RH

Punkt MP 01

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The Punkt phone, launched in February, lets you call and text. It also has nice buttons and is easy to hold. And that’s about it.

Punkt’s latest product, the MP 01, is a back-to-basics mobile phone. Launched at the London design festival in 2015, and designed by the British industrial designer Jasper Morrison, Punkt’s artistic director, the phone is a pared-down black affair with slightly raised, rounded buttons and a gently angled shape that makes it easy to hold.

But it’s the MP 01’s functional simplicity that sets it apart from today’s smartphones. Users can make and receive calls and texts, check a calendar for dates, store 3,000 contacts in the address book and leave themselves reminder notes on the home screen. And that’s it. Unlike the so-called brick or flip phones of yore, however, it can import phone contacts from a computer via USB cable and can be used with the same phone number as your smartphone, when twinned with your SIM card.

There is a growing appetite and market for products and apps explicitly aimed at helping the user “shut off”. There’s the yet-to-launch Kickstarter-backed Light Phone, a credit-card-sized phone “designed to be used as little as possible”. It only takes and makes calls, and works either on its own or in conjunction with your existing phone thanks to a simple call-forwarding app. Elsewhere, French company Lekki has been successfully selling “revamped” classic Nokia phones, while Microsoft relaunched the basic Nokia 105 in June.

But will a desire to rebalance our tech-mad lives translate into a $300 investment for what is essentially a second phone that only allows talk and texts?

Nidal Al-Shaker