I am swapping my Galaxy S5 for a dumb phone to see what living without a smartphone feels like

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.

Ever since I was a kid, I've been passionate about science and electronics. I've always been curious about how things around me worked, which is why most of my toys ended up taken apart; I simply had to know what made them tick. The older I got, the more my affinity with technology grew, and so did the number of gadgets which I rightfully owned. Then the inevitable happened one day – I purchased my first smartphone. The moment I made the switch I realized I was never going back to a feature phone again. That happened six years ago, more or less. 

Since then, I've had my hands on dozens, if not hundreds of smartphones as part of the PhoneArena writers team. What's more, I've had the chance to use many of them as daily drivers, and for the past few months, the Samsung Galaxy S5 has been catering to my needs. I think of it as an irreplaceable multifunctional tool. It keeps me connected to friends and family, it enables me to take pictures anytime and anywhere, it keeps me entertained with music and videos, I even use it to make phone calls every once in a while, believe it or not. On top of that, my smartphone doubles as an alarm clock, it is what I use to take down notes and set reminders, it is my navigator when I can't find my way around, it lets me access my personal cloud storage whenever I need it, and so much more. To sum it all up, I've long become highly dependent on my smartphone, and I can't picture myself living without one. 

For the next two weeks, however, I'll be the guinea pig in an experiment I've wanted to do for a while – I'll have my smartphone taken away from me. Instead of a Galaxy S5, I'll be using a phone not much more advanced than a potato – one without apps, without games, without any internet access whatsoever. The goal of this experiment is to find out what happens when a person as hooked on their smartphone as myself – and I'm sure there's plenty of you out there who can relate – gets separated from their gadget. We should also be able to get a better idea as to how much someone can depend on their smartphone and whether having one does more harm than good. I'm sure being part of this is not going to be a fun experience, but I'm willing to do it in the name of science. And for curiosity's sake, of course.

At this point, the clock for me has already started ticking, and my smartphone has been put away in a box. My task now is to log any peculiarities and behavior changes I might experience (using pen and paper, of course) over the next 14 days and to share them with you once the experiment has ended. Also I'll be posting updates on how I'm doing and whether or not I've gone bonkers without having my precious on me. Wish me luck, guys!

Story timeline

Related phones

Galaxy S5
  • Display 5.1" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 2.1 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Quad-core, 2500 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2800 mAh(21h 3G talk time)

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63 Comments

1. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

This is a pretty good idea...

23. DogeShibe

Posts: 1121; Member since: Jan 10, 2014

He's likely to return back to a smartphone within a week , and tell us how bad it feels being social in real life :P Also a message that we are overly attached to our smartphones and we need to stop.

55. imran86

Posts: 208; Member since: Sep 14, 2012

Won't affect him much unless he stops using internet since he can use all those smartphone services on his PC like browsing, cloud, notes, IMs and more.

31. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

Trust me, it's great experience I was using SE C905 for almost 3 years after I ditched Optimus 3D and just recently I bought smartphone but I miss SE so much. Great photos, very pocketable and you can't beat 1.5 week battery life.

41. walnuttt

Posts: 153; Member since: Apr 11, 2014

Separating yourself from your smartphone is the hardest part of your life nowadays. Its like you have lost 95% of it.

50. techloverNYC

Posts: 601; Member since: Nov 20, 2012

our phone though the years has replaced many of our other devices making it impossible to leave it. Ex: camera, alarm clock, gps, weather checker, newspaper, social media, email, ordering food,watching tv, gaming,etc One smartphone =endless options

52. techperson211

Posts: 1280; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

Then you have a life.

56. barefootwanderer

Posts: 1; Member since: Jan 17, 2015

I tried it once, it lasted about 3 days before I lost my s**t and had to wander back into the smartphone lifestyle... I do leave my phone in my room on my days off and try to go a day or two with limited time on my phone

2. AfterShock

Posts: 4146; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

Kool, I see a trip or two to an ER coming up. Withdrawals not so much, injuries from new found pass times activities.

3. Captain_Doug

Posts: 1037; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

I kinda envy people with dump phones. It's not like you'd be missing anything that important. PS, you should do it for more than 2 weeks. I think 2 months is a better amount of time to get the full experience.

12. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

What are you trying to do, kill him?

24. DogeShibe

Posts: 1121; Member since: Jan 10, 2014

The moment Nick thought this idea , he already died a little inside.

4. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Well, it would be tough. Good luck.

5. TAMARETTE

Posts: 182; Member since: Jun 15, 2014

You should have just switched it out with an iPhone. It's pretty much the same thing.

8. fuhrer

Posts: 39; Member since: Apr 29, 2013

and Lmeia

40. EC112987

Posts: 1214; Member since: Nov 10, 2014

stupid troll

61. ElixieR

Posts: 67; Member since: May 01, 2013

That's what i did and i have more time for myself and the gym and my family now, and i got myself a Lumia 520 from Amazon for $20 only bad thing is need unlock

6. DeusExCellula

Posts: 1390; Member since: Oct 05, 2014

Pray for this man

7. Kruze

Posts: 1285; Member since: Dec 30, 2014

Good luck! You should've chose the Nokia 3310 for your experiment, at least you can play Snakes.

9. hortizano

Posts: 294; Member since: May 22, 2013

Ohhh... the stone age!!! Look, it doesn't even have the time synchronized!!

10. Moose

Posts: 418; Member since: Jan 05, 2015

Why not try doing without a car, electric appliances in your home or other modern conveniences too? I understand that we are overly addicted to technology and can become too obsessed with keeping up with all the latest developments. We can only blame ourselves for providing manufacturers with a more than willing market for stuff we don't really need. I think we could tone it down a little while not doing without basic conveniences. I agree with the basic sentiment, however. I would never buy a snowblower or leaf blower for a small driveway or lawn, for example. I feel sorry for people who can't do anything without having to use some hi tech motorized tool.

27. bambamboogy02

Posts: 834; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

It also comes down to time and convenience as well. Lets take coffee makers. Would you really take the time to make proper coffee? or use a machine to make it the way you like in under 10 minutes?

37. hortizano

Posts: 294; Member since: May 22, 2013

Modern coffee is modern. Humanity survived ages without coffee, for example. You just wipe it from your lifestyle and voilá... time to spare.

39. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

I cut coffee out of my weekday routine last year. Now when I do have it, I'm wired for half a day. It's like being a kid again!

11. QuadFace

Posts: 179; Member since: Aug 19, 2013

Right now i dont have a smartphone, my HTC Desire 816 was wrecked, i am waiting to get the One M8. i use my laptop for emails and browsing and in my 3rd week without a smartphone and i think i am fine.

13. alumoyo

Posts: 391; Member since: Aug 26, 2013

Not really such a big deal - I have done it recently when I was between smartphones. And given that he/she will still have access to laptop and clock in at an office full of connected computers, its shouldn't really be a major event. Disconnect COMPLETELY - then you have my attention.

14. ThePython

Posts: 902; Member since: May 08, 2013

RIP Nick T. ???? - 2015

15. kindlefireowner

Posts: 504; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

I could live with a feature phone if it had a opera browser and 3G. Opera mini on a feature phone gives you the ability to do just about anything.

16. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

I don't see how u can call it a dumb phone. I rather have a flip phone than a smart phone. People these days can't communicate face to face they Facebook each other face to face. Plus u have better battery life

28. bambamboogy02

Posts: 834; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

That battery life though! Amazing!

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