Why choose 'dumb' phones when devices are getting smarter?

Joel Guinto, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 08 2017 03:57 PM | Updated as of Jun 08 2017 05:47 PM

MANILA - Nokia heralded its return to the Philippines on Thursday with three mid-range Android phones that undercut the competition and a holdover from the pre-iPhone era.

The reworked Nokia 3310, whose original sold 120 million units at the turn of the millennium, evokes pure nostalgia. But why buy a "dumb" phone when Siri or Google Assistant can think for you?

Here's why outdated handsets are still a worthy electronic leash:

1. Dumb phones last longer on a single charge. The 3310 is rated for up to a month on standby, when most smartphones can't through a heavy workday.

"You can put this into your emergency survival kit if you need to," said Shannon Mead, Philippines country head for HMD Global, which manufactures Nokia phones.

This can be especially useful in the Philippines, which is constantly at risk from strong typhoons and earthquakes that can knock down power for weeks.

2. Dumb phones are a means to disconnect. Mead said the 3310 was a recognition of the need of some for "digital detox."

Having a phone with limited social media capabilities lessens exposure to hateful and divisive comments on line, not to mention that one friend who takes selfies everywhere.

3. Dumb phones actually fit in your hand. Human hands don't grow bigger as smartphone screens do every year.

Operating most smartphones require finger acrobatics from both hands. Smaller handsets not only fit in your pocket, you can use them with one hand, with your thumb doing most of the work.

4. Dumb phones are cheaper. For the price of the entry-level iPhone 7 Plus, you can buy 19 units of the 3310, roughly enough for every family member in five households.

The pain or losing, breaking or having one stolen is also less, compared to a nearly P50,000 phone that takes 2 years to pay via credit card installment.