Privacy focused (feature) phones

Hey Mudita community! I hope this topic is fine since I’ll talk about Mudita Pure competitors; if not, feel free to remove it, no worries, I totally get it!
Personally, I think competition is always good in economy and research, so even though I’m totally rooting for Mudita, I always like to keep an eye on the competition and alternatives. This is how I approach most things; not just this phone in particular.

On my searches so far though, I found lots of disappointment. There is an astonishing amount of modern feature phones; however unfortunately most don’t fulfill my ‘privacy’ and ‘non-distracting’ requirements.

To be honest, all I really want is a new feature phone (mostly for global 4G and warranty - without those I may just as well take something old out the drawer), but which is just like the ‘old ones’.
Most modern feature phones with 4G use that connectivity band to provide internet access through apps. Even worse, most actually use some version of Android.

I think so far the best option would be the Nokia 225 4G, since it uses their own OS ( that has no Google stuff in it. Unfortunately it has preinstalled games that seem not to be removable (potential distractions).

The phone also doesn’t have great reviews on Amazon; so an alternative would be the KaiOS based phones; this is not directly Android, so for instance you can set them up without an Email address at all, but they got a huge donation from Google, forcing them to integrate services like Google Assistant. However, it may be acceptable since they may not be able to link any information they gather to you as an individual due to missing contact information. I wouldn’t bet on that though; GPS… audio recordings… (voice), stuff like that. One upside is that it can run some apps which may or may not include kinda important stuff like TAN apps for online banking or COVID contact tracing apps (not sure if those are available - just two types of apps that I’m yet unsure how to replace on a real feature phone).

One alternative to the Nokia 225 4G for me I feel would be the Punkt 01, but it is 2G only. In Germany, it’s unlikely for 2G to ever die since we have lots of infrastructure heavily relying on it, but I would always need another phone when traveling which sucks. Also there are many ‘good’ (for me - privacy preserving) feature phones that are 2G only. Heck, most 2000’s phones from eBay would be fine. That’s why the 01 isn’t really remarkable, since it plays in that 2G playing field. Also I hate how they went to plain full-on Android for the 02; this simply makes it a smartphone with buttons, totally missing the minimalstic, modern point that the 01 kinda established.

Would be happy about recommendations / thoughts / experiences!

EDIT: I found out that the Nokia 215 4G and Nokia 110 4G are also - as their names imply - 4G capable and also run on Nokia’s Series 30+ OS like the 225 4G. Unfortunately all 3 seem to be pretty bad phones (low quality) - however they’re cheap.

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There is no competition yet. But there are companies looking at this space more and more and I think we’ll see more in 2022 and 2023.


Well, while it’s no direct competition for the Pure, I do think the Nokia 215 4G, 225 4G and 110 4G do provide that improved anonymity I’m looking for. They’re not as high-quality, not open-source and not fully decluttered as the Mudita, but they might be a stepping stone before paying 350€; a way to kind of try the experience without directly buying a Pure (and maybe to wait for a v 2 without the creaking and software issues).


For sure. It’s just a matter of support too. It depends on ones needs and what one is looking for too.

I don’t mind AOSP, as long as it doesn’t have Google Services, but I know some are looking for extra privacy measures even if it comes at the cost of features.

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Which AOSP phones are there without Google services? All the ones I saw do have Google services and seemlingly no way to uninstall them.

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Light Phone 2 does not have Google Services. Punkt MP02 does not have Google services. They run on the base AOSP version without Google services. The Sunbeam F1 also does not have Google services and the Sonim XP3 and XP3 Plus. If you check my website filter: you can filter there for the AOSP devices that do not have Google services :slight_smile:


That’s great to see, thank you very much! I will then have a deeper look into the topic.


Did you mark the Punkt 02 as having bad update support since they dropped the ‘old 02’ completely when they brought out the new improved one? I agree that this seems like a super shitty move on an otherwise pretty cool phone.

Also; do you have any information about how US carrier support translates to EU carrier support? Like, if a phone in your list supports all the major US carriers; I should be good in EU or no?

