Revenge of the Brick: 3 Dumb Phones to Consider

How distracting is your smartphone when compared to older dumb phones?  Does it cause problems with your productivity?  Are you experiencing connection fatigue?  Tired of constant notifications buzzing in your pocket?

You’re not alone.  Many users find modern smartphones too distracting.  There’s several solutions for this, including an app we’ve mentioned before where you shut off access to your phone while growing a fake tree.  For some, that’s not enough of a pause.  Others see smartphones as redundant in a Wifi and tablet filled world.  Some even want to reduce their connectivity altogether and end the cycle of notifications.


Enter the “dumb phone.”

Yes, the old bricks and flip phones you used to drop, throw, and forget to charge for days are making a comeback.  Manufacturers have found that “dumb phones” still sell well.  The primary market is people too poor for smartphones, but more and more, people are downgrading to de-clutter their lives.  Basically, it’s the phone equivalent of outsourcing excess tasks such as office cleaning.

We first found out because of the upcoming release of the Light Phone.  It looks and feels like an iPhone, but only makes calls.  The listed pre-order price is currently $150, a bit more than the cost of a basic smartphone.

To be clear, it’s not replacing your smartphone, but works in tandem with it.  If you’ve turned on call forwarding and activated an app on your PC, all calls are forwarded to your Light phone .  The service costs $5/month, plus whatever you’re paying to your current carrier.  At least you get to keep your current number when using Light.

There’s also a Swiss company called Punkt that makes a basic text and call only phone.  It does cost close to $300, and is built for an older cell network that might be shut down soon, but some feel the extra battery life is worth the cost.


However, if I do choose a new dumb phone, I’ll choose the classic brick.

Some former Nokia executives recently bought the company’s old phone manufacturing division from Microsoft.  The first action these new owners are taking is releasing a semi-smart phone with the battery and durability of the original brick.  Unfortunately, it’s only offered in developing countries, so we can’t use it here in the US yet.  There’s also a higher priced phone that looks and feels like the old 3310 (and shares the same model number).  Both new Nokia models come with upgraded features such as a camera and FM radio.


To be fair, downgrading isn’t for everyone.  Many people, especially in the workforce, prefer having all their apps, email, and Internet available at all times.  However, for those who feel a need to change or want to save money, it’s definitely nice to have dumb phone options back.

– Ryan Derenbecker