Gentle Telephone 2 assessment: Not the remedy for smartphone habit
“The Gentle Telephone 2 is a reprieve from the digital world, and it really works, however its excessive value is off-putting.”
- Compact, appears fairly
- Simple sync for contacts
- Three-day battery life
- Helps you go off the grid
- Works as stand-alone or secondary cellphone
- Ghosting on display screen, small textual content
- A bit too primary in the meanwhile
- Micro USB charging port
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Calm with a touch of tension. That’s what I initially felt as I used the Gentle Telephone 2, a function cellphone that strips away the apps and notifications that devour each waking second of our lives. That anxiousness finally left me, and I discovered myself extra current and engaged in what I used to be doing.
The Gentle Telephone 2 is a 4G function cellphone (or “dumbphone”) with an E Ink display screen. It might probably place calls and ship texts. That’s it.
The catch? It’s stupidly costly at $350, particularly when you could find function telephones for lower than $100. Nonetheless, there’s one thing in regards to the Gentle Telephone 2 that has me enamored. Use it for a number of days, and also you’ll really feel the necessity to continually test your cellphone depart your thoughts. It’s a break from the digital world.
A wiser function cellphone
Gentle’s first cellphone — aptly named the Gentle Telephone — appears lovely, however all it might probably do is place calls. In a world the place messaging is king, it’s pure that the Brooklyn firm’s follow-up provides texting performance. However that’s not all that’s deliberate for this Indiegogo-funded cellphone.
The Gentle crew understands there are specific conveniences many people depend on on daily basis, from ride-sharing apps and Google Maps to music streaming and even utilizing a calculator. These companies don’t maintain us absorbed in our telephones like Instagram or Fb, however are end-to-end experiences.
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Traits
“These are undoubtedly not distractions; these are nice instruments,” Gentle CEO and co-founder Kaiwei Tang informed Digital Traits. “We’ve got our personal precept for what software is smart; we don’t need e mail, we don’t need social media, no leisure.”
It’s why there’s additionally no digicam. Tang mentioned there have been inside discussions on outfitting a digicam on the Gentle Telephone 2. Whereas cameras could be nice instruments, the corporate discovered them to be “disruptive,” as individuals take photographs of all the pieces, add them to social media, and rely the likes that are available in.
In the intervening time, the options on Gentle OS are fairly … effectively, gentle. You may make calls, ship texts, and set an alarm. However extra “instruments” are on the way in which, doubtlessly by the top of the 12 months. These embody a calculator, scorching spot, a Discover my Telephone service, third-party ridesharing apps, turn-by-turn instructions, and an MP3 participant (there’s a headphone jack).
The MP3 participant may be a Spotify integration — or one other music streaming service — that permits you to play tracks from a single playlist, as an alternative of permitting discoverability options. That means it prevents you from spending an excessive amount of time on the cellphone trying to find music.
“We don’t need e mail, we don’t need social media, no leisure.”
Sadly, none of those options can be found but, however I’ll replace this part as they launch later this 12 months. Gentle mentioned there’s a likelihood different instruments will come to the cellphone as effectively, together with voice memos, notes, a calendar, a climate app, and a dictionary, however there’s no assure.
Nonetheless, this is likely one of the most fascinating elements of the Gentle Telephone 2. Most function telephones don’t have entry to companies like ridesharing apps or maps, and those that do — like Nokia telephones working KaiOS — even have apps like YouTube and Fb, which don’t assist with the issue of proscribing display screen time. The Gentle Telephone 2 provides you the very best of each worlds.
Utilizing the Gentle Telephone 2
Gentle OS is useless easy to function. There’s a lock display screen — you may add a passcode in order for you — and in case you faucet the center button on the precise edge, you’ll be greeted to your apps, which in the meanwhile are Telephone, Alarm, and Settings.
You’ll want to move to the Gentle Dashboard on a pc to activate your cellphone throughout setup although, which disrupts the method slightly. It’s right here which you could join your iCloud account to sync contacts. Android house owners can obtain a VCF (Digital Contact File), or vCard file, from companies corresponding to Google Contacts and add it to the Gentle Dashboard. My contacts synced to the Gentle Telephone 2 inside minutes; it was seamless.
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Traits
You should utilize the Gentle Telephone 2 as a standalone cellphone, or you should use it as a secondary machine and join your cell quantity to it by means of service companies like AT&T’s NumberSync. Gentle can be providing a Gentle Telephone plan in case you don’t wish to cope with carriers, and it’ll price $30 a month for connectivity.
Again to the cellphone, the working system jogs my memory of Home windows Cellular, because it’s purely text-based with a number of icons. It appears elegant, trendy, and it’s efficient. Faucet on a contact, and you’ll see a dialog thread with choices to name the individual or to sort a message. Tapping something on this E Ink display screen is slightly sluggish, so it’s important to be affected person. Even waking the display screen takes a second or two longer than I’d like, however these are minor inconveniences.
Name high quality is powerful, although the speaker doesn’t get as loud as I’d like — you’ll must hope the individual on the opposite finish isn’t a tender speaker.
Texting somebody will power the display screen in panorama orientation, which is the way you sort, and typing is a sluggish endeavor. Not solely are the keys small, however because the contact response can be sluggish, it’s straightforward to mess up. There’s no draggable cursor or autocorrect, so in case you make a mistake after writing a complete sentence, you’ll must delete your means again to the error to appropriate it. It’s annoying, however after utilizing it for a number of days, I’ve gotten used to purposefully typing slower than regular. You can also’t see footage, although emojis are truthful recreation (you simply can’t ship them).
