There are a lot of things you can do with a modern smartphone. It’s a portable media player, a web browsing tool, a social media madness machine, a text messaging utility, and I suppose you could use it to make phone calls from time to time… but who does that anymore?

Punkt is banking o the idea that somebody wants a phone that’s designed first and foremost to make calls. Because that’s what the company’s new Punkt MP02 4G mobile phone is designed for.

It’s a compact phone with a small screen, a physical keypad, a simple user interface, and support for just a few features including phone calls, text messages, and mobile hotspot functionality.

But it’s also got a few nifty features that might help justify the Punk MP02’s $350 price tag.

For less than that price you could pick up an Essential PH-1 smartphone with significantly better specs and far more features. But the point of the MP02 is to offer fewer features rather than more.

This isn’t a phone designed for Snapchatting, gaming, or photography. It’s designed for making phone calls… and a few other things.

The MP02 features BlackBerry Secure software, a black an white sunlight readable display, support for 4G LTE networks. You can use it to make Voice over LTE phone calls, and the phone can also serve as a mobile hotspot that connects to your other gadgets by WiFi, Bluetooth, or USB.

It measures 4.6″ x 2″ x 0.6″ and weighs just 3.5 ounces. The phone has a polycarbonate case with a textured coating, and anodized aluminum power button (and SIM card tray), and backlit number, call, and arrow keys on the front, plus a few other special function keys.

Above the keypad there’s a 2 inch, 320 x 240 pixel transflective, high contrast display with Gorilla Glass 3 and a fingerprint-resistant coating.

There’s a front speaker for handheld use and a 1.5 watt rear speaker for hands-free use. The phone also has a vibration motor, and front and rear microphones (the one on the back of the phone is used for noise cancellation).

The device is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 processor, 2GB of LPDDR3 memory, and 16GB of eMMC 4.5 storage. It has a 1,280 mAh battery that the company says offers up to 4.2 hours of talk time or up to 12.5 days of standby time. And the phone charges via a USB 2.0 Type-C connector.

It supports 2.4 GHz 802.11b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1 and Punkt offers a choice of a model with support for US and Canadian 4G networks or one with support for networks in Europe, Australia, and Japan.

Despite the simplified user interface, the MP02 is actually running an operating system based on Android 8.1. While I suspect most Android apps would run poorly on this device, if they run at all, that does open the door to the possibility of running third-party apps on this device.

Out of the box, it supports phone calls, text messaging (with predictive text support), and a few other core applications including Clock, Calculator, Calendar, Notes, and Contacts apps.

The Punk MP02 is up for pre-order for $349 starting today.

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15 replies on “Punkt MP02 is a $349 phone that doesn’t do much”

  1. Why is it over $100. This is a good idea but it’s a budget phone when compared to others. So stop being greedy and lower the price. You can walk into any virgin mobile store or boost mobile, or metro pcs and still get a nokie with the 2 inch display for under 30 bucks. If your talking about going back to time, Then do it with out ripping people of. They polished a turd to charge a shit load

  2. ouch ! This is so wrong. I get the idea of a simple phone, giving a hotspot feature is actualy a good idea, but then : If you primarily use it for phoning and texting, then at least put a qwerty keaboard. And 2GB RAM, 16 GB of storage? really? You can’t eaven listen to music on it, what is all that ram and storage for? storing texts? And a powerfull processor? Android? The result is it only gives 4,5 hours of calling…
    IMO, they should have gone full retro and minimal : Put some very simple dinosourOS on it from the 90’s, a tiny processor, a few MB of RAM, the snake game, and a tiny solar panel like the ones on calculators… It would all be nice and slim, light, trendy, AND MUCH CHEAPER ! The kind of thing anyone could get just for a backup…

  3. Why are phones like this in vogue? Nice concept, but $350? I’d get this if it was the giveaway phone with a ATT Go phone card not for that much. What I am looking for right now is like a Kindle phone, just a slim-bezel 5-6″ e-ink phone running fire os with run of the mill specs (SD410?) for about $80-$100

    1. Kindle phone! What a concept. Well they did have a Fire phone for a while. But eInk would have really made for a niche item!

  4. There really needs to be a better operating system option than Android-based for this type of phone. 2GB of RAM is way overkill for that screen.

    1. Oh, the 2GB isn’t for the operating system. It’s for bloated apps like Chrome. The minute you open a browser these days, you use 1+Gb on a desktop. I imagine it’s not much better on the mobile version.

  5. I think an undemanding phone that supports SMS needs to solve the text input issue. There are few things more frustrating than having to send a couple of text msgs with a numeric-based keypad. I wouldn’t want to repeat my earlier indoctrination into SMS. Funny thing about the name, Punkt… as if the company is brazenly setting people up for major disappointment after over-paying for this device (or just me being cynical about tech these days).

      1. I disagree. Back in the day I would put cash money on the table I could keep up with and usually exceed speeds from people with full qwerty on my sad v60s, I could also write fully composed and punctuated texts, while driving, without once taking my eyes from the road. Just like any other skill, you have to be good (and usually practice) at it to be worthwhile.

  6. The specifications list includes the following sensors: “GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, Gravity + gyro, and eCompass”, but the list of functions doesn’t include anything that would need those sensors. The Overview page includes a screenshot with a basic map…. If there was a navigation app, that would be fantastic in combination with the sunlight-readable screen!

    1. But how are the 3-letter agencies going to accurately track your position without a GPS :p

      1. If you’re on a network of any kind, it has to keep track of whatever port or antenna it’s receiving you on. It’s a fact of nature.

  7. It is surprisingly large. A LightPhone 2 is both cheaper and, smaller while equally fashionable.

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