# Looking for a "bare bones" smart phone.

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#### LW Bercini

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
When I am away from home, I have a flip phone. That is because the only need I ever had was to make traditional phone calls. I'm not against smart phones, but I never needed them since, I worked from home in front of a computer all day.

Now that I am retired, I need to be able to send/receive text. I need a phone that presents a keyboard. As far as I understand it, I need to upgrade to a smart phone for that.

Here's my thing...I am NOT interested in surfing the net, nor taking pictures, nor IM, nor any of that. I just need talk and text.

Can anybody recommend a "bare bones" smart phone that has a minimal number of pre-installed apps? (I don't want to pay for a bunch of stuff I have no desire to use)

Thank you.

#### dixontj93060

##### Well-Known Member
I would highly recommend the Moto G5+: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N5MEKSW/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20. It is a completely clean/pure Android implementation, just like the Google Pixel but at 1/3rd the price.

I moved to this phone 4 mos. ago when I went into my Verizon store with an upgrade in hand and they still wanted to charge me $450 for an iPhone. At that point it was clear that the cell phone industry was/has become purveyors of their own superiority. Soon they will suffer the fate of Gillette vis-a-vis Dollar Shave Club. In any case, off my soapbox... The Moto phones now built by Lenovo are "rock solid." I highly recommend the G5+ but have also heard good things about both the Z and X series (which, from your description, are overkill for your needs). P.S. Whatever you do, don't buy a Samsung. I have had two and they are pure s#!t. Last edited by a moderator: #### Cl(VII) ##### Chris Bender, Lab Rat TRF Sponsor I also have a G5+ and am very happy with it. It may be more than you are looking for feature-wise, but can be stripped down to the basics pretty easily. #### dixontj93060 ##### Well-Known Member I also have a G5+ and am very happy with it. It may be more than you are looking for feature-wise, but can be stripped down to the basics pretty easily. Yes, CI(VII) is correct and I should have clarified. When I say "pure" Android implementation, that means there are no installs of junk apps by the phone or wireless provider. It also means the software is "open" so you can uninstall/disable apps as you please. One point of caution, don't go crazy disabling everything--although it can be done, you probably at a minimum want to keep the Dialer, Text and at least one Contacts app. From the Ether... #### Zeus-cat ##### Well-Known Member You can go to QVC and look for a phone that uses the Tracfone network. I just replaced my Tracfone with a newer LG phone (this one was about$100). It has much better coverage than my previous LG Tracfone. You buy a card that gets you minutes and a coverage period. Probably about $100 a year for that with 500 or 600 minutes (or more if you get a good deal that doubles or triples your minutes). Surfing the net was really difficult with my previous phone, but I haven't tried it on this one. #### Marc_G ##### Well-Known Member The Moto G5+ is a good recommendation. I also recommend getting an inexpensive used Android phone for whichever network you prefer. For example I just retired my LG G3 as it was marginally obsolete for my needs, but despite being in near mint condition I didn't bother to sell it since they can be had on swappa.com for <$100. I'd rather keep it as backup.

Despite not being up to date to the extent I want my phone to be, this model works fine and if not weighed down with app bloat will perform just fine for you. I mention the model as an example only.

I will say, once you get even an out of date smart phone, your use of it will exceed your expectations. Suddenly you will be using it as a flashlight, snapping convenient pictures, and so on. Trust me.

Good luck to you. You have many good options. Let us know what you decide!

