flip phone adventures


Hey all, I decided i’d write this post about the journey I had switching to a flip phone (Kyocera Digno 3 902kc), which I have been using for about 2 months as of writing this. To clarify, it’s not a “dumbphone” by the strictest definitions, it runs Android 8.1 as its OS and it’s perfectly capable of running smartphone apps, but it just doesn’t like anything else intended for a “real” smartphone and since it’s in the flip form factor with no touch screen, slow load times, and clunky navigation, a lot would consider it a dumbphone just for its lack of versatility and ease of use.

So, why did I decide to do this? I honestly just really hated my phone. I had to silence it constantly because of all of the spammy notifications I would get, since the google ecosystem was built-in to the OS and it wanted you to link everything together like a goddamn conspiracy theorist. And then that would lead to me missing important calls or texts. You know. What the actual point of a phone is.This combined with my love of older “obsolete” tech had me seeking out to switch to something a little less annoying and invasive that just does its damn job of being able to call people when I am out of the house. If you’re curious, I gave my brother my old smartphone and he seems really happy with it, which I'm glad about. It’s just not for me!

Tumblr and reddit are the only 2 social media sites I use to any extent (the latter pretty infrequently) and this just makes me inclined to exclusively browse them on my PC, where I have to go out of the way to navigate to the site and log in, etc. I also feel the same with reading the news on my RSS feed instead of getting pinged to look at it every time a headline breaks on my phone. It’s all about creating intention to do something I guess. I find that having intention with what you’re doing virtually is something that is really hard in this day and age (cue subway surfers Family guy tiktok video).. and I mean I get it, to some degree. I have ADHD and am addicted to screens as much as the next guy in this generation but I feel like a lot of people use “I have adhd” as a shortcut when in reality they are falling victim to our increasingly predatory “attention economy”. While I could ramble about the evils of capitalism and smartphones and the abuses of instant gratification… i think that’s been done to death and we are all aware of the consequences by now. What I want to offer in this blog post is a solution, something you can do instead of languishing and accepting the state of affairs now. I’m really happy that ‘dumbphones’ have become a sort of movement (although there is an ironic subsect of people who are posting about dumbphones on tiktok). Even if you don’t go to as extreme a measure as ditching the convenience of smartphones or breaking your internet router with hammers, take it as a reminder that you really don’t have to be feeding yourself constant input 24/7, especially information that is going to freak you out and make you miserable and in the end just paralyze you. It's unfortunately not feasible to go completely off the grid, and I don't think it 'solves' the root of the issue by any means, but there are little things you can do to make your everyday more tolerable and take a little more control over how you spend your time and energy. Our attention is an incredibly valuable resource in the information age, so spend it wisely, to the best of your abilities.

As for my actual experience with the phone? Honestly I couldn’t be happier. It does its job (which is to call and text) perfectly and that’s all I can ask it to do. Also, worth mentioning that there is a well known problem among american keitai enthusiasts which is that they are just not built to support US mobile bands, making them cool collectables but useless as a phone you’d use every day. I was really shooting for the Gratina or the 701kc Digno instead of the 902 because I find they’re more in favor with what i’d want design wise, but they both had this problem of being unusable here.

Look at these! The 701kc reminds me of the ds lite :D I’d love to have these just to look at some day honestly. The sharp aquos sh-06g phones are also excellent… They come in my favorite color! I would love to collect these someday.

In comes the (sadly less colorful) 902kc! It also comes in a pink and black color, but I went with silver since that’s my favorite. I even added a fun charm onto it

The good news with this one is that it’s been totally compatible with my t-mobile sim card! It gets signal just as well as my old phone and the call quality is fantastic. The keypad is nice and clicky, and there is a back display that shows the time, notifications, signal, battery, and steps taken. It also comes with a USB-C charging port (more than apple can say haha) which is great for connecting it to your PC to mod it and transfer files (which you will need to do if you want to use it as anything other than a feature phone, it doesn’t come with an app store or anything). A bonus to me is that it makes noises when you open and close it (don’t worry, it’s toggleable as ‘MANNER MODE’), it’s the little things like that which just make these phones so charming and fun.

The main downsides I would say are that it only comes with two language options (japanese and english), and the default SMS app stinks since it doesn’t have group text (I switched over to Chomp SMS). Also, it doesn’t come with T9 as a keyboard option. I never had the T9 muscle memory and since i don’t text super often i’ve adapted to just doing it the slow multi press way, but if that’s gonna be an issue for you then make sure to look into downloading extra keyboard options for it. It also has a host of other quirks that can be minor annoyances sometimes, but I honestly can’t remember anything specific right now so eh.

For fellow keitai appreciators based in the US: if you use T-mobile or another network provider that uses their towers like Mint or Metro and are looking for a phone in this style, i’d definitely recommend it. For everyone else just looking for a flip phone: ehh… soft maybe? There are definitely flip phones way easier to use out of the box for cheaper like Nokia’s which run KaiOS, which I really did consider for a while before discovering that the 902kc was fully functional in the US. It is a nicely built little device though. that seems to be the general consensus among owners of this phone. Great if you’re a fan, doesn’t make too much sense if you aren’t.

I bought mine second hand from ebay and it got here from Japan pretty quick. You can also buy it new from Kyoex but it is about twice as expensive over there. They do give you added peace of mind though by shipping all their devices new and unlocked, so go with that one if you aren’t willing to take a risk I guess.

Well that wraps up this post. Here’s a picture of my kitty cat Tajin taken with the camera. Till next time!

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