When Steve Jobs entered the stage of the MacWorld presentation in 2007, the whole world of communication changed forever. Smartphones, simple-looking mobile phones from the outside, became powerful mini-computer that can handle any request of ours. However, when a human mind encounters that much liberty of choice at its fingertips, we can get distracted and lost in the myriad of apps and what they offer.
The antidote to that is the recurring blast from the past, gaining plenty of traction lately. A mobile phone primarily used for calls and texting and with minimal access to the internet has become a popular commodity.
What we’re talking about is a dumb phone, an answer to the problems smartphones inadvertently bring. It is why we’ve made a list of the best dumb phone models you can get in 2021.
- Durable and resilient case
- 4G LTE Network
- Access to KaiOS optimized apps (WhatsApp)
- Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and USB network sharing
- Productivity-focused design
- 4G LTE Network
- Ruggedness and security
- Dust and waterproof resistance
- An accidental drop to the concrete won't break it
Back in the 1990s, the Nokia 3310 was the synonym for excellence and the definition of a mobile phone. Today, this model is back with a vengeance, packed with a couple of unique features. There were two revivals of this model in 2017 and 2019. We will focus on the 2019 version.
The first thing that caught our attention was the incredibly straightforward and crisp candy bar design with number pads. This iconic texting design allows for a primarily unobstructed way of typing and sending text messages. We used it for over an hour to send countless messages, and the number pads were mainly enjoyable to use. There are, however, more intuitive manners of texting.
The 2.4-inch display has a vivid selection of colors, from dark black to fresh blue. And the QVGA screen resolution of 240×320 pixels will do the job for most things. The only exception is internet browsing which can appear a bit stuffy and illegible at times due to meager resolution.
Where this dumb phone shines is in its excellent battery capacity. Packed with a 1,200 mAh removable battery, the Nokia 3310 3G can last for an unbelievable 22 hours of constant talking and up to 40 hours when actively using it to play games. And if you leave it on standby, the battery will work without problems for nearly four weeks. The model we had, possessed 128MB of internal memory, which can be easily enhanced by adding a MicroSD card, up to 32GB.
The earlier revival version only had a 2G network, but the newer models have a 3G network support inclusion. The GSM network bands are 900/1800, along with 2.1 Bluetooth connectivity support. And all of this is powered by the Nokia series 30+ operating system globally and YunOS 4G version in China.
Nokia 3310 3G has a smooth and curved design that is light enough to last through minor falls to the ground without visible or internal damages. However, treat caution since its sturdiness falls short compared to some other models on the list. The menu is neatly ordered, with all the essential apps available upfront. We didn’t have any trouble navigating the phone‘s apps.
This model of a Nokia dumbphone isn’t jam-packed with additional apps or features. You have a torch function, an FM radio, and an excellent game of Snake. If you get an itch for social networks like WhatsApp or modern apps, Nokia 3310 3G sadly has no such support. However, this dumb phone is an outstanding package that will fulfill all your everyday needs for the price asked.
Nokia 800 Tough
Suppose you’re looking for a dumb phone that will handle any obstacle you throw at it. In that case, Nokia 800 Tough will surprise you with excellent performance and features. Starting with the high-quality production of candy bar number pads, typing and texting on this phone was an effortless experience. Soon enough, our typing speed outpaced that of friends who regularly used smartphones for everyday typing.
As a candy bar phone model, the screen size suffers a bit to make the way of uncompromising texting. Still, a 240 by 320 resolution should be enough for daily business needs. And thanks to the dynamic colors popping on the screen, we didn’t have eye fatigue after using it for two hours straight. The 2.4-inch QVGA screen is well-suited for texting, playing games, and more.
As with the previous Nokia dumb phone, this model excels at the outstanding performance of its batteries under duress. The Nokia 800 Tough 2,100mAh battery will last you between nine and 14 hours of constant chatting, depending on the network type you use. If you use a 3G network, this phone lasts up to 43 days while in standby mode, while under 4G network, the battery can go up to 34 days in standby. Overall, we were very impressed with the battery‘s longevity.
And speaking of a network, it accepts a sim card for 3G and 4G LTE networks. You can also connect via Wi-Fi or create a mobile hotspot, which is an excellent addition. And if you need to transfer data from another phone quickly, 4.1 Bluetooth will do this job admirably. Just be mindful of the storage space of a meager 4GB that will fill up lighting fast. If that happens, you can add MicroSD cards to get more space.
Another big plus this Nokia phone takes home is a resilient phone case that can withstand bad weather like heavy rainfall since the phone is up to 1.5 meters waterproof. Sand winds and dust finds a way to clog inside the phone and hamper the electronics. However, this is not an issue for this phone, as Nokia 800 Tough is dust-resistant.
And the accidental drops to the concrete ground won’t damage it as this dumb phone can stomach up to 1.8-meter falls. Thanks to its rubberized edges, accidental drops should be reduced to a minimum. Cold and high temperatures won’t make a dent with this device, as it was designed to withstand temperatures between -20 C to 55 C. The “Tough” part of the Nokia 800’s name is completely justified.
