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The Dumbphone Buying Guide

With easy-to-use and simple features, dumb phones have become the best option for all the senior users out there!   

Smartphones are an absolute necessity nowadays. Since their arrival in 2007, their functions have exponentially increased. It's impossible to ignore their utility and the features they provide for things like social media, commerce, business and fitness. Our dependence on them also continues to grow as they become more and more accesible to everyone. 

The latest smartphone models can do almost anything we need due to their processing power and efficiency. Their users are also way more adaptable in terms of their usage compared to users of other devices. 

With the current level of competition between different smartphone manufacturers, every new model comes with innovative features to outdo the last one, and the overall performance and price matrix improves day by day. End-users benefit by having more options at cheaper rates, and they can choose from a broader range of products as per their needs.

Smartphone abilities are constantly improving, allowing users to do more things. Especially in the areas of social media, finances, traveling, rentals, problem-solving and gaming. Most of which can be done at the touch of a button. 

The question is: Can a person survive in today's world without a smartphone? We're here to answer that for you and tell you if there are any actual benefits to "disconnecting" more. We'll be your guide and help you pick your next mobile phone!

Smartphones and their usage

Every emerging technology has its pros and cons, and it all boils down to how it's used. By definition, a smartphone's design aims for the greater good, however, it can have harmful effects if its user isn't properly informed on how to use it.

Smartphones are now highly integrated into our daily lives and their usage steadily increases over the years. With that in mind, it helps to be aware that any excessive use of something is almost always bad for you, and that applies to your smartphone as well. Its sole purpose may be to serve you, but too much use of can be bad for you. As they say, everything in moderation. 

Nowadays, smartphones use is growing at an alarming rate. The average person's screen time has  far exceeded the prescribed healthy threshold. To counteract this, we need to take breaks from our smartphone activities from time to time. The change in scenery will bring benefits to our physiology and mental health. It will also give us the opportunity to have healthier hobbies and to connect with other people through real social interactions. That being said, you'll see why non-smartphones are now more essential than people think.

What are dumb phones?

Older people who find it difficult adapting to new technology love to use old school phones, otherwise known as dumbphones. They're simpler cellphones with physical buttons, are less feature-centric and provide the core functionality of connectivity via phone calls and text messaging.

Newer dumbphones models are enhanced with features like Facebook and WhatsApp and provide excellent connectivity. They have significantly longer battery lives on average and are far less prone to being overused due to the limited amount of apps they can run. 

Some dumbphones are equipped with a camera for you to take photos and videos, and some models may not have the front camera. While the quality may not be comparable to that of a smartphone, it will still be good enough to get decent pictures. 

They can still be used to browse the internet, but definitely won't have the abilities of a smartphone for that. Dumbphones can't browse as fast as smartphones, and aren't optimized for opening web pages. Their smaller screen limits you to simple webpages and search results. 

At the end of the day, the sole purpose of a dumphone is basic communication, i.e., phone calls and text messaging. It is also a tool for people who want to avoid the pitfalls of a smartphone. 

Key features of dumb phones

Here are some key features that make dumbphones easier to use for older people and kids:

  1. They're more affordable than most smartphones currently available in the market.
  2. Their prices range from $30 to $100, whereas the cheaper smartphones start at about $100.
  3. They're more durable and reliable, with fewer parts and complexities than smartphones. This is because they generally have smaller screens with less glass area that can break.
  4. They're easy to repair. Their parts and repair costs are also way less than ordinary mobile phones.
  5. Their batteries last for longer because they have fewer features. They have better talk times and standby times than most modern phones.
  6. Their simple controls and fewer features make them popular among older people who  prefer them over modern phones.
  7. They serve the primary purpose of connectivity at a much lower price.
  8. Dumbphones can still come with WhatsApp, Facebook, maps and other basic modern apps.

Why do we prefer dumbphones over smartphones?

Besides older people who are less tech-savy and prefer simpler lives, there are many other people who would also benefit from using dumbphone instead. One would be someone who doesn't need the full extent of his smartphone's features. If he only uses his phone for communication and manages to do everything else on his computer, the added cost and maintenance of a smartphone would be an unnecessary expense.


