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The best dumb phones you can buy right now
Is your smartphone a bit too much of a distraction? You should take a look at some of the best dumb phones the market currently has to offer. There aren’t many around anymore, but they’ll accomplish the goal of simplifying your life and taking your mobile experience back to the basics, letting you focus on what matters in life.
Why should you get a dumb phone?
Mobile technology is addictive and can even be life-draining. A survey conducted by Statista in early 2021 corroborates Americans tend to spend way too much time on their phones. Apparently, about half of the participants claimed to use their phones for 5-6 hours. About 22% said they use their phones for 3-4 hours daily. None of these numbers account for work-related tasks, so it’s purely for entertainment!
Not only is this a massive waste of time that can be used for more productive activities, but smartphone addiction has been linked to poor sleeping, leading to serious health issues. Not to mention that using a smartphone for long periods can lead to a sedentary life, affecting your health even further.
A dumb phone can be the smartest choice. Okay, so “mobile phone” is the correct term, but “dumb phone” has become a popular nickname for “old school” mobile phones. They may also be referred to as “feature phones.” These usually have no real access to intelligent applications, social media, and everything else that’s keeping you busy all day.
A dumb phone can be the smartest choice.
The best dumb phones will help you regain control of your life and stop the endless social media scrolling taking time from the things that matter. Maybe you want a mobile phone you can take on your weekend getaways. After all, the best dumb phones are cheap, offer excellent battery life, and are usually much less fragile than common smartphones. Regardless of your situation, those looking for the best dumb phones will find a great choice on this list.
Warning: carriers beginning to phase out 3G
There’s a very important factor to remember when picking one of the best dumb phones available. All major carriers in the USA have phased out 3G networks in favor of other better networks, including 4G and 5G. Chances are your 3G phones have stopped working already. Let’s take a look at each carrier’s planned network shutdowns.
- AT&T: Phased out 3G network by February 2022.
- Verizon: Phased out 3G network by December 31, 2022.
- T-Mobile: Phased out 3G network by July 1, 2022. It also phased out Sprint’s 3G network by March 31, 2022, and its 4G LTE network by June 30, 2022.
All that said, this may not be an issue for many of you outside the USA. Other markets and international carriers will have different plans, and might not even be close to phasing out 3G networks. If you are in the USA, though, make sure to get at least a 4G device.
The best dumb phones:
Editor’s note: We’ll regularly update this list of the best dumb phones as new devices launch.
Nokia 8210 4G
If this device looks familiar, it’s because it is the spiritual successor to one of the most popular phones on the planet. Think of it as a modern version of the Nokia 3310. Yes, the legendary handset said to break concrete when dropped.
The Nokia 8210 4G isn’t as invincible as the classic 3310, but it offers the simplicity and style loved by many. It’s been upgraded with a sleeker, more modern look. One thing you will love is its battery life. This beauty holds a removable 1,450mAh cell. That may not sound like much, but it can hold a charge for as much as 29.4 days!
Nokia 2780 Flip
Other Nokia phones are fantastic, but there’s nothing like a good ol’ flip phone. And while Nokia isn’t known for participating in the flip phone market, they hit the nail on the head with the Nokia 2780 Flip. It’s genuinely one of the best dumb phones.
The unit keeps a classic, small profile that is easy to pocket. Once flipped open, the buttons are large and easy to press. Battery life can reach up to 18 days, meaning you probably only have to charge the phone once or twice a month!
While it’s a feature phone, Nokia has thrown some brains into it. It has 4G LTE connectivity and access to a select few smart apps, so you won’t be completely disconnected from the internet.
BLU Tank Mega T570
The best rugged dumb phones can be expensive, but this one is the exception. The BLU Tank Mega T570 is one of the cheapest phones on this list.
You get plenty of feature phone for very little money. This device comes with a 3,600mAh battery that should last up to 60 days on standby. You also get dual-SIM support, an integrated flashlight, an SOS button that connects you with emergency services, and even built-in radio.
There’s not much else to say about it, but that’s the point. It’s a straightforward and affordable dumb phone. You can probably give it plenty of abuse, too, considering its rugged construction. Just keep in mind this phone has no 4G support.
Nokia 5710 XpressAudio
A basic phone doesn’t have to be boring. The Nokia 5710 XpressAudio adds a fun touch with something a little special. It comes with a set of true wireless earbuds that dock right into the device’s back, covered by a sliding mechanism when not in use.
Aside from the earbuds and music optimizations, it’s another dumb phone with essential features and up to 31 days of standby battery life. And if you want to save some cash, it’s also not that expensive at about $120 MSRP. It’s unavailable in the USA, but it can be imported, and you can easily purchase it from eBay.
