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5 Reasons Not To Buy A Smartphone

Dave Parrack 22-11-2013

Smartphones are slowly but surely taking over the world. So much so that in 2013, smartphones outsold feature phones globally for the first time, with a reported 55 percent of all new phones sold in Q3 of the smart rather than dumb variety.


However, despite their entry into the mainstream, smartphones aren’t yet anywhere near being essential tools for life. Those who own one may think they couldn’t live without their iPhone, Android, or Windows Phone handset, but in reality they could, if they were called upon to do so.

The danger with this ubiquitousness is that you may feel pressured into buying a smartphone Why This Technology Blogger Does Not Own a Smartphone [Opinion] "Do you have a smartphone yet?" It's a question my friends ask often, and it's a reasonable one to ask. I make my entire living writing about technology, explaining how to use software and interviewing... Read More , even though you’re perfectly happy with your (so-called) dumbphone. Don’t be pressured. Stand strong in the face of desire. After all, there are several perfectly legitimate reasons not to buy a smartphone.

The High Costs

5 Reasons Not To Buy A Smartphone balancing the books

Owning a feature phone is a relatively cheap proposition. You can pay a small amount of money outright for the handset and then get a cheap prepaid, no contract SIM card. Buy a smartphone, however, and you’re looking at either a huge wedge of cash to buy the phone outright, or a big monthly outlay for a data plan.

With a smartphone, you’re also likely to be tied to a contract that could cause hardship if your financial situation changes. And if you somehow damage your handset — and let’s face it, these aren’t the most hardy of devices — you may be forced to pay for a repair or replacement Are You Sure It's Bricked? How You Can Fix Your Broken Smartphone Back in the day, a bricked device would be very tough to recover, but over the years some resilience has been built into smartphones and tablets. These days a few clever button presses, useful additional... Read More .


Reason #1: You shouldn’t buy a smartphone if you can’t afford a smartphone.

The Need To Disconnect

5 Reasons Not To Buy A Smartphone keep offline

Smartphones are great for those people who want to be online and connected all the time. And I mean 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Owning a smartphone means you can be phoned, texted, emailed, messaged, Facebooked, and tweeted at any time of the day and night. And you will feel obliged to check and reply to these communications.

But what if you neither want or need to be contactable at a moment’s notice? Sure, you could leave your smartphone at home or switch it off, but the very act of owning one means you’re invariably unwilling to do so, just in case. Owning a feature phone limits this always-available mentality to just calls and texts, which is much more manageable.


Reason #2: You shouldn’t buy a smartphone if you like getting away from things occasionally.

The Time-Wasting Potential

5 Reasons Not To Buy A Smartphone time wasting watches

When you first start thinking about buying a smartphone, you probably justify the cost by running through in your head how productive it will make you. Emails on the go, catching up on MakeUseOf articles while eating lunch, apps that will help you get things done. The reality is rather different.

Although there are apps to aid productivity The Essential Smartphone Apps and Gear to Keep Productive When Traveling I just got back from a tour of California's beautiful Sonoma County, internationally known for its extraordinary wines and verdant, rolling hills. Unfortunately, with a deadline looming and no laptop available, the task of composing... Read More , there are countless others which are there purely to waste your time. So, you’re really good at Angry Birds or Candy Crush Saga… which is no kind of achievement whatsoever. Instagram, Snapchat, Vine? All complete wastes of time when it really comes down to it.


Reason #3: Don’t buy a smartphone because you think it will make you more productive.

The Risk Of Phubbing

5 Reasons Not To Buy A Smartphone phubbing

For those not aware of the phenomenon that is phubbing, simply walk into any coffee shop or cafe and watch a couple for long for long enough to see it being done before your very eyes. Creepy, sure, but a lot less rude than whipping out your phone rather than giving your undivided attention to the person or people with you.

Phubbing stands for “phone snubbing,” and it’s increasingly common practise. It was never really a problem with feature phones, but with smartphones offering a whole world of time-wasting possibilities (see above) it’s all too easy to be tempted to do something other than talk to someone in the real world.


Reason #4: Don’t buy a smartphone if you value your real-life friends and family.

