Top 10 Bestselling Phones of All Time
On January 29, the foreign media Visual Capitalist released the top 10 bestselling phones of all time, with the last one selling 151 million units. Based on the list, Qi Ji organized and supplemented information about these 10 models, including their release date, minimum storage, prices, images, and notes, hoping that interested friends will enjoy it.
10th Place: iPhone XS Series
This series includes the iPhone XR, iPhone Xs, and iPhone Xs Max, released on September 13, 2018, marking Apple’s first year of fully upgrading to notch screen products. The iPhone X from 2017 left a lasting impression, with its 5.8-inch size still being celebrated by many Apple enthusiasts. In that year, the mid-range model iPhone XR had a single camera, while the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max featured dual camera setups, with screen sizes of 5.8 inches and 6.5 inches, respectively. All three models started with 64GB storage, with prices starting at 5499 yuan, 8699 yuan, and 9599 yuan, which is 300 yuan more expensive than the 2017 iPhone X (starting at 8399 yuan).
9th Place: iPhone 11 Series
In the regular numeric series, the iPhone 11 series was the last to use an LCD screen, with a total sales volume of 159 million units and released on September 11, 2019. Compared to the iPhone XS series, the biggest upgrade in the iPhone 11 series was in the imaging system: the standard version upgraded from a single camera to a dual one, and for the first time in the naming convention, the “Pro” moniker was used, with two Pro models upgrading to triple cameras and supporting a telephoto lens for the first time. In addition, the storage versions and starting prices of the iPhone 11 series remained consistent with the iPhone XS series. This was also the last time that three models were simultaneously released in the iPhone product line.
8th Place: iPhone 7 Series
The iPhone 7 series was released on September 8, 2016, with two versions of 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches, corresponding to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, and had a sales volume of 160 million units. In addition to regular upgrades, the iPhone 7 series removed the 3.5mm headphone jack, obtained IP67 water resistance certification for the entire device, and the Plus version introduced a dual-camera setup, upgraded to non-mechanical pressurized fingerprint recognition, and the storage was upgraded from 16GB to 32GB, with retail prices of 5388 yuan and 6388 yuan, respectively.
7th Place: Nokia 3210
The Nokia 3210 was released in October 1999, with sales of 161 million units, and was a feature phone with a monochrome screen. Compared to today’s smartphones, it had many unique features and appearance: for example, interchangeable back covers, a detachable battery, a lightweight body of only 153 grams, no support for cameras or internet access, three built-in classic games, and a full plastic body. My first Nokia phone was the 3110C, but that was already 19 years ago.
6th Place: iPhone 5S Series
This series includes the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C, released on September 10, 2012, with a total sales volume of 165 million units. The iPhone 5S might not have been the first model to feature front-facing fingerprint recognition, but its popularity led it to become a standard configuration for smartphones for a period of time. The iPhone 5C was probably the only colorful Apple phone with a plastic casing, and it stands as a rather unique piece of Apple’s history if revisited today.
In addition, the iPhone 5S brought the first 64-bit mobile processor, a screen size of only 4.0 inches, an aluminum frame design with straight edges, consistent with the current iPhone 15. The storage version started at 16GB, with the iPhone 5S priced starting from 5288 yuan and the iPhone 5C at 4488 yuan. It suddenly reminds me of the iPhone 15 released in 2023, with the 128GB version priced at 5999 yuan.
Fifth Place: iPhone 6S Series
This series was released on September 10, 2015, with two models, iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus, with a total sales of 174 million units. The most significant visual upgrade compared to the iPhone 6 series is the addition of an “S” on the rear shell, with few other noticeable changes. Noteworthy upgrades in functionality include a comprehensive shift to the A9 processor, initial support for “Hey Siri” functionality, an upgrade in the camera to 12 million pixels, and the introduction of the popular “Live Photo” feature. The storage versions still start at 16GB, and the starting prices for the two models are 5288 yuan and 6088 yuan, consistent with the iPhone 6 series.
Fourth Place: Nokia 105
The Nokia 105 was released on April 24, 2013, with a starting price of about 162 yuan and a total sales of 200 million units. While I have some impression of this model, back in the day, my preference was for Nokia 500, a semi-flagship model with support for the touch screen and running on the Symbian^3 operating system, which was my second-to-last Nokia phone usage. In 2017, a reissue of the Nokia 105 was officially released, but in the era dominated by smartphones, it didn’t attract much attention or favor from consumers.
Third Place: iPhone 6 Series
This series includes the 6 and 6 Plus models, with a total sales of 222 million units, currently the highest-selling Apple phone. It was released on September 10, 2014. Similar to the majority of users’ thoughts, the simple reason for the top sales of the iPhone 6 series compared to the 4-inch iPhone 5S was the irresistible appeal of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus – humans cannot resist the temptation of a larger screen.
Another reason was the price; the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 (16GB) was priced at 5288 yuan, consistent with the 4.0-inch iPhone 5S. If you wanted the larger iPhone 6 Plus, the 5.5-inch oversized screen was only 6088 yuan, reasonable and affordable. How impactful was this larger screen? The subsequent two generations (6X series and 7 series) both made it into the top 10 bestsellers. Looking back, it’s quite remarkable, isn’t it?
Second Place: Nokia 1110
This phone was released on June 3, 2005, priced at 248 yuan, with a total sales of 248 million units. I never used this legendary phone, but my classmate did, and it was effortless for him to crack open walnuts with it. It’s the simplest functional phone, mainly for making calls and sending texts, and it even came with built-in small games like Snake, with a seemingly black and white display. Simply put, this phone witnessed Nokia’s past glory days.
First Place: Nokia 1100
The Nokia 1100 was released in October 2003, with a price of about 398 yuan and a total sales of 250 million units. Whether considering its model or appearance, it can be seen as the predecessor to the Nokia 1110: a similar exterior design, a smaller monochrome screen, and the ability to change the rear shell and remove the battery. This phone used a small round plug charger and had a flashlight built into the top, which was once one of my favorite features.
Regarding these top 10 best-selling phones, my thoughts are as follows: these four Nokia functional phones are all very ancient, and I don’t have very vivid memories of them. I had interacted with Nokia’s 3 series, 5 series, and 6 series back in the day. My once-favorite Nokia models were the C500 and the Nokia 5800, and I naively believed that physical buttons would never be replaced by touch screen phones. As for the six iPhone models, I was most impressed by the iPhone 5S and iPhone X, and I couldn’t stop fiddling with them back then.
Hi there, I’m Qi Ji, and those were my thoughts. Writing original content is not easy, so if you liked it, remember to follow my thoughts. You can also give it a thumbs up, share, and comment. There’s more interesting digital information waiting for you to discuss.