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Road Test: I did a digital detox with a $30 „tumbiest” phone

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There is a hotspot feature, a calculator and the ability to listen to podcasts and upload music, and according to Light, the option to ride share, voice note, reminder, notes, calendar, weather, directions, dictionary and Find My Phone will debut later this year.

The menu page provides three options: phone, alarm and settings. Under settings I could activate airplane mode, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, adjust notifications, format time / date and account settings. I chose to let the phone alert me when a new text or call came in and displayed as an understated asterisk beside the time on the home screen. The sounds options are pleasing – no sirens here – just gentle spa-like chimes. I tested the alarm function which easy allowed me to set a certain alarm. There is no sleep – therefore it may not be my most reliable wake-up – clock, but it was still helpful to have the alarm when I needed a nudge to finish a task.

Within the Phone option, you can search contacts, choose their name and call or text them. If you have multiple numbers for one person, however, each number displays as a different contact, so that you can text or call a few numbers to determine if it is a cell or landline. There is no ability to save favorites contacts, but once you reach out to someone their name or number appears in your log that is what I referred to for reaching out to the most important people.

Texting on such a small keyboard is a painful exercise. To text, the screen defaults from portrait to landscape and you must carefully type your message in, since there is no T9 or autocorrect. A cursor is not an option so if you make a mistake or want to edit text, you have to manually delete the text, and sometimes it leaves a delay when you do so.

It’s not easy but this made my texting strategy more concise. I found myself thinking: Do I need to write this? This could be a telephone call? Could this conversation completely wait? Before a paragraph is thrown out, I usually never consider all the things. By the end of the weekend, I appreciated the challenge of concise texting, mainly since a subtle, haptic vibration always echoes across the phone when I type a letter, punctuating my decisions.

Calling is also not a seamless venture. I was surprised that a device this small can receive calls because I am 84 at heart. But the volume has only four levels and the speaker is faint. To hear best callers, I hooked up ear buds via Bluetooth (which the phone provides) and the sound was still not ideal. Perhaps this was also through design, because I ended up ne telephoning anyone unless necessary.

Other things I learned with light phones is that you can receive emojis but not SMS. You cannot view photographs, though you will receive an icon that denotes a photo file. Friends claimed to send me audio messages but there is no possibility to send or receive them at this time. There is no voicemail though when I later retransmitted my SIM card to my iPhone, I deleted the voicemails I missed after a reboot. There is a hotspot ability, a calculator and the ability to listen to podcasts and upload music, and according to Light, they’ll add rides – share, voice note, reminder, notes, calendar, weather, directions, dictionary and Find My Phone options later this year.

Fingers crossed for the addition of directions, because I m still carrying my iPhone in my bag over the weekend—I hate to admit it . I live in New York City and though I mapped my routes before traveling like we did back in the Mapquest days, the idea of unable to access directions when navigating trains during a pandemic gave me enough time to take them to my timetable, just in case.

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