The Inevitable E-Waste

5 Reasons Not To Buy A Smartphone smartphone e waste

Smartphones are evolving at an incredible rate of knots. Each new generation of these wonder devices offer new and improved features, innovations, and upgraded operating systems which are incompatible with older hardware. Which is great for geeks who like to be at the forefront of technology.

Unfortunately, it isn’t so great for the environment and the increasing problem of electronic waste Thou Shalt Consume: The Story of Consumer Electronics [Feature] Every year, exhibitions around the world present new high tech devices; expensive toys that come with many promises. They aim to make our lives easier, more fun, super connected, and of course they are status... Read More . The smartphones in use today will be out of date and due to be trashed within a year or two, and most, sadly, will end up being binned rather than recycled. Feature phones, on the other hand, can last for years.

Reason #5: Don’t buy a smartphone if you don’t want to contribute to the problem of e-waste.

It’s Your Choice…

These are just a handful of reasons why a smartphone may not be right for you. If you need an excuse to bat away peer pressure from your smartphone-owning friends, any of these will suffice.

Countering these reasons for not owning a smartphone are the many examples of what can be achieved with one. Such as the opportunity to take photos anywhere and everywhere Top Tips: How To Take Great Photos With Your Smartphone Smartphone and mobile photography are becoming increasingly popular. And no wonder. Every year, mobile and smartphone cameras get better and better, until many people don’t feel the need to carry real cameras around anymore. While... Read More , or the number of single-purpose devices a smartphone kills the need to own 15 Things The Internet and Technology Killed Off Here's a list of 15 things and practises that no longer exist, or could be on the brink of extinction, thanks to the glory of the Internet. Read More .

It is, of course, completely up to you, and you alone, whether you want to make the jump from feature phone to smartphone. Do so knowing that once you have gone over to the dark side of smartphone ownership it’s very difficult to return to the simple pleasures of owning a humble feature phone.

Image Credits: Daniel Oines, Ken Teegardin, Jason Tester Guerrilla Futures, alexkerhead, Stephen McCulloch, Vincent Diamante

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Unbreakable Disease
    November 17, 2019 at 10:22 am

    Well, I can think of 5 more reasons to not buy a smartphone.

    1. You have enough Internet in your life (somewhere more than 2 to 4 hours a day), there is no reson to waste more time on Facebook, etc.
    2. You don't want to be hooked on it. My main reason why I wanted a smartphone is because it has got so many features compared to old dumbphones. Still I knew that it all comes at the cost of being hooked.
    3. You are worried abut the future of the Internet. Closed apps are replacing the open Web-space, therefore being one of biggest threats for Internet innovation.
    4. You don't want to lose touch with reality and you are interested with talking face-to-face. If you ever do want to use Facebook or play Angry Birds you can do so at home rather than out and about at the expense of experiencing the real world.
    5. As a gift to people under 18 years old. Nobody remembers that it's not a good gift to people under 18, because the World Wide Web is a biggest resource of porn in human history. Sure, there is less and less youth without a smartphone these days, but still, they can live comfortable and even better without one. They might laugh now, but after 10 years, they will understand your important decision.

  2. Unbreakable Disease
    September 28, 2019 at 9:18 am

    I believe this article was wriiten mainly for Millenials and Generation Z. If you know any of them who still haven't got a smartphone, I woud recommend to send this article to them right now.

  3. Teenager
    June 1, 2019 at 9:26 pm

    It's 2019, I'm a teenager and I never had a smartphone. Every single person in my school has got a smartphone with the exception of me, sending crap with Snapchat 24/7/365.
    It seems that almost everyone from my generation (Generation Z) has got a smartphone, so it might seem like a necessity. However, it's absolutely possible to live without one. If you want to group chat, you can do so using a laptop.
    I'm not addicted to the Internet, so why should I overpay for a pocket computer and a data plan when my Motorola flip phone I got after my dad has all the features you really need: calls, texting, and an alarm clock. Internet? Camera? No thanks, I have a computer and a real camera.
    Smartphones, despite the name, are not phones, they're full-blown Android-powered pocket PCs! They knew that properly naming them as "pocket PC phones" wouldn't generate as much revenue, so they invented the dumb term "smartphone" so it would sell well.
    Not without reason smartphones have been getting bigger. They were doing so in order appeal more for Internet addicts and thus generate more revenue from it. Smartphones are getting more expensive not without a reason too. It's because almost every person addicted to the Internet now owns one, therefore they are asking for even more money for those things that help fulfill their addiction. They played it just like a crack dealer.
    Smartphone - a silly toy for Internet, e-mail and social media addicts.

