Should You Switch to a Flip Phone?

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Whether you’ve been shopping for a new phone or you just aren’t in love with your current one, a flip phone could actually be the perfect choice for your next device.

We asked our readers how they feel about flip phones and checked out some of the most popular flip phones on the market.

In this article, I’ll take a close look at the biggest pros and cons of using a flip phone today.

This article was updated in April 2024 and I review it every 12 months. Detailed notes on all updates can be found here.

Flip Phone vs. Smartphone: Which Is Better for You?

It’s no surprise that smartphones are everywhere. They allow you to do nearly everything you could do on a computer or laptop from anywhere. And, this is precisely the reason that some people prefer a flip phone. 

Opting for a flip phone is a great way to stay connected while also reducing your time online. Plus, traditional flip phones are significantly cheaper than the latest smartphone.

Recent reports have covered celebrities that don’t carry smartphones, and Gen Z seems to be following suit. And this particular popular trend may actually be worth hopping on.

However, in today’s world, not having a smartphone brings a certain set of challenges too.

We asked our followers on Facebook, Instagram and in the Clark.com Community how they felt about flip phones. Below, I’ll highlight a few of the most insightful responses we received. I’ll also walk you through the process of finding the perfect flip phone if you decide to make the switch.

Benefits of a Flip Phone

Whether or not you’ve ever considered switching back to a flip phone, there’s a reason they’re regaining popularity. 

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Here are a few of the biggest perks of choosing a flip phone:

  • Pricing. First and foremost, flip phones are cheaper. While there are expensive flip phones with smartphone capabilities (like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 for $1,920), there are many more affordable options for basic devices. Amazon offers a huge selection of flip phones beginning at $19 for TracFone devices. When it comes to buying a flip phone, you’ll find options at every price point.
  • Simplicity. The less you pay for a flip phone, the fewer capabilities it will likely have. However, this will be a benefit for some. While there are exceptions, most flip phones offer a very straightforward interface with physical buttons. The Jitterbug Flip2 is advertised as Lively’s “easiest cell phone ever,” and it’s available for $79.99 (on sale for $59.99 at the time of writing). 
  • Privacy. Because flip phones are simpler, many people feel that flip phones offer more privacy. When you aren’t connected to the internet with your phone, it isn’t able to track your location, collect information about you or advertise to you. 
  • Size and durability. Whether you opt for a traditional flip phone or a smart flip phone, you’ll find that they’re more compact on average with a better-protected screen. If you’ve ever shattered a smartphone screen, you know how easy it is to do and how much it costs to replace it.

What Our Pro-Flip Phone Readers Say:

To get a better idea of what people love about flip phones, we asked our readers if they have one and what they like or dislike about it. Here are a few of the biggest, most common praises we heard for flip phones:

“I have a flip phone because the phone bill is less expensive and it fits easier in my purse. I do not have anyone to show me how to download apps for a smartphone. So I keep the basic phone.” – Barbara H.

“I like the simplicity of the flip phone. Calls only, no other distractions.” – Robin G.

“Until smartphones are more user-friendly, I definitely don’t want to get stuck with only a smartphone. My flip phone is by US-Cellular (paid through pre-paid cards) and it has been good for years. It’s looking rough, and the outside is scratched so the camera is blurry. Yet I still like it better than the smartphone. I only get the plan for unlimited talk and text for $25 a month, but it fulfills all my needs.” – Lenny M.

“I went to a flip phone. Just received a new one for free since my old one isn’t compatible with the new GB setup. I’ve just paid, with tax, $136 for 2 years of service – so less than $6 a month! It fits in my pocket and keeps me from walking around with my head in my phone. At home I only have enough signal to text back and forth, and that’s what I want it for.” – Anne A.

“I got so much flack for hanging on to my flip, but I would definitely go back. Not a fan of receiving ads related to my recent searches or phone conversations.” – Alyssa W.

“I’m convinced my old flip phones would still be working now if they could get the 4G/5G signals. They lasted forever! Loved them.” – Nancy M.

Drawbacks of a Flip Phone

Of course, despite all the benefits of owning a flip phone, there are also unavoidable drawbacks. If you rely on technology in your day-to-day life away from home, a smartphone could be nearly essential in today’s world. 

