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  • Marcella Frattari

Is the Dumb Phone Making a Comeback? Exploring the Rise of Smartphone Fatigue

Updated: May 16

A surprising trend is emerging in an age dominated by smartphones—dumb phones. These straightforward devices, a stark contrast to their more intelligent counterparts, are becoming increasingly popular, particularly among those seeking a break from the complexities and intrusions of modern smartphones.

A range of smartphone lined up with one being taken away by a hand

Understanding Dumb Phones

A dumb phone, often called a feature phone, is a practical and reliable choice for those who primarily use their phones for calling and texting. These phones, unlike smartphones, don't have advanced operating systems or extensive app support. They are not designed for high-speed internet access. However, some modern dumb phones have adapted to provide limited internet connectivity and access to simple apps like WhatsApp. This allows for basic online interactions, but importantly, without the multitude of distractions that smartphones often bring.

Features of Dumb Phones

Dumb phones are characterised by their simplicity. They typically feature a small non-touch display, a physical keypad, and a robust, long-lasting battery, contributing significantly to their durability and user-friendliness. Their lack of complex features means they consume less power and are often more rugged than smartphones, making them ideal for a durable, long-lasting device.

One of the key appeals of dumb phones is their ability to enhance privacy and security. These phones are less prone to cybersecurity risks and personal data breaches without constant internet connectivity. They are also less likely to be theft targets than high-value smartphones.

The Generational Shift Towards Dumb Phones

Interestingly, it’s not just the older generations drawn to dumb phones. Many young adults, mainly from Generation Z in the United States, are adopting these phones. This shift is primarily motivated by a desire to reduce screen time and escape the constant barrage of social media and notifications that come with smartphones. For many in this generation, dumb phones offer a way to manage mental health and decrease digital overload.


The Best Dumb Phones in 2024

Light Phone II feature phone

Light Phone II - Features a minimalist design with an electronic paper screen resembling an e-reader. It focuses on basic functionalities like music, a calendar, alarms, and a calculator but does not support social media, email, or web browsing. Its sleek design and basic features are a top choice for those seeking a minimalist phone experience. (Credit Image: Light)

Punkt MP02 feature phone

Punkt MP02 - Designed by Jasper Morrison, this phone brings a unique minimalist-modern aesthetic and ergonomic design. It includes Bluetooth, an alarm, a timer, a calendar, and a calculator. Its distinctive ringtones and simple interface make it a stylish accessory for minimalists.  (Credit Image: Punkt)

Available models and pricing options.

Amazon logo France
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Nokia 6300 feature phone

Nokia 6300 - For those looking for a slightly more connected experience, the Nokia 6300 offers limited access to social media like Facebook and WhatsApp and functionalities like YouTube and FM radio. It provides a bridge between the old and the new, maintaining a classic design with some modern conveniences. (Credit Image: Nokia)

Available models and pricing options.

Amazon Logo France
Amazon Logo Germany
Amazon Logo Italy
Amazon Logo Spain

Nokia 2780 Flip  feature phone

Nokia 2780 Flip - The Nokia 2780 Flip features a good camera and supports various apps, making it suitable for those who need more from their phone but still prefer a simple, user-friendly interface. Its flip design is nostalgic and functional, providing a compact form factor that is becoming popular again. (Credit Image: Nokia)

TCL Flip 2 feature phone

TCL Flip 2 - The TCL Flip 2 offers basic phone functionalities and is ideal for those who need a secondary phone for emergencies or specific situations where a smartphone is unnecessary. It includes features like Bluetooth, email, and a browser, making it highly affordable yet functional.

(Credit Image: TCL)

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The Boring Phone: A Symbol of Simplicity

This device isn’t just another feature phone; it's a statement about modern connectivity and the desire for a digital detox, backed by an unlikely partnership between Heineken, Bodega, and Human Mobile Devices (HMD). Set to launch at Milan Design Week with a limited run of 5,000 units, The Boring Phone is designed to reduce digital distractions and promote real-world interactions. 

Social Media post with a Boring Phone

The Boring Phone emerges as a response to the pervasive problem of "doom-scrolling"—the habit of endlessly scrolling through social media, often while ignoring the company of others. Heineken’s initiative aims to allow people to enjoy their social outings without the constant buzz and ping of notifications. Their research indicates that a significant portion of young adults in the UK and the US feel overwhelmed by their digital habits, particularly in social settings.

The phone itself is a throwback with a modern twist. It features a transparent design that showcases its internal workings—a nod to the current trend towards transparent electronics. Its specifications are deliberately minimal: a 2.8-inch monochrome display, a basic 0.3MP camera, FM radio, and the classic game Snake. The phone supports essential functions like calling and texting, with dual SIM capabilities and a week-long battery life on standby.

Watch this video that shows Heineken's initiative to bring back genuine connections and face-to-face interactions.



The creation of The Boring Phone is part of HMD’s new direction under its white-label business, which also includes an upcoming Barbie-themed flip phone in collaboration with Mattel. This strategy marks a shift for HMD, aiming to diversify its offerings beyond just manufacturing Nokia-branded phones. The partnership with Heineken and Bodega is strategic, leveraging their status as cultural tastemakers to position The Boring Phone not just as a gadget, but as a lifestyle accessory.

The phone's limited functionality is designed to help users establish boundaries with their tech, offering a tool that supports connectivity without the compulsions fostered by more advanced devices.

HMD plans to explore the feature phone market further, potentially introducing more devices that cater to the niche demand for simplicity over multi-functionality. A new app in June will "turn smartphones boring", aiming to replicate the minimalist experience of The Boring Phone on more conventional devices.


The resurgence of dumb phones highlights a fascinating evolution in consumer technology, where less can indeed be more. This trend is not merely a rejection of modern smartphones but a deliberate choice for a balanced digital lifestyle. As the world grapples with the implications of constant connectivity, dumb phones stand out as a beacon for those seeking simplicity, functionality, and a break from the digital noise. Whether this trend will grow into a significant market shift remains to be seen, but the current interest suggests a notable shift in how we perceive and use our mobile devices.


Written By:

Head and shoulders photo of Marcella Frattar

Marcella Frattari is the Digital Communications Manager at SmartViser, primarily responsible for ViserMark content creation and social media management. She holds a journalism background and is pursuing a master's degree in digital communications and marketing.

Marcella brings a dynamic and creative approach to her work, consistently striving to enhance the company's online presence and engagement.

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