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Flip Phone vs Smartphone: Why I switched back to a Flip Phone | 2021

Flip Phone vs Smartphone: Why I switched back to a Flip Phone | 2021

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So, why is everyone switching to a flip phone… are flip phones making a comeback? We’re going to discuss why flip phones are being used again, what types of flip phones there are and the benefits associated with using one.

  • Compared to smartphones, flip phones are not only known to emit less radiation, but are extremely simple and straight forward to use.
  • Flip phones can be used as a secondary device so your primary smartphone doesn’t use all its battery when you’re on the go.
  • Both old and modern styles of the flip phone are typically durable and can take a beating, especially compared to the fragile, expensive smartphones they compete with.

Let’s face it, a phone that snaps and closes is one of the best types of devices to have as its trendy, yet retro design that allows for a distraction free experience.

Are flip phones making a comeback? Unlike a smartphone, a flip phone (or dumb phone) allows you to ignore all the clutter and distraction from apps, and constant, incessant emails.

You will need to know the differences between the three types of flip phones, New folding phones, New flip phones, and Old Flip Phones

These devices do not come without drawbacks, which we will also discuss in this post which covers flip phones vs smartphones.

Related – Quiz yourself: Do iPhones have SD cards? (You may not know this)

Flip Phone vs Smartphone: Why you should switch back to a Flip Phone | 2021

Case Study: Flip Phone vs Smartphone

Case study flip phone vs smartphone

Here at Mediapeanut, we surveyed our audience, whom had previously admitted to actively using a mobile flip phone rather than an iPhone or android.

  • 34% of mobile phone users of the Mediapeanut audience reported they use a flip phone because it’s provides a distraction free environment.
  • 32% of those surveyed admitted they only use a flip phone because all their ‘friends’ have one.
  • 16% claimed they have a flip phone because of the lost cost associated with the initial purchase.
  • 18% said they have one because they lost their current phone and it was a “budget temporary replacement”.

Related: Did you know you can use drawing pens for phones?

Case study why users are migrating to a flip phone at mediapeanut

What we found interesting is that 18% of those surveyed reported they migrated from a smartphone to a flip phone due to the high associated costs of their primary iPhone or android devce.


What is a Flip Phone? 

What is a flip phone

A flip phone is a type of mobile phone which contains a clamshell form factor, i.e. the screen is on the inside or front side of the device and allows the device to snap open and close.

Flip phones are also referred to as clamshell or dumb phones, as the hinge looks like a clam’s “mouth” and opens on one side of the device to reveal the keypad and display.

What does a flip phone do?

A flip phone offers limited functionality compared to more modern smartphones; they typically lack advanced features such as touch screens, camera function, and in some cases, even wireless data connectivity.

Many flip phone models are known to be nearly 8-10 times less expensive than the premium smartphones that run on iOS or Android. Some even have room for a sd card (see the fastest micro SD cards)

The Jitterbug Flip 2 for example is an extremely low cost flip phone with text and call only features that many people are switching to from their smartphones.

Why Would Someone Want a flip phone?

So why would someone want a flip phone

There’s actually quite a few productivity & minimalist benefits that a flip phone will provide users 

We’re going to cover these benefits and highlight even some that many wouldn’t expect. These flip phone benefits may surprise you and include a combination of productivity and trendiness.

Although existing flip phones have been around for decades and still see widespread use in Africa and other developing countries, their popularity has fallen sharply since mid 2000’s with the introduction of more advanced models from Apple and Samsung.

Related: See the best iphone wrist strap to avoid drops and falls when commuting or at school.

Different Types of Flip Phones

Different types of flip phones

Below, we’ve categorized the different type of flip phones most commonly used when switching from a smartphone. It’s important to understand the differences between these devices, particularly if you are considering grabbing one.

  • New flip phones: There are new flip phones ones that mimic the old flip phones.There are ‘new’ flip phones that are essentially new versions of the old flip phones with the same capabilities.
  • Old flip Phones: There are old flip phones, like the old, original Motorola Razr phones from the 2000’s.
  • New folding phones: These devices are also known as folding phones’ that many confused to be flip phones, these are different than the flip phone and are essentially a smartphone with a folding design.
    • These are expensive, high end mobile devices with superb smartphone capabilities and are not the same as a flip phone or dumb phone.