If you only use your phone to make calls and send text messages, there is no need to spend more money on a smartphone. You can do those on a much cheaper phone, which would be more durable and serves the purpose.


Smartphones consume a lot of your time. Social media apps are designed to be addictive. Once you start using them, you tend to waste more and more time. Dumbphones, on the other hand, are free from these time-consuming traps. You can spend your time more wisely.

Social Life

With the rise of social media, people's physical interactions have gone down. People tend to spend more time on their smartphones than talking to each other in person. The addiction to social media, ironically, hurts your social life.

Dumbphones spare an ample amount of your time using different apps and allow you to spend your time with your loved ones. They also force you to improve your social skills and help your mind relax. Hence, these features make dumbphones the best cell phones for seniors!

Pros and cons of using dumb phones

These are the main points that differentiate dumbphones from smartphones:


  1. Dumbphones are cheaper and more durable.
  2. They're easy to repair and low maintenance cost.
  3. They serve the primary purpose of connectivity.
  4. Due to limited use, they have longer battery lives and backup time.
  5. They're easy to use and are more convenient for older people.
  6. The physical buttons are easy to use and operate.


  1. Their limited features do not support many apps.
  2. They're smaller and have a lower resolution screen.
  3. They're suitable for a limited audience only.

Important Considering Factors before Buying:

There are fewer dumbphone options available in the market compared to smartphones. It is therefore essential to consider these factors before choosing a model and making your purchase.


Most dumbphones generally look the same, so a design element needs to be considered. There are two types of dumbphones available in the market: the rectangular type (also known as the "candy bar") and the flip phone type.

A rectangular design has a screen on the top and physical buttons at the bottom while the flip phone is foldable with keypad and buttons right under the screen when folded. Both types have charging ports at the bottom as well as headphone jacks.


The second factor to consider is storage. Dumphones usually have very low or limited memory. If your contacts or text messages exceed a certain amount, you'll need to make space for newer ones by deleting the older ones.

It's best to choose a phone with a bigger memory capacity or an SD card slot to store more contacts, text messages and pictures. You can also store more music files if you want to use your phone to listen to music.

Network Support

You need to pick a model that provides network support and is compatible with the service providers in your country. In many countries, 3G will soon be phased out and your dumbphone will need to be 4G capable in order to work. We explain more about this in our “Buying Phones in 2022 in the U.S. for AT&T, Verizon and T-mobile” section at the end of this article.

Basic Features

Dumbphones do not have as many features as your typical smartphone, but you must still check their basic features like calling, text messaging, SMS group messaging and picture messaging. A lot of the communication nowadays is also done on platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, so you will need to check the support for these apps as well.

Solid Reviews

The reviews by people who have used the model you want give you insight into its performance and quality. They give you a more objective input about the product and its features, which will help you make a better informed decision before buying.


You also have to consider the quality of a model alongside its price and its reviews. A low price doesn't mean you need compromise on the quality. You can get the highest-quality products at an affordable price. 

Strong Battery

Battery life is an important consideration when picking a model for seniors. The less you need to charge a phone, the less you will need to think about it. You should expect at least 9 days of standby time for cell phones that are only used periodically for phone calls. Also check how the phone is charged. Some dumbphones take USB C, Micro USB or even have a charging dock.  Charging docks are a much easier and convenient alternative for people who find connecting the charging cable a nuisance. 

Easy to Buy. What about support?

Phones are quite easy to purchase nowadays. You can easily buy one online or at a physical store, but you also need to consider the initial support for carrier activation and the warranty in case something goes wrong. Look for one with proper carrier support and a local warranty so you can get a replacement or repair if your unit has problems.

The Best Dumbphone To Buy

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Marketed as an easy to teach and an easy-to-use mobile phone. The VoicePing P-one model combines the simplicity of an old school phone and the ability of an Android smartphone. It is best for kids and seniors. It has a simplistic design, a physical button keypad and a larger display with Android apps integration. 

