Secondary Phones - What are your thoughts?

The concept of having a secondary phone has been of interest to me for quite some time now. Recently I have seen more and more chatter around the Light Phone specifically, as they released a second version that is now available for pre-order. If you aren’t familiar with the Light Phone, the first version was created in 2015. The founders saw the need for a phone that was simple, small and straightforward in this world of smartphones and distractions that we live in. It had minimal features, and was designed to be a secondary phone only. The creators decided to make a second version - the Light Phone 2. This new version could be used as either a secondary phone, or as your primary phone with it’s all new set of advanced features: an unlimited contacts list, text messaging, an alarm clock, and much more. All of these features were not on the first Light Phone. Still a very simple phone option, but with just a bit more packed into it.

I would love to pose a few questions around the topic of secondary phones as a whole. Please jump in and discuss! I’m looking forward to seeing what the general consensus is around this, as well as learning about some device options I haven’t seen before. Here are a few questions to kickstart the conversation, but please feel free to add more to the discussion if you’d like.

  1. Have you heard of the Light Phone, or the new Light Phone 2? If so, what are you thoughts on this concept and it’s capabilities?

  2. What do you think of the price point and the features that are offered? The Light Phone 2 is currently available for pre-order at $350.

  3. What are some other secondary phones similar to the Light Phone that you’ve seen in the market?

  4. How would you see yourself using a secondary phone?

I’ll kick us off.

Have you heard of the Light Phone, or the new Light Phone 2? If so, what are you thoughts on this concept and it’s capabilities?

As I noted, I have heard of the Light Phone and their newest offering, the Light Phone 2. I think the concept of using a phone like this as a secondary device, or even your main phone, is a great idea. In the age of smartphones, tablets, smart watches, smart fridges, etc that we live in today, the less screen time I can spend on a device the better.

What do you think of the price point and the features that are offered? The Light Phone 2 is currently available for pre-order at $350.

I think the price point is a little higher than I would want to pay. I understand that it has some great features, but I don’t know if I would be willing to pay more than $100 on a secondary phone option.

What are some other devices similar to the Light Phone that you’ve seen in the market?

I have seen another option called the Palm Phone, but admittedly do not know very much about it. It reminds me of the Light Phone, but just a bit more advanced. For that reason, I don’t think it would be a good option for me.

How would you see yourself using a secondary phone such as the light phone?

I do love the idea of leaving my smartphone at home every so often, especially when I really don’t need the distraction of all of my notifications. Sure, I can put my phone on do not disturb mode, but I still have the temptation to check it and use it when I really don’t need to.


Not so much a “secondary phone” but these devices are much more geared, it seems, to me, for someone who wants a basic feature phone. For those folks that just can’t understand a full on smartphone. Or, for those that just want a communication device first and for most, for calls, and texts.

The e-ink display I think is really cool. Super easy to see in the the bright sun, and, very low power consuming. I have seen a video review of some other E-ink based phones, some time ago, but they were trying to run normal android on it, which, does not work well at all, due to the extremely slow refresh rate and way e-ink works.

As far as a “secondary phone” the only thing that makes most sense to me, is a standalone LTE equipped smartwatch. It’s on my wrist, to tell the time etc and is out of my way. Don’t need to stash my phone in my pocket, or in belt case. If have to dig out of my pocket, or belt case a smaller, far less capable, smartphone like device, then what is the point? might as well just carry the regular phone with me then.

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Great points! A very simple feature phone is definitely an option I have heard a few of my more “off the grid” friends consider. I had forgotten about the e-ink option, I’d love to refresh my memory on that one. I’ve seen a few random tech review videos here and there on that one. As far as a smartwatch, that’s another great point. Many watches linked directly to your phone do give you the option to not look at your screen for extended periods of time. I definitely take advantage of this with my smart watch, but perhaps I need to get a little better about it!