  4. Jake
    February 24, 2019 at 12:19 am

    It's now 2019, and I'm still using a flip phone I got for free 12 years ago. I don't do any social media, and I'm not addicted to email or websurfing, so why do I need one? All I need a phone for a calls and occasionally texting. If I want to take pictures, I've got my 128 Gb iPod Touch.

  5. Carrie
    August 30, 2017 at 1:04 am

    With a smart phone, you can literally do all your banking, shopping, pay check, social and family life!! What happens if you get hacked. Also in Florida if you are in a automobile accident Police can take your smart phone and check your history. 1984 anyone?

  6. Fuk Smartfone
    October 10, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    I will never buy one of these pieces of shit.

  7. Meirav
    September 16, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    Thank you for this article. It saves me to know that there are sane people who understand the damage that this is doing to the individual and to the entire world. I am sick of this and hope that something will happen to these devices so we will all be forced to communicate with each other and with the universe again. This is a dead culture.

    • Shaun
      January 6, 2017 at 1:44 am

      YES! So glad to find like-minded folks out there. Stay strong. The pressure to give in and "plug in" will likely only be worse in the next few years.

      • OldDanTrucker
        October 3, 2017 at 11:00 pm

        Get ready for a one world OS where your always online and your REAL ID is attached which you cannot be a legal citizen without it. At first it will be prisoners requiring it in order to not kill someone.

        Also the government will send (mood signals) to you to either make you serene or angry and then they use sublime messages in news like a false flag shooting to get you to hate a certain group. 'Ohhh those nasty right wing terrorist!" (which don't really exist) but they'll keep on hunting for them regardless.

  8. itihaas1
    August 29, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    I have a secret enmity of smart phones - I hate the way they've transformed social space and social interactions. I dislike being in a world in which everyone is looking at a screen all the time. I'm in a profession in which, when I joined it, I envisioned a life that entailed a lot of reading and quiet reflection. Instead it has become dominated by computers and a presentist culture. I already loathe the amount of time I have to spend on-line, and can't for the life of me imagine why the bulk of humanity seemingly wishes to be on-line, all the time. It makes me worry about the future of the planet, and what we're doing to it. How can global warming be dealt with when we're in an era in which everyone's looking at screens, not what's outside? To me it's an Orwellian nightmare. I think I can safely say I'll never be getting a smartphone.

  9. Maryon Jeane
    April 28, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    I agree with this article - in fact much of it sounds like things I've said myself!

    One of the main reasons why I don't have a smartphone is that I'm not a great believer in multifunction devices - I've found over time that one device/one function (or at most a couple of functions) works best. This is because a) if a device goes down you've still got other resources, and b) simpler devices are less likely to malfunction in the first place. So I have a mobile phone for making calls and texting - and for this I need a phone which has good reception (and can take two SIM cards because no one service covers the area here), a decent volume, a good battery life, a screen which can be seen easily under all conditions, buttons which can be used even when my hands are freezing cold and/or gloved, and a housing and screen which will survive when I drop the thing (particularly if I drop it from my bike) and when it's pouring with rain or snowing. My generic 'rugged' phone does all this, cost under £30 (including a spare battery - which I've never needed to use because the battery life is excellent). The two SIMS I have installed are PAYG and, after topping them up over five years ago just prior to moving house, I'm still using that credit. This is my fourth mobile phone (ever), and one of those was very short-lived because of an accident. My beloved and trusty Nokia 7110 lasted for years, a flimsy Samsung (and its replacement) were both very short-lived and obviously no good as replacements for my Nokia: smartphones had arrived, with their delicate casings and electronics, fragile screens, short battery-lives, and acres of redundant features. What they didn't have - and still don't - is good reception and sound, i.e. as phones they leave a lot to be desired. So it was with great relief that I accepted the advice of a (very) honest trader whom I desperately rang for advice on what mobile would be suitable for me. He introduced me to the rugged phones, and I'm a happy bunny.