If you opt for a flip phone that isn’t also a smartphone, here are a few of the biggest challenges: 

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  • Limited capabilities. If you buy a traditional flip phone, you’ll definitely have limited capabilities compared to a smartphone. You may not be able to get online at all depending on the model.
  • Not ideal for traveling. If you’re a frequent traveler, it might be best to opt for a smartphone in today’s world. With a basic flip phone, you may miss important news or alerts regarding your travel plans or destination. You may also find that getting digital copies of tickets, making travel arrangements online and using a GPS are benefits worth having.
  • Network compatibility. Traditional flip phones may not be compatible with the current 4G network or with certain phone carriers. When the 3G network shut down in 2022, many people were forced to upgrade. However, most of the new flip phones on the market today (as well as smart flip phones) are compatible with the current 4G network. However, you likely won’t have access to 5G speeds (unless your flip phone is also a smartphone). 

What Our Pro-Smartphone Readers Say:

While several people love their flip phones, others are more reluctant to make the switch. Some have even switched to a flip phone only to find that they truly do need a smartphone. Here’s what our readers say about the downside of owning a flip phone:

“I went from a flip to a smartphone. I would find a flip too limiting today.” – Steve K.

“I miss my flip phone! I only got a smartphone 6 years ago. I hate being tied to it. Unfortunately, with traveling it is almost necessary.” – Karrie K.

“To each their own, but many years back when I lost my job I chose to close my cellphone account and just use a prepaid flip phone to cut expenses. That lasted all of one day. I would NEVER want a flip phone ever again. If all you use a phone for is for phone calls then I can see why you would prefer it, but I do too much on my phone now that a flip phone is useless.” – Mark D.

“How would you get through life? I don’t see how this is possible.” – Stacey S.

Buying a Flip Phone: How To Choose

If you are interested in buying a flip phone, there are a few things that you should keep in mind while shopping. Consider the following options and features to choose the best flip phone for your needs: 

  • Smartphone or traditional. There are two kinds of flip phones on the market today: classic flip phones with small screens and limited internet capabilities OR full smartphones that flip/fold. While the smartphone flip phones are more expensive, they are able to do a lot more. However, if you’re more interested in privacy, low prices and simplicity, a traditional-style flip phone is the better option. 
  • Locked or unlocked. When you buy any new phone, it’s important to know if your phone is locked to a certain service provider. For example, the Jitterbug Flip2 only works on Lively’s service. TracFone flip phones are also locked to TracFone’s service, though you can request that your phone be unlocked. Other phones labeled as “unlocked’ will accept SIM cards from various service providers, which gives you a bit more freedom in deciding which service providers and plans to choose from. 
  • Compatibility and connectivity. Because the 3G network shut down a few years ago, it’s important to get a flip phone with 4G network capabilities. If a phone is not compatible with the 4G network, you won’t be able to use it to make calls at all. Additionally, it’s important to make sure any phone that you buy will work with the service provider you want to buy a plan from. If you buy a flip phone from your current service provider, it should be compatible. However, if you plan on buying your phone and phone plan separately, make sure the phone will work with the service provider of your choice. 

Final Thoughts

As long as you find a flip phone that will meet your needs and work with your preferred carrier, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t make the switch! Fortunately, traditional flip phones and monthly prepaid plans are so cheap that this is an experiment you can afford to try.

After a month or two, if you aren’t satisfied, you can easily return to your familiar smartphone. And, if you are satisfied, you can sell your old smartphone for some extra cash.

However, with so many options on the market today, you really can have the best of both with a flip phone that is also a smartphone.

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Here are a few quotes from our readers who are enjoying the best of both worlds:

“I never left the flip. I am 4G however, so I’m a high-tech redneck. It’s tiny, sturdy and it does internet when necessary. Not necessary very often. I have a laptop for that. It will survive a dunk under water, dropping on the ground without breaking, fits my face while talking, doesn’t feel like I’m holding a brick to my head, I can talk on it in the rain… Super phone.” – Doug R.

“Galaxy Z Flip 4 because I carry my phone in a case that clips to my waistband or in my pocket. I’m old and afraid I’ll need help so I keep it on me at all times. I don’t think I could go back to the old-fashioned flip phones though. I use the smartphone for too much stuff the old ones were unable to do.” – Diane F.

“My flip phone is a smartphone (Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4) and I love it because it’s small.” – Dale H.

One popular flip/smart option is the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 for $999.99 unlocked from Samsung. With an eligible trade-in, you can get a better price. Of course, traditional flip phones are more affordable with options beginning as low as $20. 

While you’re shopping for a new cell phone, take the time to evaluate your current phone plan as well. Be sure to check out our top picks for the best and most affordable phone plans in 2024 to see if you can save even more monthly.

Would you consider switching to a flip phone? Let us know in the Clark.com Community!

Article Updates
  • April 1, 2024: Updated current phone prices and availability
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