First Person

It’s not so dumb: Why I’m better off with my flip-phone

Life with a flip-phone is nothing to be nervous about

Last summer, when it seemed everyone was lining up around the block for a new iPhone5, I spotted the shortest line at the Verizon store: the one for the flip-phone. So, I stood in it.

“You’ll be the only person in Brooklyn with a flip-phone.” The salesman told me, menacingly. I told him not to be silly.

Turns out he was right, sort of. According to an outdated survey done almost a year ago, only 61 percent of Americans use smart-phones – but, as soon as I got to Brooklyn, I realized my phone was going to be pretty lonely. Everyone, from the eight-year old next to me on the train to the doorman at my office appears deeply absorbed in games of Candy Crush at all times. But even though I really like candy, I’m not jealous. You might be carrying around a tiny computer in your pocket, but there are plenty of reasons why I’m doing just fine with my Verizon Samsung Gusto 2 U-365 Phone:

A flip-phone is cheap
This isn’t some ironic statement or a protest about wishing things were simpler. The truth is, someday, I will probably buy a smart phone. But right now, plans for smart phones generally cost twice as much as they do for flip-phones (mo’ data, mo’ problems), and I just can’t afford to take the leap. Flip-phones are so cheap in fact, that sometimes you can find one on eBay for less than a dollar. Because I was lazy and bought a new one, I paid about twenty dollars for mine — but the plan is also $35 a month, as opposed to $90. 

It actually works as a phone
A flip-phone is no unreliable pony express! I can dial someone’s number and talk to them in SECONDS. Rumor has it that this isn’t always the case with smart phones. Because my phone only has two functions (1. Text 2. Call) I don’t have to wade through a bunch of apps to find the app that makes phone calls happen.

My flip-phone, in all of its glory

It forces you to communicate with the world around you
I had never been to New York for more than four days before I moved here last month, which means that I operate in a near-constant state of bewilderment. I can’t look up directions on my phone, so I have to do it the way so many people before me used to: I have to be brave and ask New Yorkers for them. And I’ve been delighted by the niceness of strangers: respective shouts out to the hot bassist on the G, the French exchange student walking on Willoughby and the benevolent dude on the B52 the other night.

Really, though, unless you’re rereading that affirming text message your dad sent you for the 10th time, there is no good reason to be staring at your flip-phone. At the very least, it forces me to look up and peripherally engage with what’s going on around me.

A flip-phone is (almost) indestructible
Sometimes I accidentally drop my phone and it breaks into pieces. Everyone around me panics sympathetically. But wait! It didn’t shatter, and the screen didn’t crack, the battery just fell out! For a person who sometimes has trouble holding things, invincibility is an essential feature for a phone.

The only time my phone died when I dropped it was when I dropped it directly into a mug of coffee. But that was different: just don’t talk anywhere near hot liquids, and your flip-phone – unlike its fragile (though technically “hotter”) older cousin, the iPhone – will withstand all tribulations.

It’s infinitely customizable
Oh, you’ve got a bunny ears case for your smartphone? So does everyone else in the world. I added to my phone’s sexy gray sheen with light blue paint spots from when I painted my aunt’s kitchen last summer and kept missing the wall. It looks great!

People think it’s sexy
Once I went to a concert and a semi-famous singer asked me for my number. I was so confused by being hit on by a semi-famous singer that I forgot to flirt, but he texted me later anyways to tell me “As soon as I saw you in the club, I was entranced!” When, after an extremely delayed interval, I decided to respond to that flattering missive, his response was “Wait, were u the one with the flip-phone?”

So it’s safe to say that, rather than being entranced with me at the club, he was entranced WITH MY FLIP-PHONE AT THE CLUB. Ergo, my flip-phone makes me sexy and I feel great about it.

No butt dials
A flip-phone flips closes, making butt dials impossible. Phone — I mean, case — closed.

Follow Sarah for tweets sent by text at @eddy_sarah


    • I also use a flip-phone, and I’ve never had a smart phone, and never plan to. This is because first of all, i don’t need all those fancy apps and whatnot that other phones have, i just need it for talking and texting. Also, i noticed many people are addicted to their phones, and i do not want that, i’d much rather be talking to people, and exploring the world around me than engaging in a false reality.

  1. I have a smart phone now, but I didn’t when I first moved up here, and it really was more helpful than I realized! I printed out pages of directions, carried around a map, and asked for directions and LEARNED. I love having a map at my finger tips now, but not having one then really helped me learn the city and the train system so much better that I hardly need the maps now!

  2. Allison

    I’m with you in solidarity! Everyone thinks I’m totally weird without a smartphone, but I’m the only one who can just look after exiting the subway and know which way to go without conferring with a device! It can be kind of annoying at times, sure, but engaging with other humans and saving cash are both huge pros.

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