Feature phones aren’t just for hipsters

Feature phones aren’t just for hipsters

Yesterday I overheard someone saying feature phones are popular amongst hipsters.

Recently, I ditched my iPhone 6 for a Nokia 130. I guess that makes me look like I was trying to be cool, which I definitely wasn’t. In fact, I think I look less cool — and I wasn’t cool to start with!

I did it because I was tired of being constantly connected.

The computer we carry around in our pocket is amazing. We have the world at our fingertips, but that was my problem. I was addicted to checking things — twitter, medium, public markets, email, news, instagram, bank balance etc.

I did it when I woke, when I was with people, or when I was bored by myself. Reaching for my phone to check things, that didn’t need to be checked had become a habit.

Maybe I’m more obsessive than most. Or maybe I’m more aware of my addiction. Either way, it was getting in the way of life.

I wasn’t being present and was feeling drained by being constantly connected. It was distracting me from things I wanted to do.

I tried to curb it in a few ways. I tried turning off all notifications. Then I tried removing the worst offending apps from my phone. I tried Jake Knapp’s disabling safari trick. But, I couldn’t resist checking things and always found a way around it.

I decided to try something extreme. Ditch the smart phone for a feature phone. The Nokia 130 seemed perfect. It was 20 quid. No apps. No camera. Just phone calls and texts.

Nokia 130 — Just look at this beauty!

Nokia 130 — Just look at this beauty!

I’m 10 days in and it’s been one of the best things I’ve done this year.

I had the same urges to check things in the first week, but had no way of acting on it. They became less frequent in the second week, and now I hardly get them at all.

I feel so much better. I’m more present and my mind feels less cluttered.

I also now enjoy the things I used to check too frequently more. Take Twitter for example. I used to check it 20 times a day for a few minutes. Now it’s two or three times a day for 5–10 mins. I look forward to sitting down and browsing it properly

I thought I would miss apps that are exclusive to the phone, but I don’t. The only thing I’ve found inconvenient is needing to google something on the move. But how great I feel without a smartphone far outweighs that.

The only time I pull the iPhone 6 out of the cupboard is when I run or bike. I like to use Strava and Nike + to track things and I listen to music whilst I’m exercising. But I put it straight back into the cupboard afterwards. I can use the laptop for most other things and can live without the rest.

One surprising benefit of a feature phone is the battery life. My first full charge lasted eight days. You wouldn’t think charging your phone is such a pain in the ass until you rarely need to do it.

Right, I’m off to stay with family for 3 days on the South coast. And I don’t need to pack a charger.


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  • Keith B

    Hi Daniel. I’ve done something similar to you and bought a Nokia 216. This has a very basic browser & a couple of basic social apps. Because they are so basic you only use them when you really need to. My Smartphone is now on “Tablet” duties and I might have a session on it a couple of times a day. The browser is capable of basic searches like for store opening times, nearest petrol stations and is so and so still alive etc. Love the battery life too

    • Hey Keith. Sounds like the 216 is limited enough to stop the main addictive usage stuff- but still gives you some of the essentials. Hope it’s working for you!

      Ah, that battery life is the best bit. I charge my phone about once a week 😉

      • Keith B

        I especially like it for its durability and I can carry it around at work and not fret about it getting damaged all the time. The data usage is so low I changed my tariff and save money. 🙂

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