upgrading to a "smart-er" phone

going back to basics with an old-school flip-phone for a while

Aug 4, 2021

check out my new rig (atleast for a while).


I am not going to drag this out to be a post a day because I seriously hope I don’t have something new to say about this process daily. This post is basically the reasoning, and the first few days with this decision.

I got my first smart phone in 2009. It was an iPhone 3G. I bought it in a shop on campus at University of Waterloo. I made it back to my computer for a quick load of some music, and then it survived the greyhound trip to Peterborough before I dropped it and smashed the screen.

I had 5 ish iPhones between 2009 and 2018/2019 ish when I switched to the Google Pixel. I went from the Pixel 3 to the Pixel 4 XL.

Just before switching from iPhone, I had an apple watch as well, and the watch was the first time I ever really thought about the consquences of having technology around me all the time at this level.

This frustration came out in a few ways

  • having to charge the watch every single day
  • having notifications like “You can still do it!” showing up at 9 PM just after I brush my teeth
  • notifications that interupt me during sleep, or focused work time for things I don’t care about or that can wait

So I switched to a Casio digital watch that has a 10 year battery life, timer, and does basically everything I want from a watch.

I’ve been teasing Rachelle for the past couple years by calling mine a “Smart-er watch” because it can tell the time, and it has the 10 year battery life. This is especially fun right after she goes to use her watch and finds that it’s died, or is stuck in an update.

Since COVID, my phone has constantly been around me, but my laptops, desktops and tablet has been as well. I feel old saying this but even though I have a 6" display on the Pixel 4 XL, I don’t like typing on a touch screen, and I can’t stand typing on one so small. Even for looking up small things like the weather, or a store’s open hours, I am tending to reach for my laptop more often.

After reading Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport, I really started thinking about all the notifications in my life, and the little dopamine hits here and there.

I started by turning off all the unnecessary notifications on my Pixel, switching to Hey email (no notifications by default) and using to use the Do Not Disturb feature more often. When I started to look at what I really wanted to use my phone for, it really broke down to just some way for my family to get a hold of me, either through calling or text message.

So - a few days ago I made the switch.

early thoughts

So far I’ve had 2 noticable pain points.

I use Google Pay at Tim Hortons for my rewards card and for payment. I am going to need to start carrying around my Tims rewards card, and pulling the wallet out for those $2 transactions more.

The camera - They say the best camera is the one you have on you, but when you’re rocking a 2MP camera, and it takes photos like this, you start to question that logic.

Other than that, it feels pretty freeing. The battery looks like it’ll last around 7-10 days. I’ve had 2-3 phone calls on it and the clarity is great. I loaded some MP3s on it so I can plug into the aux port in my car and listen to music.

It also has had a positive impact on my focus. I’ve always struggled a bit with focusing, and having the phone beside me that is loaded with youtube, netflix, spotify, podcasts, sudoku, etc. can really easily distract me from doing what I need to do.

This isn’t the only thing I’ve implemented to help me focus, but it feels like a strong play, so I probably will write a post every now and then if I notice that trend continuing.