    My phone has been dropped, accidentally flung across pavements and rooms, had netbooks and other heavy items thrust down on top of it in my bag - and there's not a mark on it and it still functions perfectly. I can see the screen even in a lights-failed train at night or in a dark alleyway or in the glare of full sun. I can text with one hand as I'm walking along (in emergencies, I hasten to add), without worrying about dropping the phone. I can always hear the caller at the other end and they can hear me (rugged mobiles are meant for people on building sites, etc. so they're framed for noisy environments).

    You can get rugged smartphones, but if I think I'm going to need to do extensive e-mailing or work or whatever on the go then I use my netbook (and/or contain my desktop remotely). Why would I want to do anything that intensive using a fiddly phone?

    I can even hold my mobile in my teeth if necessary (and it surprisingly often is...) - with no damage - you can't do that with a smartphone!

    As for playing games - footsy is far better fun than phubbing...

  10. letsusesmartphonesinsmartway
    February 25, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    I was born in a non native speaking english. So smartphone is the best way for me to learn english. From youtube, web, apps... Everything in this life have two aspects. BAD and GOOD. Don't look only in one for proving or explaning something is TRUE or FAULT. That's stupid idea. Use only 6 reasons to prove you are right without consider many and many other reasons are dull thinking. Instead of that, I think you are better advice people how to use smartphone effectively. Anyway. Without smartphone I can't know or understand your article and your website interface was designed for viewing in smartphone too.

  11. Tracey
    May 16, 2014 at 3:03 am

    I did a search for "I have had it with smartphones" and it brought me here. I have a Samsung Galaxy S4 and it's a pain. I have had the IPhone 4 and 4S, both the same as this one...quit working properly before the year was up. They are money pits as far as I'm concerned.
    When I create a folder if I want to place it somewhere I have to hold it until the screens stops moving. If you understand what I'm saying. Holding it in the corner to move it manually doesn't work. it decides 4 me where it wants me to put it. My iphone 4s stopped working and the 4's audio went out on the incoming callers end. Maybe I just have bad luck with smartphones but I'm not buying another one.

  12. SmartPhone Zombie Hater
    March 30, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    Great article! I've refused to upgrade to a smartphone as well. I agree with all your points, but especially the "Phubbing". Not having my face staring into my palm like everybody else allows me to observe the nutty behavior of the many smartphone addicts everywhere. I never want to be one of those people - thinking they're so engaged yet completely oblivious to what's going on around them. Zombies.

  13. Ann
    January 10, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    Smart phones are not for me. DH bought me a Motorola G. Got replacement SIM yesterday and did not access Internet as have WiFi. However was charged £1 twice in 15 hours by Virgin. I have PAYG . Phoned Virgin, who were not sympathetic. Would only switch off Data. Have switched off phone and will check tomorrow for another charge. Now looking for a non Smart phone as only need to text infrequently. Agree with most of previous comments. Thought I was the odd one out!!

  14. Pattaranida Lohakul
    January 4, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    I totally agree with these points. My smartphone was stolen about 8 months ago and that made me feel lost.
    Now I am using a simple one and I can have time to communicate with people, see outside the bus, leave facebook, read newspapers...etc. It's just awesome.

  15. Dane M
    December 2, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    Quite a bit of assuming facts not in evidence. I think there may, in fact, be more than one kind of person in the world.

    I have A Galaxy S3 and i'm moving to the Note 3 shortly.

    I put it into airplane mode when I go to bed and when I am spending personal time with my wife or my kids. When I am 100% connected, I feel no obligation to immediately respond to anything, though I appreciate the ability to do so, I don't always exercise it.

    I don't have angry birds or anything similar installed. I do have vine, snapseed and a few geocaching apps installed that i use when enjoying my favorite past time, but recreation is not, contrary to the suggestion, a time waster and I have several apps wich I do use day to day to make me more productive in my work.

    I have one old smart phone that my kids use to play games on, I have another that I use as a dedicated podcatcher and another that my spouse uses as an mp3 player, none of which would be possible with a feature phone that had outlived it's phone use, so ewaste is less an inevitability than an irresponsible (and insane) choice that I have reduced by using multifunctional devices that will be used far longer in more capacities.

  16. Hystic
    November 29, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    I was curious to see what you will find against smartphones and it make me laugh to discover it...

