Smartphones for someone who doesn't like smartphones

jothkijothki Registered User regular
I'm currently using a flip phone, and I love it. I can call people, and have them call me. I can receive text messages, and send them with enough difficulty that I don't feel obligated to put much effort into them. I can set alarms and appointments. I can leave it sitting around for weeks without needing to charge it. I can hold it out in front of me and drop it onto a hard surface, simply to prove the point that I can.

However, the one thing that I can't do is easily sync those appointments somewhere where they will be safe if the phone is lost. I'm considering being given a smartphone as a gift for the sole purpose of being able to do this. Beyond that, I have very little interest in anything else a smartphone would have to offer. Possible exceptions include maps if one ever becomes relevant, and maybe checking email. I have no interest in media functionality, and I have a better portable device for gaming.

What sorts of things should I be looking for here? I'd basically like the phone to resemble a slightly smarter flip phone as much as possible. A tiny profile is good, and durability is good. Is there anything like that that's generally available? Do I even need a smart phone to get what I want, or are there non-smart phones that can sync with online calendars?

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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    You'll probably have a hard time picking up a flip phone that's also a smart phone. I had the same feeling towards smart phones originally that you did.

    I don't think you want an iphone, that seems to be too far into the smart phone arena, but there are some pretty decent smaller android phones that would probably be good phones for you.

    The galaxy s5 mini might be right up your alley, but really, any of the android phones would work. The mini is about $250.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited November 2015
    there are afaik no flip-esque phones that really duplicate smart phone functionality, because they want as much screen size as possible and modern touch screens are good enough at emulating keypads. Even such as slide-out keypads are mostly a thing of the past.

    you could look at blackberries, maybe? When you say you want it to 'resemble a flip phone,' it's not really clear what you mean

    ed: evidently android does still make a couple flip phones essentially to cater to the notalgia market, so maybe one of those?

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
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  • jothkijothki Registered User regular
    I'm probably going to be getting it through an AT&T store, which does limit my options, unfortunately. I'm probably just going to have to show up and browse at some point.

  • joshgotrojoshgotro Queen CityRegistered User regular
    edited November 2015
    Is it really the flip phone aspect or the durability aspect?

    http://mobile.pcmag.com/reviews/52316-kyocera-duraforce-at-and-t?origref
    This is a tank of a phone and all the bells and whistles of a not bleeding edge smartphone. AT&T as well.

    joshgotro on
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  • jothkijothki Registered User regular
    Durability is nice, but I'm also looking for a really small form factor as well. The need for a touch screen sounds like it would be kind of crippling there, since the control surfaces can't be moved off the screen.

  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    It really sounds like you want a used or NOS blackberry, something from the time where they weren't trying to be a smartphone. It's all about the screen/radios to battery. If it has to be a gift suggestion, then that complicates.

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    I think in this case it might be better to not go shitty/old technology just for the sake of hatred of smart phones.

    I think the best bet jothki is to head to the AT&T store and just browse their smartphone selection and find one that you like. There are definitely touch screen android phones that fit the flip phone form factor.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    Expectations management. You cant get a smartphone that can pull 10 days of standby. Also anything that can pull 1 or 2 weeks or more can take lots more abuse than an iphone or droid phone. Cases can address drop issues, but battery life is pretty much about 2 days when dealing with 4-6" hidef gorilla glass screens. You can get more if you start shutting radios off, but then you start losing functionality.

    Put your calendar in Google, Outlook, iCal or any number of other calendaring services and your appointment data should be retrievable from another device.

    AldobowenNightDragonKalnaur
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    jothki wrote: »
    Durability is nice, but I'm also looking for a really small form factor as well. The need for a touch screen sounds like it would be kind of crippling there, since the control surfaces can't be moved off the screen.

    You will not find a smart phone that doesn't require the touch screen for core functionality.

    What is this I don't even.
    GaslightRainfallNightDragonKalnaurMegaMek
  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    unfortunately the only "smart phones" that have traditional cellphone form factors and interfaces that I am aware of are Vertu phones

    http://www.vertu.com/us/en/home

    but they are ridiculous horseshit affordable only to pop stars

    get on the touchscreen train, pops

    MegaMek
  • KyouguKyougu Registered User regular
    HTC has the the Mini M7, which is probably going to be one of the smaller smartphones you'll find.

