With its boxy shape, 1.3-megapixel camera and shutter button along the top, the Z2 seemed to be designed more for photos than for phone calls. But the Z2 was also a bit of a boombox. It had a speaker on the front and there was a dedicated MP3 button on the side to drop it into music mode. The Z2 only packed 60MB of internal storage, but it also featured a miniSD slot, so you could haul your entire collection around on tiny cards. Unfortunately, the device didn’t have a 3.5mm jack. So if you wanted some headphone time, you needed BenQ’s proprietary converter.
At 2.6 x 2.6 inches, the Z2 easily fit in the palm of your hand and was small enough that it likely didn't look that ridiculous to put up to your ear and make calls. Still, we can't imagine texting with that double row of alphanumeric keys.
The Z2 was targeted toward the youth market -- a strategy that was most evident in its range of colors. BenQ offered users a variety of swappable exteriors including whimsically named favorites like: vanilla white, berry blue, wasabi green and bubblegum pink.
Not only were there different colors available to personalize the exterior of your Z2, but also there were special edition shells with a variety of patterns, and even one from Taiwanese pop stars Mayday.
Users could also choose from a variety of downloadable wallpapers to customize the Z2's LCD screen.
In 2003, Nokia was still leading the charge when it came to innovation in the mobile space. Consider the unique "teardrop" shape of its 7600 phone from which the Z2 appeared to borrow some design inspiration.
Image: Shritwod / Wikimedia
The Z2's cube-like shape lived on in Nokia's 7705 Twist from 2009. Like its name implies, this cellphone "twisted" open to reveal a QWERTY keyboard. It didn't have a full touchscreen, but it did offer two touchscreen buttons below the display. Its general layout (minus the keyboard) is vaguely similar to the Z2 and both devices have a 256K TFT display.
Arriving five years after the Z2 hit the scene, Motorola's take on the cube-shaped cellphone -- the Flipout -- bested BenQ's and Nokia's prior designs by offering users a full touchscreen and QWERTY keyboard that twisted out (although we assume Motorola preferred you to "flip" it out).
What's old is new again. The "cube" somewhat lives on in BlackBerry's latest odd duck smartphone. The Passport doesn't quite retain the exact DNA of the cube-like Z2; it's more similar to squat smartphones like the Pantech Pocket and the LG Optimus Vu.