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You could also consider the option of a de-googled android phone. These are highly secure when used appropriately and have no dependencies at all on Google services.
Check out the ‘Internet Privacy Guy’ on youtube if you want to know more.
He also sells de-googled phone at

You can also do it yourself on a fair number of android devices but it does require a pretty strong level technical knowledge.


I know; I could also just delete all apps from my iPhone and cancel my data plan. But it’s different :smiley: Different feeling in my opinion.

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Yes. Until Punkt showcases a pattern of consistent updates, I won’t change the rating.

And yes. If the US Band support is complete in the US, you should have no issues in the EU.


I’m from Germany as well and am looking forward to the Mudita Pure.

I needed to get away from constant smart phone usage and I love E-Ink screens, so the Pure seemed a perfect fit.
As it turned out however, I would not have been able to get a Mudita Pure as fast as I needed it. I guess when you order now, you can feel lucky when you get your device in March or April, but let’s hope the best.

I looked around for other feature phones that I could use in the mean time and just like you, I found the Nokia 225 4G to be the best currently available other device for my needs.
I did not want KaiOS as it offers lots of distractions with that much apps and reviews often say that it gets slower over time.

So now I have a Nokia 225 4G since two weeks ago for covering the time until I can order and receive a Mudita Pure.

As it turns out, the Nokia is a quite nice device as well. T9 for writing SMS is awesome, the Browser is astonishingly useful (though you won’t be surfing the net for more than you need), VoLTE works good and the reception is great.
Battery life has been 7 days for me with medium usage (a few short calls, some web searches and quite some SMS).

The only thing that sucks about the Nokia is that although it supports Bluetooth 5.0, it refuses to sync with my car audio, so I can’t make and receive calls via the built in interface of my car. As it turns out, Nokia / HMD did not bother to implement bluetooth completely, so the HFP / HSP bluetooth protocols that you need for cars or headsets are not implemented and you can’t use it for this.
I don’t know whether it would be possible to implement this via an update, Nokia support was not really helpful in that aspect.

I’m still looking forward to more reviews covering the Mudita Pure and the improved production speed, where I could pay for the device and receive it shortly after. Spending more than 300€ right now for a device that I don’t know when to receive is just not my thing yet.

What worries me though: The Nokia has shown me, that it’s totally possible to get everything done with a feature phone (or different, not too uncomfortable means).
But what I did surprisingly often with the Nokia, was to take pictures of ingredients for recipes or QR codes. That would not work with the Pure, as it does not have a camera.

Also using the browser for quickly searching for a phone number of a store or its opening hours was a big benefit of the Nokia and I did it quite a few times.
That would also not be possible with the Mudita, as it is offline itself (but can offer a hotspot).

And lastly, I need to wait for reviews that mention battery life (did not see a duration in days anywhere yet) and the reception (read some comments that it was not exceptional). The Nokia has great reception, but the SAR value is also a lot worse (higher) that the one of Mudita.
The FCC published an article that the SAR value should not be a major concern when buying a phone, as it is only showing the maximum possible SAR value for this specific phone, which can (and should be) quite a bit lower in ordinary circumstances than in the worst case scenario that is measured. (
Our 2G / 4G network in Germany is a catastrophe in rural areas (where I live), so I’d rather have a device that has a little higher SAR in short periods, which still allows me to use it. SAR is only measured really close to your body, so if it is a concern you could still put it in a backpack or somewhere else.

I guess if the Nokia had HFP / HSP, I might even already have found the perfect device for me. But let’s see what time brings, still excited to hear more reviews about the Mudita Pure.

As to the Punkt MP01 / MP02: The MP01 is technically outdated with being 2G only. Sure it works in Germany, but having to worry whether I can use my device when I do a short trip to Switzerland is a no go. The MP02 seems to only have 2 to 3 days of battery life, which seems not enough for my liking.

In addition to that, it seems you can’t trust them with updates. Releasing a MP02 New Gen and stopping updates for MP02 is a super bad move by them.
Especially considering that the hardware seems to barely have changed. Maybe the bootloader would have to be changed for updates to the old gen and they don’t deem it possible for average users, who knows…

Light Phone 2 was interesting as well, e-ink screens are just super nice. I know that @Jose_Briones uses it as his primary device and that he’s happy with it (saw quite a lot of your videos :slight_smile:).
The LP2 is not usable in Germany as they don’t offer world wide reception as Mudita Pure does, so I did not bother looking at it in detail…
The LP2 website itself states that Germany is not supported. German users on Reddit reported that their LP2’s stopped working at some point, so it seems it’s just not for us.

