I Swapped My iPhone For A Brick Phone For A day, This Is What I Learned

Published On 02/16/2015 Published On 02/16/2015
10 Things I Learned From Using an LG Verizon Brick Phone For a Day
Anthony Humphreys 

Nostalgia's a hell of a drug. Every twist and turn on the Internet leads us to a slideshow of Talkboys, Furbies, and fallen Tamagotchis coupled with mini-novels expressing the pain and anguish of using dial-up modems and Windows 95. Call me a curmudgeon, but I think we needed the frustration associated with dreadfully slow Internet to appreciate the technology we have today. In keeping with my policy of putting my money where my mouth is, I decided to test my appreciation for modern technology by getting rid of my iPhone for a day. 

By reactivating my now-discontinued 2010 LG Cosmos from my pre-smartphone days, I embarked upon a daylong journey that ended being more fruitful than I ever could have anticipated—and by "fruitful" I mean and "completely infuriating." 



Anthony Humphreys

1. Muscle memory is your worst enemy.

When you go from using an iPhone to a brick, you take certain aspects of your everyday interactions with the iPhone with you. For instance, whenever the screen would go dim on the LG Cosmos, I'd immediately tap the glass to brighten it up—an act which, of course, doesn't do much for a phone manufactured five years ago. I also had to re-teach myself how to get back into the groove of accessing text messages and hitting 100 words-per-minute on that T9Word. 

2. There will be sadness.  The first stage was denial, I legitimately started seeing phantom notifications from my powered-off iPhone out of the corner of my eye. Of course, I knew it was my imagination. I'll admit it, I asked some of my friends to message me on Facebook before my editor saw my obvious attempt at cheating and straightened me out Ă  la Alec Baldwin to his daughter. I guess that stage is called "bargaining." 

Anthony Humphreys

3. Texting is a joke.

It's weird, because I remember constantly texting when I was using my old phone. However, when the inaugural text came in from my girlfriend, I found it incredibly frustrating to express my feelings with the handicap of using a physical QWERTY keyboard. Spending years gently tapping on a lit screen doesn't translate to the hard push you need to spell out words like "babe" and "Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis." You also can't type "wmma fhg itu" and expect your phone to correct it to "wanna hang out?"

4. There will be envy.  Everywhere I turned, I saw people having the time of their goddamn lives with their huge, shiny iPhones. People seemed so happy and carefree—just laughing and lying—and I felt left out and poor like a peasant—a peasant from East Berlin circa 1986.

Anthony Humphreys

5. Sharing is dead.

While this phone has the ability to send updates to Twitter and Facebook, there's no option to share articles or stories because such capabilities did not exist with old phones. Oh, the lack of Internet access kind of killed that idea in the first place.

6. Selfies are a thing of the past. How privileged and posh does it sound to complain about owning a working phone that doesn't have a front-facing camera? Ugh, First World problems, right? Regardless, that was my main gripe with this brick—a 1.3-megapixel camera that could only take pictures of things in front of me. No selfies? What is this? 1980s East Berlin? With these limitations forcing me to capture photographic memories using only my stupid brain, I became less inclined to take pictures and actually said this phrase out loud: "But what if I meet someone famous?"

Anthony Humphreys

7. Bricks are indestructible. 

Of course, the joke is that the Nokia phone could withstand a nuclear blast if necessary—but I think people forget how generally resilient all pre-iPhone phones were. I, being the clumsy oaf I am, dropped my brick phone three times and there wasn't so much as a hint of a crack, whereas my iPhone would have exploded the moment it hit the floor. It was nice to know I can still twirl a phone like nobody's business.

8. Don't take apps for granted. You know how many apps you can get on an LG Cosmos? Zero. That's how many. I could get used to ignoring Twitter, Facebook, and Gmail, but when I went to book a hotel for an upcoming trip, I realized I couldn't use HotelTonight to book a place or Bank Of America to transfer money from my savings account into my checking. No Uber, no Seamless, no Spotify—somebody call the WAAAmbulance.

Anthony Humphreys

9. Life is calm without vibrations. 

At first, it was strange walking down the street knowing I had absolutely no reason to stick my hand into my pocket. There was no Twitter to check, no Facebook to update, no Snaps to chat, and shockingly few d*ck pics to send. I was at peaceful in a way I hadn't felt since 2009—or that time period between bedtime and sleep where I'm not browsing Imgur. Dare I sound inner-peace was achieved? Suck it, Buddhism! 

10. Acceptance is possible.  At the end of my 24 hour period, muscle memory kicked back in and I was texting like I did when I was little boy—filled with vigor and hope. I hardly noticed the distinct lack of technology at my fingertips and didn't even pop a chub when the Verizon representative reactivated my iPhone. I'm just publishing that sentence online to prove that it totally didn't happen.​

Jeremy Glass is the Vice editor for Supercompressor and once legit saw Susan Sarandon walking down the street .



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