First impressions: Punkt’s distraction-free designer phone feels like it’s punking me

First impressions: Punkt’s distraction-free designer phone feels like it’s punking me

As someone who spends a disproportionate amount of my life sat at a computer, it’s easy to get sucked into checking out every link, every article, every email – every everything that lands in front of me. And if that happens, not a lot else gets done in a day.

It’s equally easy after forming habits like that to carry them on from your phone during the fleeting moments you’re not sat in front of your screen.

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If that sounds all too familiar, then you’re exactly the sort of customer Punkt is aiming its first ‘distraction-free’ device at – the MP01.

In a nutshell, it’s a stripped back device that lets you call, text, set a reminder or set an alarm. That really is about it.

Oh, there is a really basic calendar too. 

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After spending a little time with the MP01, I’ve come to appreciate the unusual design elements – it has a more angular back than most devices, for example. I also love how the ‘back’ button isn’t placed next to the buttons for controlling up and down navigation, as would often be the default – instead it’s placed where your hand seems to naturally go.

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It’s also nice to have buttons that let you jump straight to your phone book or writing a message; it’s certainly a device that wants to spend most of its time in your pocket, bag or anywhere else out of use.

However, I can’t help but feel that while the problem is a genuine one – ‘digital distraction’, despite being a terrible term is real – the MP01 doesn’t quite strike the right balance as a solution.

Primarily, for this deliberately limited functionality you’ll need to pay $299, which feels like an awful lot of money when you can pick up a basic no-frills handset from eBay for around $20.

punkt01SMS

Sure, I like the nostalgia of a T9 keyboard as much as the next person, but do I really want to pay $300 for that privilege? Hell, no.

It’s an undeniably distinctive design that was well thought through in hardware terms – as it should be, having been designed by British designer Jasper Morrison. While the software won’t seem all that familiar to anyone used to a smartphone, it’s intuitive and takes only a few minutes to get your head around how to navigate.

The best part about it is probably the battery life; I noticed it was showing red and nearly fully depleted then forgot to turn it off – two days later it was still powered on.

However, whether it’s worth the not inconsiderable $300 asking price depends on how sensitive your design tastes are and just how badly you want to cut back on notifications on your phone – alternatively, you could install something like ClearLock to cut back on interruptions.

Appealing as the hardware is, it’s just too expensive for me.

➤ Punkt

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