That turned out a lot longer than I would have thought, sorry :slight_smile:


Thank you very much for your message!
Your experience with the 225 sounds pretty good, I think for the low price of around 50, I’ll try it as well! I also thought about the browser and the old browsers I used to have on similar phones. Back then they were extremely slow, but with 4G I can also see myself quickly looking up very small things, without it distracting me as much as a smartphone browser, where I might be inclined to read full web articles or blog posts.
For the camera, I don’t think I’ll miss it much on Mudita, since I want to focus more on remembering things, being in the moment and if needed, writing notes (phone numbers, restaurants I liked etc.) instead of snapping a photo of everything (which I’ll then never find anymore anyway). I also now have a proper camera for trips and anything more important than simply grocery shopping; it’s compact so I can always have it with me and it takes super great images.
The battery life of 7 days sounds amazing as well. One of the things that bothers me most about smartphones after the whole tracking & privacy issues + distraction & lost time in the day is that they run out after 1 day.
Interestingly, I’m not much of a Bluetooth user myself. Even on smartphones, I prefer cables; it’s really plug-and-play. I love music and going into settings to select a playback device or anything like that somehow gets between the music and myself, instead of a simple cable plug… I do get speakerphone in car can be useful, but I never used it.

SAR is not something I’m worried about at all to be honest. I’m mostly interested in the Pure because it’s a modern (4G, updates, …) feature phone without Google and tracking crap on it. The SAR is not a selling point for me honestly, and I too prefer better signal over a lower SAR.

I agree that it seems super shitty / shady for the Punkt brand to push out one premium phone a year without any software / update support. Like, I get it: for <100€ devices; you can’t finance frequent updates, but at this price point I’d really expect it. This is also one concern with the Pure: it’s a premium device, and the premium features that need to go with it include long-term support, which has yet to be seen if it will be available. Open-source software helps to continue keeping the product up to date even if Mudita was to neglect it update-wise down the line, but still. It’s not like Apple with a proven track record.

Light Phone 2 to be honest, not for me. Needs to be charged daily & the tiny touchscreen; nah, then I rather have some buttons.

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I tried the Nokia 225, I couldn’t get it to work. It seems that the GSM carrier coverage in my area was too spotty to even get it to register with them. I took it outside my home, and it tried, but still failed. I thought that the build quality was very poor, too delicate.

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Hey btw, is it true that the phone is full of game trials that can’t be deleted? are they annoying or more tucked away in some kind of menu or similar?

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Yeah it’s true that there are some games.
I’m not bothered a lot by it. They are really simple and more nostalgic than an actual temptation to play. They have tiles on the main app screen.

The apps on the Nokia 225 are:

  • Phone Calls
  • Contacts
  • Pictures
  • Web Browser
  • SMS
  • Camera
  • Facebook (urgh… Funnily enough, this just opens facebook in the Opera Mini browser. I guess they got some money for implementing it as “app”)
  • Videos
  • FM Radio
  • Music
  • Ninja Up (Game)
  • Settings
  • English Dictionary
  • Alarm
  • Racing Attack (Game)
  • Calculator
  • Extras (Countdown, Stopwatch, Torchlight, Converter (for Temperatures, Weights, …))
  • Games (collection app where you can buy full versions for the games. There are actually more games in here than in the main tiles)
  • Voice Recorder
  • Counter (Mobile data usage, call duration, sms)
  • Torch light
  • Files
  • Calendar (beware, limited to 20 entries, I tried)
  • Snake (Game)

It’s not possible to uninstall any apps, but you can reorder them and move the tiles to the very bottom of the drawer.
If I could, I would uninstall all games and facebook. But I’m not bothered a lot, as I will just reorder them out of sight.

What bothers me more:

  • Opera Mini as browser uses a build version from 2017. Furthermore, all content is compressed and downloaded via a proxy of Opera. This saves data, but I don’t trust proxies, in particular not the Opera one, as Opera was bought by a Chinese corporation. Googling / DuckDuckGo is fine for me, but I would not login anywhere.
  • Still Micro-USB
  • Speaker is not really loud, but works ok.
  • “Special Keys” are a little whacky, but the number / letter keys are good.

