A commentary by James Ormiston (@MacJim)

For some time now, I have noticed that I spend far too much time looking at my iPhone and not enough time looking outside of that small patch of glass that is the iPhone display… The real world was passing me by as I browsed a website, read an email or answer a text message on the ‘smartphone’ whether on a bus or train, or walking down the high street… the exception being when using it as a camera… you too are the same. Other things have brought me to this decision too, as far too many people have been hurt while reading that display in front of them, resulting in injury or death… yes, death, because they were too busy reading a social media app rather than looking out for that bus bearing down upon them. Fortunately the worst that happened to me was stupidly walking into a lamppost; I kid you not.

So that got me thinking about whether I could do without a smartphone and go down the route to simplify my lifestyle by getting a ‘dumb’ mobile phone like I had when these devices became affordable too all. So, after much searching, either through article found on the web, and video searches on YouTube, I decided upon the idea of getting a mobile from the manufacturer, Punkt, a Swiss company.

MP02 main.jpg.image popup Deciding to downgrade from a smartphone life.
The Punkt MP02


At that time, they had one choice and that was the MP01, a 2G mobile phone that did calls and text messages only… with no way of connecting any other device allowing some ability to get emails at a time convenient to me so that put the move on hold, until now. A few months ago, Punkt announced the new MP02, the next generation of the MP line of mobile phones with a much improved feature list (still not as feature filled as a smart device) and some physical changes that improved upon the MP01, and a step nearer to what I needed to make the move. With the MP02 came 4G LTE, a huge step up from 2G of the MP01 as 2G is a waveband that will soon go away.

The advantage of 4G LTE is it allows me to make that leap away from the smartphone and the constant always on that fed the email and web browsing compulsions that smartphones make us all have (it’s addictive) but still be able to connect a device via tethering, which means I can still use my iPad Pro and MacBook Pro if I want too in a cafe or pub via 4G rather than via public Internet services (even though I do have ProtonVPN for that).

So what to do with my old iPhone 7 Plus? At first I thought I’d just trade it in to get an iPod Touch as I’d get enough for the iPhone to cover the cost of replacing it.

My idea was that it would reduce the size of device in my pocket (the iPhone 7 Plus takes up a surprising amount of room)but that meant going down to a 32Gb device rather than the current 128Gb’s that my iPhone has. So I thought I’d simply keep the iPhone 7 Plus and use it as an MP3 player, camera, web browser and email device. So why do that and get the dumb phone I hear you ask? It’s defeating the purpose of downgrading by hanging onto the iPhone and getting the MP02 you say… well, yes and no.

While the yes has its points: I would have two devices to do the same job rather than the one, the no has its points too: it takes away the temptation to aimlessly browse the web, use social media apps (I only use Slack) answer emails immediately and allows me to get my face out of that screen and see the world around me.

  1. With the MP02, it’s much smaller than the 7 Plus… by a large degree.
  2. It is far less expensive in comparison to replace if I lose it compared to an iPhone (£295 against £800/1,000/1,500 for the current iPhones).
  3. It allows me to leave behind, the noise of emails, and the temptations that the smartphone has and lets me just take my Fujifilm FX10 camera for… photography! (A much better camera than the iPhone).
  4. The iPhone display is an expensive item to replace if it gets broken… £145 due to the finger print sensor in the display (I know as I broke it the first few months of ownership!).
  5. Keeping the iPhone 7 Plus means I still have access to Apple Pay, all the apps I currently have especially my bank app and it means I don’t need to transfer all apps and data etc etc over to an iPod Touch which could be a complete nightmare to do.

So, the order is in and I await delivery of the MP02. I’m more than likely than not to keep the iPhone for the reasons above and use it, especially as it’s now paid off… and it means one less item dumped into the ever growing electronic waste pile of discarded older model products replaced by the latest all singing shiny models just because it’s the newest ( I don’t have anyone to pass it down too family wise other than to friends).

Once the MP02 arrives, I’ll do an initial review of the device, with a follow up later updating you on this story… Can I survive living without a smartphone?

Stay tuned…

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