And manufacturers have noticed as well…
In this roundup, we’re going to take a look at the best flip phones of 2021.
Best Basic Flip Phone, Best Budget Flip Phone, Best Prepaid Flip Phone
Available under a variety of model names depending on your carrier, the Alcatel Go Flip checks all the boxes for a basic flip phone. There's long-lasting battery, a durable design, easy-to-press keys, and a decent enough screen -- all at an excellent price.
Best Senior Flip Phone with Health Services
As the successor to the ever-popular Jitterbug, the Lively Flip combines basic phone features with a powerful flashlight, an extra-loud speaker, and an emergency button to provide extra utility. Additional paid monitoring services and emergency features can also add peace of mind.
- A phone specifically for those with accessibility needs
- Simplified menu
- Bright, easy-to-view screen
- Backlit keypad
- Dedicated 5Star Urgent response button
- Great battery life
- No family plans
- No internet access
Most Stylish Basic Flip Phone, Best Basic Flip Phone with Google Assistant
With its sleek profile, crisp display (relatively speaking), and access to Google Assistant, the Nokia 2720 Flip proves that flip phone's can still offer a few features and look modern without the cost and complication of smartphones.
Runner-up Rugged Flip Phone
If you're not on Verizon, the Sonim XP3 is a compelling rugged flip phone option with water-resitance, dust-resistance, and shockproof ratings to handle just about anything the average outdoor expedition or job site might dish out.
Why Choose a Flip Phone?
Sure, smartphones have changed the world forever.
But does that mean the classic designs and limited features of older phone technologies are completely useless?
We don't think so.
In fact, we'd argue that flip phones (and their less bendy basic phone siblings) have several unique benefits you won't find on a smartphone.
If you're on the fence about choosing a flip phone, consider these 7 perks:
1. Battery Life
While your flip phone might lack a few of the features of a smartphone, it also lacks a big HD display, a high-speed data connection constantly streaming in notifications and updates, and an endless array of internal sensors gathering information about your phone and how you use it.
This means that whether your phone is on standby in your pocket or bag or you're talking all day with friends and family, there's a good chance that your flip phone will last days if not weeks on a single charge.
We'd like to see the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra pull that one off!
While the flip phone prices vary depending on the model you choose, nearly every option on the market today comes in well below the price of even the cheapest mid-tier smartphone.
Of course, as smart flip phones start to come out, that will change a bit. But if you're looking for a basic phone with a flip design, there's always an option out there for 1/10th of the price of the latest top-tier smartphones.
3. Tactile Convenience
While touchscreens are great for reading, watching video, or using your phone like a computer, we'd argue that they're not that great for using your phone as a phone.
Physical dial pads, the ability to flip your phone open to answer a call, and flip it closed again to end a call, and other tactile ways of interacting with your phone simplify the process of using the phone.
Ask anyone you know old enough to have used the classic Nokia candybar phones of the 90s and 00s about how much they abused their phones.
Now think about how many smartphones you've replaced due to a shattered screen or had to gingerly handle due to a cracked backplate with sharp edges.
By design, flip phones and basic phones are simply more durable than smartphones because there is less to break, fewer delicate materials, and less weight when they come crashing down to the concrete.
Of course, if you're looking for something to withstand the elements, a dunk in the pool, or more rigorous abuse, you'll still want to look at ruggedized options. But for the typical perils of life on the go, a flip phone will survive things a smartphone won't.
5. Fewer Distractions
Think about the number of people you see walking down the street mindless staring at their phones. There's even a good chance you've committed some embarrassing blunder in public because you were peeking at your phone.
I know I have...
Flip phones reduce the potential of this happening by getting rid of that endless stream of notifications, social media posts, and attention-grabbing content. You can still keep up with all those things on your tablet or laptop. But when you're out and about, your phone allows you to stay more in the moment and less in the digital world.
Even the smaller smartphones today tend to sport 4.5+ inch displays. Some of the larger phones could be described as small tablets without much argument.
This means that slipping your phone in your pocket, holding it in your hand, and otherwise interacting with it is often something you always have to be very mindful of unless you want a smashed paperweight you paid hundreds of dollars for.
Flip phones, on the other hand, will fit in the pocket of about any pair of jeans, hide easily in the palm of your hand, a weigh next to nothing while you're using it. Even better, they're designed for one-handed use.
7. Privacy & Security
This benefit has a few facets. At the most basic level, if you're hammering out a text you don't want others seeing, the smaller display on a flip phone makes it much harder for people to snoop over your shoulder.
But at a software level, flip phones are much simpler than their smartphone counterparts. This means that they're inherently less prone to security concerns. There are also fewer sensors, apps, and services reporting in on your every move and how you use your phone.
This means that your phone is a communications tool again instead of a spy feeding marketers a bunch of information about you. It also provides malicious people fewer opportunities to compromise your phone or steal your information.
How We Picked
The picks in this buyer's guide are what we think are the best flip phones for most people.
We selected these models based on analysis of expert reviews from around the web, user feedback on sites like Amazon, forum comments on our site, social media discussions, and more.
We compared the things most people consider when purchasing a basic phone.
In short, we did the research — so you don’t have to.
When answering the question, “What’s the best flip phone for the average user?”, we considered the following primary criteria:
A Strong Battery
A phone is only useful if it has a charge. While standby battery life is often better on basic phones, we wanted to make sure that you could get through a day or two without hunting for a charge.
Calling, texting, and picture messages felt like a great baseline for standard phone use. This also means that unless noted in the description, these picks won’t sit and vibrate or chime all day and distract you.
Easy to Find
While you can buy a smartphone just about anywhere these days, basic phones are getting harder to come by. For that reason, we chose picks that you can easily pick up online or that you might find at a local carrier store.
Let’s face it, most basic phones sit at the bottom end of the price scale. And when prices get that low, quality can get sketchy. We scoured online reviews for each of our picks to be sure that you won’t find weak hinges, dim screens, tinny speakers, or other surprises.