Be more productive: Block distracting websites and apps on all your devices with Freedom - try Freedom today

The Simplicity Solution: Embracing Dumb Phones in a Tech-Driven World

Are you:

A) Tired of being glued to your screen?

B) Craving real connections beyond the ‘like’ button?

C) Wondering what life could be like with fewer distractions?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above, welcome to the club—the ever-growing group of individuals seeking refuge from the relentless digital noise. Turns out, not everyone was thrilled about being glued to their screens 24/7, drowning in notifications. The allure of a “dumb phone” is becoming harder to ignore. 

The first mobile phone (Motorola DynaTac 8000X), bulky and with limited functionality, was a marvel of their time, enabling communication from anywhere. As years rolled on, these devices transformed, shedding weight and gaining features at a breathtaking pace. 

When smartphones burst onto the scene, they changed the game completely. Suddenly, our humble mobiles weren’t just for calls or texts; they became our all-access pass to the digital universe. Shopping apps, games, the internet, videos – you name it, smartphones had it. It was like holding a mini-computer in your pocket, and honestly, it felt pretty awesome.

However, amidst this digital crescendo, a counter-movement has been quietly gaining momentum. A growing number of individuals, overwhelmed by constant connectivity and the incessant buzz of notifications, are yearning for a return to simpler times. 

Enter the “dumb phone,” a device that strips away the complexities of modern smartphones, offering the bare essentials of calling and texting.

This isn’t about rejecting technology; it’s about choosing to engage with it on your terms, to reclaim your time, focus, and peace of mind.

So, let’s take a step back together to explore how a simpler device could enrich your life. 

source: Light Phone

Why Dumb Phones Are Making a Comeback

What is a Dumb Phone?

At its core, a dumb phone is a mobile device stripped of the complexities of modern smartphones. It’s the polar opposite of being constantly online, offering basic functionalities like calling, texting, and sometimes, an FM radio, a music app or a simple game like Snake. Unlike smartphones, most dumb phones lack internet connectivity, social media apps, and a constant barrage of notifications. 

This simplicity is not a drawback but a feature, freeing users from the digital leash.

The Resurgence of Dumb Phones

Believe it or not, dumb phones are making a comeback. In a world where screen time often buries actual face time, a significant number of people are switching back to these simpler devices. 

It’s not just about nostalgia; it’s a conscious choice for digital minimalism. For instance, recent studies indicate a notable increase in dumb phone sales, with people citing reasons ranging from reducing screen time to enhancing mental well-being. 

This trend isn’t confined to a specific demographic; with 17% of adults aged 18 to 29 opting for basic phones. This trend spans various age groups, professions, and lifestyles, each finding value in disconnecting.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

How Distractions Kill Creativity

Distractions vs. Creativity

Smartphones, with their endless notifications and apps, are double-edged swords. While they offer unparalleled access to information and connectivity, they also serve as a significant source of distraction. 

This constant digital interruption is more than just an annoyance; it disrupts the creative process. Creativity requires space – mental and physical – to flourish. When every ping pulls you away from that space, the flow of ideas is stunted. The creative process, which thrives on uninterrupted thought and exploration, suffers. 

Here’s where dumb phones shine as unlikely heroes for the creatively inclined. By eliminating the possibility of digital distractions, these devices create an environment where creativity can thrive. 

For example, take the story of a dumb phone influencer and digital minimalist Jose Briones who began a personal project to reduce screen time, rediscover analog life, and now is creating tools that help people do the same. 

Or consider the experience of digital detox retreats, where people embark on a week-long retreat with no access to phones. The absence of smartphones forces them to engage more deeply with their surroundings and each other. 

These stories underscore a simple yet profound truth: creativity flourishes in the absence of distractions. Dumb phones, by their very nature, create a buffer against digital noise, allowing the mind to wander, explore, and connect dots in unique and innovative ways.