    Your article is based on the fact then people can't control themself,
    I'm personnaly very fine with it :
    I don't look at my phone everytime I have a notification.
    I don't get hooked by games if I have no time to give it to.

    There are some widget to automaticaly switch to plane mode at certain hours (11:00PM =>8:00AM for me)

    Why do you have a dishwasher you could wash your dishes with a sponge!
    Why do you have a car you could walk!
    Why do you go to the butcher you could hunt


    Just because it make your life simpler
    but you don't know how to use it's not a good reason to blame smartphones for making dumb people !
    I'm pretty sure they were already stupid before ;-)

    The smartphone is just a powerfull tool making your life much easier and give you access to a lot informations. that you wouldn't have anyway else

    Please tell me how having more informations could make people more stupid other then in the religious point of view.

    • olmdrfgjn ertjhn
      February 20, 2014 at 12:32 am

      for your very last comment it makes you less smart because some people rely on the smartphone too much, so basically it just means you might not be able too do or figure something out. That's all.

  17. Jitendra A
    November 25, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    The best article I have read this year!

    What the point of using a smartphone! answer is..Cause I am DUMB!!!

    I have just one question to the guys who think they cannot love without a SmartPhone.... imagine that for the next 24 hours...nay, why 24 hours... for the next 12 hours, YOUR WORLD is without electrical will you charge your SMARTPHONE...and where will you look for HELP?...because your smartphone is dead and you are DUMB without it!!!

  18. Elena
    November 25, 2013 at 6:13 am

    Just because people abuse the technology, it is not a reason to advice against it. There's something called "settings" on phones to adjust notifications, and data plans are not expensive anymore these days. As well as most often you have wifi at home/work/university.

    Cost of a smartphone is also unjustified. I must say it's only the apple products that have and will continue to have a high price, and that is because this is Apple marketing strategy.
    Android phones come in different sizes and different prices.

    Contract also is an issue depending on where you live. And it sounds to me like the article is focused on experiences of one person or a group, coming from a single country. Yes, there are young people hogging their smartphones all the time. But they won't necessarily get smarter, or learn family values just because they don't - it's up to individual family to establish that. For example, my boss has 3 kids. He's the starter and owner of the company, has a lot of things going on all the time and is very tightly involved in managing the company. Therefore he has to be accessible all the time. But when he goes on skiing vacation, they have a deal in family that everybody leaves smartphones behind - done. I'm pretty sure those kids will be able to learn a lot more from a example like this, than just being told "leave your phone, you're doing something wrong".

    The only point that I actually agree with is actually e-waste. It annoys me quite a bit that the phones made these days last about... a year. And done.
    That's the reason why I went for the best phone on market (and it's not an iphone) twice, and the first one lasted me 3 years. And it worked great, until it simply ran out of memory due to apps being coded inefficiently.
    I use my phone to find places on map, to organize my commute (public transport ticket on the phone is easier to get and more flexible to use), to organize my time (I usually have 4-5 weekends planned in advanced, and it's better to be able to figure out dates when I'm talking to somebody, instead of just saying "i'll get back to you later" and having to ping-pong communication until a point is finally settled); I also have it standing next to me when cooking and especially baking, so that I don't have to print recipes.
    You cannot do that with a simple phone.

  19. nb
    November 24, 2013 at 6:02 am

    Great article! Thank you for being straight forward! I own a qwerty old-school blackberry with no 3g and no apps and pay not even $10/month for some minutes and messages on a pay-as-you-go plan from at&t. Even, though, I'm kind of a techie-nerd, I don't use internet on it because I have a computer at home to do my emailing, browsing, and "nerding" on. It's a smartphone like device, sure, but it's as comfortable and uncluttered as a regular cellphone, with added qwerty comfort, microSD card slot, and a wonderful music player. Sometimes I put my simcard in my old beloved Nokia 3395 though. It's 13 years old and still perfect!!!

  20. Big Ed
    November 23, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    Carry a smartphone and you increase yor chances tobe mugged.

  21. dragonmouth
    November 23, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    The Need to Disconnect.
    ANY kind of cell phone gives the world the opportunity to bother you 24/7/365.

