This summer, I switched from an iPhone to a “dumb phone.” The phone I chose is the Light Phone 2. Here are a few thoughts about the Light Phone after using it for a few months. Disclaimer: I am not an affiliate of Light Phone, nor was I asked to write a review. I’m also not a tech reviewer. There are more and better technical reviews out there—just Google it. The point of this post is to give you my honest opinion as an average person.
What does it do?
The Light Phone is not a smartphone. Unlike your Android or iOS device, which is intentionally designed to be addictive, the Light Phone is “designed to be used as little as possible.” It doesn’t have email, social media, clickbait news headlines, games, videos, or an internet browser. So what does it do?
It does normal phone stuff, like calls and texts. In addition, it has a few other features: an alarm, calculator, directions, notes, podcasts, music, and a hotspot. For a “dumb” phone, it does a lot! Here’s a brief rundown of each of these “tools” (as Light Phone refers to them).
The Basic Phone
I haven’t had any issues making or receiving calls on the phone. I ported my number over to Verizon since the Light Phone doesn’t work with Spectrum Mobile. Prior to the Light Phone, I had an iPhone with AirPods. The AirPods are supposed to work like any other pair of wireless Bluetooth earbuds… but they didn’t. They paired with my Light Phone but were glitchy. Sometimes it would take the AirPods 30 seconds or more to connect to the Light Phone. And if my computer was nearby, they would connect to my computer instead of the phone. And sometimes, in the middle of a call, the AirPods would switch to the computer or drop the connection for no apparent reason. So, I got an “old-fashioned” Bluetooth headset. It connects instantly, the volume controls work, and it never drops the connection.
As for texting, to be honest, it’s annoying. But I found texting to be annoying on my iPhone, too. Texting is just annoying, period. The Light Phone’s touch screen is similar to a Kindle’s. It’s an e-ink screen, and the touch response is a little delayed. Texting speed is pretty slow. On the plus side, it’s forced me to be a little more intentional with my texts and not so wordy (if only that worked on my sermons!). Thankfully, spell check is pretty good, and voice-to-text works surprisingly well. I do miss photos in my texts, and sometimes an emoji adds a layer of nonverbal communication that can help a text be received in the right tone. But photos and emojis aren’t options on the Light Phone. When someone texts me a photo, it does, however, forward it to my email.
My Light Phone can set multiple alarms and repeating alarms. It’s simple and works. No, it won’t tell me the time in Glasgow, Scotland. But I don’t really need to know that.
I don’t use it. It works. It’s a simple, basic calculator. I just don’t use it.
One of the most-used features of smartphones is maps. Leaving my iPhone, I needed a maps replacement. The Light Phone has a GPS tool called Directions that gives you turn-by-turn directions for walking or driving. It works, but it’s slow, laggy, and has trouble rerouting you if you take a wrong turn. I ended up getting a Garmin for my car.
The Light Phone can do text notes and voice memos. It’s great! The organizational scheme is pretty minimal, just a list. But you can search for a note, and that works.
While the Light Phone can’t stream music from Spotify, it does work like an old-fashioned mp3 player. If you have the mp3 files on your computer, you can upload them through the online dashboard to your phone account, and they will be synced over to your phone. It will hold about 1,000 songs, but you can’t create playlists. It works best if you have a specific playlist, like a workout set, that you sync over and then play during your workout.
Podcasts are very important to me. I listen to the news via podcasts every day. I also listen to sermons and other podcasts weekly. The Podcasts tool on the Light Phone reads Apple’s podcast index, so if a podcast is in Apple’s ecosystem, you can add it to your Light Phone. This happens through your computer's online dashboard, not on the phone itself. Once a podcast is added, episodes will update automatically, and you can stream or download them to your phone. Occasionally, the podcast player forgets that I was in the middle of an episode and restarts it from the beginning. However, the vast majority of the time, it remembers where I left off, even if I switch shows before finishing the first one.
Along with podcasts, having a phone that can function as a hotspot was a major feature for me. I am often out and about without wi-fi. The Light Phone can serve as a mobile hotspot using its 4G LTE cell signal. It works fantastically well.
The Light Phone is tiny, smaller than a deck of cards. I love the small, slim profile because it takes up less pocket space. A trade-off is the battery is smaller. You’d think a simpler phone would have a longer-lasting battery. But it doesn’t. Most of the time, at the end of the day, my battery is somewhere between 10-20%, depending on how many podcasts I’ve listened to or phone calls I’ve had. On the plus side, the phone charges extremely fast.
I’ve been pleased with the Light Phone. I wanted a dumb phone that still had podcasts and hotspot, and the Light Phone fills the bill. I miss some of my iPhone's features, but I don’t miss the iPhone.