Selecting a basic (non-smart) phone
November 10, 2017 2:25 PM   Subscribe

I’m spending too much time on my smartphone, so I would like to leave that at home/in my car and purchase a super simple phone with limited features for emergency use. I’d like it to be inexpensive, and all I need it to do is store 10-15 contacts, send and receive texts, and make phone calls.

Because I’ll be using it mostly in urgent situations, it would need to be reliable and have good reception. Any recommendations? I don’t know much about the prepaid phone market so could use some recommendations.
posted by delight to Technology (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Go to WalMart. They have tracfones and other non-smart phones. I have a smart phone from them and paid $50 for the phone. One year of service costs a total of $99. Total.
That is a good deal for someone that needs less than a smart phone. They can explain everything and take care of all the registration, etc.
posted by JayRwv at 3:25 PM on November 10, 2017

In Canada, Seven Eleven has exactly what you need. Cheap phones, and prepaid plans that don't expire for a year at any level.
posted by cooper green at 4:08 PM on November 10, 2017

Sorry, should have specified that I’m in the US.
posted by delight at 4:24 PM on November 10, 2017

You don't mention your provider, but I know Verizon still sells flip-phones.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:57 PM on November 10, 2017

My dad's (non-smart) tracfone cost $15 at a discount store. I put minutes on it every few months...prices on minutes depend on how many you buy. You can look at the tracfone website. The reception on dad's phone is fine.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 8:00 PM on November 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

Do you want a phone to add to an existing cellphone plan, or do you want a pay-as-you-go phone? If the former, go search on Amazon (or your favorite retailer) for "unlocked cell phone" or "[provider] cell phone"; while most providers do sell basic phones themselves, you can often get them cheaper elsewhere.

If you decide to go prepaid, keep in mind all pay-as-you-go phones require that you purchase additional minutes periodically (my experience was about once every 3 months, but it's been a while since I had a prepaid phone), but if you don't plan to text or use the phone very much, this can be the the cheapest route overall.
posted by Aleyn at 7:33 PM on November 11, 2017

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