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Would You Pay Rs. 22,000 for a ‘Dumb’ Phone? This Company Thinks So

 

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Design is important, and being distraction-free, even more so. There are so many different apps that are constantly competing for our attention that actually getting anything done at all can be a challenge, and the Punkt MP01 mobile phone purports itself to be the answer to this huge problem. All you can do on this phone is call people, send an SMS, save your contacts, mark appointments in the calendar, or set an alarm.

The sales pitch is straightforward; here are the words on Punkt’s website:

At long last a beautiful mobile phone that limits distraction and doesn’t demand your constant attention. The Punkt. MP01 is an uncomplicated, streamlined device that performs the core mobile phone functions: calling and texting. With no status updates, notifications or multiple alerts, the MP01 focuses on the things that matter. Like communicating.

punkt_angledThe idea of a distraction free life with a really good looking phone is actually pretty appealing, but one glimpse at the price tag of the Punkt phone might be enough for you to start having second thoughts. To get the phone by Christmas, you’ll have to preorder it now, for $329 (approximately Rs. 21,500) with shipping possibly being extra, though it’s not mentioned on the Punkt site. Not to mention the duties you will incur when importing the phone to India.

It’s at this point that you have to start wondering if you’re actually being punked by the Punkt crew. Of course, as a design firm, pricing becomes a little more arbitrary. The Swiss company followed the theme of “technology tamed” for making the MP01, and it has also made a cordless phone, and an analogue alarm clock.

But even so, paying Rs. 22,000 for a feature phone? And that too one that is so chunky and (to us) boring to look at? The Punkt MP01 has an angled back and big round buttons. The menu buttons are the same size as the rest, and are distinguished by being slightly offset, instead of being a different size, or colour. It’s an interesting design choice, and also an incredibly annoying one for someone who likes neat lines and grids.

punkt_sideThe phone has a monochromatic display, along with a tiny screen, so its boast of a long battery life is pretty much stating the obvious. The Punkt website also claims outstanding sound, which is a pity considering you can’t run your favourite music streaming application on it. It’s also made using a damage-resistant Gorilla Glass screen, which sounds like a good idea considering you’re spending Rs. 22,000 to make calls. If that sounds like a good deal, then you’re probably also someone who drops phones a lot.

Visually, the Punkt MP01 evokes cordless phones, or the Seimens mobile phones of the early 2000s. In terms of features, it’s so basic that we can’t even call it a feature phone – after all, feature phones can do basic things like play music, work as a calculator, let you take pictures, and more.

If you really are feeling overwhelmed because of constant interruptions and notifications, then a better strategy might be to remove the apps you don’t need. It would certainly be cheaper than getting Punkt.

punkt_flat_angleYou can remove unimportant apps, and why exactly did you allow Candy Crush to send you notifications anyway? If you’re trying to focus on something important, you can even turn off data and Wi-Fi on your phone. Or switch to the ‘stamina’ mode that many Android phones come with these days, which essentially turns your smartphone into a feature phone. Remember, you can switch these back on again, but if you’re switching to a feature phone, there’s no switch to toggle.

And you know the biggest advantage there is to cutting out distractions on your smartphone? You can still use it to call an Uber when you need to, or rest easy knowing that your calendars are synced across devices so there’s no mixups at a later point when a meeting shifts.

But even if none of these frankly useful features matter to you, why are you spending Rs. 22,000 on what is barely a feature phone? If you want something iconic, and stylish, the Moto Razr V3 is still around online, for less than half the price; you can find boxed sets on eBay for around Rs. 8,000. And even that is frankly excessive – if you want a simple phone with big buttons, Philips’ senior citizen line will set you back by around Rs. 3,500, but it’s actually got all the buttons in a straight line.

punkt_back_frontThere’s a whole range of basic phones you can get for less than Rs. 1,000. Brands like Forme and Blu have some nice looking options that will set you back less than Rs. 2,000.

The Punkt website talks about being an “antidote to today’s throwaway culture”, and “taming technology”. Frankly, if you have more willpower than a small kitten, neither of these things is so hard to do, and certainly doesn’t require you to waste a significant amount of money. Don’t get punked – learn to take control of your phone, or at least buy something that actually gives you value for your money.

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