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.

Article Written by

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

  • Alex Thompson

    Id like to add that the Microsoft Kin, and the LG Env Touch are both fantastic phones.

    • Robert Hoellering

      The kin is dead but it looked like it could have been a great phone but microsoft killed it IMO cause it would have taken the spotlight away from windows phone 7.

  • Kevin Dowdall

    I use the Octane, and before it I had a Military Spec casio phone that I killed in a little over a month.  I’ve had the octane for almost 7 months, and its the best non smart phone I’ve ever had.  the two smart phones that I had were the Samsung sch700i, and the Palm Treo 700w, and they were also very tough phones.

  • BawkLeo

    I have the verzion version of the ever green. It butt dials a lot! I don’t know if the evergreen does but it literally looks the same.

  • DerekMason

    I wouldn’t mind using a “Dumb Phone” but i prefer smartphones. For the obvious reasons. Social Networking is better on them, Quality is generally more impressive, and they are more enjoyable.

    I have to have my Ubuntu Computer and my Android Phone.

    this is a bit off topic, but i think it might interest your viewers. 

    If you’ve ever been away at a buddys house and needed to get some files,photo, or program that is at home on your computer. There is an App for it. I’m sure it’s been made possible some other way. But with our application it’s as easy as a click or 2. All you need is your home ip address and your set to go. Access your entire windows C: Drive on the go.

    We are porting the app to Android and Linux soon. If your interested in it. Go ahead and check it out.

    *Sorry for the bit of advertising @Lockergnome:disqus *

  • Aaron Couch

    I’ve had the LG Lotus for 3 years now and it still is running great! I love it too! It’s durable, cool looking, unique, full qwerty keyboard, etc. It’s pretty awesome. It’s low tech and older, but I’d still recommend it.

  • itsmeorisit

    Nokia C3-01 and the Nokia Asha 303

  • Jack Teagarden

    I currently have a ‘droid Atrix; having traded up from a iPhone 3Gs

    Prior to that I had Palm Treos.  A 650 when they first came out and a 680 after it.  I still have that 680 (plus two recond 680s in the box).  It was/is sad that H-P killed the PalmOS because it really works.

    I still fire up the 680 a couple times a week because the droid (maybe it’s me) can’t:
      One touch accessable memos that can be sorted any which way.
      Photo gallery that will create folders and sort images in and out of them
         without the use of a computer.
      Save my text message reparte’s on a computer for archival purposes
        Or allow bulk copy and paste from anything to anything on the phone.

    I really like the Atrix, I just wish It would do what I want as well as what AT&T told it to do.

  • Dan Thomas

    From a personal stance, this isn’t useful. However i think that its extremely useful for those who are looking for a normal phone, the majority of recommendations and reviews are on smartphone recently. And some websites and magazines seam to forget that there are still some people out there who want a normal phone. Nice work Lockergnome

  • Douglas Roatch

    I have always preferred Motorola phones had the Razor for many years then went to the Hint and was very happy with it. The only reason I moved to smart phones was cause I was given it for a wedding gift and moved out of the area. I now have a first gen droid and looking to upgrade to the droid razr maxx when it comes out.  

  • PowerchairPimp

    Smart phones aren’t all that smart anyhow :-) my Android phone uses up way more battery power then the simple flip phone I had before, especially if I use Pandora or something like that which is obvious. So when  I can I use it while plugged in, but when I don’t use my phone almost all day, and I go to use it, I notice it doesn’t have as much battery life as my flip phone would, so I had to install a task killer and make sure some dumb app wasn’t going to start at boot up.

  • Robert Hoellering

    Not a bad list but i would have picked different phones cause in one way you really cant put normal flip phones in the same category as QWERTY phones. I have to say i loved my hint from motorola when i was with alltell it was a great phone but now i don’t know if i could live with out my Iphone.

  • Robert Hoellering

    Not a bad list but i would have picked different phones cause in one way you really cant put normal flip phones in the same category as QWERTY phones. I have to say i loved my hint from motorola when i was with alltell it was a great phone but now i don’t know if i could live with out my Iphone.

  • Andrew

    I have been looking at the Nokia C2-01 for some time.  Seems to give me everything I really need and will probably move to when my Blackberry finally fails 

  • Justin

    LG500G is great for people that struggling with this bad money issue we live in today