Motorola StarTAC

Motorola StarTAC 130

That'll do nicely

  • Date launched: 1996
  • Network: GSM 900Mhz
  • Form: Clam shell
  • Size (StarTAC 85): 57(w)x98(h)x22(d) mm
  • Weight (StarTAC 85): 98.5g
  • Cost new: £1400
  • Can you use it today: Yes

When Motorola launched the StarTAC in 1996, it was the smallest and lightest mobile phone on the planet. Not only that, it redefined the whole idea of what a mobile phone should look like. Its neat, clam shell design was a taste of things to come. But at the time of its launch the most staggering thing about the StarTAC was its price, an eye watering £1400, making it by far the most expensive mobile phone of its day.

In Britain, Motorola's advertising put the StarTAC next to an American Express Gold Card. Two of the most desirable objects of the era, side by side. It was an old adman's trick to make you think of the two in the same breath, as small as the Gold Card and just as desirable.

The StarTAC, probably like no other phone, had that indefinable feeling of quality that could set it alongside some of the most desirable possessions money can buy.

In such a fast moving world though, the StarTAC's value could not last. Unlike such design classics as the the Mont Blanc Pen or the American Express card, rival products from Sony and Ericsson pushed the price down.

A year later a new slightly cheaper version of the original StarTAC, the StarTAC 70, was selling for a mere £200 and you could get the original, the StarTAC 85, for £300. Although at these prices, it was still one of the most expensive phones of its time.

A year later the StarTAC was available on Orange as the bargain basement MR501 for just £129.99. Cellphone called the MR501 'the ideal phone for posers on a budget'. It looked like the StarTAC, but was lacking in quality and features.

The StarTAC's final fling was the ultimate expression of StarTAC luxury, the StarTAC 130. With gold lettering set against a matt black background, the StarTAC 130 looked every bit as expensive as it was. A specially branded version of this phone was fitted to top of the range Jaguar cars.

The StarTAC's appeal lasted into the new century. It also made it to Time Magazine's list of the 100 greatest gadgets of all time.

StarTAC range

  • StarTAC 85, the original from 1996
  • StarTAC 70, cheaper version from 1997
  • StarTAC Lite, even lighter version from 1997
  • StarTAC 110, colour version
  • StarTAC 130, the ultimate StarTAC

Orange StarTACs

  • MR501, cheap version
  • MR701, grown up StarTAC

Resources

Wikipedia Article - Motorola StarTAC

Add your comments

"Dear friend
how are you?
iam petrus from indonesia.south east asia
jakarta city.i have this one too Motorola Startack.but is damage.iam interest this phone
how can i get this one?
how can i buy this phone?
can you tell me please?
thank you
Regard" petrus JM 04/10/2014
"Petrus,i have 2 piece of motorola startac 85 worked as new if u needed

code_gsm@yahoo.it" Calin 06/20/2014
"satr tac 70 my first cell phone" hussin 10/14/2014
"
Can buy this phone . please healing How much is this ?" Thanh Vu 01/30/2016
"Selling on ebay from $20 to 149 great shoppinf site for almost anything" Delgado 03/24/2016
"I have 5 old cell phones in the 1980s...in great shape....do u want to buy them at a fair price....they we re Motorola and Nokia phones...
TeX me and please let Mr know" Robert Simpson 05/07/2016
"I have an immaculate star tac mr 501 with charger and new battery. How much ?" kevin m jones 07/25/2016
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