The Punkt MP02 is a USD $349 dumbphone
Who needs a fancy smartphone? While they are certainly niche devices, there is still a place for basic handsets (colloquially known as “dumbphones”). The Nokia 3310 3G is living proof of this. Punkt, a “designer consumer electronics” business, certainly believes this. After all, the company just announced the MP02, a basic phone running a heavily stripped down version 8.1. Unlike the Nokia 3310, which aimed to keep the price tag down, the MP02 is up for preorder for a cool USD $350.
To its credit, the Punkt MP02 is a unique device. The case is constructed from black polycarbonate covered in a “high-durability” coating. The phone features a backlit physical keypad and bears an IP52 rating (which means it should be fairly splash-resistant). Being a feature phone, it’s also fairly compact (117 mm x 51.3 mm x 14.4 mm), so it should fit easily into a pocket. It uses a 2-inch 320x240 (4:3) VA TFT transflective display covered with Gorilla Glass 3 that Punkt claims is “sunlight-readable.” The phone is run by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 and 2 GB of LPDDR3 RAM (533 MHz), which should be more than adequate to glide through the heavily modified version of Android 8.1 onboard. Powering everything is a 1,280 mAh lithium-ion battery.
So what can you do with the Punky MP02? Make phone calls, for one. The MP02 will also have SMS capability (with predictive text!); contact storage; a notes app; a calendar; a clock with a timer, stopwatch, and alarm clock; a calculator; and the ability to act as a Hotspot thanks to its 4G LTE modem and 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi card. Messaging and storage are all secured via a suite of Blackberry encryption tools.
Interestingly, there’s a GPS module, gyroscope, and compass built into the device, though there don’t seem to be any onboard apps that can use these sensors. There’s also not an app store to download new apps, so the inclusion of these sensors is curious.
Compared to other basic phones (or feature phones, or dumbphones), there are some definite upsides to the MP02. For one, most dumbphones are limited to 2G or 3G connectivity. The MP02’s 4G LTE modem and WiFi tethering are nice perqs that set it apart. In spite of all its features, it’ll be hard to justify the $350 price tag, considering you can get a more powerful and more versatile smartphone for less money. Lenovo’s Moto G6 is a decent handset for $100 less. Even last year’s flagship Essential Phone is cheaper.
Besides, would you really want to pay $350 for a phone that doesn’t even have Snake?