So, if you’re feeling bogged down by digital distractions or struggling to find your creative groove, maybe it’s time to consider the dumb phone route. And with tools like the Freedom app, which helps manage screen time even on smart devices, finding your balance in the digital age has never been easier. 

Source: Blu

The Practicality of Dumb Phones Today

Availability and Options

First things first: Can you still get dumb phones? 


The market is sprinkled with options that range from nostalgic flip phones to modern takes that keep things simple yet functional. For instance, the TCL Flip 2, priced at an astonishing $20, offers a basic experience with some surprising extras. Meanwhile, the Nokia 2760 brings a hint of smart functionality with KaiOS 3.0, allowing for a smidge of app use without overloading your digital diet.

Believe it or not, going “dumb” doesn’t mean you’re cut off from the world. Certain models, like the CAT S22 Flip, offer essential internet and GPS functionalities, ensuring you’re reachable and not lost in the literal sense. 

Simplifying Life with Dumb Phones

Making the Switch: A Step-by-Step Guide

Transitioning from a feature-packed smartphone to a basic dumb phone might seem daunting. Here’s how you can make the leap easy:

  • Identify your needs: What are you hoping to achieve by switching? Less distraction, more peace?
  • Research: Look into different models and their functionalities. Will you need minimal internet access or GPS?
  • Prepare: Backup contacts and any essential data from your smartphone.
  • Set expectations: Understand that there will be an adjustment period. Embrace it.

If you’re contemplating this tech-detox journey, the Freedom app can help you get started. With its intuitive interface and customizable settings, Freedom empowers you to take control of your digital life, allowing you to block distracting websites and apps across all your devices. 

Top Dumb Phones for a Simpler Life

In an age where our lives are inundated with digital clutter, finding peace amidst the chaos has never been more crucial.

Let us enter the world of dumb phones—a sanctuary for those yearning to disconnect and detoxify from the digital overload. These handpicked dumb phones strip away the unnecessary, leaving you with the essence of communication and the space to breathe, create, and connect on a more meaningful level. 

  1. TCL Flip 2:

Offers a basic experience with customizable features and the ability to install apps like WhatsApp, Signal, and Spotify. Best Feature: Customizability and app installation capability.

Cost: Less than $50.

  1. Nokia ThreadX Devices (Nokia 225, Nokia 110, Nokia 105):

Ideal for basic phone calls and SMS with exceptional battery life. Extremely basic, not suitable for app or internet use.

Best Feature: Long battery life.

Cost: Less than $50.

  1. Light Phone 2:

Known for its long-lasting battery, offering a minimalist phone experience with essential features like an alarm clock and music player. Learn more about how to go light on our podcast.  

Best Feature: Constant updates improving functionality and long-lasting battery.

Cost: Less than $300.

  1. Nokia 2760:

Smarter than the ThreadX phones, running KaiOS 3.0. Offers basic functions and a few apps but no social media messaging apps.

Best Feature: Runs KaiOS 3.0 for enhanced basic functionality.

Cost: Less than $50.

  1. CAT S22 Flip:

A transitional device that limits usage with its low-res screen but supports essential apps. It has a long-lasting battery, a waterproof and dustproof design, and a built-in walkie-talkie function.

Best Feature: Ability to run essential apps with usage limitations.

Cost: Less than $100.

  1. Xiaomi Qin F21 Pro:

Suitable for international use. Can install apps, acting as a mini smartphone without distractions.

Best Feature: Mini smartphone capabilities.

Cost: Less than $100.

  1. Doro Devices (7030/6880/etc):

Basic and reliable for essential needs. Some models come preloaded with WhatsApp.

Best Feature: Reliability and simplicity.

Cost: Less than $100.

  1. Kyocera Dura XV Extreme:

Highly customizable and usable with plenty of features. One of the favorites for its durability.

Best Feature: Customizability and durability.

Cost: Around $250.

  1. Jelly 2/2E:

Acts as a mini smartphone, is compatible globally and allows the installation of 99% of apps.