  1. I am aware of the Light Phone, but don’t see it as having much of a purpose.
  2. Way, way, way too expensive.
  3. Any phone you like. If you use Google Voice you can use almost any phone as a secondary phone (available features may vary).
  4. I have a Kodak Ektra I picked up for $99 with a case and screen protector. It’s a very good camera, and an OK phone. Using Google Voice I can just grab it when I’m going out for a walk or bike ride, If it ends up on the pavement, oh well.
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I’ve never heard of the Kodak Ektra before! Going to look that up today. That’s really great that you’re able to utilize your Google Voice number to go out and do those things whenever want to leave your smartphone behind. Also, as a camera nerd myself, it’s nice that when you do this you aren’t left without something to snap a few pictures :slight_smile: You never know what you’ll see on those walks or bike rides!

This secondary costs more than my primary…NO thank you! :slight_smile:


I have heard of the light phone as well as the newer version of it. I love the idea and have been interested in using one, the price is a bit high in my opinion. However, I hope to one day be able to get one for a lesser price. Definitely something that should be brought to republic. Consider me a buyer if it gets to a price a little more reasonable (under 200 perhaps).

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My cellphone seems to be at the other end of the house most of the time no matter where I go. It would be nice to have a way to pick up a call at a distance without having to wear a bluetooth headset. I’m just not sure $49 plus tax for version #1 is worth the expense. I doubt I would use the additional features of version #2.

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I currently live in an area with no cell service. I have wifi at home and at work, so it’s not a huge problem- I can use the wifi for everything I need to do. However, I’ve been using this as an opportunity to disconnect from my phone and devices more and more. I put a time schedule on my wifi router so that all my devices disconnect at bedtime. Since I don’t have cell service, that cuts everything off, which is great :slight_smile: However, most places in the US do have cell service, so there’s always the temptation to keep checking notifications, browsing, texting, etc. It would be great if Republic could come up with an app, software, or router that could mimic these settings (totally disconnected, other than maybe the ability to call, especially in case of emergencies). I could see it being useful for families especially. Most routers can already be configured to disconnect certain devices from wifi based on a schedule, but what about parents who might want to keep their kids from texting til 2:00 am? It seems like an app able to limit a phone’s functionality would be a much more efficient option than owning and maintaining a second phone (especially if it costs $350).

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Google seems to be aiming for this:


  1. Yes, I have actually ordered two phones from Light Phone 2 for my 13 and 14 year olds first phone. (Still waiting to get them.) This was before I heard of a competitor who is also out there.
  1. Got our Light Phone 2 phones for $250 each (due to a start up offer), which is definitely pricey, but helping my kids enter the device world gradually is a commitment for us, and at the time they were the only company I could find. Finding an internet free phone was impossible prior to Light Phone. (Flip phones still have internet…but because they’re a dumb phone, you can’t filter or monitor your kids and help them navigate the vast internet world that is debilitating their peers.) I understand small start up companies have to charge more, but this price will need to come down for it to compete with their competitor.
  2. Check out Gabb Wireless for another option! Just learned of them recently. Although it is designed intentionally for kids/teens whose parents wisely don’t want them to start out with internet access, it could easily be a secondary phone. Has talk, text, camera, radio, but NO internet. And it looks just like a smart phone, which will be way more attractive to the kid/teen market. Oh, and Gabb’s phone has a camera…and I don’t believe the Light Phone 2 has one yet. Light Phone, however, is more willing to add non-data requiring features to the current phone (for free) as they become available, whereas Gabb is designing a different phone (for 14+ year olds) that will add group texting and email I believe. The initial Gabb phone is $99 and since they are their own provider, their service is $20 per month. Their upgrade phone, however, (for 14+) I believe costs $200 or more and I think is $25 per month. Not sure on all my details. I believe their upgrade phone is overpriced. Parents will want to start their kids out on the $99 phone and not want to turn around and buy another phone that’s way more expensive. But again, I greatly appreciate that the market for such phones is growing, as my own kids need this kind of phone.
  3. I personally have worked hard to become a good model of phone/technology use, as this is one way I can help and influence my own kids. Therefore, I don’t personally “need” a secondary phone. We’ve learned some simple and essential habits that make owning/using a smartphone very manageable. A “secondary” phone, however, will actually be a primary phone for my kids/teens as they progress toward someday having a smartphone and being able to use it in a safe and healthy way.

