Smartphone vs Feature Phone: Spot the Difference!

Smartphone vs Feature Phone!

What’s the difference between a smartphone and a feature phone? You’ll be surprised at the number of people who don’t actually know the answer to this question.

You think you might know, but if you ever try to explain the differences to someone you’ll quickly find yourself stumbling.

So, to help you out, we’ve decided to try and answer this question for you, to make differentiating a smartphone from a feature phone as easy as sending a text, or downloading an app.

What's the difference between feature phones and smartphones?

What is a Feature Phone?

The funny thing about feature phones is that there’s no defining characteristic that makes a feature phone a feature phone.

Often, the phone’s status is defined by a mixture of its spec sheet, along with its design and price, with a few exceptions creeping out now and then.

Feature phones often sport very quiet spec lists, with less powerful components and a more compact memory space, with many newer handsets relying on a memory card slot for added room. The majority of these handsets also boast physical number pads, with only the occasional touch screen making the cut.

Battery life is often far longer on feature phones compared to our smartphones, regularly lasting well over 3 days without a charge, with some boasting life spans of around a week. Our smartphones however normally require a daily charge to keep going.

Also, feature phones tend to offer a less popular operating system, normally based on a version of Java or by using the manufacturers own system, much like phones from over a decade ago. These systems don’t require many updates, and are normally simple and easy to navigate.

Finally, feature phones are normally a bit more rugged than our fancy touch screen smartphones, with handsets surviving multiple drops, bangs and bumps without a scratch, something that can’t be said of even the strongest iPhone.

An ideal example of a feature phone would be the Nokia 220, which features a physical number pad, a bright design, a low end operating system and incredibly cheap price tag, pretty much ticking all of the boxes you’d expect from a feature phone.

Is the Nokia 220 one of the best feature phones ont he market?

Smartphone vs Feature Phone: Cost

Prices vary amongst any kind of technology nowadays, but you can rest assured knowing that if you go for a feature phone, you won’t be breaking the bank by any means.

On average, you’ll be looking to shell out between £20-£100 for a sim-free feature phone, with different models and versions obviously affecting the price.

Compare that to your smartphone prices, and you could end up paying nearly £750 for the top of the range handsets like the latest iPhone or Samsung Galaxy Note.

This obviously makes feature phones much more attractive to consumers looking to save some cash, whilst giving the user a simple to use mobile phone to keep in their pocket.

Thinking of saving some cash with a feature phone? Take a look at these super-cheap mobile phones! 

Why Should You Buy a Feature Phone?

Whilst it makes no sense to go ahead and buy a feature phone if you want 4G connectivity, an amazing camera and super-fast processor, you should buy a feature phone if:

You Need A Back Up…

What happens if your brand new HTC One M8 breaks, or gets stolen? Not only will you have to wait for your insurance to pay out, but you’ll have to conduct your entire social life through Facebook or dare we mention it, a landline phone.

To avoid this circumstance, you can pick up a cheap feature phone with a pay as you go sim card, and if the worst happens, you’re covered!

You’re Clumsy…

We all have that one friend who’s managed to smash their smartphone screen time and time again, or dropped it down the toilet.

Thankfully, feature phones often take way more damage than your average smartphone, meaning even the clumsiest of people should manage with one of these budget phones.

You Don’t Know How to Use a Smartphone…

This normally accounts for kids or grandparents; if you don’t know how to use a smartphone and don’t want to learn, a feature phone could be ideal.

It’s great for letting kids get to grips with a phone of their own, which won’t cost you too much to replace, and the physical keypad is often easier to use for older family members whose vision isn’t quite what it used to be.

You’re on a Budget…

Not all of us have the best credit rating in the world, or a small fortune lying in the bank. So if you need a phone to keep you going until you have some spare cash, a feature phone should fit the bill.

Costing about as much as a night out, you can’t get a much better deal than your average feature phone.

Should you be buying a feature phone?


Simply put, a feature phone is a handset that doesn’t pack the best features, isn’t the fastest or most powerful phone in the world, and isn’t at the technological peak of mobile phones.

But it is incredibly cheap, long lasting, durable and simple to use, making it incredibly useful if you don’t care about having the latest iPhone in your pocket.

Hopefully this guide has helped you out if you’re considering picking up a feature phone, but if you have any more questions, why not contact us on Facebook, Twitter or Google+?

Written by Luke Hatfield

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