While not a household name, Punkt, made a splash in the connected world with an unapologetic “dumb phone” that promised to cure us of our smartphone addiction and re-acquaint ourselves with what truly mattered – life! The beautifully simplistic candy bar style phone called, texted, set alarms and reminders but not much else, ultimately though, their first-generation device was a welcome distraction, but most went back to their smartphones for the features they missed the most. Their latest iteration the MP02 aims to bring more functionality without sacrificing the heart of their mission which is bringing what is important more in to focus in their consumers lives.
Punkt products are built to produce a combination that is rare in consumer electronics: simplicity with sophistication. That is exactly what the MP02 is all about, it is a well-crafted mobile phone that encourages you to take a break from the connected world. Punkt, wants consumers to rethink the way they interact with technology through the formation of a simple but poignant philosophy: “Technology can bring great things, but like any good relationship, there should be healthy boundaries. As we spend more time looking down at a screen we are missing the opportunity to look up, look around and engage with life”.
It wasn’t too long ago that the cellphone was a robust communication tool that seemed to fit in with and not rule our entire existence. These days, consumers battle issues we shouldn’t have to worry about like – build anxiety, with smartphones fragile all glass designs; battery anxiety, as we seem to watch our power deplete in real time and sadly – an unfortunate lesson in consumerism – the anxiety of needs versus wants, as we are constantly being told we need the latest and greatest $1000 punches in our proverbial stomachs and wallets!
There was a lot to like about the original MP01, it had great pocket-ability, build quality, battery life and an above average loud speaker all wrapped in a simple and intuitive Android-based interface that any generation would find refreshing and their latest offering shares many of the same great characteristics with a few new added features, starting with the design. The original polycarbonate candy bar ergonomic remains except this year Punkt have changed the outer texture to be more grippy and sandpaper like which was a welcome change to the slippery bar of soap the original became when your hands were even the slightest bit moist.
Secondly, the inclusion of 4G LTE and Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity means better call quality with Voice over LTE or (VOLTE) and the fact that the connection that can be shared with a tablet/laptop through tethering means easier typing in comparison with a smartphone, and a bigger screen.
There is also the welcome inclusion of Blackberry Secure encryption and threaded text messaging for more security and functionality as a multi communication device. Lastly, we also have seen some improvements in the loudness of the speaker, Nano-sim support and USB-C type charging which should complement the already stellar 12-day battery life.
To conclude, Punkt’s MP02 is a worthwhile lesson in timeless minimalism meeting functional design. It is nothing more or nothing less than a communication tool need be, and you need to be ok with that before you buy. There are no time-wasting social media apps, no camera to snap photos with and no web browser for online shopping! This is a minimalist tool for communicating only when necessary, but most importantly, is for those that are serious about reclaiming their time and subsequently their lives. The tough build, comfortable ergonomics, simple navigation and worthwhile set of life real life tools mean this could be the best phone release yet of 2020.