Smartphones are both the joy and the bane of modern existence. The little supercomputer in your pocket both allows you to be productive everywhere, all the time, even in places where you probably should be productive in certain ways. So, how do you unplug, or at least ditch the thing when going on a date or to a formal event, without ditching your phone completely? The Light Phone.
The Light Phone is a subscription service which, for $5 a month, allows you to download an app to your smartphone, configure a tiny credit-card sized phone that only tells you the time and lets you make calls, and then take that out into the world with you instead of relying on your smartphone. Usefully, it will forward calls even if your actual phone bites it, so if you run down the battery by accident, you’ll still have a tiny backup. That said, you’d better make sure you remember some digits, since Light Phone doesn’t have a contact list, just nine speed dials.
The one big downside is that this little guy doesn’t text, although that would go against the minimalism idea since a texts can suck you into a black hole. On one hand, that could be annoying as more and more people are eschewing phone calls for textual communication; on the other, it could force you to up your social skills and be more present. And, as comedian Pete Holmes once pointed out, perhaps the anxiety of not being able to google will slowly give way to a sense of wonder and an ability to sit with not knowing something right this minute.
This might be a step too far for some, but if you need to detach, or just pay attention to something else for a little while, it might be worth the $5 a month.