Rags of Light

Follow @JMaxB on Micro.blog.

Light Phone II: comments

Earlier, I said I’d report a few things about my Light Phone II after using it for a while. Here are some observations.

  • It’s really small, about the dimensions of a credit card. I love this. I think almost all mobile phones are way too big. I hardly notice it in my pocket.

  • It makes and receives calls and texts very nicely. It does virtually nothing else, though it does show you the time and date and includes an alarm clock and an optional calculator.

  • I like the e-ink display very well. There’s a soft backlight so you can still read it in the dark. You can set the display to black-on-white or white-on-black.

  • One reason I chose it over a couple of minimalist competitors is that it has a QWERTY keyboard (a small one!) that appears in landscape mode when you text. No auto-correct or predictive typing, which some may miss – but if you want to do a lot of texting, this probably isn’t the device for you. Also, the Light Phone won’t receive photos/images in texts; it inserts a little icon to let you know that you were sent a photo.

  • Do I miss anything about my smartphone? Yes: a flashlight and a camera. The flashlight is no problem: I’ll probably get one of the little keychain flashlights that many businesses practically give away. I’m not much of a camera user, but sometimes I’ll miss having one with me. My old smart phone’s camera still works, so if I know I’m going to want to take photos, I can always stick it in my pack.

  • An observation: I thought that I was pretty free of smartphone addiction, but I was wrong. Not being able to reach for the smartphone and look at headlines, play a game, or whatever when I’m out and about has been a noticeable and beneficial change.

  • I should say something about the cost. For what you get, it’s unquestionably expensive: mine was about $300 “on sale,” a startling cost given that you can buy a “dumb” phone with more features for $100. I took the plunge because I like the design (tiny, e-ink, generally elegant), and because I want to support entrepreneurship in what I hope will become a trend toward thoughtful minimalist technology.

  • Is it for you? It’s a commitment, one I was glad to make. It’s now my only phone, and I signed up for an inexpensive no-data plan that Light Phone offers. I recommend that you think through the benefits and harms of a smartphone for you before buying a Light Phone in a burst of idealism or gadget hunger. If you’re really serious about establishing a bit more freedom from the online life, I heartily recommend it.