The “connected watch” (smart watch) idea would be great as a Bluetooth connected extension to a silent/active phone in the pocket or purse. I stopped wearing a watch about 40 years ago when a friend pointed out my bad habit in the midst of a conversation of glancing at the time every 5 minutes, communicated in body language that I had no more interest in listening to the person speaking to me.
So I got a pager for my belt (1970s) where glancing at the time made it seem I had gotten a page and rejected it in favor of my friend’s comments.

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Have you considered the new Nokia* 2720 Flip?
For a long time now I’ve been interested in downgrading to a dumb phone but one that has maps and Google assistant for typing. I am also very interested in the fact that is small!

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Personally, I would love a primary (not secondary) smartphone that was much smaller in size, but still very capable and well made. The Light Phone is interesting, but without some core features like mapping, and its high price, it’s just not very interesting. Something like the new Palm (tiny + android) or Nokia 2720 Flip would be a digital detox replacement for my current smartphone.


Love this discussion! Not a professional sociologist but would not be surprised if the proliferation of smart phones is leading to (ironically) increasing disconnectedness and overall poorer quality of life in general…but I digress…

  1. I have not, but occasionally search for something like this…just haven’t recently.
  2. Price point is…in a word…ridiculous. E-ink or not (amazon e-ink products are insanely cheap these days), they are playing to emotions IMHO. No device this limited should cost that much. I’d pay $79 gladly; $129 tops.
  3. My kids are using our old Moto Es on the (beautiful) RW 1.0 $10 plan…best…plan…ever. They have unlimited talk/text outside the home for safety/connectivity and we (as the parents) control their consumption of all other features at home. Also, we bought into the Extend Home adapter…love it, love it, love it. Now my wife isn’t running from the basement up to the living room (where our phones are cell phones are docked upon returning home) to answer a call; she just picks up one of the cordless phones scattered around the house which are connected to the Extend Home adapter at the base station and the rest works like ‘butter’ (any old SNL fans out there?).
  4. If the secondary phone were an extension of my primary number, I’d use it for calls, camera (agree on this point), texts, alarm clock, compass, maybe (big maybe) music, and Snake…please bring Snake back (if Nokia will sell the rights). Also, would be cool if it had an emergency locating function that could inform law enforcement where I was if I call 911…but I don’t want Maps; just something as a safety for when I’m backpacking or out on the lake.

Hi @swall

We don’t need a secondary phone to leave our phones at home.


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  • List item
    I have not heard of the Light Phone. After looking into the Light Phone, it would be idea for my wife who currently uses an out of date TracPhone. I would like to switch her to Republic but the phones on Republic are too fancy for her. The Light Phone has the right mix of features in a small package.
    $350 is a steep price for a second phone. A $100 is the most I would pay for this type of phone.
    I have not seen another phone on the market like the Light Phone.
    The secondary phone I would provide to my wife for use.
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I’ve heard of the Light Phone 2 and just got an email from them to pre-order. But at $350 for the device and $30/month for service, I’m not inclined to purchase because that’s more expensive than my 1GB Republic bill which already somewhat limits my cell phone use on purpose. I like the idea of purposefully reducing available phone features so I can focus on other things. I have an Alcatel OneTouch phone that I purchased for $20 and have a $10/month plan on another carrier as my secondary phone. It’s light and small and lets my wife still reach me if needed.

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Interesting. The Google Family Link app sounds like a great idea, but some of the reviews seem to indicate that people have found a lot of holes in it. Hopefully they’ll keep improving it.

I was more familiar with the Palm phone prior to this. Either way, $350 for a secondary phone would only seem inexpensive to somebody used to spending over $1000 on a primary phone. I bought my Moto Z2 Play new directly from Moto for $200. I’d rather have that as a ‘secondary’ phone.

I have an older Moto G4 Plus here and put a few different skins on for my Mom. Ended up using Wiser. They emulate a simple phone like the Light phone for free or less than $5 for the app. This would be more likely the direction I would go if I wanted a simple phone.

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