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The 5 best feature phones of 2024: For people who don't need a smartphone

The 5 best feature phones of 2024: For people who don't want or need a smartphone

Not everyone wants the latest smartphone -- like the Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max, Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra or Google Pixel 8 Pro. If you're not a tech-savvy person and all you want is a cell phone for calls (with a few other basic features thrown in), or you want to give your child a phone for emergencies, there are numerous benefits to a "feature phone" or "dumb phone." 

Don't worry: Using a "dumb phone" is in no way is a reflection of your intelligence. In fact, if you would rather call it a minimalist phone, that's all good by us.

If you're looking for a low-cost smartphone, be sure to check out our coverage of the five best smartphones under $500. And if you need advice about switching from an Apple iPhone to an Android phone, or transitioning from an Android phone to an iPhone, we've got you covered.

What is the best dumb phone right now?

A feature phone has more features than a basic phone, but fewer features and an simpler interface than a full-fledged smartphone. In addition to being less expensive, a feature phone tends to offer physical buttons, instead of virtual ones. And while the phone may have a full-color display, it won't be a touchscreen. The latest feature phones also tend to be physically smaller than a smartphone and have a longer battery life. 

Our team of in-house tech experts has curated this roundup of the best feature phones available right now. So, if you're looking to downgrade from your current smartphone to help reduce screen time, or you're shopping for a phone for someone who doesn't need a smartphone, here are some great (and low cost) options. 

Best feature phone overall: Punkt. MP02

Punkt. MP02 Feature Phone

Screen size: 2 inch LCD (320 x 240 pixels) | Battery life: Up to 4.2 hours (talk time), Up to 180 hours (standby) | Locked/unlocked: Unlocked | Cellular service support: 4G LTE | Dimensions: 4.61 x 2.02 x 0.57 inches | Weight: 3.53 ounces | Special features: 3.5mm headphone jack; 16GB of storage; Can serve as a Wi-Fi hotspot

When it comes to feature phones, it doesn't get more basic than the Punkt. MP02. This is an unlocked phone that'll work with any carrier, but it's designed mainly for calls and texts. That's it. The phone offers a minimalist design, a streamlined menu system, plus security and privacy tools.

This phone only provides 4G LTE service, which, for tasks that don't involve the web or using apps, is plenty. It also keeps the cost of your monthly service extra affordable. Unlike so many low-cost phones, this one is well made and durable.

Beyond the numeric keypad buttons, the other buttons are clearly labeled with simple icons for scrolling up and down menus, accessing your phone book, or switching to the phone's text messaging function.

While offering distraction-free and simple communication, this phone can be used with wired or wireless headphones or earbuds. And if you subscribe to a service plan that includes data, the phone can serve as a personal Wi-Fi hotspot for other devices, like a tablet. 

Best budget feature phone: Nokia 6300

Nokia 6300 Feature Phone

Screen size: 2.4 inches (320 x 230 pixels) | Battery life: 7.5 hours (talk time), up to 5 days (standby) | Locked/unlocked: Unlocked | Cellular service support: 4G LTE | Dimensions: 5.17 x 2.09 x 0.54 inches | Weight: 3.7 ounces | Special features: 512GB internal storage; OK Google (Google Assistant) support; 3.5mm headphone jack; Low resolution front and rear camera

If you're on a tight budget and want a simple flip phone at a really low price, the Nokia 6300 is just what you're seeking. This is a 4G LTE phone that provides the most basic smartphone functions, like the ability to run Google Maps for navigation, access social media accounts, and stream YouTube videos.

It's primarily designed for calls and texts via the 12-button keypad or with dictation using Google Assistant. The Nokia 6300 comes unlocked, so it can be activated with any provider. And if you subscribe to a cellular plan that includes data, the phone can generate a personal Wi-Fi hotspot for your other compatible devices.

For international travel, the phone comes with WhatsApp preinstalled, which makes calling and messaging with people anywhere in the world simple and secure. Plus, with access to Ok Google, you can get questions answered or compose text messages using your voice.

Since this phone uses older technology, it relies on a single Micro USB port for charging, but the charging cable is included with the phone. The phone's small, but full-color, display shows just enough information to make it useful, without being confusing to operate. 

Best feature phone for kids: Bark Phone

Bark Phone (for Kids)

Screen size: 6.6 inch LCD touchscreen (2,408 x 1,080 pixels) | Battery life: Talk time varies, Up to 7 days (standby) | Locked/unlocked: Locked | Cellular service support: 5G | Dimensions: 6.6 x 3.07 x 0.36 inches | Weight: 9.1 | Special features: 64GB storage; Monthly plan starting at $39/month; Integrated parental controls and content filters; Real-time GPS tracking for parents; Runs Android 13 (or later), 3.5mm headphone jack; Water resistant

The Bark Phone is a low-end smartphone with a 6.6-inch LCD touchscreen display, and it's designed specifically with kids in mind. It comes with a vast selection of parental controls and content filters, so a parent can determine who a child can communicate with, when they can use the phone, and what they can do with it. 

