Phone suggestions


I have only had dumbphones and I like them. But the touch interface on newer smartphones is such a well engineered interface and they have dsp libraries too. A while ago I got to borrow an iPhone 5c that was literary just lying around for now use and I got intrigued about developing an app for it, so one hand I can do without a smartphone and still manage my communication needs and on the other I get excited about the possibilites for creating software for these smartphones. I just don’t want anyone to turn into a zombie.


right there with you. this is admittedly sad but I set a goal of never having my phone in my bedroom, which is great when I stick to it (I lapse sometimes, like flossing hahah) - but I’d highly recommend it as a starting point. It makes it so that it’s never the first or last thing I see in a day, which makes a huge difference.


This is a great idea, I use mine as my alarm but that also means it’s the first thing I pick up in the morning. Might have to try doing this, it’ll be liberating to force myself into the scary situation of having my phone away from me for a bit lol


Apparently the LitePhone 2 is going to cost over $200, which I understand is due to economy of scale but still seems totally ridiculous when you can get a very good smartphone these days for $100. It wouldn’t be too hard to duplicate its functionality by flashing a clean version of Android with no play store and only the required apps installed.


I love the idea of these minimalist phones… but at this price you’re really just buying will power. You could get a simple android phone for less money and not install apps or setup accounts.

This is totally hard to do, but I’ve thought about doing it. I.e. an iPhone that just does messaging, maps, clock, calculator, etc… but no email, FB/Tw/etc…


This is probably also relevant for some other discussions here on the forums, but since a lot of Facebook goes through people’s smartphones, it feels like a good place to post this.

According to the below article Facebook has been caught a couple of times experimenting with its user’s moods to fine tune the ways it can influence people’s decisions and actions.
To be more specific:

Facebook is using sophisticated algorithms to identify and exploit Australians as young as 14, by allowing advertisers to target them at their most vulnerable, including when they feel “worthless” and “insecure”, secret internal documents reveal.

and they did it by

[…] monitoring posts, pictures, interactions and internet activity in real time, Facebook can work out when young people feel ‘stressed’, ‘defeated’, ‘overwhelmed’, ‘anxious’, ‘nervous’, ‘stupid’, ‘silly’, ‘useless’ and a ‘failure’, the document states.

Apparently they have done that in the past and it seems to be pretty much a goal to follow on this road, it’s a lengthy article but probably worth reading:


25 bucks, no apps, no contract, easy texting:


Did this last night and it was liberating! Pretty sure I got 2 more hours of sleep by leaving the phone off and in another room. Instead of browsing and reading pixels, keeping myself awake with that addictive blue light, I just plopped down in bed and passed out. Woke up this morning and simply got up instead of spending another hour in bed on my phone. Not that I was surprised by the result, but it was still revealing of how little value my phone adds to sleep…

For real. I was getting pretty hyped on the minimalist phone myself, but wouldn’t be simpler to “dumb down” your current phone? Identify which apps suck up the majority of your time and either remove them from your phone or make them inconvenient to use.

-simply removing apps from your home screen
-signing out of social media apps
-placing apps deep in folders so you have to dig to open them up

It seems kind of silly that we (I) would need to setup a kind of anti-booby trap to spend less time on our phone’s, but it’s most helpful to create goals, write them down, and remind yourself why they’re important.


I use Flux for Mac and Windows, and a similar app for Android called Twilight. They make a big difference for me, though the biggest difference is when I was more disciplined about no screens for 1+ hours before bed and no phones in the bedroom, like @madeofoak mentioned. It seems like a small thing (and it really is) but it makes a really big difference for me. Now, to actually start doing that again…!


After all these recommendations, I followed my friend’s advice and just bought whatever clamshell was available at the verizon store-- one of the those instances where it’s easy to get caught up looking for the best option and end up getting stuck with nothing at all.

So I have a Kyocera DuraXV-- they had a sale price at the store to drop the ridiculously retail high price to something more to scale with other flip phones.
Features include

  • T9 texting
  • 16GB internal memory + sd slot
  • mp3 player
  • lo-fi audio recorder + camera (5MP!)
  • 8 days of battery life
  • waterproof
  • 3G/4G international antenna set

now I just need to get all my friends to stop texting me over iMessage :laughing:


Short version: I got a Fairphone 2 and am pretty happy with it so far!

Long version: After my Nokia clamshell died I went with an old iPhone (3G I think). It was old enough so that it would not install any apps and was pretty much a similar experience as the Nokia, (just with the downsides of having to use a touchscreen :smiley: ). When this one also dies a week ago (it didn’t like the contact with the floor at a speed higher than normal… my bad) I faced the big decision: look for some cheap non-smartphone (Nokia still makes them, and so do others) or find another smartphone.
The decision was made easier by a couple of factors that came into play: thinking about it, I was totally fed up with phones breaking and little options for me to fix them myself. Also on the functional side I wanted a phone that would be as much as possible open (as in not vendor-locked-in) but would offer a decent, syncable calendar option… which is one of the main things I use the phone for, besides calling and texting.
So, while I didn’t really want a smartphone, and also didn’t want to come up with the money for it, some functionality is impossible to find on anything else.
This basically left me with only a few choices, the Fairphone 2 being the closest to what I need.