Some of its notable features include:

  • Network: It supports 4G, promising VoLTE on AT&T and T-Mobile.
  • Screen Size: 2.4 inches with 240x320 pixel ratios
  • Rear Camera: 8MP rear camera
  • Battery Life: Standby battery time of 4 days and 8 hours talk time
  • Storage: 8GB of storage, but expandable to 32 GB via SD card
  • Dimensions: 135mm x 60mm x20.8mm
  • Weight: 210 g
  • Price: Approximately 120 dollars
  • Works on: AT&T and T-Mobile

It's a candy bar design phone that prioritizes connectivity by providing both communication and the latest apps. Older people and kids can enjoy having group calls by using Android apps like Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and more.

A robust protective body casing with IP 54 splash resistant, Wi-Fi & Bluetooth connectivity, GPS enabled and a 3.5 mm headphone jack makes this the perfect choice. It's larger storage space can be further extended to 32 GB via SD slot to store more pictures, music and texts. 

Other new dumbphones models 

These are some other reliable and reasonable options that you can compare and pick the phone of your choice. They are also regarded as the best dumb phones to buy in 2022. Both flip phones and candy-bar options are listed below:

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The Nokia 6300 is one of the most advanced candy bar phones available in the market. Its distinct design makes it different from others. 

Some of its notable features include:

  • Technology: It supports 4G 
  • Screen Size: Screen size of 2.4 inches with 240x320 pixel ratios. It is not a touch screen. 
  • Rear Camera: 0.3 MP rear camera
  • Battery Life: Standby battery time of 28 days and 10.9 hours talk time
  • Storage: 4GB of storage and has 512 MB Ram
  • Dimensions: 131.4mm x 53mm x 13.7mm
  • Weight: 104.7 g
  • Price: Approximately 69.99 dollars
  • OS: KaiOS Version 2
  • Works on: AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon

It's the best choice for people who love dumb phones with modern features. Nokia is a trustworthy company that introduced good, innovative, and durable models in the past, and its product quality is impressive.

With its 4GB storage, you can browse without any hassle, store and listen to the music you like, take or store pictures and enjoy longer battery life.

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The Alcatel GO Flip 4044 is a flip design phone, and is a treat for people who liked flip phones back in the day. It's an easy-to-use, primary feature phone that perfectly fits the definition of dumbphones.

Some of its notable features include:

  • Technology: It supports 4G LTE technology
  • Screen Size: 2.8 inches and 240x320 pixel ratios
  • Rear Camera: 2 MP rear camera
  • Battery Life: Standby battery time of 280 hours with 10 hours talk time.
  • Storage: 4 GB of storage, expandable to 32 GB via SD card.
  • Dimensions: 104.9 x 52.8 x 18.7 mm
  • Weight: 320.3 g
  • Price: Approximately 89.99 dollars
  • OS: KaiOS v3 (Warning: No WhatsApp and Google support)
  • Works on: T-Mobile

It's a flip design with built-in Wi-Fi, flashlight, Bluetooth, an SD card slot, a 3.5 mm audio jack flashlight and long battery life at an affordable rate of under 90 dollars. It's a preferable choice for older people who like flip-able dumbphones.

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CAT products are known for their durability and ability to withstand harsh conditions, and you will definitely see that with the B35. It's a candy bar shape phone that provides tension-free usage on the site. It's priced a little higher than the other options but provides extra durability and reliability. 

Some of its notable features include:

  • Technology: It supports 4G 
  • Screen Size: 2.4-inch screen with 160x120 pixel resolutions.
  • Rear Camera: 2 MP
  • Battery Life: Standby time of 30 days and a talk time of up to 12 hours
  • Weight: 130 g
  • Storage: 4 GB
  • Dimension: 138 x 60 x 14 mm
  • OS: KaiOS Version 2
  • Price: 128 dollars
  • Works on: AT&T

The higher price gets you much better features than the others. It has a significantly longer battery life, a highly durable body kit and a build quality that lasts much longer than the average phone. Other notable features include: a larger speaker for louder sound, the ability to survive higher temperatures, dustproof, waterproof (it can be submerged 1.2 meters for up to 30 minutes) and can survive drops of up to 1.8 meters.

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The Punkt MP02 is a minimalist design phone. It comes with a reinforced fiber body that provides extra protection if it falls, and is equipped with modern features.