#### Dugway

I love my ZTE Axon 7 Mini. Unlocked and works on AT&T, T-Mobile, MetroPCS, Cricket & other GSM-based networks. Yes, it's a lesser known Chinese manufacturer, but it comes with an unprecedented 2 year warranty. I had to use it when the Bluetooth started getting flaky and I had a new phone in a couple days. Very vanilla Android with little "skinning". Also, the battery life is unbelievable for a modern smart phone. I listen to Pandora 8+ hours a day and never run out before night time. I love to play a game at dinner where everyone gets out their phone and tells me what percent battery life they have left. I only lose to iPhone users that just unplugged their phones because they had to charge in the middle of the day. At under $200, I should order a backup while they are readily available. #### LW Bercini ##### Well-Known Member TRF Supporter Thanks for all the help guys!! #### afadeev ##### Well-Known Member TRF Supporter When I am away from home, I have a flip phone. That is because the only need I ever had was to make traditional phone calls. I'm not against smart phones, but I never needed them since, I worked from home in front of a computer all day. Now that I am retired, I need to be able to send/receive text. I need a phone that presents a keyboard. As far as I understand it, I need to upgrade to a smart phone for that. Here's my thing...I am NOT interested in surfing the net, nor taking pictures, nor IM, nor any of that. I just need talk and text. Can anybody recommend a "bare bones" smart phone that has a minimal number of pre-installed apps? (I don't want to pay for a bunch of stuff I have no desire to use). Just FYI, but don't underestimate the picture taking capability of a modern smart phone. I've gotten rid of all my consumer cameras (down to 1 Nikon DSLR), and take friends / family / rocket pics with Google Pixel. Your phone is always with you, and you will be surprised how much more frequently you end up taking pics than you did with a flip phone. Beyond that, three (3) things to consider: 1). There are two major operating systems / platforms: Google/Android and Apple/iPhone. The former will meet your needs for le$$, and most of the phones other have already recommended (Moto G5+, ZTE Axon 7 Mini, etc) are all Android phones. 2). The network: depending on where you live and travel, reception may be a challenge on smaller networks in rural areas. Verizon and AT&T have the broadest coverage maps. Tracfone (prepaid re-seller) buys service wholesale from VZ and AT&T. If you want cheap prepaid phone, go with Tracfone for that reason. 3). Network evolution. VZ and AT&T are turning down their 1X and 3G (GSM and CDMA) networks, so make sure you get an LTE phone. This way you will get the broadest and the most consistent coverage both today, and even more so, over the next few years. Net-net: pick one Network carrier (whichever one you are with, or the one you want to switch to), and go play with the phones they have on display in the stores. Just make sure you go to the carrier store, not one of the hole-in-the-wall sleazy re-sellers (to avoid surcharges and extra upfront fees). Some of the slighter older models can be had for way less than you would pay for them on eBay/Amazon, and you get to make sure you really like how they feel in your hand, and how the keyboard responds to your touch. Hope this helps, a #### Zeus-cat ##### Well-Known Member Just FYI, but don't underestimate the picture taking capability of a modern smart phone. I've gotten rid of all my consumer cameras (down to 1 Nikon DSLR), and take friends / family / rocket pics with Google Pixel. Your phone is always with you, and you will be surprised how much more frequently you end up taking pics than you did with a flip phone. Beyond that, three (3) things to consider: 1). There are two major operating systems / platforms: Google/Android and Apple/iPhone. The former will meet your needs for le$$, and most of the phones other have already recommended (Moto G5+, ZTE Axon 7 Mini, etc) are all Android phones. 2). The network: depending on where you live and travel, reception may be a challenge on smaller networks in rural areas. Verizon and AT&T have the broadest coverage maps. Tracfone (prepaid re-seller) buys service wholesale from VZ and AT&T. If you want cheap prepaid phone, go with Tracfone for that reason. 3). Network evolution. VZ and AT&T are turning down their 1X and 3G (GSM and CDMA) networks, so make sure you get an LTE phone. This way you will get the broadest and the most consistent coverage both today, and even more so, over the next few years. Net-net: pick one Network carrier (whichever one you are with, or the one you want to switch to), and go play with the phones they have on display in the stores. Just make sure you go to the carrier store, not one of the hole-in-the-wall sleazy re-sellers (to avoid surcharges and extra upfront fees). Some of the slighter older models can be had for way less than you would pay for them on eBay/Amazon, and you get to make sure you really like how they feel in your hand, and how the keyboard responds to your touch. Hope this helps, a If you go with Tracfone, which I use, make sure you get a newer phone. My wife and I had older phones and not only was internet surfing nearly impossible, but her phone didn't work at our house or in town. We live in an area with poor cell phone coverage. My phone usually worked at home, but could be spotty at times with outages that lasted hours. Our new phones have no problems working at home. I assume the electronics have improved enough over the last few years that even weak signals are good enough. #### Marc_G ##### Well-Known Member If you go with Tracfone, which I use, make sure you get a newer phone. My wife and I had older phones and not only was internet surfing nearly impossible, but her phone didn't work at our house or in town. We live in an area with poor cell phone coverage. My phone usually worked at home, but could be spotty at times with outages that lasted hours. Our new phones have no problems working at home. I assume the electronics have improved enough over the last few years that even weak signals are good enough. Networks have migrated; newer phones are tuned to the bands currently in use and in some cases bands planned for use. #### KenRico ##### 'Just the Tip' Costco has the G5 pkus for just over$200.. Much better return policy for the phone..great if you are looking to try out

