Flip phone or minimalist Android phone with good camera?
July 26, 2020 7:25 AM   Subscribe

Sick of my smart phone. Can't decide if it is making me a better human or worse one. Considering a dumb phone but with a great or at least good camera. Does one exist?

Does't have to be a flip phone--but would like a minimalist phone. A small phone. But it has to have a good camera. I'm not sure such a phone even exists. Phone, text and great camera is really all I care about. Google assistant would be nice as a bonus, so I could use microphone for longer texts, but not essential. T-mobile or Verizon compatible.

Thanks. . . .
posted by luvmywife to Technology (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Could you get an iphone, but delete all of the apps you don't want to use? You can even make them black and white, have someone else restrict features like downloading more apps, etc.
posted by bbqturtle at 7:50 AM on July 26, 2020

The BoringPhone might be something you'd like. There are other, even more minimalist, cellphones, but most don't have cameras.

People tell me Android phones are really customizable, but I've only had iPhones, so I don't know if they're customizable to the degree you're asking about.

More than one younger person I know just carries a dumbphone plus a camera--this might be another option.
posted by box at 8:32 AM on July 26, 2020

If you wanted to go the android route my suggestion would be to get a Pixel and install an alternative launcher (here's one example) to restrict the available apps.
posted by Poldo at 8:59 AM on July 26, 2020

I felt the way you do. I eventually decided to start by uninstalling all apps that weren't utilitarian (e.g. banking, recipes, Trello, email) or learning/good for mind & soul (e-reader, rss reader, podcasts, music, etc.). That meant no social media apps, no stupid games, no eternal scroll news apps, only things curated by me. This experiment eventually led to a complete departure from all social media. This has been what I would call a VERY GOOD THING. I no longer resent my phone, and I still get to use it for all the things smart phones are, IMO, awesome at.
posted by nosila at 9:06 AM on July 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

Seconding Pixel with an alternative launcher. Since it's stock android there isn't any bloatware, and you can basically disable or turn off aspects of everything you don't want.
posted by aspersioncast at 9:27 AM on July 26, 2020

Consider an iPhone, and removing all apps that it will let you uninstall, don't configure the app store with an apple ID, and turn off wifi and cellular data options (moot, of course, if you have a phone plan with no data). Text messaging has text-to-speech built in for dictating long SMS texts; unsure if Android has this built in as well.

I'm not aware of much in the way of dumb, or for that matter small, phones that also have a good camera, of course dependent on your exact definition of good. You may be relegated to a smart-capable phone that you just don't teach / let learn. The iPhone 7 and 8 both are the smallest available at 4.7" that would also have a decent camera. 5s are smaller but you take a hit in camera quality.
posted by SquidLips at 11:57 AM on July 26, 2020

Unfortunately if you want a good camera, they usually come attached to a very smart phone, since cameras these days are half lens, half software. So it is difficult to put a good camera in a "minimal" phone, though I wish they would.

I'd go with the suggested augmented Pixel - there are good launchers that will let you forget that there are other stuff. I share your concern but the only option for you right now is really to delete, delete, delete, and build new habits - I missed Facebook for about a month before I forgot it existed! Lovely.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 12:45 PM on July 26, 2020

Have you considered a flip phone and a separate camera? Unless you need to be able to send photos immediately to someone else, it's not that much work to take out an SD card, put it in a reader on your laptop or tablet, and transfer the photos. There are also cameras equipped with WiFi and GPS if you need those features, like the Nikon Coolpix W300.
posted by brianogilvie at 1:10 PM on July 26, 2020

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