The Best Minimalist Phones for 2021

Check our ever updated list of distraction-free minimalist phones and smartphones

Phones nowadays are a jack of all trades. Think of anything and your phone can do it now or in a few years time. With our attention span decreasing with each OS-release we sometimes long for a traditional phone that’s more straightforward again.

That’s why we’ve selected the best minimalist phones that are currently available for sale.

Would you like to have a true dumb phone that does nothing but calling and texting? Or rather a minimalist experience with some smartness thrown in? This selection has a bit of everything.

Dumb Phones

The following are phones that do very little in comparison to your flagship Apple or Samsung. They’re called off-grid phones, feature phones, dumbphones or burner phones, where calling and texting is the name of the game. Try to swap one of these with your current phone every once in a while and see if it can be a nicotine patch to your smartphone addiction.

The New Nokia 3310

Nokia reintroduced their classic 3310 in a new form factor and updated it for the modern age.

While this renewed version will not sell the whopping 126 million units that the original did, the 3310 is a stylish feature phone that has all the bare necessities you’d want out of a dumbphone, and Snake.

The new 3310 probably has the best standby battery life out of all our featured phones. This thing even packs a 2 Megapixel camera that supposedly shoots very okay photos.

  • Calling: Yes
  • Texting: Yes
  • Internet: No
  • Camera: Yes (2MP)
  • Network: 3G
  • Battery Life: 22 hours talk, 744 hours standby
  • Sim-card: Mini-SIM
  • Memory: 16MB + microSD

Buy the Nokia 3310 on Amazon

Nokia 225

As the 3310 is only operating on a 3G network, it might become useless as carriers might not support this network in the near future.

A worthy successor, although slightly less curvy and attractive is the Nokia 225. This is a cheap, but capable minimalist phone running on 4G.

Just like the 3310, the Nokia 225 is a sturdy phone, with a good battery life. It has a great call reception and quality (using LTE voice) and also includes an FM radio and several games whenever you get bored.

Just don’t worry that all of this will take away from the phone’s main purpose which is talking and texting.

The 225 being under fifty bucks also makes it a perfect emergency phone for kids and older people.

  • Calling: Yes
  • Texting: Yes
  • Internet: Yes (no hotspot)
  • Camera: Yes (2MP)
  • Network: 4G
  • Battery Life: 21 hours talk, 36 days standby
  • Sim-card: Micro-SIM
  • Memory: 32GB microSD

Buy the Nokia 225 on Amazon

The Light Phone II

Light Phone 2

The Light Phone II really understands what we’re getting at. This is a creditcard-sized phone, succeeding the popular Light Phone. Where the original was just a phone to make phone calls with, version II can also text, help you manage your calendar and act as a hotspot. One good note by the creators is that this phone will never have social media, email, news, or ads.

The most appealing thing out of all of these phones is its design, sporting a slick e-ink display in black or white.

Light Phone II Features

  • Calling: Yes
  • Texting: Yes
  • Internet: Hotspot
  • Camera: No
  • Network: 4G
  • Battery Life: 1-2 days of ‘light’ regular usage
  • Sim-card: Nano-SIM
  • Memory: stores 9 phone numbers on speed-dial

Buy The Light Phone II

Punkt MP02 Mobile Phone

Punkt MP02 phone

Do you want texting in addition to calling? You spoiled brat. The Punkt MP02 looks like a calculator, but is actually a well designed piece of gear that aims to battle the distractions technology brings into our lives.

The MP02 packs a better battery than the light phone and is therefore perfect for that appless holiday.

Punkt MP02 Features

  • Calling: Yes
  • Texting: Yes
  • Internet: Yes (tethering connection)
  • Camera: No
  • Network: 4G LTE
  • Battery Life: 12.5 days standby, 4.2 hours talk
  • Sim-card: Nano-SIM
  • Memory (storage): 16GB

Buy the Punkt MP02 on the official website or Amazon.

Nokia 8110 4G (the Banana Phone)

Nokia 8110 4G Slide Phone

The curved Nokia 8110 (dubbed the banana phone) is a classic cellphone. Made popular by the movie The Matrix, it features a signature slide mechanism that allows you to answer or hang up phone calls. The revived edition has 4G that you can use for a hotspot or for one of the apps that you can download from the special KaiOS store (WhatsApp is also rumoured to be released soon). The battery life on the 8110 may not be equal to the 3310, but it’s still pretty impressive compared to a smartphone. The 8110 is for when you want something more stylish and cool than the 3310. Get it in black or banana yellow.

  • Calling: Yes
  • Texting: Yes
  • Internet: Yes
  • Camera: Yes, 2MP with flash
  • Network: 4G LTE
  • Battery Life: 7 hours talk, 25 days standby
  • Sim-card: Single-Sim or Dual-Sim (micro + nano)
  • Memory: 4GB internal + microSD

Read more

Buy the Nokia 8110 in black

Buy the Nokia 8110 in yellow

Relay Screenless Emergency Phone

The Relay is an emergency smartphone and GPS tracker for kids, but it can double perfectly as a true minimalist phone. There is no screen on the Relay. There’s just one button, a LED notification ring and a speaker (plus headphone port) to stay in touch walkie-talkie style with anyone you can set up via the Relay app. Or you’ll conveniently talk to another Relay owner.