  • jothkijothki Registered User regular
    edited December 2015
    I may actually have been too binary in my thinking, here. If I love my flip phone, and have no use for a smart phone beyond occasionally syncing a calendar, would it make sense just to continue using a flip phone, and treat the smart phone as a device that I occasionally turn on to view and store appointments?

    I wouldn't need a data plan at all, since syncing would work fine with my home wireless. The form factor is less of an issue if I just throw it in a backpack, and the batteries will last longer if I disable cellular communication and keep it turned off 99% of the time.

    Since I don't care at all about power, I could probably grab an older model for really cheap, too.

    Edit: ...and that would just be a PDA. Any suggestions there?

    jothki on
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited December 2015
    Yeah any of the smart phones will work at that point.

    I'll throw my hat in and say maybe just take the plunge, you may end up enjoying it. Before I picked up the iphone 4, I used a razr v3 for like 6 years. And now, I can't go back.

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
    LovelyLostNinja
  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    I was a smartphone luddite for a long time. I didn't get a cell phone until I grudgingly gave in in 2007. I used that phone until about 2013, when the Galaxy S4 came (and I got a S3 because they became cheaper :P ). I actually still use the old flipphone as an alarm clock for reasons you already mentioned. The battery lasts for like a month with the radio turned off and it won't break if I fumble it off the nightstand in a groggy haze.

    That said, I am a smartphone convert. You may find that you really like them. The ability to ask google "where the hell am I?" if you're in an unfamiliar town is pretty great.

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    bowenLovelyNightDragonKalnaur
  • baudattitudebaudattitude Registered User regular
    jothki wrote: »
    I may actually have been too binary in my thinking, here. If I love my flip phone, and have no use for a smart phone beyond occasionally syncing a calendar, would it make sense just to continue using a flip phone, and treat the smart phone as a device that I occasionally turn on to view and store appointments?

    I wouldn't need a data plan at all, since syncing would work fine with my home wireless. The form factor is less of an issue if I just throw it in a backpack, and the batteries will last longer if I disable cellular communication and keep it turned off 99% of the time.

    Since I don't care at all about power, I could probably grab an older model for really cheap, too.

    Edit: ...and that would just be a PDA. Any suggestions there?

    I use a 2nd generation iPod touch as an alarm clock and appointments reminder; it sits in airplane mode almost all the time and only needs to be charged about once a month. While charging it, I turn on wireless so it can sync any changes to my calendar. (I don't make a lot of changes to my regular appointments)

    It is really astonishing how long it will last if you're not turning the screen on often and not running the wifi radios.

    seasleepy
  • jothkijothki Registered User regular
    It turns out my parents had an old iphone sitting around, so I'll just be trying that out as a PDA for a while.

  • LostNinjaLostNinja Registered User regular
    jothki wrote: »
    It turns out my parents had an old iphone sitting around, so I'll just be trying that out as a PDA for a while.

    Holy crap, I forgot PDAs were a thing...

    Lovely
  • viegasnviegasn Writer, journalist, gamer Santa Maria, Açores, PortugalRegistered User regular
    I reckon you're not Korean? Samsung would have you covered.

    Comic-book writer, occasional poet.
    Writer for Pushstart Magazine.
  • DhalphirDhalphir don't you open that trapdoor you're a fool if you dareRegistered User regular
    You might be surprised how much you like smartphones. A lot of things you will use it for are things you don't know you want until you have one. There's that old quote from Henry Ford "If i asked people what they want, they would have said faster horses".

    Can i ask why battery life is so important to you? Just because? Because while i would love for my phone to have a long battery life, I'd rather it use that electricity on more features throughout the day, because i can charge it every night anyway. Unless you're looking for something to go hiking with, I'm not sure you need to make battery life such a high priority.

    KalnaurkaliyamaLovely
  • jothkijothki Registered User regular
    One thing that it looks like I'll be needing that an iphone doesn't inherently provide is a map program that can work solely by gps. Does anyone have any recommendations there?

  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    Google maps can download the necessary map info if you identify the area ahead of time.

    Otherwise you're talking about a good old gps.

    What is this I don't even.
    Quid
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    jothki wrote: »
    One thing that it looks like I'll be needing that an iphone doesn't inherently provide is a map program that can work solely by gps. Does anyone have any recommendations there?

