Minimal(ish) cellphone for maximalist times?
July 26, 2021 2:26 PM   Subscribe

I have an old flip phone that I'm happy with, but my carrier has informed me that the coming switch to 5G is finally going to render it obsolete. Looking for input RE: whether A) this is true; B) what some feature phones that meet my needs might be.

I'm basically a caveman when it comes to cellphones - I've deliberately avoided learning much about them, so am not in any position to assess if they're feeding me a line here*. If not, I apparently need to find a phone that A) supports at least 4G; B) allows for VoLTE calling. Something along the lines of the Nokia 215 4G, but preferably cheaper. If it's unlocked and meets those specs, my existing SIM card should work w/it. I only use it for calls, texting, and the occasional reference photo.

I'm in the US. Thanks in advance for any insights/recommendations.

* The software on my current phone appears to have been written in 2004, so it seems reasonable.
posted by ryanshepard to Technology (9 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Previously
posted by caek at 2:35 PM on July 26, 2021 [1 favorite]


If your carrier is Verizon or uses the Verizon towers, then it is true that voice calls will stop working at the end of 2022 unless your phone handles Voice-over-LTE calling which it surely doesn't.

"Switch to 5G" has nothing to do with this. You do not need a 5G phone. They are turning off the towers your phone uses because most phones today use LTE (4G) for calls.

There are certainly flip phones that support VoLTE (you might get better results if you search for "feature phone").

A VoLTE phone will give MUCH better call quality than you're getting currently so you might really like this upgrade. I'm shocked at the difference. Cell phones no longer suck at phonecalls.
posted by fritley at 2:47 PM on July 26, 2021


The Nokia 225 4G seems to be $50? You're not going to get a cheaper than that without carrier subsidy or buying something used.

(For the record, crappy voice quality on cell phones has been a choice US carriers have been making since like 2002. They've had the ability to do better, but they prefer to jam more customers on the same number of sites.)
posted by wierdo at 3:15 PM on July 26, 2021 [2 favorites]


If it's helpful, the term you're looking for is "feature phone" which is the industry term for non-smart phones.
posted by radioamy at 3:15 PM on July 26, 2021 [1 favorite]


We got a Sonim XP5s when our phone went obsolete. We use it for calls, texting, and the occasional reference photo. A Sonim XP3 would probably also meet your needs. These phones are also heavy, durable (there's a review video of someone playing soccer with one), and the only cell phone I've ever used with sound quality as good as a land line. They are also available used.
posted by aniola at 7:25 PM on July 26, 2021


Response by poster: The Nokia 225 4G seems to be $50? You're not going to get a cheaper than that without carrier subsidy or buying something used.

Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, the 225 does not support VoLTE.
posted by ryanshepard at 7:49 PM on July 26, 2021


The phone I mentioned is also $50 or less (used) and supports VoLTE (per my partner).
posted by aniola at 7:55 PM on July 26, 2021


Best answer: Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, the 225 does not support VoLTE.

You sure? There are a lot of places on the internet (e.g.) that suggest it does.

And, just on a practical level, it would make no sense for a phone released in the last year to not support VoLTE.
posted by Betelgeuse at 5:43 AM on July 27, 2021




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