What is a Smart Phone?

What is a Smart Phone

A smartphone is a mobile phone that additionally offers the ability to run various types of third party applications such as full-featured browsers, Wi-Fi hotspots, GPS, mapping software, advanced apps and calculators, social media, and voice recognition software. 

Unlike Flip phones, Smartphones are equipped with interactive touchscreens that can be used for many functions including phoning, texting and manipulating maps.

At the start of the 21st century there were two dominant smartphone operating systems: Symbian and BlackBerry OS. However these have since been overtaken by Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android respectively. 

What is a Dumb Phone?

What is a Dumb phone

A dumb phone, or flip phone, is a type of obsolete mobile phone, which typically lacked features such as GSM support and the ability to send or receive data.

Dumb phones with a GPS will be discussed further in this article.

The functionality was not entirely poor in previous models of dumb phones, but there were greater limitations in comparison with modern smartphones. 

Switching to a Flip Phone (Flip Phone vs Smart Phone)

Switching to a flip phone vs smartphone

When switching to a flip phone, it’s important to ensure you understand the difference between old flip phones, and new flip phones.

New mobile flip phones do not provide the productive, distraction free benefits that traditional flip phones provide.

Keep in mind the camera on a flip phone is a clear drawback and must be kept in mind when choosing a flip phone as they typically have lower MP cameras and a lack of touch screen functionality.

For example the Alcatel Go Flip V is a newer flip phone, which is also a smartphone, and is made by Verizon. This type of phone has a futuristic design, The Nokia’s has its own KaiOS rather than the well known Android that we’re all familiar with if you are planning on going back to a flip phone.

What are the advantages of a flip phone 

What are the advantages of a flip phone

Flip phones & dumb phones provide a plethora of benefits unbeknownst to smartphone users. From our tests, here are all the benefits of a flip phone:

  • Extremely affordable: Flip phones cost less upfront, but do not have all the advanced features of a smartphone, which has many surprising benefits. On average, flip phones and dumb phones cost significantly less than a smartphone.
  • Distraction free, minimalist design & features: With a flip phone, you’ll be able to break free of constant notifications, incessant interruptions, and finally enjoy a distraction free environment.
  • Can take a beating: Flip phones are extremely durable devices that can hold up well through frequent drops, falls and damage. The outer clam shell protects the inner screen and acts a natural barrier from careless behavior.
  • Can be used as a secondary phone and prevent battery drain on your main iPhone or Android phone: By using your flip phone for strictly texting and calling, you’ll save battery on your iPhone or android.
  • Trendy – We ran a study at Mediapeanut where we polled our audience, we found that as far as trendiness goes, users reported that the switch brings back nostalgia amongst the days of the flip phone, particularly for users ages 30-40.
  • New & old flip phones are extremely easy to use: New flip phones can be used without much stress or thinking. This is especially useful for not only kids and seniors, but for anyone who finds themself getting lost in their smartphone everyday.
  • Known to emit less radiation: Flip phone devices are known to emit less radiation, this is hypothesized to be due to the lack of constant apps and GPS running in the background, compared to smartphones.

On the flip side, what are the disadvantages of an early 2000s flip phone compared to a new smartphone? Well, you’ll simply be missing out on all the apps, social media, GPS, and tools (calculator, flashlight), that a smartphone provides.

Are flip phones better for radiation

Are flipphones better for radiation 1

Do flip phones emit less radiation? Yes, Flip phones and dumb phones are objectively better for those looking to reduce radiation exposure; particularly models without bluetooth & GPS capabilities. Also flip phones without multiple apps running in the background that require constant internet access are speculated to be safer. (Source)

The SAR value, also known as Specific absorption rate of radiation to the human head of the flip phones is 22% lower than that of non-flip phones. This study was conducted by K. H. Chan. (source)

Older cellphones certainly give off a noticeable amount of EMF, but this is essentially required if you’re going to use a cellphone.

I personally use speaker phone as much as possible to avoid radiation close to my head, while this may not be the perfect solution… It’s one I believe may help ease the fears surrounding frequent exposure.

Can a flip phone be a smart phone?