    You need cell phone service activated to use GPS for a two reasons :

    - cell based internet downloads portion of the maps for speed and memory reasons
    - cell and GPS radios both use the same chip, switching to airplane mode disables both of them

    I see you're being tempted already by all these awesome features, and it only gets worse.

    Try this and see if it works:
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/copilot-gps-car-navigation/id504677517?mt=8

    Just be warned though, this is really subprime compared to something like google maps w/ cell phone instead.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • Pirate ViperPirate Viper Registered User regular
    The Samsung Rugby 4 is a flip phone with some limited smartphone capabilities. Might be worth checking out.

  • AresProphetAresProphet I see a darkness in my fate I'll drive my car without the brakesRegistered User regular
    HERE Maps (originally made by Nokia for Lumia phones) does offline navigation. I've used it in the past.

    last time I used it there was a cool feature that would beep at you when you went over the speed limit. except you could set a buffer, so it'd only beep if you went more than 10 over our whatever. I liked that.

    A sizable chunk of my job is selling smartphones to old people who have never used one, or are using a super outdated one only grudgingly. feel free to PM me if you have specific questions. you can't really go wrong with any modern Android or iPhone as long as you stay out of the super budget <$200 range.

    oh, gimme some time
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    yeah, when I feel low
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  • jothkijothki Registered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    jothki wrote: »
    One thing that it looks like I'll be needing that an iphone doesn't inherently provide is a map program that can work solely by gps. Does anyone have any recommendations there?

    You need cell phone service activated to use GPS for a two reasons :

    - cell based internet downloads portion of the maps for speed and memory reasons
    - cell and GPS radios both use the same chip, switching to airplane mode disables both of them

    Hmm, I currently have cellular data turned off in the settings, for obvious reasons. I'll try turning that on and seeing if the maps application works better.

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Yeah it might work, but without internet things like apple or google maps probably won't download image data of your location, or give you directions. And the cell service will tear through your battery since it'll be pinging for towers trying to establish service all day.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • baudattitudebaudattitude Registered User regular
    jothki wrote: »
    One thing that it looks like I'll be needing that an iphone doesn't inherently provide is a map program that can work solely by gps. Does anyone have any recommendations there?

    If you're in a city large enough to have a TripAdvisor map, the TripAdvisor application will download maps and work with zero cellular or wifi connectivity. I used it to get around Beijing and Shanghai with a cheap Walmart android tablet. That's dependent on the GPS hardware working, of course, so your experience may be very different based on your particular bit of hardware.

  • jothkijothki Registered User regular
    Looks like cellular service doesn't actually matter here. What's happening is that the built-in map application downloads maps as needed, and seems to drop them after a while. If you load an area at somewhere with wifi access, it can track you as you wander around, but if you just open the application in the middle of nowhere it's likely to just be completely blank.

    I tried out that Copilot application, which did let me permanently download a map of the entire US. That should serve my needs if I can't get anything on the default program where I'm located.

  • FoomyFoomy Registered User regular
    if you use google maps, you can save a map that's basically city sized so it doesn't need to download each chunk of map as you move around.

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    Darkewolfe
  • GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    Foomy wrote: »
    if you use google maps, you can save a map that's basically city sized so it doesn't need to download each chunk of map as you move around.

    This won't do turn by turn navigation though.

    bowen wrote: »
    The bacteria in your poop exist everywhere.
  • jothkijothki Registered User regular
    I actually already have a Garmin anyway, so that wasn't a big issue.

  • AtaxrxesAtaxrxes Cursed EarthRegistered User regular
    You know, if you don't want any of the phone functions it sounds like maybe an iPad Mini or something might be the way to go. Great battery life, don't need cellular data plan. You can probably get one of the first models for fairly cheap. Mine is still going strong.

  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    Gaslight wrote: »
    Foomy wrote: »
    if you use google maps, you can save a map that's basically city sized so it doesn't need to download each chunk of map as you move around.

    This won't do turn by turn navigation though.

    Quoting scrubs: Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, you're wrong, you're wrong, you're wrooong.

    Google does, in fact, have functionality for downloading offline maps, going into airplane mode, activating only gps, and getting turn by turn navigation.

    What is this I don't even.
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