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Smartphone fan digitally detoxes with a dumb phone for 7 days

published on 5 min read
Taking a selfie on a dumb phone

Try a digital detox this World Mental Health Day, 10th October

Meet Sophie. Sophie is a big fan of her smartphone. From work emails to WhatsApp groups and TikTok videos, Sophie uses her smartphone. A lot. Ironically, being connected to the world 24/7 is starting to leave her disconnected from the present moment. So, for World Mental Health Day, we challenged her to the 7-day Digital Detox Challenge.

Sophie handed over her smartphone and we gave her a Nokia 2660 Flip to see her through the week. No message groups, no videos, just a flip phone with a camera. Here are the results.

Sophie takes on a digital detox for 7 days

Day 1: Unboxing

Sophie’s Nokia 2660 Flip arrived. While unboxing, the first thing she noticed was the big buttons. She had fun flipping it open and closed again, for some time. Then, with a full battery, she started her day. Trusting in the long battery,¹ she thought less about charging, and by extension, less about having a phone with her.

Day 2: People noticed

What Sophie noticed on Day 2 is that the Nokia 2660 Flip is a talking point. People are interested in the design, the look and the feel of the phone. It certainly stands out in a smartphone-centric world. She even let people have fun flipping it, just like she did on Day 1.

At the end of the day, there was no need to charge her Nokia 2660 Flip.

Day 2 of digital detox

Day 3: Not missing WhatsApp

Sophie has saved a few key contacts on her Nokia 2660 Flip. Writing text messages on the numeric keypad took some getting used to at first, but it was easy enough, in part thanks to the big buttons. Without WhatsApp, she realized just how many groups she is used to being in. The constant notifications from multiple WhatsApp groups is not something she misses. If she did need to get in touch with someone, she’d just call or text them.

No need to put the Nokia 2660 Flip on charge yet.

Day 4: The camera is simply fun

After getting to grips with the camera, Sophie realized that although her photos weren’t as high-quality as the ones she is used to taking, they have a charm of their own – like those of a disposable camera or polaroid. “It captures a mood. It captures a vibe rather than the perfect image,” she says. As for selfies, she has already gotten used to taking them “the old-fashioned way” – that is, holding it out and taking a pic using the rear camera. The shutter sound brings a wave of nostalgia. Another cathartic “snap” from the Nokia 2660 Flip!

Still no need to charge the phone.

Day 5: Reclaimed time

Sophie was shocked to learn that people spend as much as 4 hours a day on their phones. For her, not having her smartphone on hand gave her more time to do other stuff. That’s not to say her Nokia 2660 Flip has nothing to offer in her downtime. To her relief, it has Snake. The version of the game on Nokia 2660 Flip has gotten a colorized facelift, but it’s still the game she remembers and loves. She was a bit rusty, but it was a nice way to kill a few minutes of time without the risk of doomscrolling for hours.

Time to charge the Nokia 2660 Flip? Still no.

Playing snake during digital detox

Day 6: Getting lost

London is a big city, and even for a local like Sophie, taking a wrong turn or getting off at the wrong stop is just a part of life. Normally, she’d have a map application to help her find her way. Without it, she felt thrown in at the deep end at first, but then she realized that all the information she needed was in front of her. She only needed to read the maps and timetables at the tube stations and bus stops. It was another small way that having a "dumb phone" helped her feel more present.

No, didn’t charge the phone on this day either.

Day 7: A good week

Sophie reflected on the week. The biggest change, she realized, was the sense of being in the moment. “When you’re not buried in your phone, you realize how many other people are,” she said. “If you look around on the tube, everyone is just glued down. I really enjoyed just looking around more.”

And the battery is still going with some power left from the charge on Day 1!

The verdict

We gave Sophie her smartphone back at the end of the week. Emails and group messages have their place, after all. But after experiencing the benefits of being more present in the moment, we’re confident that Sophie’s relationship with her smartphone will change for the better. As for the Nokia 2660 Flip, she said she would definitely take it with her on nights out, to festivals, and on holidays. Why? “To switch off and be at the place you’re at,” she smiled.

“I am just so glad I did this challenge,” Sophie concluded. “It will definitely clear your head for a week.” The next challenge, then, would be deciding if she wants the Nokia 2660 Flip in pink or green.

¹ Battery has limited recharge cycles and battery capacity reduces over time. Eventually the battery may need to be replaced.

HMD Global Oy is a licensee of the Nokia brand for phones and tablets. Nokia is a registered trademark of Nokia Corporation.

WhatsApp is a trademark of Meta

TikTok is a trademark of Bytedance Ltd