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  • - 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.

  • Fox.com 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.

- We've had smartphones for about 10 years

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B1 US minimalist jelly mp nokia smartphone texting

Smartphone detox with minimalist phones

  • 138 5
    Samuel posted on 2018/05/11
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