In a digital world where everyone seems to have a smartphone, flip phones are starting to make a comeback. For me personally, they’re especially useful for my kids who I want to stay in contact with but don’t want having constant access to the internet. And there’s something especially nice about having a phone that’s still a phone. A good reception, rugged quality, and long battery life are just a few of the benefits. Cost, is an especially big factor.
8 Great Reasons to Own a Flip Phone in 2018
- It’s Easier to Avoid Phubbing. (Snubbing your companion, kids, or friends in order to pay attention to your phone.)
- Longer Battery Life: A good flip phone has a battery life that lasts several times that of a smartphone. A Smartphone, on the other hand, often has to be charged before the end of the day.
- More Rugged: If you drop your smartphone, you might get a broken screen. Drop your smartphone and it still looks great.
- Call Quality: I often have issues with covering up the microphone on my smartphone and with people not being able to hear me. Call quality stays superior on a flip phone.
- Cost: Not only do flip phones cost a lot less than their smartphone counterparts, they also don’t require a large data plan.
- Smaller Profile: While you may find your smartphone slipping out of your pants or purse, a flip phone is more compact.
- Safer for Kids: Whether you’re ready to face it or not, sexting is a problem with today’s generation. Time reports that most teens start sexting before they turn 18.
- Bigger Buttons: No trying to type in your phone number on your smartphone pad here. Flip phones are simply easier to dial.
Looking for the right flip phone? Here’s a look at our favorite models from various carriers. Some of these are unlocked and others are carrier specific. So, be sure to take a look at that before purchasing. We’ll go through options for kids, seniors, and rugged options for those on the go.
A Flip Phone for Seniors
Having trouble seeing the numbers on your smartphone? You’re not alone. Here’s a phone that makes it easier for those with limited vision or little technical know how.
You might have seen the ads on TV for the Jitterbug. This phone is made for seniors, carries no contracts, and has no cancellation fees. Instead, you go through Greatcall who uses the Verizon Network. They charge as low as $14.99 a month for service.
For emergencies, it comes with a dedicated button that allows you to quickly contact someone.
The design of this phone is truly what sets it apart. While it wouldn’t be a flip phone ideal for kids or teenagers, it is perfect for seniors.
On the front of the phone, large buttons for dialing and changing the volume make it easy to use for just about anyone. The LED screen up top also uses a large font so that numbers are easy to read. Charging is simple as well. Simply place the phone in the charging dock and you’re good to go.
Overall, the Jitterbug is a fantastic flip phone option for seniors or the elderly. The customer service of Greatcall shows they truly care about their customers as well. That being said, I wouldn’t recommend this if you’re shopping for your kids. The fact that it has to be on its own separate plan is kind of a deal breaker there. So, if you’re in that boat, here are some other good options as well.
A Cheap Unlocked Flip Phone Option for Kids
Just looking for a phone that has reasonable quality, a good reception, and can take any GSM carrier or plan? Here’s a phone that is unlocked and takes a standard sim card.
ZTE Z222 Flip Phone
As a parent I want my kids to be able to stay connected. This is especially true as they get older. That being said, I don’t want to spend a fortune doing it. So, this is an option that allows them to have texting and phone capabilities that doesn’t cost a fortune. In addition, as many companies like AT&T have discontinued 2G service, it’s nice that this one has Quad-band GSM and G3 support.
As far as the included camera is concerned, you’re not getting a lot here. Just the ability to take some basic pictures.
Overall, the ZTE Z222 flip phone is a good option for kids. It’s reasonable rugged and affordable as well. It isn’t, however, a phone that you can throw in the mud and in the pool and expect it to keep working. It’s inexpensive and good quality for the money you spend, but don’t expect for it to do any miracles. For those of you worried about your kids texting, I don’t blame you. That being said, there are some good options for kids including carrier controlled texting and talk.
3 Budget Rugged Flip Phones
Are outdoors a lot or do you simply drop your phone all the time? Try a rugged flip phone. There are several options on the market for various carriers. Here are a few that we like.
Unlocked GSM: Samsung Rugby 4
If you’re looking for a rugged phone to use with an AT&T or T-Mobile plan, the Samsung Rugby 4 might be just what you’re looking for. It’s ideal for that camping, backpacking, fishing, or biking into the wild blue yonder. It’s also ideal for certain types of jobs and is an excellent flip phone for construction workers. The rubber outer coating makes it especially easy to hold on to.
We tested the battery life with some light use and it lasted about 3 days. Without any use, it lasted around 5. With certain tweaks you could clearly make it last longer. This is less than we thought, although still very good.
Overall, we highly recommend this phone for AT&T users looking for some basic smart phone features. For t-mobile users it should work with call and text, but some have reported browsing issues. This type of phone would also go very well for a minimalist-type prepaid plan.
