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.

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