Some of its notable features include:

  • Technology: It supports 4G LTE technology. It provides clear voice sound and a faster data rate.
  • Screen Size: 2 inches with 320 x 240 screen resolution
  • Rear Camera: It has no camera.
  • Battery Life: Provides a talk time of up to 7.5 hours.
  • Weight: 100 g
  • Storage: 16 GB of storage.
  • Dimension: 118 x 51.3 x 14.4 mm
  • Price: Approx 299.9 dollars
  • Works on: AT&T and T-Mobile

This model is for users who want a minimalist design and are security-conscious. It supports secure calling, texts, voice and picture messages through security features provided and implemented by Pigeon. It also has an IP54 splash-resistant body. 

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Another phone from Nokia on our list worth considering is the Nokia 8110. Its sleek and modern design got a lot of attention when it was launched back in 2018. This model certainly comes with Nokia's reliable quality and longer battery life. It has a modern design and is a great phone to have. 

Some of its notable features include:

  • Technology: It supports 4G 
  • Screen Size: 2.4-inch screen with 240x320 pixel resolutions.
  • Rear Camera: 2 MP
  • Battery Life: Standby time of 25 days and 11 hrs of talk time.
  • Weight: 117 g
  • Storage: 4 GB 
  • Dimension: 133.5 x 49.3 x 14.9 mm 
  • Price: Approximately 70 dollars
  • Works on: AT&T

Its modern and sleek design along with its 4G ability makes it the best choice for people  who are considering buying a dumbphone as their second option. It has a longer than average battery life and has the quality build you get with Nokia phones. Definitely one of the best among dumbphones. 

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The Nokia 800 is a similar-looking phone to its predecessor, the Nokia 5210, but with an extended tough casing. It's a small 4G capable phone with a small keypad for dialing and texting. It can also have social media apps and maps. 

Some of its notable features include:

  • Technology: It supports 4G
  • Screen Size: 2.4-inch screen with 240x320 pixel resolutions.
  • Rear Camera: 2 MP
  • Battery Life: Standby time of 343 days and 14 hours of talk time.
  • Weight: 161g
  • Storage: 4 GB, but expandable with an SD card
  • Dimension: 45 x 62 x 16 mm
  • Price: Approximately 160 dollars
  • Works on: AT&T

This small, rugged device has an IP68 water-resistant rating and a dustproof body. t's capable of running apps and has better than average battery that lasts for days. In addition to that, it has a headphone jack and built-in FM radio. It comes at a higher price but is loaded with features.


Dumbphones are small and easy-to-use and are best for older people. These phones can come with features that are present in modern smartphones, but only to a limited degree. While they're not as technologically advanced as smartphones, they're a great option for people who like smaller and simpler phones. A perfect alternative for those who want to take a break and get away from the pitfalls smartphones.

Buying phones in the US for AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile in 2022

Major mobile carriers will be shutting down older 3G networks in 2022, making older phones and some other devices useless. According to the Federal Communications Commission, the shutdown will make way for more advanced services including 5G, but may result in many older cell phone models being unable to make or receive calls and texts, including calls to 911 or using data services.

The change will affect 3G mobile phones and some older 4G phones that do not support Voice over LTE, as well as some medical devices, tablets, smart watches, vehicle SOS services, home security systems and other connected products that use 3G.

The 3G shutdowns will start occurring as early as Jan. 1 but will vary according to the carrier. AT&T will finish shutting down its 3G network by February 2022 while Verizon’s changes will be complete by Dec. 31, 2022. T-Mobile will finish shutting down Sprint’s 3G CDMA network by March 31, 2022 and Sprint’s 4G LTE network by June 30, 2022. It also announced that it will shut down T-Mobile’s 3G UMTS network by July 1, 2022 but has not yet announced a shutdown date for its 2G network.

For AT&T, activation of new phones is quite hard now unless they are in the AT&T whitelist which is very short.

For Verizon, most phones might not work unless specifically approved by Verizon. And because Verizon has different LTE bands ( than AT&T and T-mobile, phone manufacturers usually do not make a Verizon version due to economies of scale.

Please beware if you are an AT&T or Verizon subscriber as most phones here might not work with AT&T. We have listed phone models below and the carriers they work with.