Can a flip phone be a smartphone

Yes, there are numerous models of flip phones that are also smartphones. If you’re looking to minimize the level of radiation you’re exposed to, then grabbing a dumbphone that is also a flipphone may be of interest. 

Many new models of smartphones are both flip phones and smartphones, some include the “flex” models and have a sleek, modern, flex/folding design. A few examples of this is the Nokia 2720 Flip has 4G LTE support or the Galaxy Z flip 3 which many claim compete with the iPhone models.

The flipphone vs the smartphone is has some notable differences that we’ll discuss further in this post. Flip phones do not offer the same features as smart phones, but it does provide voice communication on the go for those who do not want to carry around an extra device.

Certain flip phone models can be considered by users to be a smart phone, even if it doesn’t truly meet the criteria known to the mass, because it offers communication capabilities that are on par with some models of smartphones.

Why are smartphones better than flip phones?

Are smartphones better than flip phone

The advantages of a smartphones in terms of features are significant when compared to a flip phone. However, more features doesn’t always mean a better experience if you’re not using applications or are easily overwhelmed with notifications and the available technology.

  • Smartphones typically have more sleek, modern design and a high megapixel camera that allows users to easily share all their memories captured on the fly.
  • They have more features for work professionals such as checking and responding to emails, social media and other online services.
  • Smartphones allow you to always have access to apps so you can stay in touch with your friends, family and office even while on the move.
  • There’s various types of games and apps to keep your hands occupied while traveling or waiting for your flight at the airport, this is something a dumbphone or flip phoone certainly lacks.

Flip phone vs smartphone cost

Flip phone vs smartphone cost

The average cost of a flip phone ranges between $30 and $110. The cost is different for new flip phones that have smart phone features. For example, a dumb phone that doesn’t have smartphone features is on average in the  $70 range, while a new smartphone that folds can range higher than $1000.

Essentially, if your flip phone choice mimics the same limited function and design of the old Motorola Razr, then it will likely be in the lower range of under $100. If you want extra features, such as bluetooth, GPS, app capability, and touch screen functionality, then a modern flip phone that is also a smartphone with a clam design is idea and is roughly 8-10x the cost of a standard dumbphone.

Is a flip phone a smartphone

Is a flip phone a smartphone

A flip phone can be both a smartphone and a dumbphone. While a flip phone can be a smartphone, it really depends on when the flip phone was made and the amount of features it provides. If you only want call and text functionality, then a flip phone doesn’t need to be a smartphone for you. You can get away with a non smart phone.

There’s a few different types of flip phones the everyday user may categorize with the following lingo:

  • Modern style flip phones that are smartphones
  • Modern style flip phones that are dumb phones
  • Old style flip phones that are dumb phones (First trending in the early 2000’s)

Is it harder to trace a smartphone or a flip phone?

Flip phones that are not smarthpones typically don’t have cloud storage capabilities. For example, the iPhone has iCloud, but a flipphone won’t have this if its an old style flip phone that mimics those created in the early 2000’s.

Also, this means it likely won’t have GPS functionality or WiFi. This can be a disadvantage if you lose your phone and need to locate it. 

Do flip phones have Internet or WiFi?

Yes, modern flip phones that are not dumb phones will have internet and wifi. A good example of this is the Nokia 2720 Flip, which allows for 4G LTE support.

Are flip phones coming back?

Yes flip phones are coming back, this includes both modern style flip phones that are smart phones and also those without smart capabilities.

Based on our study we ran of 1400+ participants, here are the reasons why flip phones are making a comeback:

  • One of the core reasons we found is that it is a trendy way for users to minimize the amount of distractions they receive on a daily basis
  • Another reason flip phones are frequently being used again in recent years is that users of mobile phones are finding is that if they lose their primary phone, they can buy a flip phone that cost nearly 90% less than the lost device. 
  • It accomplish the core of what they need; which is texting and calling. Also, their friends are using them and its becoming a trendy, retro movement.

The downside is the lack of touch screen and apps that may be required for work. However, less radiation may be emitted on flip phones that don’t utilize bluetooth, gps, and other similar activities.

A flip phones more secure than smartphones

Yes, foot phones are more secure them smart phones because they are not exposed to the same vulnerabilities that smart phones are.

