Experiment 19

Use a dumb phone

What does it involve?

Pop your SIM in a dumb phone which allows you to make and receive calls and texts. You may choose to do this for an hour while you go for a walk, an afternoon while you are writing an important report, or even a weekend away.

From batch 2 of our weekly series of Lab Tests

Each week we release two new experiments from the Digital Habit Lab, launching on Kickstarter later this year.

Read Lab Test 2 →
See all Lab Tests →

Why do it?

  • Our phones are like digital swiss army knives in our pockets—they are versatile tools which can do almost anything. The thing is, that sometimes having our options limited is exactly what we need
  • Set boundaries more easily. If you are trying to not reply to emails or text messages quite as impulsively as you do normally, then using a dumb phone makes this boundary setting a breeze!
  • Increase your battery life. The upside of a dumb phone is that it lasts weeks on a charge, not days! If you are going on a camping trip, then a dumb phone suddenly looks like the smart option.
  • Give yourself a reset. While most of our experiments are all about learning how to be with technology on our own terms, sometimes taking more of an intentional step away from tech for a while is just what we need to recharge and reconnect.


  • Start by picking up a cheap dumb phone—you can pick up a simple Nokia for less than £20
  • If you find benefit in it then you can always invest in a growing number of premium dumb phones which could end up serving a lot of your phone needs.