Top 10 Smartphone Alternatives in 2023

Top 10 Smartphone Alternatives in 2023

In an ever-evolving digital world where staying connected matters more than ever, finding the right device has never been more important. It’s hard to believe that it was only 2007 when Steve Jobs stood on stage and introduced to the world a brand new device called the iPhone. In just 15 years, smartphones have revolutionized our world, becoming powerful supercomputers and incredibly complex devices.

However, not everyone wants (or needs for that matter) the complexity or expense of the latest smartphone available in the market. In fact, many have noted the recent trend of young people ditching smartphones in favor of older, more “retro” devices.

For some, it comes down to concerns over mental health, for others it’s a factor of cost (most smartphones today cost more than $800!). And for parents, there is a growing movement to delay smartphone usage for kids as more data reveals the long term consequences on child development, attention, and adolescent mental health.

As a result, there is a growing trend towards seeking out smart phone alternatives that offer more savings, more simplicity, and more safety.

In this comprehensive guide, we will share the top 10 smartphone alternatives of 2023, providing you with the insights and in-depth analysis you need to help you make an informed decision that aligns with the unique communication needs for yourself and even your children.

1) Flip Phones

The newest smartphones offer a sometimes overwhelming amount of features, applications, and entertainment options. But when it comes to children or even older adults, you have to wonder: is the newest smartphone really the best option? Is there such a thing as too much of a good thing?

Enter the older generation flip phones - a blast from the past that might just be the solution for those who are overwhelmed by the growing number of features offered by smartphones. As surprising as it may sound, these devices have some noteworthy advantages that make them worth considering as an alternative.

Flip phones typically offer only the basic functionalities like calling and texting, which is great for people who don’t want or need constant access to social media, news, and email (think children and seniors). They’re also usually much less expensive than smartphones. This makes them an excellent choice for parents who may want to introduce their children to technology gradually.

2) Wearable Tech


Wearable tech - especially smartwatches - has emerged as one of the top smartphone alternatives both for adults and kids. For those looking for a lighter, less expense, and simpler interface, smartwatches offer an impressive array of features and functions at a much lower price point.

With a smartwatch, you can take advantage of all the great features you’re used to in a phone, such as:

  • calling & messaging
  • activity tracking
  • payment apps & features
  • GPS tracking
  • games & entertainment
  • and so much more!

But perhaps the most explosive growth in the smartwatch market in recent years has been for kids. As more research has emerged about the potential long term dangers of too much screen time and social media for kids, smartwatches have become an attractive alternative that offer many of the best connectivity and safety features of smartphones, but without all the other reasons for concern.

Take the JrTrack™ 2 SE Kids Smart Watch, for example. It allows kids to stay in touch with approved contacts through calling and texting, and it allows parents to use safety features like GPS tracking and “safe zone” setting, but it eliminates the opportunity for overuse of screen time or social media.

3) Augmented Reality Glasses

You may not have expected to find a headset listed as a kids smartphone alternative. But Augmented Reality (AR) glasses and headsets are emerging as interesting (and sometimes worrying) contenders. These cutting-edge wearables offer some different feature sets than traditional smartphones, but they do provide opportunities for connection, communication, and entertainment that share features with smartphones.

AR devices are designed to offer a hands-free, immersive digital experience, breaking free from the confines of traditional screen-based devices. Some parents and experts have expressed concern over the immersive nature of AR headsets and the way they blend digital and real. To help you better understand this new technology, we've outline the primary features of AR glasses tailored for the young adventurers of today:

  • Real world magic: AR glasses work by overlaying or infusing digital imagery via a lens into the wearers field of vision, meaning the wonders of the digital world can mix with the real world. This amazing technology enables your child to interact with virtual objects right in their environment, all on the move.
  • Integrated features: Many AR glasses offer integrated features such as map navigation, voice assistant, email and message access, video recording, and more.
  • Personalization: Some AR glasses offer customization options, allowing you to tweak display layouts, information feeds, and visual settings according to your child's unique preferences.

4) Tablet-Phone Hybrids

Remember the tiny phone from the movie Zoolander? Well these smartphone alternatives are the opposite! With tablet-phone hybrids, you get the functionality of a smartphone and the larger tablet screen all in one device.

