Feature phones or more crudely called “dumb” phones are one of the best Inventions of the past century. However, it has been largely replaced by its successors, the smartphone. There is no doubt that smartphones are better than a feature phone. With its powerful hardware and advanced software, smartphones are changing our lives. Further development of apps make smartphones better and better every single day.
However, I am still using a “dumb” phone along with a smartphone (Lumia 620 for now) every day. My 4-year-old Nokia 5130 XpressMusic is serving me well and I just cannot let it go. There are few reasons for that.
The thing I miss the most from a feature phone is its ridiculously long battery life compared to smartphone standards. With a full charge, I can use the phone for almost one whole week with normal use. This is totally unimaginable for smartphones as they consume more power due to its power hungry chipset.With normal use, typically smartphones can last not more than 2 days.
The battery technology has had no major breakthrough for quite some time. In order to achieve longer battery life, OEMs are packing in batteries with larger capacity, causing phones to increasein size and weight while having a longer charging time.
One of the most major concern of buyers when trying to get a smartphone is the durability of the smartphone phone. The big screen in the front of the phone is usually made of glass so it will shatter or crack if it falls face down. Watching your few hundred dollars flying away after dropping your phone is not a sweet experience at all. So this is one of the reasons why I am still using a feature phone.
Feature phones are cheap, so even after accidentally dropping it, the magnitude of headache will be lesser if compared to dropping a smartphone. Typically they can last more drops and hits too. From personal experience, I have dropped my Nokia 5130 for more than a hundred times and it is still functioning as well as day one although physically it looks old and damaged. I have no problem bringing it for sports too. On the other hand, one does not simply miss out the legendary Nokia 3310, which is fabled to be almost indestructible. There are not any smartphones that comes near to these phones in terms of durability.
Keyboard & Buttons
Soft keyboards have improved by a lot since its introduction. However, physical keyboards can still provide the best typing experience for me, although typing on physical keyboards can be slower sometimes. I like to type on physical keyboards, regardless if they are QWERTY keyboards mostly found on Blackberry (although they are not “dumb” totally) or T9 keyboards on normal feature phone. I can type without looking at the phone and this feedback is what I always miss on smartphones. I wonder why OEMs do not produce more smartphones with keyboards, especially those companies who are releasing dozens of phone a year. I guess getting another form factor is not that complicated for them?
Some feature phones have extra physical buttons like media keys or camera shutter, which are less likely to be found on smartphones to keep their footprint smaller. They provide convenience to control the phone and I do miss them sometimes. Turning on the screen to skip the current playing song is not fun at all compared to a single button press if we have media keys on our phone.
Simple Stupid Yet Complete
Feature phones are called “dumb” phones due to their lack of functionality. However, whatever it does, very often it is doing it great. They have everything you would expect from a phone (at least by the older definition) smoothly even though they have mediocre internals as compared to smartphones. They can handle phone calls and messaging. Some of them have additional functionalities including calculator, dictionary, games and cameras too. Some of them even have Internet connection for you to do some light browsing and checking your social network. One thing I miss the most is the ability to sound the alarm when the phone is turned off. This sounds stupid but some smartphones cannot do this, which is a big sting on their name.
While the software is far more complex and advanced on smartphones, they often lack the stability found in feature phones. The amount of app crash and frozen screen is much, much less in a feature phone. Smartphones are also vulnerable to software malwares such as viruses and trojan horses, which will compromise the security of the information in your phone. This problem is not that common in feature phones.
Are you still using “dumb” phones?
While smartphones are getting smarter and smarter, there are quite a number of people who prefer to stick to feature phones. The reasons might be due to the price, the steep learning curve or anyof the reasons listed above. So what do you think? Are you one of the feature phone users who have not been converted?