As you’ve probably gathered by now, I’m big into trying different experiences that feed my desire to simplify my life from electronics, helping me to seek out the right balance of my on-line and off-line usage. I am passionate about finding different ways that work hand in hand with bringing up my young family who needs are that of a mindful and present parent. Something which can be lost in all the noise of allowing digital to creep into your every waking moment.
In this new age of digital connectivity it’s easy to get lost down that rabbit warren of distraction via a plethora of never ending list of gadgets, the smartphone probably being the most prevalent one, as it lures you into ‘being constantly switched on’.
The team over at Punkt very kindly offered the MP01 phone designed by Jasper Morrison for a road test and I jumped at the chance. The phone elegantly simple in design and basic in features which I thought would prove to be be a particularly challenging test due to being used to an iPhone, ridiculous thin, techie looking and touchscreen based.
On first impressions, the Punkt is extraordinarily simple in design and fits like a dream in your hand due to its angled faced and smooth surface. The old school phones that aren’t smartphone enabled still tend to be clunky and thick with hideously difficult and fiddly buttons, not the MP01. It’s so light, I almost forgot I had it on me.
Despite it being pretty basic in functionality with call facility, text facility and a few other functions, the phone screams ‘nostalgia’ for those good old days, when life was just so much simpler and sweeter. Where the phone knew it’s place in our lives as could co-exist with us side by side without screaming for attention. There is no doubt that the Punkt MP01 knows its place, it’s happy to be just a communication tool of the simplest form, one that doesn’t want to own you but to serve you. This is how we should be using tech, getting that slave / master relationship firmly back into balance.
My initial challenge with the phone at first was not having access to What’s App, no music or camera. No the What’s App / Chat App wouldn’t usually bother me but I had a number of on-going group conversations happening and had to explain to each person that if I didn’t answer it was because my new phone isn’t smartphone enabled. My explanations were met with quite a lot of resistance but this has merely highlighted to me that as a society we are over reliant on technology to communicate. It’s as though asking people to call or text is a big favour, which is an accurate reflection of where we are heading as a society – hands off and using only convenient means of communication, this concerns me greatly for our younger generation as there is so much beauty in real-life communication using all of your senses and being present.
I noticed after a few hours that I had the ability to completely adapt to the phones capabilities and was very comfortable knowing that I couldn’t access the internet, go on chat apps, social media etc, I just accepted it and got on with my daily business.
Off the back of two recent digital detoxes, one with Offline Portugal and the other with Turn Lights On in Wales, I am at total peace with going off-line and don’t feel that anxious burn when my battery bleeps on red or I can’t get reception. If I have work to do, I use the laptop generally and my only real vice is Netflix in the evening, other than that I am aware that my smartphone is used to piddle about on and I justify the usage in my own head, saying it’s work. It’s not!
If you look around you, all you see these days is people’s foreheads as they swipe, tap and stare at their screens, it’s depressing and locks the user into their own bubble, shutting everyone else out into the cold. It’s unsociable behaviour and feeds the need of perhaps less confident or bored people to shut down and avoid eye contact and basic communication with those around them. When was the last time a stranger smiled at you? it just doesn’t really happen anymore and if it does, it’s generally those of an older generation. Imagine what we must all look like to them?
Jasper Morrison states “I think we are more aware than before of feeling stupid looking at our screens,” and he’s right. We DO look stupid looking at our screens, ignoring the beauty of the environment and people that surrounds us on a daily basis.
I really love this phone as it’s stylish, sleek and trendy enough not to feel like you are missing out but also, it gives the user in part, some of their life back. Once you settle with idea of your stripping usage back down and you feel comfortable enough that you have warned those around you to use older school methods of communication, you will feel liberated and free to concentrate on more enjoyable and important things in your daily life.
I thoroughly enjoyed trialling this phone and the silhouette of the pigeon on phone start up, tickled me pink! Don’t be fooled by this simple phone, it still boasts a contact book of 3,000, has a calendar and you can leave reminder notes on the home screen. It can also import form a USB cable and can be used with your smartphone nano sim as comes with SIM adaptor.
One massive bonus if you’ve got children, is that they are so utterly unimpressed by the phones functionality that they don’t bother to ask for it any more. Result!
Well done to Jasper Morrison and his team over at Punkt. Thank you for showing me another way to balance, be mindful and be present. This is a must-have phone for anyone wishing to go back to basics but stay current and stylish in the process.
Gemma Johnson, founder @ The National Unplugging Day UK