Batphones: A Brief Visual History

Senior Contributor

Since 1989, when Tim Burton’s take on Bats broke records and defined the style and tone of blockbusters for more than a decade, and superhero adaptations ever since, one thing has pretty much been swept under the rug: the fact that, like any franchise, there’s officially licensed merchandise, and for Batman, that’s meant there’s official Batphones.
And most of them suck.
This time around, it’s the Nokia Lumia 900, which is actually a pretty good phone for the Caped Crusader. It runs Windows Phone, it’s powerful, it’s sleek…granted Bats would probably be running the NSA’s ridiculously secure version of Android instead of a stock OS, but it fits on the utility belt, at least.
Of course, the Batphone has been with us since the ’60s TV show, but of all the phones with Batman’s name on them, which ones have held up?

You know, the ’70s had cocaine, the ’80s had crack, the ’90s had ecstasy…what’s Nokia’s excuse for this beast, aside from the fact that it perfectly reflects the ugly soul of the movie it was a tie-in for. Oh, it gets better:
That’s the back. This phone has an ass. It’s an ass-phone. Granted this was a time when “ergonomics” was still considered hippie science, but come on. Batman would never use this phone, unless he was throwing it at someone.
Believe it or not, you can still buy a crappy stylus phone from China. It’ll run you eighty bucks and the indignity of being seen in public with a Palm knockoff, like you’re a low-rent executive from 1995. Even with the utility belt, Batman would never reduce himself to using a stylus, for God’s sake. Have some more respect, shameless Chinese copyright thieves.
As far as we can tell, this is what the Phillipines gets for a Batphone. And honestly, it’s actually pretty good; the screen is literally lower resolution that that photo up above, but it’s a tri-band phone with a lot of storage and easy to use in the field.
Before you ask, apparently Batman Begins didn’t rate a special phone from Nokia. We guess this was supposed to make up for it.
We’re sure it’s a perfectly nice phone, but Batman doesn’t use a clamshell. This is a year after the iPhone hit: clamshell phones were officially obsolete. Even a second wasted opening the phone is too much. The Batman image on the front screen is nice, though.
It kind of says something that this hokey image from the ’60s TV show is probably better at its job than most of the official phones. On the other hand, in the modern day, this is really only convenient if you need something to hit somebody with. Which, actually, Batman usually does, so…

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