Most of these are not major issues for me, just wanted to list them to show that this device is not perfect either.
On the other hand it costs only 50€ on Amazon. I got a 5€ discount from an Amazon action and further 7€ discount in the customer service chat because I complained about lack of HFP / HSP when they promote it as Bluetooth 5.0 device.

So for 38€ I guess there’s not much to complain for a 4G capable device with removable battery, 7 days of battery life (inactive bluetooth and lowest display brightness - but it is still bright enough), T9 with custom dictionary and browser / camera…

Still excited for the Pure though, looking for more information in here every day :slight_smile:

I like a basic phone and am currently using the Nokia 800 Tough, which runs KaiOS. Its web browser and apps are painful and slow to use, and texting is even clunkier than true basic phones - but it gets the job done and the battery life is good.

I also have a Nokia 3310 (the 2017 reboot with 3G). It’s very basic, and has great battery life, but the messaging is a bit clunkier than on the phones of the 90s and early 00s. It’s satisfactory though.

Both phones work with a bluetooth headset, although connecting to a computer is not possible for anything other than file transfer (plus tethering/hotspot in KaiOS). Connection to a car works, but one cannot browse the phonebook and dial from the car, and the car can’t send those automated “I’m on my way” text messages or read received messages either.

I’m also skeptical about how private KaiOS really is. It has G**gle stuff baked-in, and I see a fair bit of data transfer on my mobile plan, that I can’t account for.

A de-G**gled Android phone might be a good option. Fairphone provide an open version of their OS for the FP2, and I believe they support alternative ROMs such as /e/ on the FP3 and FP4.

If you do a bit of digging around on the net, you will see that certain smartphones are really, really easy to flash a custom ROM on. Samsung used to be renowned for this, as are Fairphone.

The /e/ foundation actually sell privacy-respecting, de-G**gled smartphones in their online shop, with the /e/ ROM preloaded. I used to use this ROM and I think it’s easy enough to use that you could hand it to your parents and they’d have no trouble using it and installing apps.

There’s also the Librem 5 phone from Purism. I’ve not tried it, but I think it runs a customised version of Debian Linux and is billed as a privacy-respecting smartphone.

There’s also the Pinephone, but I don’t know a lot about it. I think it’s probably a little more geek-oriented and less polished than Purism’s offering.

I’m sure running a Librem 5, Pinephone or regular phone with AOSP, LineageOS, or /e/ , might also fit your needs, especially if all unnecessary apps were uninstalled.

Personally I’m very-much leaning towards getting a Pure as my main phone, and keeping my Nokias and Fairphone (which is now unreliable) as a backup just in case I damage the Pure.


@forest_cat In a previous post you wrote that you had a Fairphone in the past. Can you give us some more info about what you liked & disliked about it.

Hi @urszula yes sure. There are two or three main things I loved about my Fairphone 2:

The good:

Firstly, Fairphone themselves provided the option of a de-Googled ROM that was almost vanilla AOSP. (there was regular “Fairphone OS”, but they also provided the option of “Fairphone Open”, which was open-source, privacy-respecting and had no Google spyware, Play store etc). For me, not being able to unlock the bootloader of a device easily and flash a privacy-respecting ROM without bloated “free” rubbish is a complete show-stopper. I simply won’t use a device that attempts to subjugate and restrict me. With this phone, I could remove bundled apps I didn’t want, flash any ROM I wanted, and even root the phone so I could apply a hosts file to block ads and trackers.

Secondly, the phone is designed to be used for a very long time. The phone was modular so easily repairable. The battery and screen in particular simply clip in. Fairphone still provide software updates for this phone more than 6 years after its release. You can still buy replacement parts such as batteries and camera modules for this phone, to keep it going.

Finally, the phone was produced using more ethical materials and production methods. The factory had decent working conditions and paid workers a better wage. The phone didn’t use conflict minerals. The phone case was made of recycled plastic.

