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Point/Counterpoint: Flip phones versus smart phones

Are smart phones really the way to go, or do flip phones provide a better, more nostalgic alternative?

As our lives get increasingly dependent on technology, people rely heavily on their cellphones. Especially on campus, where students rely on their smartphones to study, hand in their work, or even unwind. While many people are thankful for smartphones, others wish they could go back to using flip phones. Today, we’ll decide once and for all which is better: the flip phone or the smart phone.

Flip Phones

I would call myself a cell phone connoisseur, having owned one since Grade 5 and possessing multiple models in my life. In my many years of experience in the field of “phone-ology,” I can say without a flipping doubt that flip phones are vastly superior to smartphones. 

Now, when I say “flip phone,” I don’t include atrocities like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3. Those are smartphones trying to gain the privilege of being called a flip phone. I’m talking about Nokias and phones of that sort — the classics. While smartphones have taken the world by storm since 2007, flip phones are here to show these young bloods what a real phone is.

Firstly, flip phones are the tanks of the cell phone market. My first phone was a Nokia flip phone and it served me for over eight years. The average smartphone only lasts two to three years before it becomes the embodiment of a snail. Additionally, I’ve seen countless people drop their smartphones on the pavement and have firsthand experience of what Spiderman’s foes see. You can throw a flip phone 20 feet in the air and it would only be scuffed. Doing the same to a smartphone will leave you with an unrecognizable mess and a walk of shame to the nearest Best Buy.

There is one undisputed truth about flip phones: they are less distracting. Yes, text messages can still make your fingers twitch, but a flip phone does not have an icon of a ghost on a yellow backdrop or a silhouette of a camera one swipe away. You tell me: are you more distracted by a pixel snake eating dots or invading your friends’ clan? Point proven.

We all know those fidget toys: fidget spinners, fidget cubes, etc. — well, add flip phones to the list. From pressing the keys to closing the hinge, flip phones are extremely satisfying. The only satisfying part of a smartphone is how smooth the screen is and it’s likely not staying that way for long. Not only this, but a flip phone is a great conversation starter; curious eyes are bound to wander over to you when you whip it out.

While smartphones are novel and excite techies, we must never forget the noble flip phone. Even though new ways should bring advancements and innovation, I believe the flip phone is truly an example of embracing “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Remi Hou

Smartphones

Throughout my entire life, I’ve only really had two types of cell phones: countless iPhones, and one lone Nokia. My Nokia flip phone served me well when I was eight years old. Ever since Grade 7, however, it’s been a steady flow of smart phones.  

While I sometimes miss flip phones, I would never go back to owning one. They were absolutely a device for a different time. People always talk about the days of Blockbuster and the nostalgia of VCR tapes, but would we really prefer them over Netflix? Absolutely not. 

There’s a reason I had a Nokia when I was a child but upgraded as soon as I could — flip phones are absolutely useless.  For an eight-year-old who had nowhere to go or be, the flip phone was perfect. The minute flip phones need to do more than the basics, they’re completely worthless.

There are dozens of things a smartphone can do that a flip phone can’t. Say you’re driving to a new restaurant to meet your friends but you get lost. Is your flip phone going to help you navigate there? If you drop your keys in the street after a night out, does your Nokia have a built-in flashlight? If you have a couple of hours to kill, are you going to be able to tend to a farm, simulate and sabotage a human, or even murder your crewmates

There is really only one scenario where a flip phone would be better than a smartphone — you’re having a phone call argument, and the other person is really pissing you off. Instead of entertaining their nonsense, you flip your phone closed dramatically. There is really nothing so satisfying as physically shutting your phone as the last word. Unfortunately, in this regard the smartphone just doesn’t compare. 

It’s true that flip phones allow you to disconnect, but that isn’t always a good thing. Smartphones let you communicate and connect with people in ways that are completely novel. On a flip phone, your responses are only going to be a couple words long. If you want meaningful conversation, you’ll have to see people in person. With a smartphone, I can send memes to my friends whenever I want. I can share pictures of my life with dozens of people without a second thought. I can also avoid calls with my smartphone, and just text instead. But if you want a message that isn’t just made of acronyms, your flip phone won’t do the trick. 

Just because things were super cool when they first came out 20 years ago doesn’t mean you should keep them around past their prime. Ask yourself — when they invent a flying car, are you going to keep driving your Mazda CX-5 because it “does the trick?”

Katie Teeling

Katie Teeling

Katie is the 2021-22 Deputy Opinion Editor at The Gateway. She’s a third-year Anthropology major and History minor. She is an avid supporter of the colour yellow, Adam Driver, anything horror, and hammerhead sharks. When she isn’t crying in Tory about hominids, Katie can be found aggressively quoting Anne of Green Gables and Hocus Pocus with her friends.

Remi Hou

Remi is the 2021-22 Deputy News Editor at the Gateway and has been volunteering with the Gateway since August of 2020. He is in his third year pursuing a degree in pharmacology. While he loves learning about acetaminophen, beta-blockers and human anatomy, you can also find him reading a book, playing piano and volunteering as a youth sponsor at his church.

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