best basic dumb phones 2022: inexpensive mobiles with long battery lives

7 Best Basic Dumb Phones 2023: Inexpensive Mobiles With Long Battery Lives

Dumb phones are as straightforward as the name suggests. While the majority of us are used to smartphones and choosing a mobile with a whole range of exciting features, dumb phones are the complete opposite.

Taking on the appearance of phones popular in the 90s and early 2000s, dumb phones often strip back to the basics and offer a more minimalist and simple approach focusing on texting and calling rather than high tech cameras and security features. Options like the £60 Nokia 6300 offer 4G, social media access and 4GB of internal storage. As for dumb flip phones, there’s the Alcatel GO FLIP 4.

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If you’re thinking about buying a simple phone, it’s worth knowing that many offer 4G (so you can still get to Facebook and Instagram), buttons are more popular than screens and they tend to be small phones. Many sit under £100 and offer better battery life than more complex rivals. Here’s everything you need to know about dumb phones in 2023.

Why choose a basic dumb phone?

There are a lot of reasons why someone may choose a basic dumb phone as their phone. It’s no secret that social media can be toxic and can often cause more harm than good, and many people are completely over it. Even if you love social media, some people find they spend way too much time browsing, so dumb phones can eliminate the amount of time you spend online.

Another reason to choose a dumb phone is the fact they normally have incredibly impressive battery life, lasting days at a time as well as being lightweight and small, so they’re perfect for travelling, concerts or festivals. A lot of people may choose a dumb phone as a second phone, but others might be over smartphones and may choose to ditch their iPhone for a new dumb phone.

For people that don’t enjoy technology or social media but still want to be able to stay in touch with friends and family, send emails and use social media occasionally, a dumb phone will be an easy phone to use and get your head around and the prices are affordable, too!

What can a basic phone do?

It depends on the model, but most basic phones aren’t as basic as you think. Dumb phones normally have 4G and wifi, meaning you’ll be able to browse the internet and send texts quickly, and often come with social media apps built-in or have an app store so you can download them.

Other features normally include GPS, a web browser, decent storage space, long battery life and at least one camera. While the features won’t be as impressive as an iPhone, you’ll still be able to do a lot.

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Best basic dumb phones 2023

1. Caterpillar CAT B35 — Amazon, £91.69

CAT dumb smartphone

The CAT B35 is a strong and durable dumb smartphone, which is designed to last. The B35 is 4G ready, so you won’t have any issues with having a stable and speedy connection while you’re out and about as well as being dustproof, waterproof and drop-proof so if you’re a bit accident-prone you won’t need to worry.

Despite being a basic and dumb smartphone, the CAT B35 actually has a lot of smart features including Google Maps, Google Assistant and YouTube and you can download other apps like Facebook and Twitter from the KaiStore.

While it doesn’t have a front camera, the phone is durable and has a long battery life, with up to 30 days standby time and 12 hours of talk time. You’ll also get Bluetooth, a decent amount of storage and the option to use a microSD card for additional space, so overall, this is a great dumb smartphone that still benefits from having smart features.

Specifications:
  • Weight: 130 g
  • Dimensions: 138 x 60 x 14 mm
  • Technology: 4G
  • Screen size: 2.4-inch
  • Resolution: 160 x 120
  • Storage: 4GB
  • Rear camera: 2MP
  • Front camera: No
  • Battery life: Up to 30 days standby and 12 hours talk time

Pros

  • 4G ready
  • Comes with Google apps
  • Rugged and durable
  • Long battery life
  • Wifi and Bluetooth

Cons

  • Not the most aesthetically pleasing compared to others on this list
  • No front-facing camera
  • On the more expensive side compared to other dumb smartphones

Get a student discount at Amazon Prime

2. Nokia 3310 — Amazon, £69.99

nokia phones

The Nokia 3310 is a fun and colourful dumb phone, with 4 sleek colours to choose from. The slim and lightweight design makes it perfect for travelling and the phone combines the modern silhouette of classic Nokia phones with modern features.

Some nice features include a curved screen making it easier to read your screen while in the sun, long battery life, radio and an MP3 player built-in, Bluetooth and a microSD slot.

This is a really nostalgic phone that offers just the basics, you’ll be able to call and text thanks to the 2G connectivity, which also means you won’t be constantly checking social media constantly (although it is still possible to browse the internet and access social media, it’s just not as straight forward).

