketplace percentage in cellphones in the United Kingdom, together with its automotive telephones and smaller numbers just like the Cityman. 

That stated, since the marketplace moved on so temporarily, the Cityman in reality wasn’t an enormous good fortune, to be had at a steep cut price inside a 12 months of liberate. Nonetheless, Nokia had excellent issues to return, so do not really feel too sorry for it. 

Value in 1987: £1,950

Inflation-adjusted value as of late: £5,800


Motorola 8500X (1987)

The 8500X would possibly simply be the definitive ‘brick’ telephone, turning into a staple of recent industry existence within the past due 80s. Its battery may just ultimate thru an afternoon on standby, and presented an hour of communicate time, plus a contacts guide to retailer numbers, making it in reality helpful when you had to be hooked up all day. 

There have been additionally more than one color choices, opening it as much as being extra of an adjunct and not more of a piece telephone. Whilst their shelf existence was once coming to an finish through the early 90s, it stays a vintage little bit of telephone design.

Value in 1987: £2,500

Inflation-adjusted value as of late: £7,500


NEC 9A (1987)

Its emblem would possibly now not have stood the take a look at of time, however NEC’s 9A was once an excellent little telephone, with battery existence that beat out many of the pageant. It was once the best-selling new telephone of 1988 in the United Kingdom, after its liberate, and contributed an excellent deal to the continuing slimming down of telephone fashions from competition, together with Motorola particularly.

Value in 1987: £1,795

Inflation-adjusted value as of late: £5,400


Panasonic D sequence (1988)

The D sequence from Panasonic was once a nifty little quantity with a key characteristic that feels nearly like a gameshow problem, taking a look again. In the event you have been about to lose energy throughout a choice, you’ll want to in reality change its batteries out with out the decision throwing in the towel. Having stated that, it might handiest prevail if you’ll want to make the change in two seconds or much less. 

Whilst its battery was once designed with those fast swaps in thoughts, our palms get slippery simply occupied with the strain of attempting it out throughout an all-important name. 

Value in 1988: £1,000

Inflation-adjusted value as of late: £3,000


Panasonic F sequence (1988)

Some other telephone from Panasonic got here within the type of the F sequence, and you’ll be able to actually begin to see the early levels of the design language that might come to dominate cellphones within the 90s, with the telephone’s format getting an increasing number of compact.

The F sequence additionally had its personal battery trick up a sleeve, regardless that — when you sought after extra battery existence and have been satisfied to hold a bit of additional weight and measurement, you’ll want to improve to a larger battery for that function. Why now not put the selection for your consumers’ palms, in any case?

Value in 1988: £1,000

Inflation-adjusted value as of late: £3,000


Motorola Micro-Tac (1989)

The ultimate telephone on our listing is any other person who presentations off a large trade in designs, one that might reverberate down the years. The Motorola Micro-Tac was once the sector’s first turn telephone, and you’ll be able to in reality see the place Motorola began down the street to its well-known Razr designs. 

So narrow that its battery existence was once frankly horrible, the Micro-Tac additionally has a noteworthy fun asterisk to its identify. That antenna, which is extendable at will, is in reality utterly beauty, and not using a impact on reception. Having the ability to pull it out was once mainly only a placebo effort, since Motorola apprehensive that consumers can be puzzled through the loss of antenna if it wasn’t there. Because the buyer is at all times proper, a flimsy faux one was once added for peace of thoughts. 

Value in 1989: £1,500

Inflation-adjusted value as of late: £4,500

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