A portable audio recorder, an iPhone 15 Pro, and two Mind Phones on a white surface. The iPhone has a triple-camera setup, and the others, branded with "Mindful," have dual cameras.

Mind Phone Review: Bridging the Gap Between Smartphones and Minimal Phones

In the vast landscape of mobile technology, where smartphones dominate every corner of our lives, there’s a growing niche for simpler, more focused devices. The Mind Phone emerges as a beacon for those seeking a middle ground between the digital overload of smartphones and the basic functionality of dumbphones. It’s a device that might just be the best kosher phone on the market, catering not only to those in search of the best dumbphones but also to anyone longing for a digital detox without going fully analog.

My Journey Back to Simple

My mobile journey began with the EnV3, a device I adored for its simplicity and functionality. Over the years, I transitioned through various tech phases, from a Samsung slider to the HTC One M8, and eventually into the Apple ecosystem for its seamless cross-platform integration and utility. Despite the conveniences offered by iOS, I often found myself reminiscing about the tactile joy of a QWERTY keyboard and a simpler time when phones were less about consumption and more about connection.

A person holding a Verizon LG EnV3 flip phone with the screen facing the camera, and the person's face slightly out of focus in the background.
I held onto my EnV3 to this day! It still works – except for the inner screen being totally smashed.

This yearning led me to experiment with US Mobile’s top-selling flip phone, the NUU F4L, a trial that was short-lived but eye opening. What I really wanted was a hybrid: something that wasn’t just a throwback to 2008 nor a modern smartphone loaded with exhausting complexities and distractions.

Introducing the Mind Phone

Two hands holding a vertical smartphone with a numeric keypad, displaying a bright, colorful screen with the word "Mind". The environment is illuminated with a blue hue.

Enter the Mind Phone, a device that strikes an intriguing balance between the nostalgic charm of dumbphones and the practicality of modern technology. Its design is reminiscent of classic flip phones but enhanced with a large touchscreen for quality-of-life improvements, promising a bridge to the digitally minimal yet highly functional device I’ve been dreaming of.

Price Matchup: Mind Phone vs Other Minimal Phones

Off the bat, you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck with the Mind Phone. Including a year’s worth of Unlimited Talk & Text from partner carrier US Mobile, the $279 price tag isn’t a bad deal – especially stacked up against the competition.

Here’s how the Mind Phone’s price point compares to other dumbphones, kosher devices, and minimal phones.

Device NamePriceInterface
Mind Phone + 1 Year Unlimited Talk & Text$2794” LCD Touchscreen & T9 Keypad
Light Phone$2992.8” E-Ink Touchscreen
Palm Phone$2153.3” LCD Touchscreen
Wisephone II$3496.5” LCD Touchscreen
Punkt. MP02$3492” B&W Display & T9 Keypad

First Impressions: A Mix of Old and New

Unboxing the Mind Phone was an experience, mirroring the anticipation and delight you’d typically find with an Apple device. Despite its budget-friendly price tag, which includes a year-long phone plan, the device comes with a screen that’s just bright and sharp enough to get the job done, and a richly colored plastic shell. Forgoing the expected Blackberry-style keys in exchange for a full numeric keypad, it’s clear from the start that this phone aims to offer something unique to the market.

A Closer Look at Functionality

The Mind Phone is not without its quirks, such as the need for initial updates and manually turning on T9 to unleash its full potential. (Head to the Updater app to check on updates to the built-in array of apps.) However, these hurdles are balanced with thoughtful design and handy features.

A hand is holding the Mind Phone, as the screen shows an updater upgrading to MindOS version 11.
Upgrading to the latest MindOS is accessible from the Settings app.

The T9 keyboard, equipped with both Hebrew and English characters, pays homage to its roots in New York’s Orthodox Jewish community. Its creator, Ari Greenfeld, sought to provide a tech upgrade that respects his community’s religious practices while offering modern conveniences, making the Mind Phone the best kosher phone for those adhering to these principles.

Daily Use: Nostalgia Meets Modern Needs

Living with the Mind Phone brings a refreshing simplicity to daily tasks without completely disconnecting from the digital world. Texting, calling, and even enjoying music are all seamlessly integrated into the stock apps, providing a user experience that’s both familiar and novel.

Many of the actions you can do on the Mind Phone as compared to a regular flip phone make it a no-brainer to switch to this new standard for the basic phone.

The tasks that the Mind Phone outperforms a traditional dumbphone include:

  • Music: scrubbing, building playlists, and tagging tracks
  • Adjusting volume, brightness, and toggling other settings like Dark Mode and Flashlight
  • Accessing, managing, and responding to notifications
  • Texting: Two ways to type – both T9 and a full touchscreen QWERTY keyboard.

While the device intentionally restricts certain functions like internet browsing and WhatsApp to maintain its kosher status, these very limitations might increase its appeal as a device for digital minimalists.

Because the truth is, the device could run Spotify. It could run Google Maps. It is simply soft-locked to prevent this. Thus, kosher-approved.

The Mind Phone can’t even connect to a computer to sideload apps even if you wanted to — and this restriction is make or break. Do you tolerate a permanently limited app library, sans an internet browser and app store, or is that exactly what you were in the market for? If your answer is yes, then you may have found the perfect device.

Looking Beyond: The Potential for More

What excites me most about the Mind Phone is its potential to evolve. As it stands in early 2024 at the time of writing, it’s a fantastic option for those in the Orthodox Jewish community or anyone seeking a simpler tech life. Yet, what it lacks (intentionally or not) in its foundation suggests that future versions could incorporate even more features without sacrificing its core identity.

Imagine a device that offers the best of both worlds: the tactile satisfaction of physical keys combined with the convenience of modern technology like GPS, music streaming, and quality-of-life UI enhancements.

I hope that Greentouch and competitors will iterate on the successes of the Mind Phone, going on to release “non-kosher” versions that come with a few more extras thrown in to appeal to the broader marketplace. I could 100% see myself taking a Mind Phone with a GPS, Podcasts, and Apple Music/Spotify on a run, gym sesh, weekend picnic, or camping trip.

Conclusion: A Step Towards the Future

The Mind Phone represents a bold step towards a new category of mobile devices. It’s a “Day Zero” product, constantly improving with feedback and updates, embodying the spirit of innovation that drives the tech industry forward. For anyone seeking to balance modern convenience with digital minimalism or looking for the best kosher phone that doesn’t compromise on functionality, the Mind Phone is a compelling choice.

As we anticipate future developments, it’s clear that devices like the Mind Phone have the potential to redefine our relationship with technology. They remind us that in a world obsessed with more, sometimes the best choice is a thoughtful compromise that offers less but means so much more.

Interested in purchasing the Mind Phone? Get it with a year of US Mobile’s Unlimited Talk & Text included – talk about a deal!