Best of all? The Nokia 3310 has the classic Snake game, reimagined and as fun as it used to be on classic Nokia phones.

Specifications:
  • Weight: 77.11 g
  • Dimensions: 117 x 52.4 x 13.3 mm
  • Technology: 2G
  • Screen size: 2.4-inch
  • Resolution: 240 x 320
  • Storage: 16GB + microSD slot supporting up to 32GB
  • Rear camera: 2MP
  • Front camera: No
  • Battery life: Up to 27 days standby and 22 hours talk time

Pros

  • Long battery life
  • Nostalgic feel and shape
  • Snake game
  • MP3 and Radio
  • Bluetooth

Cons

  • 2G only
  • No front camera
  • No wifi

Get a student discount at Amazon Prime

3. Doro 780X — Amazon, £139.84

Doro dumb phone

The 4G ready Doro 780X is a simplified phone, but still has a whole range of features making it a great dumb smartphone if you’re willing to splash out a bit.

Designed to be easy to use, the Doro 780X has a simplified keyboard where you can save 3 people’s numbers on the front of the phone, so you can ring them at the touch of a button. This is ideal if you only really talk to a few people or in the case of an emergency.

You’ll be able to receive text messages, but you can’t send them- so this could be a drawback, but it’s great if you prefer to talk via calls rather than texting. Other benefits include call blocking, GPS, wifi, long battery life and the fact that it’s splashproof.

Specifications:
  • Weight: 117 g
  • Dimensions: 138 x 60 x 13 mm
  • Technology: 4G
  • Screen size: 2.8-inch
  • Resolution: 320 x 240
  • Storage: 4GB
  • Rear camera: Yes but MP unknown
  • Front camera: No
  • Battery life: Up to 330 hours standby and 8 hours of talk time

Pros

  • 4G and wifi
  • Can easily save and call important contacts
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Expensive for what you get
  • Can’t receive calls

Get a student discount at Amazon Prime

4. Nokia 800 Tough — Amazon, £139.99

Nokia rugged phone

The Nokia 800 Tough is a rugged and durable phone that’s 4G ready and has a whole range of smart features. The phone comes preloaded with WhatsApp and Facebook, Google Maps and Google Assistant and the 4G connectivity means you’ll be able to browse the internet and send and receive messages quickly while you’re out.

The impressive battery life will last up to 43 days on standby from a single charge and the phone is durable and built to last, with IP68 dust and waterproof rating, designed to withstand drops, spills, dust and even extreme temperatures.

Despite being a dumb phone, the Nokia 800 has a lot of smart features while maintaining the basics and being small and lightweight, so it’s a good option if you want a more durable and basic phone, but still want to access social media or WhatsApp.

Specifications:
  • Weight: 161 g
  • Dimensions: 145.4 x 62.1 x 16.11 mm
  • Technology: 4G
  • Screen size: 2.4-inch
  • Resolution: 240 x 320
  • Storage: 4GB
  • Rear camera: 2MP
  • Front camera: No
  • Battery life: Up to 43 days standby and 14 hours of talk time

Pros

  • 4G and wifi
  • Preloaded with apps including WhatsApp, Facebook and Google
  • Google Assistant
  • Durable
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Expensive compared to other more simple models on this list
  • You can still access social media and the internet- this could be a disadvantage if you’re trying to avoid checking it

Get a student discount at Amazon Prime

5. Doro 7010 — Amazon, £62.99

Doro dumb smartphone

The Doro 7010 is a simplified phone, but it still has a lot of smartphone features. The phone has 4G and wifi and comes preloaded with apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook to help you stay in touch with friends and family, however, these are the only apps you can get on the phone so don’t expect to be able to download other social media apps. On the other hand, you can browse the internet so if you’re desperate to check Twitter or Instagram you can, but it won’t be as smooth.

You’ll also be able to use wifi to make calls instead of just relying on mobile data, which is good if you have a basic SIM card. If you do have a good internet connection you’ll be able to share it with your friends via a USB cable, wifi or Bluetooth.

Other good features of the Doro 7010 include long battery life, predictive text, radio, email and internet access.