Best Feature: Mini smartphone with broad app compatibility.

Cost: Less than $200.

  1. Sunbeam F1:

Simple phone supported by the company with great performance. Offers three versions for user delight.

Best Feature: Company support and performance.

Cost: Less than $350.

  1. AGM M7:

A bulky transition device offering a decent user experience. The AGM M7 is a rugged phone that is built to military standards. It has a long-lasting battery, a waterproof and dustproof design, and a night vision camera.

Best Feature: Suitability as a transition device, Military-grade durability and night vision camera

Cost: Less than $150.

  1. Ghostphone:

A fully wiped smart device provided by professionals, with only certain apps pre-installed for minimal distraction.

Best Feature: Professionally minimized distractions.

Cost: Less than $700.

  1. Punkt MP02:

Continuously updated for reliability, offering a basic phone experience in a stylish package.

Best Feature: Stylish design and improving reliability.

Cost: Less than $400.

  1. Alcatel GO FLIP 3:

A compact flip phone offering essential features with a modern twist, including Google Assistant and 4G LTE connectivity for basic internet tasks.

Best Feature: 4G LTE connectivity and Google Assistant.

Cost: Generally less than $100.

  1. Nokia 3310 3G:

A revival of the classic Nokia 3310, now with 3G connectivity allowing for basic internet access, alongside the legendary Snake game and durable design.

Best Feature: Iconic design with updated connectivity.

Cost: Generally less than $80.

  1. Sonim XP3:

Known for its rugged design, this phone is ideal for users needing a device that can withstand tough conditions. Offers basic phone functionality with added durability.

Best Feature: Ruggedness and durability for extreme conditions.

Cost: Around $300.

  1. Blu Tank II:

A very basic model focusing on long battery life and durability. It supports dual SIMs and comes with a built-in FM radio and camera.

Best Feature: Long battery life and dual SIM capability.

Cost: Generally less than $30.

  1. ZTE Cymbal Z-320 Flip:

A flip phone designed for simplicity, offering a compact design with a unique combination of keypads and a basic touchscreen interface.

Best Feature: Mix of keypad and touchscreen interface.

Cost: Generally less than $100.

  1. Jolla Go 

Description: The Jolla Go is a feature phone that runs on the Sailfish OS operating system. It has a touchscreen display, a camera, and access to a limited number of apps.

Best Feature: Runs on Sailfish OS, offering some smartphone-like functionalities

Cost: Around $100 USD

  1. Easyfone Prime A7

Description: The Easyfone Prime A7 is a basic feature phone with a large display and a simple interface. It also has a camera, FM radio, and Bluetooth.

Best Feature: Easy-to-use design and large display

Cost: Around $4

The Joy of Simple Living: Beyond Smartphones

It’s like we’re all on this relentless quest for connection, only to end up feeling more disconnected from what truly matters. What if embracing the humble, unassuming dumb phone could be our ticket back to sanity, creativity, and genuine connections? 

Think of it as your personal declaration of independence from the tyranny of notifications, the constant buzzes, and the never-ending pressure to be “on.” Remember, going dumb (phone-wise, that is) doesn’t mean going dark. It means lighting up the parts of your life that got overshadowed by too much screen time—those moments of creativity, deep work, and yes, even boredom, which, believe it or not, can be the birthplace of your next big idea.

So, as we wrap up this digital detox journey, remember this: You have the power to define your relationship with technology, not the other way around. A dumb phone isn’t just a tool; it’s a statement. It says, “I choose to live intentionally, to foster creativity, and to connect on my terms.” And if you want to make the switch to a dumb phone take Jose’s Dumbphone quiz to find the perfect phone. 

But if making the switch is too much, start small with the help of the Freedom app. Share your story with us, download Freedom, and join a community dedicated to embracing the beauty of simplicity. Let’s start the conversation and inspire each other towards a life of meaningful connections and creativity unbound.

Written by Arlene Texeira