Smartphone detox with minimalist phones
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Smartphone detox with minimalist phones

– We’ve had smartphones for about 10 years but between all the social
media networks’ notifications, there’s a sense that they’re starting to take over our lives. Now I have an iPhone 6 and
it’s a pretty good phone. The problem is I spend a lot of time on it scrolling through Twitter,
Instagram and whatever else. So to help me deal with
my iPhone addiction, I decided to play around with
some more minimalist phones. That includes the Unihertz Jelly, the Nokia 3310, the Punkt
MP 01, and The Light Phone. And I’m gonna head to
Brooklyn’s Prospect Park to see how disconnected I can get. (upbeat, modern music) This is the Jelly, a tiny
little Android smartphone. Unihertz, the creators,
call it impossibly small, amazingly cute, and totally functional. Only two of those things are true, but I’m kinda getting ahead of myself. First thing you’ll notice about the Jelly is just how small it is. At three and a half inches
in length, it fits into the palm of my hand, costs
$125, runs on Android 7, has a 1.1 gigahertz processor,
and has front and rear-facing cameras that are eight and two megapixels, which isn’t that great. The phone runs on 4G network
and has Dual SIM cards. Now, because of the thickness,
a lot of people thought it had a slide-out
keyboard, which it doesn’t. But it does have a two and
a half inch touchscreen that’s fully functional. Back to those two truths and a lie. The Jelly is impossibly
small and amazingly cute, and there’s just something
cool about having the full functionality of a smartphone
in such a small package. Scrolling through an
Instagram Live video on such a tiny screen is just kind of fun. And if you wanna disconnect, there’s a purpose for the smallness. With the screen so small
it adds a level of friction that we’re not typically
used to, so I found myself reading less and actually just pulling my phone out less entirely. But the Jelly’s small size actually threatens its functionality. Using the Jelly’s thimble-sized keyboard was almost impossible and I
kept making tons of mistakes. In the end, I started
texting less because I wanted to make less typos. The Jelly’s other big
drawback is battery life. Downloading just a few
apps made my phone hot, and I lost almost 20% of my battery. At 83% it told me I only
had four hours of life left, which meant that I had to carry around this huge battery pack all day long just to make it through the day. And if you wanna use the phone less, maybe that’s not such a bad thing. But if you really wanna
disconnect, you might wanna ditch your smartphone for a feature phone. Nokia 3310 is one of the most
iconic and popular phones of all time, and in 2017,
the company rereleased it as part of its nostalgia-driven
marketing push. Now, the new phone benefits
from a larger color screen and a more bubbly design than
its brick-like predecessor. It has a two megapixel camera in the back and runs on Nokia’s proprietary OS. It comes with a classic 2002
era skeleton crew of apps like a calculator, a
calendar, and obviously Snake. Unlike the Jelly, it has a
pretty good battery life, about six and a half hours of talk time, and 650 hours of standby time. And it’s cheap. You can get one for $60. You’ll notice the home screen
has a couple of new additions including a Facebook and Twitter button, but open them up and you get stuck in Nokia’s weird Web client
that you have to navigate with a clunky directional pad. It’s so hard to use that
eventually I just gave up, and maybe if you’re trying to disconnect that’s not really a problem. Moving over to the Nokia also
comes with another big shift and that’s going from
a full keyboard to T9. And if you’re like me, you
haven’t used T9 in awhile, it takes some getting used to. It can definitely be clunky, but if you’re trying
to text less, it works. T9ing is too slow to
text-bomb, and eventually, you might just stop texting altogether. If you really wanna get intentional
about minimalist phones, you might wanna check
out Punkt MP 01 phone. Punkt means ‘period’ or ‘stop’ in German, and it’s a Swiss company that
makes minimalist products. A lot of times when people see
the MP 01 for the first time, they think it looks like a calculator, but I kind of actually like the design. It comes in three colors:
brown, black, and white. It’s four and a half inches tall, it has Gorilla Glass and a
fiberglass reinforced body, so it feels sturdy in the hand. Navigating the phone is
actually pretty easy, ’cause it only does two
things and it has buttons to navigate towards them, and
that’s texting and calling. The only hitch is that it
costs $230, which is a lot for a phone that only does two things. And of those two things,
it doesn’t do one of them very well, and that’s texting. So most phones when you
text, they create a thread, but the MP 01 actually
breaks it up like email into an inbox, sent, draft, et cetera. Which is really confusing and
kind of a pain in the ass. And the phone did a pretty bad job of capitalizing my sentences when I text, which is really pretty basic stuff. It kind of feels like the
perfect phone for somebody who can afford to hire
someone else to take care of the rest of their lives. Oh, and did I mention that
it only runs on a 2G network? And T-Mobile is one of
the few carriers that still supports 2G in the U.S.? And they’re gonna phase it out by 2020. All of which makes MP 01’s claim that the Punkt is a timeless
device feel kinda empty. If there’s one phone that
really represents the minimalist phone movement,
it’s The Light Phone, a business card sized
device that you can either tether to your phone of use independently. It costs $150 and it
literally only does one thing and that’s make phone calls. New phones try to dazzle you
with big, bright displays and bezel-less design,
but not The Light Phone. The Light Phone really doesn’t
want any of your attention. It’s a beautiful device and a
lot of people I showed it to didn’t even believe it worked, but it works exactly as advertised. And there was something
freeing knowing that I could leave the house just with
this and reach somebody if I really needed to. At least, I hope I could,
because if I’m being honest, people don’t really pick
up their phones anymore. I mean, I make one phone call a day maybe, but I’m texting all the time, either through Messenger
or Slack or Twitter, and that makes The Light Phone feel like an experiment more than a viable product, an effort to gauge whether
people would really be interested in such a minimal device. And apparently they are. In 2018, the company
announced Light Phone II, a 4G version that would have
E-ink display, a full keyboard, and possibly even some
features like maps and music. But loading smartphone features
onto such a minimal device is probably gonna have
problems of its own. I spent a lot of time with these phones over the last couple weeks,
and what I’ve realized is that, I don’t really want a phone
that limits my communication or one that makes me
make more phone calls. In 2018, a lot of our
communication happens over text, and I don’t really think
that’s such a bad thing. What I don’t really need is
all the social media networks, all the notifications,
the short battery life, and the bezel-less screen. That’s what kinda makes
phones overwhelming, not a text from my mom or a friend. What I really want is a
smartphone functionality stripped of all the gizmos. Unfortunately, a lot of
these minimalist phones threw out the texting baby with
the social media bathwater. So until they figure
that out, I’m just gonna delete my social media
apps and keep my iPhone. has a video that
explains how addictive smartphones could be. Click here to watch it
and find out how necessary a minimalist phone could be for you.

