Alright… it’s been a year with the Flip IV KaiOS phone replacing an iPhone, and I’ve had enough. I feel I gave it more than a fair shake.
It feels like someone was told to make an early 2000s phone… without ever having used one. And without having done more than casual testing. In no particular order:
- The keyboard got worse and worse over time. I don’t know if it’s hardware or software, but it was double pressing so badly that I couldn’t dial a phone number without corrections, and T9 texting with that was utterly vile. This also made navigation a challenge, as things like “back” would be double pressed.
- The texting app can’t handle any serious amount of texting. It slows down based on the number of messages received, apparently? I had to aggressively trim threads to keep performance even tolerable. It seems a basic function of a modern device that it can handle some number of text threads more than, say, 10-15, without croaking.
- There are just too many things that I had to keep the iPhone around for. Drone ops, Signal root of identity, some building access apps I use, etc. Not to count things I don’t really use like Roomba/Nest apps which are the only way to interface with those things.
- It developed an annoying habit of only notifying me about incoming text messages when I opened the device. “Oh, right, this came in 5 minutes ago! chime” I was never quite sure when the message actually came in, but when waiting for a response from someone, I had to leave it open and powered on or the response might not bother showing up until I checked.
- The camera may as well not be there for how useless it actually is.
- The browser is utterly useless for everything except maybe bash.org or news.ycombinator.com - expected, just… somewhat more annoying than feared.
Anyway… I’ve failed in this transition. It was annoying at first but livable, but it’s progressively gotten more annoying as the device has gotten slower, and the keyboard has gotten far worse.
Apple hasn’t, to the best of my knowledge, pushed the CSAM scanning they were talking about onto device after the backlash, and while they’ve not explicitly said they’re not going to, neither have they brought it up again in a long while. And iOS 16 includes Lockdown mode, which I am very much a fan of.
So, in the interests of “actually being able to communicate with people,” I’ve switched back to the 2020 SE, with basically all apps removed. I don’t even have email on it anymore, and I only keep the Matrix client on it with notifications, as everything else has been bridged into it. The screen is locked into greyscale, and my homescreen is literally blank, except for a few things along the bottom. Battery life sucks, though. Week+ battery life on the Flip was excellent.
There are some other KaiOS devices I considered experimenting with, but the more promising ones cost as much as a low end smartphone, for… nothing I’d expect to be any better, just more waterproof or rugged. A better keyboard would help, but does nothing for the general loss of speed with time/texts/etc.