Smartphones have dominated our pockets and purses for the past decade, but they’ve grown so powerful (and, in many cases, totally addictive) that more and more people are longing for the days when funky flip phones were all the rage.
Sit back and ask yourself: What apps do you absolutely need on your phone to make it through your day? If the answer is “almost none of them,” you might find yourself living a less stressful digital existence if you opt for a feature phone instead. Even if you need a smartphone during the week, a more basic phone can be an excellent option for the weekend. (They’re great for pre-teens first phone too.)
Here are a few of the best options if you’re looking for a phone that can call, text, and tackle the basics without all the bells and whistles.
Everyone had a Nokia “candy bar” phone way back when, and at the time it seemed like things couldn’t possibly get any better. I mean, its battery lasted forever, you could drop it a hundred times and not worry about a shattered screen, and it was small enough that it didn’t weigh down your pocket or purse. Now, Nokia is back with some retro-inspired designs for dirt cheap.
The Nokia 3310 is a 3G not-so-smart phone with a handful of very useful features and battery life that will put even the greatest smartphones to shame. This thing can give you up to 27 days of standby time. It has lightweight apps for Twitter and Facebook, so you can update your social feeds to your heart’s content, and a built-in FM tuner so you can listen to music on the go. Oh, and it comes with the classic Snake game to keep you entertained if you truly get bored.
With just a 2MP camera, you won’t be winning any photography awards, but at a dirt-cheap price of $59.99 at Target and Walmart, it’s hard not to be impressed. It works on GSM networks like AT&T and T-Mobile.
Then there’s the Nokia 8110 4G. Based on the original 8110 — better known as the “Matrix Phone” thanks to it appearing alongside Neo in the science fiction blockbuster trilogy — the 4G update adds more than just speed. The banana-shaped phone has a totally unique slide-out protective cover that encases the buttons, just like the original, but this time a flashy 2.4-inch curved screen sits up top. Like its smaller brother, the 8110 4G has incredible battery life, with up to 25 days of standby time.
It runs KaiOS, which is a relatively new almost-smartphone operating system. It’s not as fully-featured as Android or iOS, but you can download apps for messaging, games, and other useful tools that you don’t normally get with a feature phone. It’s also equipped with Google’s handy Assistant, which is widely considered the best personal assistant around, beating out Siri and standing toe-to-toe with Alexa. The phone is already available in parts of Europe, but it’s headed to the US soon, and it’s expected to cost less than $100 when it arrives.
AT&T: Cingular Flip 2 ($59.99)
The flip phone is back! The Flip 2 is a super long-lasting cell phone that won’t put a hurt on your wallet. It can last a full 16 days on standby, which is something no smartphone can boast, and its dual color screens and 4G LTE support make it an all-star for calls.
Verizon: LG Exalt LTE ($144.00)
Looking for a touch of class in your flip phone? The LG Exalt LTE is as minimalist as it gets when it comes to design, but inside you’ll find everything you need for calling and texting, along with a few surprises. It features a 5.0-megapixel camera, 4G LTE support, and even a text-to-speech feature that reads your text messages, so you don’t have to.
Sprint: Kyocera DuraXTP ($270.00)
If there’s one thing that flip phones have over smartphones, it’s durability. Kyocera’s DuraXTP takes that strength to a whole new level, with a rugged, durable design featuring water resistance and protection against extreme temperatures. If a long-lasting design is more important to you than a bunch of apps, this is a flip phone you should seriously consider, as long as you can stomach the price.
US Cellular: LG Wine LTE ($179.99)
LG has continued to make solid great flip phones for years, despite the smartphone takeover, and the Wine LTE is an excellent example of that. With 4G LTE, a web browser, email support, and text-to-speech, you’re not missing out on much when you opt for this flip instead of a big flashy smartphone. It even comes with 8GB of internal storage for photos and other media and has a microSD card slot to boost storage up by another 32GB.