CAT S22 Flip
The CAT S22 Flip is an extraordinary device. For starters, it’s not exactly a dumb phone, as it actually runs Android. That said, it’s Android 11 (Go Edition), a cut-back version of the smart OS. Additionally, the flip form factor makes the screen so small that it’s hard to get immersed in the experience. It’s a smartphone/dumb phone hybrid for those who want a simpler experience without completely sacrificing access to smart apps.
You’ll get to enjoy the benefits of a flip phone. This device is slim, pocketable, and you can dramatically hang up by shutting the phone closed. It’s not fragile, either. Like every CAT phone, the S22 Flip is tough, offering an IP68 rating and MIL-SPEC 810H certification. CAT claims it can be “dropped, dunked, and washed regularly using the harshest of chemicals, bleaches, and sanitizers.”
T-Mobile actively offers this phone, and it’s pretty new. Not to mention it is actually an Android phone. It only makes sense that it comes with 4G LTE support.
Easyfone Prime A6
The Easyfone Prime A6 may come from an unknown brand, but it’s an excellent option for those looking to get one of the best dumb phones for seniors, kids, or others who want a no-hassles cellphone experience. It has large buttons, a basic screen, and a straightforward experience. You’ll also get a charging dock and SOS features for emergencies.
The phone does come with 4G LTE support, but the company states the device isn’t compatible with AT&T or CDMA carriers. That means that, in the USA, you’ll need to use it on T-Mobile or any of the MVNOs using its network.
Kyocera DuraXV Extreme Plus
CAT phones are great, but you may want a rugged flip phone instead. Kyocera has an excellent option for you. The DuraXV Extreme Plus has an IP68 rating and meets MIL-STD-810H standards, so it can take a beating.
It’s also a slightly more capable device with a 1,770mAh battery, 4G LTE, 16GB of storage, and a 5MP camera. All that goodness will cost you, though, as this is one of the more expensive phones in this list of the best dumb phones.
Alcatel Go Flip 4
Here’s another flip phone, made explicitly for T-Mobile users. The Alcatel Go Flip 4 is a budget option with basic features. It comes with large numbers and a very minimal UI. Who needs fancy features when you can hang up a call with style by simply slapping the phone shut?
You also get a whopping 18.39 days of battery life on standby and 12.7 hours of talk time. Then there’s a 2MP camera if you still want to take some photos with your essential flip phone. Additionally, it supports 4G LTE.
It doesn’t get much simpler than the Punkt MP02 in terms of the best dumb phones. It supports 4G LTE, which doesn’t help much for a phone like this one, but it might be suitable for connecting other devices. This handset supports internet sharing via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and USB, making it an excellent hotspot device.
The unit is also pretty sleek and simple, while also keeping up with build standards thanks to its IP52 rating. This device’s price is getting a little high, but many will love its good build, simple design, large numbers, and hotspot capabilities.
The Light Phone 2
The Light Phone 2 is a bit of an odd device. It mixes some smartphone features with the simplicity of a feature phone. This balance makes it one of the best dumb phones, but it will cost you.
The higher price will get you a phone with an E-ink display that can extend battery life up to 13 days on standby. That isn’t too surprising, given the great battery life found on some of the best dumb phones on this list, but it’s because the Light Phone 2 can do more.
For starters, it has hotspot support, which means you can use it to provide internet to other smartphones or tablets when you need more functionality. You can also add alarms, a music player, a podcast tool, navigation, and more.
Dumb phones are very efficient in terms of energy consumption. They often have tiny screens, modest specs, and their lack of smart capabilities translates to extremely light usage. Most dumb phones last at least a few days on a single charge, and the best ones can elongate that time to 15-21 days.
The most basic dumb phones usually don’t, save for maybe a calculator, Snake, an address book, etc. That said, some feature phones can have semi-smart operating systems like KaiOS, which features some intelligent apps like Google Maps, Google Assistant, WhatsApp, and more. We even have a feature phone on this list running Android, albeit on a tiny screen.
Some of the most affordable dumb phones can cost about $35-$50, which is a sweet spot for those who don’t want to spend much on a dumb phone. You can go for more premium options, though. The most expensive basic mobile phones cost up to about $300.
Usually, yes. Mainly because feature phones aren’t meant to use data, or at least not much. You can save money by going for the cheapest plans available, as you won’t have to pay for fancy features like unlimited data.
Are you not convinced by the best dumb phones? Maybe it’s time to consider one of the best budget Android phones instead. These are usually more basic and aren’t meant to keep you gaming or using apps for long periods.