These vulnerabilities include iCloud and storage as well as third party apps that may not be very secure.

A hacker could break through to your device through these ways, but on a flip phone, confidential information may be more secure.

It’s been said that blackberry devices are very difficult to hack, and many famous people have been known to use these devices since their smartphone has more vulnerable routes to attack and take information.

Are flip phones still available

Yes flip phones are still available and allow you to text and call, they work well to allow your primary phone to save battery. This is common for those who commute to work and less common for those who work remotely at home. Modern style flip phones are available and are also known as Flex style phones and are foldable.

These have smart phone capabilities but still maintain the open and snap clothes functionality as the early 2000 flip phones allowed for. Another benefit that dumb phones have is great battery life span as well as an extended duration per session/charge.

Best Flip phones

Choosing the best flip phone means understanding what each type of flip phone is available to you as well as what types match your use case. To determine what exactly you are looking for you’ll need to match up why you’re going the flip phone/dumb phone route and which features you can do without.

The reason for this is many -perhaps you want a flip phone with the goal of reducing  distractions from apps, notifications, and other interruptions in mind.

Perhaps you have the goal of minimalism or allowing the lowest possible radiation, then in these cases the flip phones that do not have smartphone capabilities are a good choice.

However, if you’re looking for a modern flip phone with smartphone capabilities, then a Foldable style flip phone may be of interest. This is typically the case if you do not want a dumb phone with grainy screen images.

If you’re goal is to save money, then a flip phone that is also a dumb phone is certainly a great choice since these oftentimes run under $110.

Alcatel GO Flip: Best Flip phone for seniors

If you or a loved one is a senior and in need of a flip phone, the Acetal GO Flip 3 is a good choice as it has easy to use buttons and minimal unecessary apps & features that a senior may not want to be bothered with.

The Acatel GO FLIP 3 does not utilize tapping, swiping or sliding as it does not have a touch screen. This makes it more slim, and easier to handle. The size of the smartphone and the material is both trendy and durable.

Previous models can’t compete with the new go flip 3, but the jitterbug flip 2 is a comparable alternative for those who are looking for some variance in cost and size.

The downsides include a lower Megapixel camera and there is no data involved, which menas it is only used for calling and texting. This is truly a minimalist dumb phone design. 

LG Exalt 4G: Best Flip phone for kids with internet/wifi

If you’re looking for the best flip phone for a kid, then the LG Exalt 4G is ideal as it provides 4G LTE and exapnadable storage (32GB). This is something unique as other flip phones and previous models do not have this.

The LG exalt was different during our hands on testing and displayed a simple cell phone interface with different features than the Acetal Go Flip 3, which is another common competitor in the flip phone world.

It’s nice to stick to a simple, basic, design of a dumb phone, but with the absolute minimal features that a smart phone allows. New modern types of flip phones like the google pixel fold provide a lot more features than this type of phone.

As far as charging goes, the batteries hold up well since they don’t require a lot of apps being ran in the background to drain the battery life.

Jitterbug Flip 2 :Best non smart flip cell phone

The Jitterbug has extra large buttons on the inside of the device and the screen is very clear, with a concise design as far as menu’s an navigation go. The camera is only 2 Megapixel, which competes with many tablets, but not modern smartphones like the iPhone or Android based mobile phones. The bezels are notable and vary compared to the other alternative phones like the LG exalt.

The plans and costs are kept low and the memory allows for a SD Card slot to be added. So if you need a very simple, easy to navigate phone, with all the basics, the jitterbug flip 2 has you covered.

Now if you’re looking for the best dumb phone with a gps, then the Plum RAM 9-4G may be worth checking out. You’ll also need to know whether you need a pre-paid plan or not

Bottom Line

Overall, the differences between flip phones vs smartphones are outlined in this article to highlight the key benefits and disadvantages and explain why people are switching to a flip phone again.

We’ve covered why users are switching to a flip phone, which is due to the minimalist, distraction free experience which allows for an easier, less cluttered device. We also covered why switching to a dumb phone is beneficial, yet has its drawbacks.

Flip phones are not only easy to use, but they work well for seniors, kids or anyone who wants a very low cost alternative to a smart phone. We also covered studies around radiation and flip phones vs smartphones and how some are 3g, 4g, or 5g.