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The Light Phone 3 Wants To Be Your Digital Detox Companion

'Dumb phones' are undergoing a renaissance, and the new Light Phone 3 wants to show you why.

by Tunae
A hand holding a Light Phone 3
Light Phone

In a world where smartphones can generate emojis (and even recipes) on the fly, one phone company is going back to basics, or getting “light.”

The New York-based company, Light Phone, says its devices are designed to be used as little as possible. In particular, the company is targeting people who want a break from their regular smartphones and the hyper-connected lifestyle that comes with it in favor of a more disconnected existence.

Read more: Best Phone for 2024

“Our users describe the hours they get back each day, and the peace of mind that comes from more intentional internet usage.” the company says on its website.

The Light Phone 3 is the newest version. The third-generation phone is available to preorder for $399 (the deal is good through July 15) and will ship in January 2025. On Light Phone’s website the preorder page has a listed price of $799, which is currently crossed out.

As a so-called ‘dumb phone’, the Light Phone 3 can call and text, but there are no apps, no social media, no email, no internet browser – and that’s by design. The Light Phone 3’s biggest upgrade is a 3.92-inch OLED that’s black and white. The company says that the new screen “delivers significant improvements to performance and overall usability without adding needless distractions,” in a press release. Its predecessor, the Light Phone 2 used an electronic paper screen, a technology also found in popular e-readers. But in CNET’s Light Phone 2 review, my colleague Jessica Fierro cited the phone’s screen as the weak point.

“The E Ink screen is also less responsive than a typical phone’s, and I couldn’t get used to its slower typing pace. Sending a simple text became pretty time consuming as I waited for each letter to input,” Fierro said.

A hand holding a Light Phone 3
The OLED screen is larger than the E Ink one on the Light Phone 2 and should be more responsive.

Light Phone

The Light Phone 3 also gains a pair of cameras: a 50-megapixel one on the back and a 8-megapixel selfie camera on the front. There’s even a point-and-shoot camera-like hardware shutter button, too. Other additions include a USB-C port, a flashlight, a fingerprint sensor, and 5G support.

The arrival of the Light Phone 3 comes amid a boom in so-called dumb phones, or phones that offer a basic mobile experience with stripped-down features that many of us might have sported decades ago. A dumb phone won’t necessarily be for everyone but it could be your ticket to a digital detox, at least for now.

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