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4 Easy-To-Use Flip Phones for Cheap

Lose the high-tech hardware and simplify your life with one of these devices

spinner image four flip phones of different designs on a blue background
A collage of four flip phone options currently on the market.
Courtesy Light; Jeff Elkins; Courtesy Best Buy Co., Inc; Courtesy Nokia

Cell phones have made life easier, but they also introduce unexpected challenges. Look around and you’ll see parents on their phones while their kids are telling them stories, or families at restaurants staring at screens while waiting for dinner. Notice the ridiculous prices ($1,200!) and bills full of hidden costs or the difficulty some individuals have with tiny buttons, increasingly complicated technology or constant incoming information. I sometimes daydream that the world will go back to the days of pay phones and landlines. And whereas I don’t think my dream will come true, I am here to tell you that there is a current trend to take a step back — from the constant usage, costs and complexity — and to take a step forward while doing so. Flip phones are making a comeback!  

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If you are interested in lowering your cell phone bill, want to be more present more often or want to simplify your phone habits, it may be time to trade in that smartphone for something simpler and more affordable. Here are some options. 


Jitterbug Flip 2

Cost: $99.99

Plan: Monthly data plans start at $19.99

If you are willing to part ways with mainstream providers like Verizon and AT&T, the Jitterbug Flip 2 is a great option. In 2005, Lively (formerly known as GreatCall) partnered with Best Buy Health to create products to help older adults live more independently. Their intention was to use technology to create more meaningful connections. Designed with boomers in mind, this phone is perfect for anyone who wants more straightforward phone use. It has a large screen with big buttons, a powerful speaker, a camera, a magnifier and a flashlight. It also has a few bells and whistles: Dial 0 at any time and you will be connected to one of Lively’s customer service reps (100 percent of whom are located in the U.S.). The Lively team can help you schedule a Lyft ride, the cost of which is added to your monthly bill. It also has an emergency alert button, fall detection, access to an on-call nurse (no insurance or copays required) and the option to alert friends or family in an emergency. For those who want a little "smartness" in their phone, it does enable downloading of some apps or access the internet.   

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Nokia 2760 Flip

Cost: $20

Plan: Prepaid data plans start at $15 per month or $99 per year

If you want a not-so-smart but not necessarily dumb phone, Nokia’s modern take on the flip phone is a great option. You can text, call and take pictures. There is access to a few essential apps, and it allows you to browse the internet with 4G. It has Bluetooth, hearing aid compatibility and a decent battery life (18 days of standby and seven hours of talking). The phone also has an SOS button, allowing you to contact the person of your choice in an emergency. Since it’s a TracFone, there are no monthly data plans with hidden charges. Instead, you can opt for a prepaid plan of varying lengths (30, 60 or 90 days) or prepay for an entire year. The downside is that you won’t be getting unlimited data, but any unused data is rolled over from month to month. 


Cat S22 Flip

Cost: $75

Plan: Data plans start at $60 per month

This phone is simple, but it is built for action and adventure, quite literally: It was designed specifically for construction workers to use on tough, loud job sites. It’s known as the most rugged of all cell phones. It can survive a 6-foot drop onto steel and withstand up to 35 minutes in 5 feet of water. The powerful speakers deliver clear sound in the loudest environments, and the buttons work with wet or gloved fingers. It’s so durable that it comes with a two-year warranty. Sorry, Verizon and AT&T customers, this phone is locked to the T-Mobile network.

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The Light Phone II

Cost: $299

Plan: Plans start at $30 per month

This phone doesn’t actually flip open, but it is described as “a premium, minimal phone,” which is “designed to be used as little as possible” on the maker’s website. There is no internet connection. No apps to be downloaded. The screen is black and white so as not to overstimulate the user. What you can do is send basic texts, make phone calls and get GPS directions. It can be used to play music, record voice notes or set an alarm. You can transfer your phone number or get a new one. Some people use the Light Phone in addition to their everyday smartphone for vacations or at other times so they can focus on being more present. The data plans require no contract or long-term commitment. An added bonus? The phone arrives in a package with a sticker that reads “your time = their money” and really, have truer words ever been spoken?

The flip phone trend is a move toward simple phones with big intent. Time can’t be bought, taken back or relived. Most cell phones are smart, but not all are wise. Choose yours with intention.

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