Sent from my LG-LS997 using Rocketry Forum mobile app

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
If you go with Tracfone, which I use, make sure you get a newer phone. My wife and I had older phones and not only was internet surfing nearly impossible, but her phone didn't work at our house or in town. We live in an area with poor cell phone coverage.
In-building coverage is one of the hardest things to predict. The only practical way to validate is by trial an error.
Luckily, all major US carriers will refund your phone and terminate contract without penalties if you complain that you don't get good coverage at work/phone.

LTE helps with both coverage and speed.
Virtually all new carriers phones have it. Some eBay/Amazon phones do not. Avoid those.

600/700Mhz spectrum deployed for LTE in the US is great for long distance propagation (rural and urban areas), and in theory, should be great for in-building penetration. In practice, LTE's reliance on MIMO complicates in-building coverage when signals bonce off objects /walls and don't allow recieves to decorrelate them properly. In other words, LTE phones can suddenly go from 4-/5-bars to dropping into 1X/GSM fallback in a hurry. Which is what happens in my basement, while the rest of the house is 100% reliably 4-/5-bars.

My phone usually worked at home, but could be spotty at times with outages that lasted hours. Our new phones have no problems working at home. I assume the electronics have improved enough over the last few years that even weak signals are good enough.
10:1 you went from CDMA/GSM receiver to LTE one (assuming that you stayed with the same carrier).

a

#### Winston

##### Lorenzo von Matterhorn
When I am away from home, I have a flip phone. That is because the only need I ever had was to make traditional phone calls. I'm not against smart phones, but I never needed them since, I worked from home in front of a computer all day.

Now that I am retired, I need to be able to send/receive text. I need a phone that presents a keyboard. As far as I understand it, I need to upgrade to a smart phone for that.

Here's my thing...I am NOT interested in surfing the net, nor taking pictures, nor IM, nor any of that. I just need talk and text.

Can anybody recommend a "bare bones" smart phone that has a minimal number of pre-installed apps? (I don't want to pay for a bunch of stuff I have no desire to use)

Thank you.
I agree with all of the Moto G5+ recommendations, but if you just want text you can go with something much cheaper:

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#### new2hpr

##### Well-Known Member
If all you truly need are talk and text, why are you being forced into a smart phone? Granted, I love mine, but a simple older phone with a slide-out or flip-out full keyboard would be perfect for your needs. Cheap, much better battery life, no issues with operating system updates, viruses, etc. Also, if your provider still offers them, talk/text only plans are much cheaper than those with data. MANY phones available still, especially good used ones.
-Ken

#### mccordmw

##### Well-Known Member
We just got out daughter a ZTE Warp 7 smart phone from Tello. She uses it to text us and her friends. The plan we have is:

no data (she doesn't need to be streaming videos while out and about)
no voice
unlimited text

The plan only costs $3/month and uses the Sprint network, so good coverage for us. The phone itself can be bought from Tello for...uh...I recall$65?

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#### georgegassaway

My ancient Samsung Flip Phone X495 still works, got it in 2004. Use it on a pay-as-you-go plan on T-Mobile.

But I will need to replace it in the next few months. The battery is not holding a charge as well as it used to. And..... the replacement batteries are no longer made. Gone, nobody has any. On this phone, the battery is about 3/4 of the rear lower case of the phone itself, snaps in place and built specifically for this model of phone. So it's not practical to replace the LiPo inside of it.

June of 2015, I had won enough points at Dave & Buster's to get an iPod Touch. I use it for a lot of things, even the timer so when I put something into the oven to bake, it reminds me to go take it out. Also as an alarm clock. And so much other stuff.

I've found the camera to be useful for all those times I wished I'd had some simple camera with me to document something, even an item in a store that I wanted to take a photo of to google later (to find out more info or look for a better price). I still prefer my Canon camera for "real" photos. But as the saying goes, the best camera in the world is the ONE YOU HAVE at the time you need one.