This 4G phone is pre-installed with FM Radio, Facebook, and WhatsApp. You can download more apps, thanks to the phone‘s compatible KaiOS operating system. If you’re afraid that WhatsApp inclusion might make this model into a smartphone, worry not. WhatsApp communication is strictly limited to messaging purposes.
If you want to download more apps, you’ll quickly find Twitter, Google Assistant, Google Maps, and more to download. With the beefy Qualcomm 205 CPU, all of these apps will perform adequately.
Slick is how we’d put the Punkt MP02 design in one word. It might look like a calculator, but this dumb phone has very responsive and highly easy-to-use candy bar input buttons. With a circular design of number pads, texting on this phone was the comfiest experience we’ve had so far.
The one aspect that won’t leave anyone excited is the 2-inch screen bordering on the barely readable. The good thing is that the phone goes for a 240×320 pixel resolution for functional messaging purposes. The monochrome VA TFT transflective display dictates that this dumb phone is only meant for dedicated business and off-the-net users. This point is further hammered down with the distinct lack of a camera.
The battery is 1,280 mAh lithium-ion that needs around two hours to charge up completely. Compared to previous Nokia models, the Punkt MP02 battery is not removable. It’ll last you four hours when speaking and up to 13 days in a standby mode, which is an average for dumb phone battery performance. Luckily, 16GB of storage space will be enough to customize your phone and app features however you wish.
Punkt MP02 did floor us with excellent internet connectivity support via hotspot. You can connect to the network with Wi-Fi, USB, or Bluetooth, which is much better than what other dumb phones are offering regarding network connection. You can also rely on the 4G LTE sim cards and the previous 2G and 3G networks. It is powered by the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) operating system version 8.1 from Google.
The phone case is made of a high-durability polycarbonate, while the screen glass is fiber reinforced and protected by the gorilla three glass coating. All of this means that Punkt MP02 is resistant to water splashes. However, we would not recommend thoroughly submerging this dumb phone into water or dropping it to any height concrete.
This dumb phone is on the slimmer side, considering the pre-installed apps and features. You got eCompass, airplane mode, and a monthly calendar along with a few more basic functions, but nothing special or modern. The Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 210 processor gave solid if unremarkable software performance.
Cat phones are renowned for their resilience and bulky design, and this goes doubly so for the B30 model. It is not a light phone model when you look at its weight, the overall look, and down to the number pad touch response. They feel a bit slippery, but we didn’t have problems texting for two hours in one session.
Like a candy bar phone model, the screen was the second design priority compared to comfortable input field texting. As such, Cat B30 has an all-right two-inch QCIF display with 176 by 220-pixel resolution. The colors feel muted and washed-out, while the whole screen exudes barebones quality to it.
However, this is expected from a CAT phone that focuses entirely on functionality and delivers an experience cleared from social media and the internet. It’s all about chatting and texting capabilities, and B30’s 1,000 mAh removable lithium-ion battery gives 6 hours of uninterrupted talk.
The battery will also work up to 10 days under the standby regime. The internal storage space of 128MB can and will feel mighty cramped, especially if you copy over MP3 music. You can alleviate that by adding the MicroSD card that provides up to 32GB of additional storage space.
Cat B30 has a 2G and 3G connectivity, with a maximum uplink data rate of 384Kbps. This dumb phone is not meant for internet users, which these strict connectivity details show.
What the B30 model is meant for, however, is the unparalleled resistance to damage caused by weather and human elements. With an IP67 rating, this dumb phone is resistant to water submersion up to one meter and has complete dust resistance. It’s even secured from drops to concrete from the height of up to 1.8 meters.
Besides the MP3 and MP4 player and the FM radio, the Cat B30 comes equipped with a rear two megapixels camera and an LED torch. The good thing is that it uses a proprietary Android-based OS so that you can download a dozen of “rugged” apps from the Cat‘s App Toolbox and Google Play.
Doro emphasizes straightforward and intuitive design above all else. The clear-cut number pad overlay is one of the most elementary to use among many other dumbphones. There is even hearing aids and emergency assistance button users employ to inform their contacts about the dumb phone‘s location. All in all, this is a one of the devices that is welcoming to all new mobile users, especially the elders.
The screen size is the biggest one yet, with an impressive 2.8-inch display perfect for texting, playing games, or browsing the internet. The supported resolution is QVGA, or 240 by 320 pixels, paired with an increased display, which will be a visual treat for the eyes.
Even with the battery longevity, we are noticing pretty good results. Doro 7010 has a 1,600 mAh lithium-ion battery that provided us with seven hours of constant chatter. And when you put the phone into standby mode, the battery will last for a decent 13 days. The 4GB of storage is not enough for such a well-polished device, forcing you to turn to a MicroSD card for additional storage space.