There’s a ten bucks per month service which allows you to use this device as much as you want.

  • Calling: Yes
  • Texting: No
  • Internet: No
  • Camera: No
  • Network: 4G LTE (for GPS tracking)
  • Battery Life: about a day
  • Sim-card: nano-SIM
  • Memory: N/A

Read more

Mudita Pure

Mudita Pure

The latest in e-ink phones comes from Poland. The Mudita Pure is currently running a campaign on Indiegogo. With its retro-minimalist design, available in black or grey, the Mudita Pure promises low electromagnetic radiation and only the essential features a phone should need.

Fun addition is the meditation timer which lets you time those much needed meditation breaks in the hectic lives we live.

Mudita Pure Features

  • Calling: Yes
  • Texting: Yes
  • Internet: Hotspot only
  • Camera: No
  • Network: 4G LTE
  • Battery Life: –
  • Sim-card: 2x nano-SIM
  • Memory: 16GB

The Mudita Pure is shipping worldwide. Pledging a contribution now will have your phone delivered in November 2021 at the time of writing.

Order Mudita Pure on the official website

Smartphones

The following phones are minimalist smartphones. It’s for when you appreciate the silence and being distraction-free, yet you can’t give up on those essential apps on your phone.

Jelly 2, World’s Smallest 4G Phone

jelly-smallest-4g-phone

The one thing minimal about this phone is its form factor

The Jelly Pro Android phone ran a successful Kickstarter campaign aimed to bring the world’s smallest 4G phone into people’s hands (or rather, coin pockets).

This tiny device runs the latest Android version and allows you to do most other things you can do on a flagship smartphone. Okay, you’ll probably get tired of the small size doing any long-term typing, but it’s a nice trade-off for such a small 4G phone that runs for nearly a week on a single charge.

  • Calling: Yes
  • Texting: Yes
  • Internet: Yes
  • Camera: Yes
  • Network: 4G
  • Battery Life: 3 days working time, 7 days standby
  • Sim-card: dual nano-SIM
  • Memory: micro SD-card slot

Buy the Jelly 2 on Amazon

Palm Phone, a Smartphone for Your Smartphone

Palm Phone

The Palm Phone is like a glorified Apple Watch in that you can use your carrier’s add on plan to supply it with the needed sim card. Otherwise, the Palm Phone is a full-fledged companion smartphone that has a very appealing, durable design and a comfortable, small size.

The minimalist experience can be achieved by enabling Life Mode on the Palm Phone. This will shut off any notification or disturbance as soon as you shut off your screen.

The Palm Phone is the size of your credit card, it will beat your Apple Watch for features, but is still small enough so that you won’t let social media take over your life.

Read more

Buy the Palm Phone on Amazon

Unihertz Atom – a Rugged Minimalist Android Phone

Another credit card sized option is the Unihertz Atom. This phone provides a full Android experience in a rugged outer shell. The exterior and gorilla glass makes it perfect when you’re an active outdoors person and need a phone to stay connected, without sacrificing your premium smartphone. It sports all the features of a modern smartphone, like fingerprint detection and NFC.

The size will ensure you’ll mostly use this for phone calls or checking your messages when out and about.

  • Calling: Yes
  • Texting: Yes
  • Internet: Yes
  • Camera: Yes
  • Network: 4G
  • Battery Life: 14h
  • Sim-card: (Dual) Nano-SIM
  • Memory: 64GB

Buy the Unihertz Atom on Amazon

11 Comments
  1. Hey there!

    I’m Daria and I’m contacting you on behalf of Mudita, a new kind of tech company that creates human-centred products.

    You haven’t mentioned Mudita Pure (https://mudita.com/products/pure/) – a classic minimalist mobile phone with an E Ink display.

    Could you please add Mudita Pure to your publication?

    If you have any questions, I’m happy to help.
    I look forward to hearing from you soon,

    Daria

  2. The Nokia 3310 is the only one without the tethering function. This is the only choice to truly escape the internet.

  3. I’m 16 and just got the Light phone 2. Love it already

    • Suggestion: Include hotspot and usb tethering in the list of capabilities for each phone. These are important to digital minimalists who choose to not have home internet and use the phone’s data plan for ocassional connections.

  4. You should remove the recommendation of the Nokia 3310 3G. 3G is being phases in the US and you can’t get any carrier to sell you new plan with that phone. It is a waste of money.

  5. Hi, Bit confused is there a phone for texting and email ONLY no internet?
    Thanks

    • Hey Robin, there’s no phone in the list that just supports e-mail, without also having an internet connection. If we come across one, we’ll make sure to cover it in this article!

  6. Can you please explain the difference between “Internet: Yes (tethering connection)” and “Internet: Hotspot” and “Internet: Hotspot only”?

    (the first is for the Punkt, the second for Light Phone II, the third for Mudita.)

  7. Is there a rugged flip phone without text or internet, basically used for making and receiving phone calls only ?

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