Also, I do use some apps from Michaels and Hobby Lobby to be able to bring up 40% off coupons or other specials that are such a PITA (and wasteful) to print in advance on paper.

When I got into riding a bike as an adult 2 years ago, I found a great biking App, Cyclemeter. But the iPod Touch does not have a GPS receiver in it, so that app would not work. So, I got a USED iPhone 4 to load that app into, and have used that for my biking. As well as an app called iArrow, which is a simple compass with distance and bearing to a GPS spot. Every time I do a ride away from the home area, I set it for where my car is parked so it will help me navigate back if I get lost.

I don't mention this as an expectation that someone reading this will get those apps, but those are examples of things that can help you in life that don't seem important if you want to "just do something simple". But most smart phones CAN run some apps that you'd eventually find to be useful. Or easier. Technically my Samsung 2004 phone CAN be set up as a timer, but it's a PITA to do, and only takes seconds with the iPod/iPhone.

Anyway, when I finally do replace my 2004 Samsung, I'm going to get either a used iPhone 5 or 6. I still won't use a data plan though, I'll keep on with the T-Mobile plan I have now for voice and text only, and only have internet when I can use WiFi somewhere. And after I do that, then my left pocket won't have as much stuff in it, as currently I carry both the Samsung phone AND iPod Touch in that pocket. I'll use the iPhone to replace both.

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##### Well-Known Member
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Actually...this is just sad.....and way too long.
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My ancient Samsung Flip Phone X495 still works, got it in 2004. Use it on a pay-as-you-go plan on T-Mobile.

But I will need to replace it in the next few months. The battery is not holding a charge as well as it used to. And..... the replacement batteries are no longer made. Gone, nobody has any. On this phone, the battery is about 3/4 of the rear lower case of the phone itself, snaps in place and built specifically for this model of phone. So it's not practical to replace the LiPo inside of it.

June of 2015, I had won enough points at Dave & Buster's to get an iPod Touch. I use it for a lot of things, even the timer so when I put something into the oven to bake, it reminds me to go take it out. Also as an alarm clock. And so much other stuff.

I've found the camera to be useful for all those times I wished I'd had some simple camera with me to document something, even an item in a store that I wanted to take a photo of to google later (to find out more info or look for a better price). I still prefer my Canon camera for "real" photos. But as the saying goes, the best camera in the world is the ONE YOU HAVE at the time you need one.

Also, I do use some apps from Michaels and Hobby Lobby to be able to bring up 40% off coupons or other specials that are such a PITA (and wasteful) to print in advance on paper.

When I got into riding a bike as an adult 2 years ago, I found a great biking App, Cyclemeter. But the iPod Touch does not have a GPS receiver in it, so that app would not work. So, I got a USED iPhone 4 to load that app into, and have used that for my biking. As well as an app called iArrow, which is a simple compass with distance and bearing to a GPS spot. Every time I do a ride away from the home area, I set it for where my car is parked so it will help me navigate back if I get lost.

I don't mention this as an expectation that someone reading this will get those apps, but those are examples of things that can help you in life that don't seem important if you want to "just do something simple". But most smart phones CAN run some apps that you'd eventually find to be useful. Or easier. Technically my Samsung 2004 phone CAN be set up as a timer, but it's a PITA to do, and only takes seconds with the iPod/iPhone.

Anyway, when I finally do replace my 2004 Samsung, I'm going to get either a used iPhone 5 or 6. I still won't use a data plan though, I'll keep on with the T-Mobile plan I have now for voice and text only, and only have internet when I can use WiFi somewhere. And after I do that, then my left pocket won't have as much stuff in it, as currently I carry both the Samsung phone AND iPod Touch in that pocket. I'll use the iPhone to replace both.

#### LW Bercini

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
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... way too long.
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I guess you don't miss Strawalker...

#### cvanc

##### Well-Known Member
Might want to investigate Google Fi. I've had it for over a year now; it works just fine and saves me more than half from my old Verizon bill.

#### dhbarr

##### Amateur Professional
Might want to investigate Google Fi. I've had it for over a year now; it works just fine and saves me more than half from my old Verizon bill.