    • Anonymous
      December 2, 2013 at 7:12 am

      Yep who wants to be bothered 24/7.
      Humans are such needy animals.

  22. Manuth C
    November 23, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    the Lumia 520 is just dirt cheap, it's pretty unlikely you can't afford it (sure you can go prepaid)

  23. Dmitry
    November 23, 2013 at 10:09 am

    1. Cost.
    AFAIR smartphone retail prices began at roughly $80-$90 w/o contract (chinese "generic" brands like ZTE - loved for branding by phone companies btw). Reasonable _feature_ phone costs roughly the same or more.
    Added costs is result of your choices, actually i've payed MORE for traffic while using non-WiFi enabled feature phone (as test two years ago) - no syncing for some services so i checked 'em via browser and always via EDGE even near hotspots :(

    2. Need to disconnect.
    Amost all feature phones are email-enabled. Once again it's your choice . Many services and social networks offer SMS notifications and responces - and SMS is in current definition of CELL PHONE.

    3. Time waste.
    Well, AFAIR Snake and Xonix were major time-wasters on old dumb phones. J2ME didn't helps in that department too - but is much more time-consuming for keeping expenses, schedules, notes etc - usualy with no cloud support ( only decent app i know is Listonic shopping list).

    4. Phubbing.
    Most accurate point of article imo :)

    5. E-Waste
    My father threw away 2 dead cheap dumb phones and one mp3 player in two years - they're not built to last these days even more than smartphones.
    I still use my five year old WinMo HTC Max 4G as backup phone/MP3 player , my 2005s Nokia 6630 works as loud :) alarm clock ( no google contacts support - so it's inconvinent as backup), my Asus P505 was sold and broken by hands of friend's kid (not as pity af if this would happened to new phone bought at full price) , and my previous android device is used as GPS navigator with backup phone capability by my father's wife (she feature phone user and thought of buying one of smaller 4.3"-5" GPS units) . Who polluted more?

    But overall - if author advocated dumb phones, not something like current Nokia Asha then article would make much more sense.
    And author forgot two REAL selling point of non-smartphones: battery life and size :)

  24. Ramandeep S
    November 23, 2013 at 3:01 am

    This is right actually. I don't have a smartphone and the reason I want one so badly is that I just want it. No doubt social media also contributes hugely to make people think they should have a smartphone otherwise why should they read things on 'best android apps' best iphone apps' or 'this app can wake you up gently' 'this is a good keyboard' etc. This is just Lust and Greed.

    The only good thing I see in a smartphone is it consumes much less electricity compared to a computer and sill does same work. And this is the reason why I want a smartphone.

    But still if you can afford one, they are really handy and can put you in very much ease and also can make you dumba** (based on how you use it).

    • dragonmouth
      November 23, 2013 at 3:57 pm

      "The only good thing I see in a smartphone is it consumes much less electricity compared to a computer and sill does same work. "
      Yes, a smartphone does consume less electricty. But as to "still does the same work", it is going to be a very long time before any smartphone approaches the power and the utility of even a netbook. Let's see you compile a program or do a large spreadsheet on a smartphone. To do any kind of meaningful work I need at least a laptop-sized keyboard and screen. I'm not too good at typing with my thumbs on miniscule buttons and looking at a 4 or 5 inch screen to see what I've typed is like looking through a key hole.

    • Ramandeep S
      November 25, 2013 at 8:03 am

      @dragonmouth I didn't thought that big. I was just talking about general works, like seeing an office doc, browsing inernet, videos, songs etc. For most of the people, I think my statement is right unless you are a programmer or geek kinda person.

    • Daniel E
      November 25, 2013 at 9:44 am

      Let’s see you compile a program or do a large spreadsheet on a smartphone.

      Every time I see a remark like this, I gotta ask how many people do software compilations or large spreadsheets even on their computers. Sure, you just need a desktop or laptop for those jobs, but I think the reason smartphones are selling so well is that they're targeted to people whose computing needs are simple: viewing Web pages, a little SMS here and there, social networking (through apps, not through SMS or the social networks' sites), reading email. Writing email or long memos, not so much, although I can do it because of the keyboard software I'm using (MessagEase), and even T9 or other predictive technologies make the tiny keyboard a tad more tolerable.