Being a smartphone, I also liked that I could install a 2-factor authentication app (such as Aegis, free/libre and open-source) and also my password safe (in my case, KeepassDroid, again free/libre and open-source). This isn’t Fairphone-specific, but is still something I liked about that phone that I can’t reproduce on basic phones.

The bad (and ugly) things about the Fairphone 2:

The biggest gripe with it was reliability. In this respect, it is absolutely awful. Its modularity makes it easily-repairable, but also makes it very flimsy. Within the warranty period I had to replace the top-module (with camera in it) and also the bottom-module (microphone part). I think it’s due to the phone itself flexing slightly (it is made of flimsy recycled plastic), and the modules all being connected by pins. The contacts probably become loose or start to corrode. Having an unreliable phone is worse than having no phone at all.

It’s an Android phone, therefore even stripped-down still has terrible battery life, and lots of distractions. Not a fairphone-specific issue, and the fact that it’s so easy to flash Fairphone Open, or a 3rd party custom ROM, somewhat mitigates this issue.

It’s a touchscreen phone, which makes it inoperable if your hands are cold because it won’t detect the touch of your finger, or will think you are tapping/dragging when you’re actually trying to do something else (although this to be fair is common to all touchscreen devices). Similarly, you wouldn’t be able to dial a number in an emergency because moisture (such as rain or blood) again would render the touchscreen inoperable. Again, not a Fairphone-specific issue.

Being a “smart” phone, battery life is simply dreadful even if you turn WiFi, bluetooth, geolocation and data off and don’t use it. I used to get about 4 days when I first got the phone, but after a while (even with a new battery) this decreased to 1 day.

Being a smartphone, it’s not as good at picking up signals as candybar or flip phones. This seems to be common to phone types, and is probably due to antenna design and component location within the chassis. I have noticed that this was getting much worse on my Fairphone over time, possibly due to its modularity. I see “no signal” or “emergency calls only” much more often on that device than I used to, and it often drops calls when other phones can maintain the conversation.

The two biggest show-stoppers for me with that device were the lack of reliability and the shocking (no pun intended) battery life.

In short, the phone was a noble effort, and got a lot of things right, but over all the implementation wasn’t very good. The repairability seems to be the root cause of its biggest issues. It was supposed to make it more eco-friendly, but actually (in my phone’s case) made it less environmentally-friendly, due to the sheer number of replacement parts I had to get for it over the time I used it. Furthermore, it decreased the reliability so much that I couldn’t trust the phone. It’s one thing consciously leaving your phone at home (I sometimes do), but it’s entirely different thinking you will be able to use it in an emergency and not being able to. It’s also down-right infuriating to have a faulty device that works intermittently, compared to not having the device on you at all.

I would also add the colour screen to my list of things I didn’t really like. I applied a blue light filter, and then later on changed the screen to monochrome, but it’s not perfect.

If the Fairphone 2 had an e-ink screen and was more reliable, I’d definitely still be using it now.

I think I also forgot the main reason I originally discovered the Pure. I first discovered the Pure when reading about electromagnetic sensitivity. An article or discussion forum mentioned a Kickstarter campaign for a low-SAR phone (the Pure). When I discovered it was e-ink with buttons and minimal distractions, that really got me interested.

So yeah, another thing I wasn’t fond of with the FP2 (but this isn’t limited to the FP2, it’s a problem with virtually all phones) is the radiation level.

I also forgot another reason I like the Pure, which is also another think I didn’t like much about the Fairphone: The Fairphone may be somewhat ethical, but it’s still made in China.

Yes, some components of the Pure come from China, the US and elsewhere, but I applaud the effort to produce as much as possible within Europe. The pandemic has highlighted how every region should maintain domestic production to ensure resilience against various possible disasters. I was very sad when I discovered Nokia no longer produced their phones and components in Finland and Hungary. Also - I’m sure individual ordinary Chinese people are decent like the rest of us, but I don’t want my money ending up in a country whose government I find so distasteful. Voting with our wallets would be one way to encourage them to consider how to be more honourable with regards to human rights, animal rights, and dumping of goods into foreign markets to ruin local producers. Yes, as an individual my actions are seemingly futile, but someone has to do it and start somewhere. As Gandhi said, “be the change you want to see”.

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