3G Rugged CDMA Flip Phones for Verizon
If you’re looking for a 3G phone to use with your Verizon plan, here are a couple that should be near the top of your list.
Samsung Convoy 3 Rugged
The Samsung Convoy 3 is ideal for those looking for a flip phone with a military-type spec design. This rugged design allows for shock, high temperatures, dust, humidity, and general abuse. While it’s rugged, it maintains a high level of call quality. The dual microphones make it easy to talk in just about any situation.
If you’re on the go, you’ll also like it’s push to talk capabilities. Various voice commands can be used to call, send a message to a friend, or even look up a contact on your list.
As far as a sim card is concerned, the Convoy 3 doesn’t need one as it uses CDMA technology through Verizon. That being said this will not work with a prepaid plan. So, if that’s a deal breaker, you’ll want to avoid it.
Overall, this is a fantastic option for any active individual looking to get away from traditional smart phones. For seniors or those with limited vision, the fonts can be changed to be very large and easy to use. It’s also good for kids who regularly lose their phones or are a bit too hard on them.
Casio G’ZOne C781 Ravine 2
If you’re looking for a slightly cheaper rugged option for Verizon, the Casio G’ZOne is another good option. Similarly, it has military specs that give it resistance to water, shock, dust, and more. The battery life is 5 hours of use or around 21 days otherwise (texting will decrease this).
No Contract GSM Flip Phone for T-Mobile
Looking for a flip phone for a GSM carrier like T-mobile?
LG 450 No Contract T-Mobile Phone
For a carrier like T-Mobile, a cheap and good solution would be this LG 450 no contract phone. A good option to use with this phone would be the t-mobile prepaid 1,000 minute option. It costs around $100 and if you don’t use your phone a ton, it lasts a long time.
In terms of the phone itself, it’s a solid option for kids, seniors, or simply those of you who are tired of smart phones and want to switch to a dumb phone.
It’s fairly solid, but it’s not as rugged as the options above. Still, it can take a decent beating.
For call quality the ringer is loud and the in-call volume leaves nothing to be desired. In fact, I can hear much better on this phone than my previous smartphone.
Overall, this is a great phone for those of you who are looking to spend under $50 or around it. The buttons are big, design is easy-to-use, and it’s fairly rugged as well.
GSM vs CDMA Carriers
Code Division Multiple Access or CDMA is used in the United States for U.S., Sprint, Verizon, and U.S. Cellular. GSM or Global System for Mobiles is used for AT&T and T-Mobile. Most of the rest of the world uses GSM. There are, of course, many more differences between these two types of carriers; however, that goes beyond the scope of this article.
Do I Need a Contract?
That depends on the carrier you go through. Our recommendation is that you call the carrier, before purchasing the phone, and see what type of prepaid plans they have setup for the type of phone you’re purchasing.
If you go through an outside seller, you should be able to save around 50% on this phone.
|Flip Phone||GreatCall Jitterbug||ZTE Z222 (Unlocked Version)||Samsung Rugby 4||Samsung Convoy 3||Casio G'ZOne Ravine 2||LG 450|
|Category||For Seniors||Affordable, Kids, Parents||Rugged||Rugged||Rugged||Affordable, Kids, Parents|
|Size||0.7" x 6.6" x 10.1" (flipped) 4.64 oz||3.76"x1.92"x.73" 3.24 oz.||2.17" x 4.25" x 0.85"||4.07 in / 4.23 oz||1.99" x 0.83" x 4.33" / 4.85 oz||3.86" x 2.01" x 0.73" 3.63 oz|
|Color(s)||Red||Blue / Black||Black||Black / Gray||Black / Red||Blue / Gray|
|Carrier / Frequencies||No Contract GreatCall Only||GSM 850MHz,1900MHz HSDPA 850MHz,1900MHz||GSM HSPA+ 21Mbps Tri-band (850/ 1900/ 2100MHz), EDGE/ GPRS||Verizon CDMA||Verizon CDMA 3G 800 / 1900||GSM 850/ 900/ 1800/ 1900 MHz No Contract T-Mobile|
|Capacity||1,780 mAh||900 mAh, up to 4 hours talk||1,300 mAh (2,000 mAh Ext. Batt. Optional)||Standard Li-Ion (1300 mAh), Standby up to 17 days, talk up to 5.5 hours||up to 4.68 hours Talk, 21.1 days standby||950 mAh, Talk up to 3 hours 20 minutes, Standby Up to 14 days 14 hours|
|Bluetooth||V 3.0||2.0 EDR||V 3.0||Yes||Yes||2.1|
|Memory||1GB, 1000+ photos||128MB RAM, 256MB ROM / microSD up to 32GB||512 MB up to 32GB microSD||512MB flash memory, 256MB Ram, Micro SD Up to 32GB||256MB|