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Traits
There are different quirks. The textual content is small, and there’s no choice to resize it; individuals who amplify their smartphone screens might have issue studying right here. There’s additionally a great deal of ghosting, which is while you see faint photographs and artifacts from a earlier display screen. The display screen flashes usually, making a clear slate for the E Ink show to take away these artifacts. Whereas the ghosting didn’t influence my use of the cellphone, it may be distracting.
Having a louder speaker, a barely bigger display screen to allow bigger textual content (and an even bigger keyboard), and a cursor you may reposition would have gone a great distance in creating a greater expertise.
It’s not all destructive. One of the best half is the Gentle Telephone 2’s measurement, weight, and appears. It’s tiny, simply becoming within the palm of my hand, and barely takes up any house in my pocket. The angular look is trendy and modern, even when the bezels across the display screen are thick. The polycarbonate physique is a bit slippery, however it doesn’t really feel low-cost as there’s a pleasant weight to it, making the cellphone really feel substantial.
The Gentle Telephone 2 lasted me three days on a single cost. That’s good in case you’re evaluating it to a smartphone, however dangerous in case you take a look at the battery life on different E Ink gadgets; a Kindle can final for weeks, for instance. Nonetheless, three days of juice is greater than sufficient for me. On standby, Gentle claims the cellphone will last as long as seven days.
I do suppose Gentle ought to have added a USB-C charging port as an alternative of a Micro USB port. My smartphone, laptop computer, and mirrorless digicam can all cost with a USB-C cable, however I’ll nonetheless want to make use of a Micro USB cable simply to cost the Gentle Telephone 2. There are smartphones with USB-C that price $160, so it actually shouldn’t have been a lot hassle for Gentle to incorporate one right here.
It could sound like I haven’t had the very best expertise with the Gentle Telephone 2, largely stemming from the quirks of an E Ink display screen. Whereas the problems are actual, I nonetheless have loved my time with the cellphone because it accomplishes its mission: Curb my smartphone habit so I can deal with the individuals and atmosphere round me. The cellphone’s minimalist design and visually interesting interface all add to that have.
I can not use the Gentle Telephone 2 as a smartphone substitute — it merely wouldn’t work with the character of my job. It’s additionally not the best choice for individuals who hardly use SMS to speak with family and friends — assist for third-party messaging apps could be a boon.
For me, it’s good as a weekend cellphone once I wish to disconnect. I’ve nonetheless been texting on it an honest quantity with my girlfriend, buddies, and household, and even took a number of lengthy cellphone calls. Not having different notifications continually popping up on the cellphone once I’m out and about is satisfying, and it additionally makes coming dwelling to a smartphone crammed with notifications extra gratifying.
However in the end the largest flaw with the Gentle Telephone 2 is its value. The $350 price ticket is way too excessive for what you get in the meanwhile. Whereas most function telephones don’t look as engaging, they are often purchased for filth low-cost if all you wish to do is textual content and make calls, and you should use them as a second cellphone if you wish to curb your smartphone utilization.
However in the end the largest flaw with the Gentle Telephone 2 is its value.
There are additionally methods to limit display screen time in your current smartphone by means of options like Display screen Time on iOS and Google’s Digital Wellbeing on Android. The most recent model of Android even has a Focus Mode that permits you to block out notifications from specific apps. Whereas these instruments aren’t as efficient — and require a little bit of willpower — in addition they gained’t set you again $350.
But it surely all hinges on how effectively the upcoming “instruments” work and what number of arrive. If Gentle can pull off including options like entry to ridesharing apps, turn-by-turn navigation, and different important instruments with end-to-end experiences, the Gentle Telephone 2 will probably be providing one thing you gained’t discover on a dumbphone with privateness and digital wellbeing in thoughts.
Worth, availability, and guarantee info
The Gentle Telephone 2 is $350 and is on the market to order from Gentle’s web site. Indiegogo and Kickstarter backers are getting their items now, however new orders will ship in mid-October. The machine works on AT&T, Verizon, and T-Cellular, however Dash subscribers are out of luck.
You should purchase a $30 per 30 days Gentle Telephone plan from Gentle for connectivity in case you don’t wish to cope with your service, however you gained’t be capable to sync the cellphone quantity along with your private one.
Gentle presents a typical restricted guarantee that covers manufacturing defects for one 12 months from the date of buy.
The Gentle Telephone 2 is a promising function cellphone that’s held again by its excessive price ticket, however its worth is ready to extend as Gentle releases extra apps for it.
Is there a greater various?
There’s no scarcity of function telephones you should buy, from the LG Exalt LTE to the Alcatel Go Flip V. One of the best are telephones from HMD World, which makes Nokia-branded telephones. Its function telephones, just like the Nokia 3310 and the Nokia 8110 4G, look good and have sensible options. Sadly, they’re not bought straight within the U.S., and whereas you should buy them on Amazon, they gained’t assist most U.S. networks.
Different choices on this value vary embody the Samsung Galaxy A50 and Google Pixel 3a. These are full-fledged telephones with all the pieces you’d count on from a contemporary machine. That underscores the Gentle Telephone 2’s pricing drawback. These gadgets from Samsung and Google are a lot, a lot, rather more succesful.
How lengthy will it final?
The Gentle Telephone 2 will final round two to a few years, perhaps extra, earlier than you begin to have points with battery life. It’s IPX3 rated, which implies it’s splash-proof and will probably be high quality within the rain, however it gained’t survive a dip in a pool. Its lifespan may also depend upon the frequency of updates from Gentle, which nonetheless has to show itself. It’s a little bit of a bet.
Do you have to purchase it?
No. The Gentle Telephone 2 has an admirable mission. However why pay this a lot for a tool missing so many options?