These amazing gadgets offer an engaging platform for various apps, e-books, and even professional work while you're on the move. Remember that frustrating moment you struggled with that tiny spreadsheet on your phone last week? Well, with a tablet-phone hybrid, those days are over! You'll have a spacious screen that makes working with spreadsheets or any other tasks a breeze.

5) Voice-Activated Devices

"Hey Siri, set a reminder for my meeting." Sound familiar? Voice-activated devices are becoming an integral part of our lives. According to Statista, by 2024, there will be an estimated 8.4 billion voice-activated assistants worldwide.

That's more than the world's population! These hands-free, user-friendly devices could be one of the best smartphone alternatives, catering to your needs while reducing screen time.

For some families, a voice-activated device like this is the perfect first step. For those early stages when kids may be just old enough to be a along for an hour here and there, parents can train kids to make a call with a simple voice request.

6) E-Readers with Connectivity

Ever wish your smartphone was more book and less phone? For those looking for a more immersive and reading-friendly option, e-readers offer a great smartphone alternative. E-readers with connectivity combine the timeless joy of reading with the modern marvels of convenience.

Some models limit web browsing or other entertainment features to focus on the reading experience, while others offer the benefits of a reading-focused device with the added options that come with a traditional tablet.

For parents on the lookout for the ideal device for their young readers, these gems open doors to an expansive world of ebooks and audiobooks, adorned with customizable text sizes and soothing back lights that cater to their comfort. And the beauty of it all? It's an invitation to exchange some screen time for the enchantment of expanding knowledge through reading. A journey of exploration awaits the young minds, and you're guiding the way.

7) Light Phone (Minimalist Phones)

There is a growing desire for simplicity in a world saturated with countless apps, excessive internet access and constant notifications. Enter the Light Phone, a minimalistic/dumb phone that offers a refreshing alternative. This basic phone goes beyond being just a communication tool. It is a statement of deliberate detachment from digital noise.

Stripping away all unnecessary distractions, the Light Phone II focuses solely on essential features like calling and texting capabilities. By removing social media access, emails, and internet browsers, these minimalist phones respect your time and allow you to stay present in your day-to-day life.

8) Projector Phones

Have you ever wished you could easily share your favorite videos or presentations wherever you are without carrying around a bulky projector? If you have, there’s a solution out there for you: a projector phone. These devices are basically the opposite of a minimalist phone, with a built-in projector that allows you to display your images and videos on any flat surface.

You could watch your all-time favorite movie on a big virtual "screen" while camping in the beautiful wilderness. Or effortlessly showcase your latest project in a spontaneous meeting.

9) IoT Devices with Communication Features

The Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming how we live and work – from connecting everyday objects with digital networks to creating more efficient and automated processes.

But, with the help of IoT devices, you can now monitor various aspects and communicate. For instance, you can keep tabs on your pet while away from home with an IoT-enabled device equipped with a camera and two-way audio. Or monitor the lighting in your living room while also being able to remotely control it.

IoT is redefining communication in ways we couldn't have imagined before. These devices offer a whole new level of convenience and interactivity. They are a truly compelling alternative to traditional smartphones.

10) Landlines

If you’re really looking to detach from the digital world, landlines (or “home phones”) can still be installed in most homes. For all you Gen Zers out there, landlines are phones that are physically connected to phone lines in a home or business. They do one thing: allow you to make and receive phone calls.

If you live in a place where cell phone service is spotty, if you don’t spend much time on the internet outside your home, and if you don’t rely on text messaging to communicate, you could still get by with only having a landline.

While we don’t see them very often, these days, you can still pick up a simple telephone at most big box stores or on Amazon for less than $20. In an emergency, it gets the job done.

Will You Ditch Your Smartphone?

When it comes to smart phone alternatives, there's no one-size-fits-all solution. You'll have to decide which phone features and functionality are most important for your lifestyle. But with the wide range of options available today, you’re sure to find something that meets your - and your child's - needs.

Whether you're looking for the hands-free convenience of a smartwatch or the simplicity of home phones, there's an alternative out there that's perfect for you.