Yes, the phone can offer your child internet and social media access, but this can be blocked, filtered to eliminate inappropriate content, and remotely monitored. In fact, the phone automatically scans all texts, emails, social media content and apps. It will block inappropriate content, based on your child's age and what you as the parent want.

The phone also includes detailed GPS tracking and geofencing, so you can track your child's location in real time, or automatically be alerted when they come or go from a specific location, such as home, school, or a friend's house. It's also possible for a parent to remotely set alarms and reminders for their child.

Several phone plans are available, starting at $39 per month, with no contract required. You can purchase the phone outright for $199 on Amazon and then pay for month-to-month service though Bark, or from Bark's website, subscribe to a service plan (with unlimited talk and text) and get the phone for free. For advanced monitoring tools and extra features, the monthly service plan costs $49. Whichever plan you choose, what you're paying a premium for is the advanced parental controls, content filters, tracking and monitoring -- features not offered by most other phones.

Best feature phone for seniors: Jitterbug Flip 2

Jitterbug Flip 2 phone for seniors

Screen size: 5.8 inch color LED (main) | Battery life: Up to 12 hours (talk time) | Locked/unlocked: Locked | Cellular service support: 4G LTE | Dimensions: 4.3 x 2.19 x 0.75 inches | Weight: 4.7 ounces | Special features: 16GB storage; Runs Android; One touch speed dialing; Front-facing camera; Hearing aid (M4/T4) compatible; Built in speakerphone

Designed for older users, the Jitterbug Flip 2 can handle calls and texts in an inexpensive package accompanied by a low-cost monthly service plan. 

The Jitterbug Flip 2 has a classic flip design. It's compact and easily fits in a pocket. However, this model has extra-large buttons for easy dialing and navigation, There's also a one-touch emergency button someone can press if they ever need assistance. (That service is available 24/7.) The phone is compatible with the Alexa digital assistant, so the user can initiate calls or compose text messages using their voice.

The rechargeable battery is long-lasting, and nationwide service is provided, with no long-term contract. Three plan options are available, priced at $20, $40 or $50 per month. Only the more expensive plans offer 24/7 access to trained urgent-response agents and an on-call nurse.

Actually operating the phone is a straightforward process, especially when it comes to dialing phone numbers that are pre-saved. And the phone is compatible with hearing aids that support Bluetooth connectivity with a phone.

Best feature phone for everyday use: Nokia 2780 Flip

Nokia 2780 Flip

Screen size: 2.8 inches (240 x 320 pixels) LCD | Battery life: Up to 7 hours (talk time), Up to 18 days (standby) | Locked/unlocked: Unlocked | Cellular service support: 4G LTE | Dimensions: 7.96 x 2.28 x 0.45 inches | Weight: 4.6 ounces | Special features: 4GB storage; Large keypad buttons; Expandable memory

This no-frills feature phone allows you to take a step back in time, when it was easy to make and receive calls without having to learn how to complex features. The Nokia 2870 Flip also offers a basic phone design that's affordable. 

In the United States, the phone can be activated with AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Boost, Cricket, Metro, Net10, Tracfone and others, as long as the service has a compatible 4G LTE cellular network. When folded, the phone's small outer display showcases caller ID information for incoming calls.

The handset features large buttons and hearing-aid compatibility. It also has limited ability to access the internet and run certain apps, like Google Maps and YouTube. The battery offers up to seven hours of talk time, or up to 18 days of standby time between charges. If you need more storage, it can be added anytime using an optional memory card.

Is a dumb phone worth it?

The main benefits of the latest feature phones include:

  • They're easier to use.
  • They're typically smaller and easier to carry.
  • They offer distraction-free calling and texting.
  • They're ideal for kids.
  • They're useful for adults who want to cut their screen time.
  • These phones are less expensive than traditional smartphones and require a less sophisticated (and often much less expensive) cellular service plan.
  • Most come unlocked and can be activated anywhere in the world and with any cellular service provider.

However, since these phones typically use older technology and provide far less functionality than a full-featured smartphone, they have a few drawbacks, too. These include:

  • Feature phones typically lack a large, full-color touchscreen.
  • Most of these these phones run few or no apps.
  • They offer limited or no internet access, which often means no email or social media.
  • They rely on 4G LTE cellular connectivity, not the latest 5G service.

Pro Tip: If you want to be able to compose texts, we recommend a feature phone that supports a digital assistant, like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, so you can easily compose messages using your voice. Remember, most of these phones lack a physical or virtual alphanumeric keyboard.

For more help choosing the perfect phone, be sure to read our round up of the seven best cell phones or 2024the best Android smartphones for 2024 and our coverage of the best folding smartphones. We've also published in-depth reviews of popular phones, including the Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max and OnePlus 12. For even more tech-related reviews, buyer's guides, deals and information, be sure to check out all of our ongoing tech coverage.

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