Five Great Phones That Aren’t Smartphones

Check your pockets. Aside from some gum, keys, and your wallet, what cellphone are you carrying these days? If you’re like the majority of Americans, it’s probably not an iPhone or Android. According to the Pew Internet Project in July 2011, only 35% of American adults own smartphones. This means that of the 83% of American adults who do own a cellphone of some kind, only 42% use a smartphone. If you’re looking to upgrade your basic or feature phone, and don’t want or need the advanced functionality of an iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, or Windows Phone, you still have several other great options from which to choose. If you’re due for an upgrade on your cellphone plan, here’s a list of our favorite phones that aren’t smartphones to help you decide which phone to get next.

LG Octane (Verizon)
Are you a text-messaging maniac? This phone, which features a QWERTY keyboard, a 2.6″ internal screen, a 3.2 megapixel camera, Bluetooth stereo, and an HTML Web browser, is ideal for those who communicate primarily via SMS. The phone features a keypad and small screen on the front, and flips open horizontally for texting and to occasionally browse the Web. With LG Octane, you can expect up to 380 hours of standby time, and about six hours of talk time. The phone does feature a 2.5mm headset jack, but this may not be compatible with most common headsets, which could be annoying for those who prefer to use a headset with a microphone to communicate with colleagues, friends, and family on a daily basis. This phone is available on Verizon for $99 with a two-year contract, but like with all basic and feature phones, be sure to call your local store before leaving the house to make sure it has it in stock. Many basic and feature phones are only available online.

LG Revere (Verizon)
Verizon owners looking for an even more basic phone (which is more ideal for the elderly or younger kids) might enjoy the features (or really, the lack thereof) in the LG Revere. This phone features a 1″ monochrome display on the front of the flip phone, and a 2″ color display on the inside with a simple menu of options to choose from, including the ability to call or text friends or family. The phone also features a 1.3 megapixel camera, Bluetooth, ringtones, and basic mobile Web, email, and IM. This phone is one of Verizon’s most simple cellphone options, and is available for free with a two-year contract.

Samsung Evergreen QWERTY Cell Phone (AT&T)
Five Great Phones That Aren't SmartphonesIf you have a cellphone plan with AT&T (or are considering one), a great equivalent to the LG Octane is the Samsung Evergreen. This feature phone offers a fully functional front-facing keypad and 2.4″ display with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and up to 250 hours of standby time and five hours of talk time. This phone also offers “social network integration” so that users can see friends’ Facebook and updates on one screen while easily updating their own, and their phone’s PicDial feature lets users use their profile pic as the Caller ID photo. The phone also comes loaded with apps like AT&T Navigator, AT&T Maps, AT&T Music, and MobiTV, which puts live TV in the palm of your hand. (Of course, users will have to pay for the data associated with using these apps.) For eco-conscious consumers, the Evergreen’s hardware is built from 70 percent recycled post-consumer materials, and the packaging is made from 80 percent recycled post-consumer paper and is printed with soy ink. AT&T users can grab this phone for just $19.99 with a two-year agreement.

Pantech Breeze (AT&T)
For AT&T users who need even less features than the Samsung Evergreen, a great option for those who simply need a phone to use as, well, a phone, may want to check out the Pantech Breeze. This phone does feature a camera and the ability to send and receive text (SMS) messages, as well as supporting graphics, wallpaper, and ringtones. However, if you’re looking for a phone for your aging parents (or, alternatively, as an emergency phone for your younger children), this phone notably lacks any other kind of “smart.” Its intuitive design allows anyone to simply pick up the phone, flip it open, and place a call. Currently, this phone is available online for $29.99.

Samsung t139
T-Mobile users looking for a great basic cellphone need look no further than the Samsung t139, which is essentially your standard flip phone. This feature phone does come loaded with a camera, Bluetooth connectivity, the ability to send texts, an alarm clock, calculator, calendar, photo caller ID, a speaker phone, speed dial options, and an option to use vibrating alerts (so you don’t disturb colleagues, friends, or family). This phone is exceptionally basic, but for those who simply need a phone to talk and text, the price tag of $9.99 with a two-year contract on T-Mobile is more than reasonable.

Are you in the market for a basic cellphone? If we left your favorite off of this list, be sure to let us know in the comments, as well as what features you think are must-have — even for these simple cellphones.

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Kelly Clay, author of Blog Without Boundaries, is a freelance writer and lifestyle advisor.