Living without my Galaxy S5 smartphone, day 5: I've not gone crazy yet

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

Several days ago, I embarked on a journey to a parallel universe – one where smartphones didn't exist. More specifically, they existed for everyone else but me. I had my Galaxy S5 locked away and was prohibited from using a personal smartphone of any kind. Instead, I was given a phone that could only make calls, exchange text messages, and double as a flashlight. This was the start of an experiment intended to demonstrate what would happen if a person as dependent on their smartphone as myself had to survive without their gadget. 

Today marks the fifth day since the start of my research, and I feel like it is time to share what I've experienced so far. And to make things clear, I have not been completely isolated from technology over the past five days. I still had a full-time job to do, which is why I had to use the phones here at the office, albeit on rare occasions. You know, to run a benchmark or to test a new app. Nevertheless, I've made quite a few noteworthy observations since being separated from my own smartphone, and the feelings so far have been both positive and negative.

The first step is always the hardest – that's something I heard in a cartoon when I was little. It was the Dexter's Laboratory episode where Dexter left his lab to explore the great outdoors under his sister's guidance. I could relate. At first, having no smartphone made me feel as nervous as if I had lost or forgotten something important, like I was missing my wallet or car keys. Having meals was not the same as I had no YouTube videos or funny pictures to look at. At the same time, I had my basic handset on me all the time and, driven by habit, I was frequently checking it for new messages and notifications even though I knew it had no internet access whatsoever. Also, when I wanted to check the weather forecast or look something up, I automatically reached for my potato phone since that's what my brain was wired to do. This is how I behaved during the first several days of my experiment.

Speaking of habits, I'm used to taking down notes and setting reminders on my smartphone. If a new task comes up at work, if I hear about a movie I want to watch, or if an idea pops up in my head, I write it down in Google Keep. Having no smartphone, however, meant that I had to write things down on paper and rely more heavily on my own memory. Sure enough, I forgot about an assignment I had to complete, and I forgot about it two days in a row. (Thankfully, it was not of high priority.) Has my smartphone hurt my ability to remember things? No, I highly doubt it. Quite the contrary – having no easy way of taking notes and setting reminders is now making me appreciate something I've been taking for granted all along.

On-screen QWERTY keyboards are another thing I now appreciate more. I had forgotten how long it took and how frustrating it could be to type a simple text message using a numeric keypad. And yes, I had to start using SMS messages again as I had no access to IM services unless I was in front of a computer. To be honest, being disconnected from the web, from messengers, from funny cat videos, and social media brought me to moments of anxiety, at least at first. Inside of me could feel the urge to go online, but, of course, I couldn't. Three days into my experiment, however, I was already starting to enjoy not having my phone beep or vibrate every few minutes and I no longer felt the need to check my social network feeds all the time.

That's about it for now, guys. Obviously, I did not go insane from being away from my Galaxy S5, and I don't think I will by the end of my experiment. But I can definitely feel the effects of being disconnected from my smartphone, and I'm sure there's more for me to experience over the 9 remaining days. I'd like to thank all of you for the supportive comments and for the genuine interest expressed in this project. Expect me to post another update on my progress in several days.

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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)



1. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

You can take away my phone. But if you take away my computer, it means WAR!!!

4. kkmkk

Posts: 699; Member since: May 06, 2013

true story

13. spin9

Posts: 310; Member since: May 31, 2014

...he said and the next day the computer crashed. Now with who you will have war?

16. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

I will have war on my computer! I'll form that hard drive and install the OS again. I am your master computer!! Until you gain your AI and take over the world... I'll just have to knock down the entire power grind muhaha

2. lalalaman

Posts: 638; Member since: Aug 19, 2013


3. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

I bet pooping is more boring now too.

5. ryq24

Posts: 875; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

What is the brand of the feature phone the writer was using?

8. Jason78

Posts: 281; Member since: Apr 10, 2013


6. Dude2014

Posts: 448; Member since: Feb 12, 2014

Hello, iBoy! Now time to try living without iPhone 6 or whatever iDevices. You won't go crazy but trust me, you will know life's so much better living without overpriced crappy devices.

7. Iodine

Posts: 1481; Member since: Jun 19, 2014

Living without my smartphone, day 5: I've not got low battery yet.

10. dimas

Posts: 3368; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

Feature phone users know that they have a defective gadget if they got low bat after 2 weeks lol.

9. dimas

Posts: 3368; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

That empora phone is cool. Got a Nokia feature phone in work issued by the company. It's a good phone, long battery life and no complicated features if all you need is text and call for a job.

11. Sharky

Posts: 259; Member since: Jun 24, 2008

I've gone on vacations where I haven't had much access to any sort of smart device. Its always worse in the beginning because you think that it'll be impossible, but once you get going it really isn't that bad.

12. xnga123

Posts: 51; Member since: Dec 05, 2014

i know how it feels.during exam seasons,my parents lock my smartphone somewhere and hand me a dumb phone.during the initial days,i spend hours searching all over the house and then settle down with the dumb phone.all i can say is that i didnt die without a smartphone nor would anyone else

14. tiara6918

Posts: 2263; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

Here's a tip and challenge. Don't hold your s5 until the Living without my Galaxy S5 smartphone is over. Even if you are just gonna hold it for the video

15. techsavvy.jaz

Posts: 163; Member since: Feb 07, 2012

After selling Mi3 and waiting for the delivery of another smart phone which was delayed, I lived 7 days without smartphone, I had the old Samsung Champ lying around, and the great thing was, during the week, I charge it like twice! It wasn't that hard, specially when life has enough things to keep you busy.. but to kill the time (or in other words to waste the time) you need a smart phone.

17. mojtaba_mn

Posts: 268; Member since: Feb 22, 2013

you must be happy ......for take away s5

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