Doro 7010 arrives with a 3G and 4G sim cards network support, which will tremendously help while locating a suitable mobile provider. With a hotspot support connection via Wi-Fi, you can hook yourself to the internet and check Facebook and WhatsApp, which come preloaded on the phone.
Besides these two planetary popular apps, you’ll get a bunch of other useful mobile apps. Such as customizable wallpaper, startup wizard, calculator, calendar, and more. You’ll receive all the apps needed for everyday activities. The system relies on the proprietary DorOS to function.
Guide To Get the Perfect Dumb Phone
Getting a dumb phone that will suit your needs can be tricky when all the relevant sources and your friends can’t stop talking about new smartphones. There are plenty of useful dumb phone features which focus on simplicity, practical design, and reaching your maximum productivity via limitations.
We’ve found the following features every future dumb phone owner should look for through rigorous testing and analysis. Most of these models don’t have fancy social networks. However, you’ll be surprised at the practical solutions hidden under the phone‘s mask.
Input Layout and Quality
The primary purpose of dumbphones is to put text and talk functions at the forefront. Sending messages with smartphones tends to be filled with grammatical errors thanks to small touch screen letters compared to our oversized fingers. A dumb phone clears this problem by using practical and pressable number pads separate from the screen.
Dumb phones‘ number pads come in several shapes. Keyboards mimic desktop keyboard inputs or rectangular candy bars that provide large enough or easy-to-use texting buttons at the screen size‘s expense. The third texting console is flip phones that fold in half, with number pads on the lower half that has reduced accessibility. A few models will have a banana phone look: an expanding upper cover reveals a sizable number pad beneath. We’ll focus on finding the excellent number pad quality for the asked price in our reviews.
Screen Size and Quality
With the significantly smaller screens compared to their smartphone brethren, every pixel quality on the screen counts. We’ll check texts, numbers, and symbol readability on these reduced screens. We’ll also review the image quality and potential display losses on these screens, as well as their sturdiness.
Dumb–phone screens are generally more resilient to damages and tears compared to smartphones. They better handle the shock from fall and weather elements. We’ll put their resistance to the test too.
Battery Life and Storage
Another universal advantage of dumbphones over their intelligent counterparts is the longer battery life. Thanks to their bulky design and significantly reduced number of supported apps, batteries have better mileage. However, we’ll check how reliable batteries really are, especially compared to the screen size the dumb phone is using.
Another aspect we’ll focus on in our reviews is the storage size. Most dumb phones have storage that can be measured in megabytes instead of gigabytes. And this is fine for everyday dumb phone usage. However, suppose you include photos, music files, or additional apps, such as WhatsApp. In that case, you can quickly use up the storage space. We’ll check the storage space amount and what types of storage every dumb phone in this article employs.
Supported Network Types and Connections
We’ve also included what type of network that various dumb phones use. There is a sizable difference between 2G, 3G, and 4G dumb phone sim cards when talking about mobile services providers like Verizon and what kind of network they support. Not all dumbphones will work with all mobile communication companies, so it’s essential to be aware of the network type every dumbphone uses.
We’ll also dive into the type of connection that’s supported whether you have Bluetooth, USB, or Wi-Fi network sharing support, as well as hotspot and tethering capabilities. The latter features can be crucial for those looking to be completely disconnected from the internet.
Case Sturdiness and Software Accessibility
Specific dumb phone models use lighter and more fragile cases. Others turn to bulkier designs that can take a beating but weigh more. Our tests will focus on the aesthetic as well as endurance outlook of these mobile phones.
One of the tests is the general ease of use of the pre-installed software on the phone. Since they cannot compare to smartphone apps’ vast features and design, we’ll check how well-implemented software solutions are on dumbphones. There’s a big difference between providing quality texting feedback for kids compared to elders.
Additional App Features
Even though dumbphones are economical, minimalistic, and reliable, some models can and will surprise users with implemented or supported software. An installed MP3 player will make long travels from home and back a dancing joy.
Some models include a camera, although at a markedly lower quality. And specific dumb phones might include WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube, or other popular social network apps. We’ll cover all these non-essential dumb phone features.
Finest dumb phones in 2021:
While smartphones continue to rule all forms of mobile communication, the market of dumbphones is healthy enough that they are here to stay. The next time you think about purchasing a phone, and you want to enjoy life more instead of spending time looking for the inconsequential news on social media, any of the dumbphones we’ve listed will give you back that inner peace.
What is the most minimalist phone?
The best minimalist phone is Nokia 3310, followed by Punkt MP02 and Nokia 8110 4G banana phone.
What is the stupidest phone?
Surprisingly, a smartphone has bravely taken this category. The Energizer Power Max P18K packs a giant smartphone battery put into massive production. The 18,000 mAh, no matter how long it lasts, will not impress anyone since it increases the phone‘s size to the size of a human fist.
What is the ugliest smartphone?
LG Wing has a nightmarish design that it’s generally considered the ugliest Android smartphone, if not the ugliest mobile phone at large.