The Light Phone 2 Wants to Save You From the Internet

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The Light Phone 2 Wants to Save You From the Internet

Illustration for article titled The Light Phone 2 Wants to Save You From the Internet

Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

With the Light Phone 2, the team behind the minimally-minded Light Phone that blew up on Kickstarter in 2015 continues to explore the balance between being connected and preserving your mental health. It’s a spare, standalone handset that rethinks how smart a smartphone actually needs to be.

With the number of apps, gadgets, and social media platforms constantly begging for our attention, people are beginning to realize that there is such a thing as too much internet. But at the same time, completely disconnecting isn’t really an option for most people either.

In an attempt to foster digital wellbeing that goes beyond things like blue light filters and disabling annoying notifications, the original Light Phone only did one thing: make calls.

At launch, the Light Phone 2 can only make calls, text, and set an alarm. But a few more curated features like mapping and support for rideshare apps are due out before the end of the year.

At launch, the Light Phone 2 can only make calls, text, and set an alarm. But a few more curated features like mapping and support for rideshare apps are due out before the end of the year.
Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

The Light Phone was as much of a philosophical experiment as it was an engineering challenge, attempting to boil the essence of communication down into a tiny device. And while the Light Phone did its job, due to its single-purpose nature, it was never designed to be a replacement for your current smartphone. Instead, it was intended as a backup device or alternative choice for when you wanted to cut out distractions.

The Light Phone 2 shares the same design principles as its predecessor, featuring an ultra-minimalist appearance both inside and out. It’s only slightly smaller than a deck of cards, and aside from a few buttons for volume, menu, and power, the Light Phone 2’s only distinguishing exterior characteristic is its 2.8-inch e-ink touchscreen.

Meanwhile, on the inside, the Light Phone 2’s custom LightOS is just as spartan. Unlocking the phone brings you immediately to a log of your recent calls and messages, while pressing the menu button presents a total of three functions: Phone, Alarm, and Settings. That’s it, at least to start.

By removing the ability to install more apps, the Light Phone 2 hopes that you’ll spend more time focusing on the real world, instead of constantly checking your emails or who liked your latest post on Instagram.

However, for a device that’s supposed to be a true replacement for your typical smartphone, the Light team knows making calls and setting alarms isn’t really enough. So after the phone’s official launch today, there are plans to add features such as mapping, rideshare apps, music playback, hotspot tethering, and a few more before the end of the year.

Because of its e-ink display, you can sometimes see remnants of things from previous screens.

Because of its e-ink display, you can sometimes see remnants of things from previous screens.
Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

But that doesn’t mean the Light team is going to open the app floodgates, because if they did, then the Light Phone 2 wouldn’t be any different than a typical smartphone. This is where the process of deciding what kind of features are truly essential comes in, with Light fielding requests from users while trying to balance their goal of preserving digital health and maintaining your privacy.

So while the Light Phone 2 can connect to modern 4G LTE cell networks, it will never have email, news feeds, an internet browser, social media apps, or ads. That means for things like ridesharing, the Light team is planning to work

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