Phone suggestions


it’d be cool
if my 'phone could continue
to do what it could do
three years ago :slightly_smiling_face:


Privacy is important to me as well. Since there is no viable Linux phone out there yet (almost, just not yet), I opted for the least invasive solution for the moment while still having some features that I like. This one handles a lot of different network types, doubles as a decent bluetooth or hard-wired music player (flacs etc) and although it runs older Android, it is stripped down to almost nothing, no Google products, no Gmail, no Google Play etc … it doesn’t have a touch screen, the camera is terrible (great in my book) and it is extremely rugged. It’s not for everyone, and it’s the best phone I’ve owned yet. The battery lasts for a really long time, 2 mics and really loud in every way:

Sonim XP5 (5700)

I’ve gotten several (unlocked) for development purposes for under $100 from a few vendors on ebay. They are also root friendly, but you have to be determined to pull it off.


Same is true for Face ID, according to the Apple keynote from yesterday.


Being able to load a customized firmware with root access onto an Android phone is a big plus for me. It is a lot of messing around but as an engineer, I find it an engaging process. Being able to install effective adblocking, run a shell, use scheduled tasks etc. are worth it. It gives me a sense of being in control of the technology.


This is pretty much my position. The doing away of a hard tactile button in the 7 almost made me stick with my 6, but I’m really finding that having a singular integrated internet/camera device with the least amount of pushback from UI means that I’ll probably go with the 8. I wouldn’t be upgrading at all if the camera on the 6 was any better. :frowning:


I’ve really enjoyed reading this thread. Here’s some of my opinions on Apple’s security. With Apple’s Secure Enclave and both TouchID and FaceID having a direct hardware path to store it’s information in it, it makes me feel much more private and safe than many other phone manufacturers who may not have as much of an interest or capability in securing that information as well as the Secure Enclave does. TouchID matches are 1 in 50,000 with a single, enrolled finger, and FaceID 1 in 1 Million. Google (primarily being an advertising company) for example is making massive revenue off of selling and collecting personal information. I feel uncomfortable switching to a Pixel for that reason, or any other device that provides Google and others, massive amounts of my personal info without asking my permission and allowing me to easily manage those permissions. Apple makes the majority of its sales on hardware and app sales—not advertising—so it can inherently afford to take a higher road by asking for permissions and pretty easily managing those permissions. It uses things like anonymized location and calendar information, so it can predict when you’ll have to leave to make an appointment and not even know who you are, for example. This is not to say that the iPhone is at all perfect or ideal, but they’re pretty good at security and just working in general in my opinion.


i find the iPhone SE is a fair compromise - smaller screen and quite vanilla, with a few benefits: design of iPhone5/4 series, power of 6S, screen consumes you less, it’s cheaper. Mind the display quality - had to swap mine for discolouration. I use Android occasionally, it seems to be moving in iOS’s direction.


As all things digital. Everything can be hacked and it’s usually a lot easier than you think. There’s two big areas that create issues with all these technologies: one is the deliberate and sometimes hidden misuse by the companies who produce the devices, the other is the ease for third parties to hack those. Oh and btw. If somebody hits you unconscious can they still use your face to unlock the phone? If you get a skin disease that disfigures you, will you be locked out of it?

But maybe the security and privacy concerns are actually exaggerated, the real question might be: why in the first place? I think we lost sight of this question.

Getting out of smartphone dependence is… well… actually just a matter of just doing it. I thought it would be hard, but then I just stopped using the smartphone for anything that wasn’t essential and in a relatively short time it was just as if it wasn’t there, except for the stuff that mattered. So in the end it’s not using a dumb phone that will free you from the smartphone, it’s just you and once you’ve done it, you can just keep using the smartphone because it won’t matter anymore.