100 thoughts on “Smartphone detox with minimalist phones

  1. Dude in the begining of the video "I want a phone what limits my communication " dude in the end of the video "i dont want a phone what limits my communication" lol

  2. You got it so right. Ideal survivalist phone would be calls, easy texting. easy google maps. notes. twitter is a little extra but id love only that. No camera, no music. Easy texting is key though.

  3. I have the Posh Micro X. I am not fan of huge phones. The keyboard is OBVIOUSLY going to be a problem, so how do you fix that? Easy, considering many of us are used to the T9 physical keys on burner phones, the only logical solution for a small phone like these is to download a T9 keyboard, and make it the default for the system and you resolve your issue. I am considering getting the Jelly though.

  4. We together with wife disabled network features, so have internet access at home or at work, but on the go we are living the moment.

  5. Problem's not in the device. It's in you and your values. Yes, your phone has those social media apps, but no one's pointing a gun at your head, forcing you to use them. I was also addicted to scrolling Facebook and what I needed was to just get away from it for a year. Now I have it on my phone and I use it occasionally to text someone. If I find myself scrolling, I usually get bored after a minute.

    The problem is in your head.

  6. I realised that I'm way less productive now because I developed habit of using my phone and I find myself to be always distracted by notifications, even after I turned it off I still can't help to check. So I sold my phone, and bought an entry level xiaomi phone (cost me 100 dollars). Use it for chats (whatsapp, telegram), calls, basic camera enough for documentation purpose, and spotify. Sometimes I use it for youtube but that's all.

  7. Video and 1 or 2 games every once in a while is all I really use my phone for aside from the occasional phone call and net browsing

  8. It pains me to say, but not using smartphones is like sticking to your good ol' typewriter in the early two thousands. If you're having a job and friends, you've got to have something.

  9. when i was studying i had a windows phone. While many complained about lack of apps, i used it only to communicate and I had no distraction

  10. Its feels like these minimalist phones are simply expensive gimmicks, the reality is we need to change, not our devices. Our smartphones are so much more than just a communication device and deliberately downgrading our tech seems regressive. Maybe for some people who addicted it might help, but this doesn't seem like a good solution.

  11. If you're gonna do this. Just buy any flip phone. I had one from 2013-16. It works perfectly for what it does, although you may have to learn (or re-learn) T9. The "T9 is too slow to text" is a total lie if the phone has predictive text; it can even be faster than with a full keyboard. And it's maybe $30 new depending on what you buy, cheaper if used, not gosh-dang $230. Plus you don't need to pay for a full mobile phone plan, instead with a basic or 'pay per minute' plan which saves a lot of cash.

  12. I'm a college Student and a few weeks back, my s7 died. I didn't have the money to buy a new phone so I got a Nokia 106. I must say life feels good now I only reply to very important text and when I need to use the internet I uses my laptop. Plus I don't need to charge my phone every day, now after 5 days. I had to detox because I didn't have the money but now I won't switch to a smartphone if someone gave it to me for free.