Specifications:
  • Weight: 112 g
  • Dimensions: 135 x 58 x 13 mm
  • Technology: 4G
  • Screen size: 2.8-inch
  • Resolution: 320 x 420
  • Storage: 2GB
  • Rear camera: 3MP
  • Front camera: Yes
  • Battery life: Up to 330 hours on standby and up to 7 hours of talk time

Pros

  • Cheap and affordable
  • 4G and wifi
  • Can send and receive both calls and text messages, which some Doro phones can’t
  • Facebook and WhatsApp built-in

Cons

  • Can’t download or access other social media apps
  • Not durable compared to other dumb smartphones on this list
  • Not a lot of storage

Get a student discount at Amazon Prime

6. Nokia 2720 Fold — Amazon, £145

Nokia flip phone

If you want a taste of nostalgia, the Nokia 2720 is a flip phone that covers all of the basics. You’ll be able to send texts and make calls, as well as download social media apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook. The Nokia 2720 comes with 4G, so you will be able to browse the internet and access your emails.

The nostalgic design also makes this phone easy to use, the size is sleek and compact and you’ll be able to see the date and time as well as any incoming calls on the front of the phone while it’s closed. Despite being a basic dumb phone, you can record video with the camera and it benefits from a built-in MP3 and MP4 player as well as the radio.

The long battery life and easy to use design makes this a really great phone, but it is a bit more expensive compared to others on this list, but if you want to enjoy a classic flip design with modern features this is could be the best option for you.

Specifications:
  • Weight: 118 g
  • Dimensions: 54.5 x 11.6 x 192.7 mm
  • Technology: 4G
  • Screen size: 1.8-inch
  • Resolution: 120 x 160
  • Storage: 4GB
  • Rear camera: 1.3MP
  • Front camera: No
  • Battery life: Up to 28 days on standby and up to 11 hours of talk time

Pros

  • 4G and wifi
  • Social media apps can be downloaded
  • Long battery life
  • Nostalgic flip design

Cons

  • Instagram app unavailable
  • More expensive compared to others on this list

Get a student discount at Amazon Prime

7. Doro 5860 — Amazon, £69.99

Doro dumb phone

The Doro 5860 is a 4G ready phone with a large and bright display and offers all the basics only. If you’re interested in purchasing a dumb phone because you don’t want the distraction of social media, you’re in luck as the Doro 5860 doesn’t come with social media apps built-in, and you can’t download them either. Of course, this could be a pro or con, depending on how you look at it. If you don’t want to avoid social media altogether, this isn’t the phone for you but if you’re over social media, then it’s perfect.

Although the Doro 5860 does have 4G it doesn’t have wifi, and you’ll really only be able to make and receive calls and text messages. It does however have Bluetooth and a camera that supports video recording, as well as built-in games you can play, to make up for the lack of social media.

Specifications:
  • Weight: 112 g
  • Dimensions: 128 x 66 x 13 mm
  • Technology: 4G
  • Screen size: 2.4-inch
  • Resolution: unknown
  • Storage: 64MB
  • Rear camera: 2MP
  • Front camera: No
  • Battery life: Up to 380 hours standby and up to 7 hours of talk time

Pros

  • Simple to use
  • Affordable
  • 4G
  • Bluetooth
  • No social media, if you’re trying to avoid using it

Cons

  • No social media apps
  • No wifi

Get a student discount at Amazon Prime

How to turn on a Doro phone

This will depend on the model of Doro phone you have, but most will be quite easy to turn on if you follow the instructions manual. You can normally expect to turn your phone on by pressing down on the on/off button for at least 3 seconds.

What is a smartphone?

A smartphone is the opposite of dumb phones, it’s a device that combines the features of a mobile phone and a computer device in one. Most smartphones have got even smarter over the years, and you can expect that the standard smartphone will come with built-in apps for productivity, social media apps that you can download, 4G or 5G for browsing the internet and at least 2-3 rear cameras as well as a front camera.

How to stop phone addiction

If you find yourself constantly checking your phone or scrolling on social media updates, it can be pretty hard to beat the addiction especially if it’s something that you’re used to doing every day. One of the best ways to eliminate the distractions that smartphones have to offer is to switch to a dumb phone, as either your primary or backup phone. Dumb phones can reduce a lot of day to day distractions, meaning you won’t be scrolling through social media all day, but you will be able to text or call family and friends if there’s an emergency.

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