Now for the part that might interest you more. First thing I did was flash it with FP Open, Fairphone’s open-source, de-googlized version of Android (I did want some sort of Android, to be able to run the Pisound app on it). Flashing was a 30s job and did work without a hitch.
FP Open will force you to rely on alternate apps and basically depends on f-droid, which you do have to install yourself, but fortunately that’s just a matter of visiting a website, downloading the apk and installing that.
If one depends heavily on Google apps that’s of course not going to work, or better, there’s ways to install all the Google stuff on it but that will king of defy the main purpose of using the OS.
Fortunately I have been getting out of Google already since some time, so there’s not much I’m really missing here and F-droid actually has quite a few useful things (including a nice Phonograph fork called Vinyl to play music with. I need to find a good navigation app and few other bits and pieces, but apart from that my experience has been pretty good so far!

Many reviews focus a lot on two aspects: it’s ugly and the technology is dated.
t’s not the sexiest phone on the market, from a iPhone / Galaxy perspective. Though I find that there’s a beauty in how it’s been made from a functional point of view… its design is more form follows function, most other phones are the other way around, and there’s a certain honesty in the way it looks. I also appreciate that it’s a bit thicker.
Technologically speaking it might not be very up to date. One thing where you really notice that is the camera, it’s bad for today’s standard. But then, I do have an actual camera when I need to make nice photos anyway. Though I think the parameters for which a phone like this is being judged by reviewers are kind of skewed on many levels.
Now the price is not cheap. But You get something for it, that nobody else gives you: a bit of freedom, plus they are at least trying to make a phone that is somehow more sustainable and fair than the rest (though we know the results are a bit of a mixed bag).

The only bad thing about it is… the money for Norns is now 50% gone.


F-droid is great. And there’s a neat oscilloscope on there.

I also like newpipe for anonymous YouTube browsing and the background features.


Any new Android phones I should be aware of? My Nexus 5X is getting really really slow. Not sure what approach to take, but figured people here may be more aware of what good new options are.



What’s the latest on phones relying on cobalt sourced via child labour?

I think the FairPhone tries to address that. Are any other manufacturers making statements we should trust?

This and the environmental impacts are things I think about when tempted to change phone. Classic consumer tangle of potentially competing priorities / dimensions from which to consider choices from.


Punkt is taking advance orders on their newly-announced MP02 phone.

I didn’t really get the concept until I read this piece on it, specifically this part:

"The Punkt MP01 was initially pitched towards conscious consumers after an alternative to the smartphone scrollathon lifestyle. It was picked up by a community of digital detox-ers, who celebrated it as the antidote to the echo chambers of contemporary communication. But Punkt was never intended to be retrogressive, or ‘anti-technology’; instead, it was intended to offer you a genuine choice. ‘Rather than just creating a new phone with a slightly new screen, or different ergonomics, we’re asking people to question their fundamental relationship with technology,’ Neby explains. ‘We soon found that the MP01 would unlikely serve as a solo device, but a supplementary one that you would use on holidays, weekends or when the office was closed.’

The Punkt MP02 offers this sense of choice between connection and disconnection within one product. With the addition of internet tethering capabilities (that, it’s important to note, can be switched off at will), the Punkt proposition has become less about digital detoxing, and more about digital balancing. Everything in moderation. The MP02 is designed to be used together with a tablet, giving the user an adequately-sized screen for writing texts, viewing websites, and using maps. It creates two separate devices that each do their job well, rather than a single ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ that’s only really good at one thing: distraction. The tablet stays in your bag until you decide to use it. Or it stays at home. And you get to live your life with your head up."


My own personal version of a digital detox is the “max power saving mode” on my Samsung phone, which seems to have been overhauled in 2018 with whatever flavor of Android I have, making it leagues more usable for daily life than it used to be.

Basically, it’s a limited mode of the phone that gives you four core apps: Phone, Messages, Internet, and Settings; and four additional apps you get to choose from among a list of allowed system apps. You can swap apps in and out fairly easily, but there’s enough of a delay that it makes you think twice before doing so. The four I have in rotation at the moment are Gmail (for business and personal email), Camera, Google Maps, and Calendar. Others I swap in fairly regularly are Memo, Voice Recorder, Clock (although I have a dedicated alarm clock in my bedroom now, which i love), and - yes - Facebook, sometimes. The fact that you can only have 4 easily at hand, which are usually taken up by crucial day-to-day stuff like navigation, business email, camera, and calendar, means social media is kept to a minimum throughout the day.

There’s some degree of customization now, so my customized version of Max Power Saving Mode allows apps to have background network usage, the always on display is kept on so I can see the time and notifications at a glance, and CPU Limiter is turned off so I don’t have any performance degradation. All this and now the battery lasts me all day/night long even with heavy use.

One downside for me was that Spotify wasn’t included in the list of available apps, but I decided to try out Bandcamp (through the browser) as my streaming music app instead, and it lead to me discovering lesser known music and listening to great new stuff, so it turned into a win. And with background network usage, Bandcamp in the browser continues to play while my phone’s in my pocket.


Yeah, the Fairphone was the first thing I looked at, but it still isn’t available in the US :confused:


Duck duck go here too, at least at home on laptop. Is there a version for phone?


Yes there is at least for Android:


On iOS you can simply go to: Settings > Safari > Search Engine > Duck Duck Go.

One issue I do notice with DDG is the search results. Often I search for vague software related things at work and find that I have a hard time finding as meaningful results. Not really as big an issue for personal use I feel like though. But maybe a good example of convenience vs privacy.