  13. OR could just disable all of your notifications except for messages ._. Buying a new product ain't gonna solve your problems.

  14. I paid $30 for my flip phone, and $25 a month for unlimited and txt (no contract) . I no longer worry about my pricey smartphone breaking ( happened to me ) ) or getting stolen (like my last one) no one wil rob you for cheap flip phone. I grew up in a world without cell phones, so I was able to readjust to this.

  15. I own a unihertz jelly and I think it's great!
    Only downsides are the GPS and the battery. Battery will last long enough if you use it as phone and not as a computer.

  16. I still love slim t9 bar phones and flip phones. But at this point in time, buying these phones do not serve the value to money proposition. Although a gift of such sorts (where I need not pay) would make more sense for my pocket (in terms of space and money) and my heart will be happy and content with such a phone. And my mind focused.

  17. The JioPhone 2 would be the perfect solution with its qwerty keyboard… unfortunately very difficult to get your hands on for now…

  18. I really dont understand people that use their phone more than 1 or 2 hours a day. You must have 0 life

  19. The main problem with these phones is that almost no phone carriers have plans without data on them. So why pay for a data plan if you can't use it? This might work with a prepaid type thing but otherwise…

  20. Not going to lie but I find this video extremely superficial and hypocrite. I use a NOKIA 105 which has only radio and snake game in the name of apps and I do not use social media at all. Not using iphone and then buying another phone for pretty much the same purpose is not going to change anything in your life.

  21. I really want a durable phone with a great camera, ability to text and make calls. Thats it. It would be so useful at festivals etc because I can upload photos when I get home

  22. I've only ever had a Nokia 3310, apart from the original bagphone back in the early 90's. Have never had a need for a "smartphone" and never will, they are merely silly toys for silly people.

  23. Loveeddd this video so much, thank you for the efforts you put up to make this and the conclusion by the end is so relatable. I've tried switching on to them too but it's hard and you can't be making phone calls all the time. Loved the conclusion you made.

  24. These are still smartphones, maybe the less functionality to help with losing the addiction to smartphones but the majority pf the drawbacks are still there. The health concers some people have, and ypu will not be 'disconnected' in any way.

    Just buy an old phone. Much cheaper.

  25. I had a flip phone and it was a phone for me. I now have a smartphone and I can't stand these types of phones.

  26. I don't use a cell phone… of ANY kind. I'm so superior and in demand, if someone wants to speak with me, they can call my office land phone and leave a message on an old fashioned cassette recorder… screw them. You addiction based personalities are total losers, seriously, honestly, no insult intended, kind of, sort of, passive aggressively… there, just like you.

  27. All I want from my phone is this:
    If be fine with a Nokia 3310 like phone, in terms of form factor. Something that I can use messages on. Finally, I'd like music and audiobooks.

  28. Just find a cheap phone and use it. You don't have to buy $60+ phones I literally got a $20 phone a couple years ago. It had only a front camera but it was pretty functional as a smart phone. These phones are all way more expensive than they should be. If you really want leave me some reasonable things you want in a phone and I'll find you one. I'm kinda obsessed with old phones so if that's what you're interested in I'll have a blast. Either way I'll be able to find something that fits you.

  29. My understanding is that the Light Phone is not tethered, it can be linked to a primary phone service to allow for call forwarding, or it can be used directly as a primary phone.

  30. Thinking of the jelly i remind myself of Sony Xperia mini PRO which i really liked. It was tiny, but the phisical keyboard with raised buttons and space between them was accurate and pleasant to type. I wish there was still such small smartphones with todays specs and screens covering more of the front. Also display like 16:10 or less wide than nowdays ~1:2 would be more usefull in that size and body type (of course small smartphone is not meant to watch movies anyway). Is there anything quite fresh, that has full functionality of a smartphone, smaller than xiaomi mi a2 lite or samsung s10e?

  31. I want a phone that doesn't reinstall any google product on it. Cant uninstall what is already added. I want one that I can pick and download only the apps I want. Email and maybe FB. Phone and text. Thats it

  32. to summarise: phone with eink display for 1. calls. 2.sms 3. whatsapp/wechat/line 4. calendar 5. notes 6. alarm DONE!

  33. Why do they forget minimalist phones should also have minimal price
    The blapunkt is $230 you can get a pretty decent phone at this price

  34. Minimalism isn't about depriving yourself of anything it's about focusing on what you value and removing what doesn't work. – Michael McElwain

  35. It's 2019 and I've tried different ways to "disconnect". The problem with these options is that you lose a lot of the functionality you have on a smartphone. When I want to disconnect I just use an Android Go device. Not sluggish since you're just using basic apps, but the storage really is a bottleneck and discourages long scrolling sessions. Plus they have stuff like Uber and Maps just in case you really do need to use it.

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