      As an aside, even software compilation is possible on those smaller devices — or, more precisely, through them, using them as a Web browser into a Web-based compiler

  25. Zhong J
    November 22, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    Most of the reasons you've pointed out seems applicable to the non-tech savvy individual but there's a reason why they cost more than the typical phone with little or no features. Lots of the smartphones in today's market is selective in terms of carrier and price, features like camera, apps, storage cards, wireless....etc, are the standards of any smartphones.

    Even though they are a distraction most of the time, they are still useful.

  26. Christian C
    November 22, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    Great article, Dave. I'd love to be able to disconnect easily, but in this job it can be tough. I was just looking longingly at my old Sony Ericsson the other day in my dad's trove of tech treasure. It was my last feature phone, back in 2003 - the next device was an MDA Vario Windows Mobile - and it's fair to say that I've been obsessed with what phones can and cannot do ever since.

    • Dave P
      November 22, 2013 at 8:24 pm

      If Justin can manage it then so can you! I agree it can be tough to disconnect though, with or without a smartphone. You should see me when the Internet goes down. It's a scary sight.

  27. Bjourne
    November 22, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    First time I got a smartphone (Xperia J) I tried it out/used the major features and in a week it costed me more than what I pay in a month when I was using my trusted old Sony Ericsson K800i. Now I treat it as my old K800i and only --ONLY use the features when it's an important one. My wife who used to play puzzle (match3) games on the netbook now does it with her own android! I sometime literally scold her to stop! This article is correct and makes sense. Nice one.

  28. Petra
    November 22, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Great stuff!
    Think before you act and when it comes to phones you can, luckily still choose

    I went "half-way" Bought a simple smartphone (Samsung Galaxy Young) without any contract and use it with my old SIM-card for feature phones. Only the "smart" functions when there are free wifi or I go to such places when there are something I really want to check. Most of the time I'm only connected by phone and text. It's cheap, saves time and effort.

    • Dave P
      November 22, 2013 at 8:22 pm

      That's a good compromise. I've never even thought of just using an old sim in a smartphone, but I guess it does save on the ol' data costs etc.

  29. Carlo Vincente
    November 22, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    The article is right. I don´t need and I don´t want a smartphone. I have a regular phone just to make phone calls. Not interested in FB, Twitter, Angry Birds wastes of time and the likes, but in talking face to face with people.

    • Dave P
      November 22, 2013 at 8:21 pm

      Sensible man. And if you ever do want to use Facebook or play Angry Birds you can do so at home rather than out and about at the expense of experiencing the real world.

  30. Steve S
    November 22, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    This article would have *maybe* been of some value if it were published 5-6 years ago.

    • Dave P
      November 22, 2013 at 5:00 pm

      And it has no value now because? If 55 percent of phones sold are smartphones, that means 45 percent are feature phones. That's a lot of people still choosing not to buy a smartphone, because, quite simply, they're not for everyone.

      Just because in your world everyone owns a smartphone and loves it more than their first-born that doesn't mean the whole world is the same. And yes, there's a big world out there beyond whatever country you live in.

    • john cordas
      January 13, 2014 at 5:30 pm

      People 4-5 years ago we celebrated the latest advances in technology that seemed to promise so many solutions, yet the alternatives were hard to recognize at that time. It seems writing about technology is always relevant, both in sociology and economics. Thanks for the article! (The response by the author comes off as a little bit of an over- reaction though.)

  31. Jean-Francois Messier
    November 22, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    I like this article and it makes much sense to me. About point #1 - High Costs, I managed to find a rather good compromise. I have a smart phone, but I made sure of few things :
    - I got a cheapo one, although a smart one, so if I loose it, not so big deal
    - I refuse to be on a two-year commitment of *any* kind. I use Koodo in Canada (from Telus)
    - I have no data plan. I consider that with the wifi at home, and the computer at my workplace, I have enough internet. On the road, if I can catch a wifi, fine, otherwise, TOO BAD.
    That's my way of dealing with a smart phone. It's far from perfect, but it keeps my costs down ($30 a month) while lettingmeplay with some gadgets if I want to.

    • Dave P
      November 22, 2013 at 8:19 pm

      That's a good compromise that more people should adopt if they really want a smartphone but cannot really afford to own one. Thanks for the advice :)