Now the funny thing is: I ended up with a 800€ phone to do the same things I could do with a 24€ Nokia thing. Which makes me wonder, why did I shed out so much money in the first place? Could have bought me a couple of modules instead :smiley:
The other thing is: I still have an old Nokia Dumbphone and it’s over 10 years old.
It’s made of cheap plastic, lousy mechanics, probably super shaky SMD components… butit’s generally been in heavy use for at least 50% of that time and it still runs perfectly. In the meantime I went through 3 iPhones and none of them lasted more than 2-3 years. They all suffered of failing hardware (buttons not working anymore, wifi getting fried, etc.), quickly degrading batteries and most prominently degrading performance with every firmware update (when I noticed that I stopped updating and in fact my last iPhone lasted longest).

So I’m on the lookout as well… but I really don’t know what I should do, since choosing a new phone has become such a hassle and I have better things to do (like writing really long posts about it… I know). So I guess I’ll just stick with the Nokia thing until that dies as well and then see what I can find.


Many of my social circles are so reliant on Whatsapp? to communicate, I need a dumbphone that still can work with whatsapp?

However, the positives of having a camera, a notepad and simple internet browsing, might make being super vigilant the better option. i.e. I keep apps to a minimum and avoid all cloud security/storage, rather than limiting the usability by hardware design.


The increasing predominance of whatsapp as the main communication platform is a very unsettling one… but that’s another topic I guess.


Another Iphone SE user which is nice and small…and slips out of my pocket all the frikin time.

I used to think windows phone was the only os that was trying to doing something to save humans from this awful screen plague of modern humans. At least through this ad which was great.

I thought their UI was also really slick (why cant everything be on black backgrounds?) and it pains me that this is now forgotten and present phone evolution is just trying to get people to stare longer and longer at their ever expanding screens sizes. Augmented reality?? Jeez do we really??


Yes! Was going to suggest a ‘dumb phone’ and iPod Touch combo. It makes sense.

However - be warned, as long as it has bluetooth and wifi, app’s can definitely track you (thanks iBeacons! thanks geotagged wifi hotspots!). There’s really no way to carry any signal sending device that can’t put you on a map if someone is determined to put you on a map.

Sigh. yes.


Privacy depends on security. Security in the 21st century is a laughable mess. There are so many examples I’m not even going to bother.


Is this true for mobile hotspots as well? I’m assuming the carrier knows where it is, just wondering if that info is passed through the app somehow… I guess a VPN would help.


Maybe a bit off-topic, but nonetheless, after lurking around and following the development of the themes (apart from phone suggestions) in this thread I feel that the sentiment that the Copenhagen letter proposes is something that pops up again and again when discussing the future of tech/self-surveillance…

We are all “shapers” of technology as users in some way, how much responsibility is up to the sole individual?


A common argument – and I’d like to add that this is not meant to bash @lijnenspel but it bothers me that it keeps coming up – when discussing things that are not right is to say: “hey things are bad already, so why bother?”.
I have to say that it’s a bit of a weird argument.
If I have a flu, and hence got a fever, but also have a running nose and throat ache. I will still want to get rid of the running nose and the throat ache despite the fever. Maybe the running nose is not my main problem, but it’s still annoying like hell and if I can get it to stop even just for a bit, all the better.


If I was going to use a medical analogy for privacy and security, I’d probably choose heart disease or cancer, not flu or sniffles.


Isn’t a VPN just passing trust from the ISP to the VPN provider?


At the end of the day, its the little things. I can live without Facebook pretty much altogether. I can go without Twitter on my phone. I have a work phone for email.

But I really want to listen to the next Sound + Process podcast on my way home tonight…


In the legendary Ask Autechre Anything thread on watmm someone asked em rather bleakly what their take was on the issue of surveillance, privacy etc and their response was simply “a necessary phase in human development”

Not that they are an authority on this subject obv but i think they somehow qualify and ya I tend to share a similar sentiment. I mean we are dipping our fingers into things like telepathy and remote viewing.

If we are to collectively evolve as a species…privacy… has to change its form and meaning.