The Punkt MP02 is a mobile time machine. Its timeless design makes me feel like I'm living in the past, while somehow magically being more present in the moment. Compared to today's modern full-touchscreen smartphones, the MP02 makes you work harder to do fewer things. Seems like a sales pitch for a shitty product you wouldn't want, right? WRONG.
I frack'n love this funky thing. In 2022 it became one of the tools I relied on to get my dopamine-overdosed brain functioning properly again. It forced me to limit the time I spent mindlessly scrolling through InstaCrap and TikFux while still staying connected if and when needed.
The additional bonus is this phone is gangsta — pull it out in public and people are guaranteed to think you're a drug dealer, government spy, billionaire aristocrat or a time traveler from 1999. All those looks are cool with me.
Add it all up, and the Punkt MP02 is one of my favorite things of 2022. And you can win one in CrackBerry's Top 22 Favorite Tech Things of 2022 Holiday Contest! Keep reading for more info on the Punkt MP02, along with details on how to enter.
Punkt and the MP02 Mobile Phone
Punkt is a Swiss, design-centric tech company that's been around for over a decade making a handful of truly iconic products. Their first product was a cordless phone, they've made museum-worthy clocks (the newly launched AC02 is gorgeous), stylish charging accessories, and in 2015 they released the MP01 mobile phone, which they followed up with the MP02 in 2018.
Punkt regularly works with world-renowned designer Jasper Morrison on its designs, a strategy that is clearly working. Punkt products are eye-catching in any room, and unlike most tech products they don't seem to show their age. That's definitely true of the MP02, which shares essentially the same form factor and design as the MP01.
I finally got my hands on the MP02 in 2022. While there's not much of a surface-level difference with the MP01, the MP02 featured upgraded internals and software, adding LTE and becoming the first non-BlackBerry phone to rock a "BlackBerry Secure" badge. BlackBerry killed off that program on its mission to abandon all things phone related (boooooo BlackBerry!), so that's no longer a thing for the MP02 — instead their built-in Pigeon messaging system leverages Signal to ensure everything is encrypted and ultra-secure.
Why I love and hate and love this phone
Back in the late '90s, my first cell phone was a Motorola StarTac analog flip phone, followed after that by their StarTac Digital. You couldn't do much with the phone outside place phone calls and send texts. Every time I pick up the MP02, I immediately feel like I've gone back in time to the pre-smartphone days of my early 20s, which ironically enough, is when I was my smartest. I was a go-getter, I was ambitious, I could learn things fast and remember things well.
I used to think I was getting a little slower as I got older, but in hindsight it's clear to me that the smarter our phones have gotten, the dumber we all collectively have become. (Disagree? Tell me why in the comments.)
Sure, we can do more of everything from anywhere in the world thanks to our marvelous smartphones, but pry that technology away from our hands and I'd wager most of us are more useless than we would hope.
Taking the SIM card out of my iPhone and putting it into my MP02 for the first time was an almost-infuriating experience. Not because of anything the MP02 did wrong, but because of what it intentionally doesn't even attempt to do. While the MP02's "Apostrophy OS" was simple enough to get used to and I enjoyed the feel of pushing buttons again (tactility FTW!), there was only so much you could do with the phone. T9 text messaging is painful. Most people don't even want to talk on calls anymore. I found myself putting it down and not picking it up very often.
I found myself putting it down and not picking it up very often. And I liked it ...
Then I went to visit my parents. Two hours later when I left, I felt like I had the best visit with them that I've had in years, where we actually talked. As I was driving home, I realized it was because I didn't look at my phone the whole time. It wasn't buzzing in my pocket with a constant stream of notifications that would send me down a rabbit hole of switching between meaningless apps.
The next day I went for a walk. I didn't stop to look at my phone once, nor pull it out to take any photos. I just enjoyed nature and the fresh air. It was an invigorating experience.
Then I sat down on the couch and picked up a book to read. I read for four hours straight. I can't remember the last time I've done that, but I'm sure it was probably reading the first Harry Potter books when they were originally published.
Then I had a flashback to an interview I gave back in 2010 to CBC for a documentary they filmed called Are We Digital Dummies that was about the dangers of multitasking. I remembered at that time I gave them a pretty brilliant quote, along the lines of The more we're connected to technology and information overload and the more you start to live virtually, there's a risk with that in that you might be virtually living.
Clever, right? Of course, at the time I just thought I was playing my role as the CrackBerry Kevin / BlackBerry guy, and it was a good interview but mainly utter bullshit. I didn't really believe in tech addiction or that multitasking was a problem. I mean, Microsoft taught us that multitasking was the best feature ever!
Using the MP02 cut me off from all the things I would have been doing on my iPhone. It made me realize I actually did FOR REAL have a problem in my relationship with my phone, and it awakened me to the realization that multitasking is actually bullshit — our feeble human brains are better built for doing one thing for prolonged periods of time. I'll save the deep dive into monotasking for another day, but my love for the MP02 began once I realized it wasn't a phone, but therapy.
How CBK got his groove back
It took about six months of steady and consistent use with the MP02 and my new-found commitment to monotasking to get my brain working again like it did when I was in my early 20s. I'm feeling smart and productive again, and my renewed ability to stay focused on a task and see it through feels amazing. Turns out getting older isn't to be blamed after all.
Punkt made me realize I'm smarter than I thought I was!
I'm not a doctor, nor should you trust my health advice without seeking other opinions, but I definitely feel that a lot of people out there who feel like they are suffering from ADHD or brain fog need to first put down their phones and go back to boring living and see if their symptoms improve. I know for me that becoming more intentional with my use of technology has made a world of difference. That doesn't mean I love technology any less than I ever have — if anything I appreciate it more than ever — I've just realized that it's a tool and we all need to be much more intentional about how we incorporate it into our lives.
So a big THANK YOU goes to Punkt for putting out a modern old school phone and helping me realize I'm actually smarter than I thought I was!
Buy a Punkt MP02
If you want to buy a Punkt MP02 you can get it through the Punkt website or Amazon. It retails for US$379, which is a fairly hefty price for a small basic phone, but compared to the money you might be able to save yourself on therapy or drugs it's cheap. I'd pay double for it!
The MP02 goes out of stock quickly, so you may have to have some patience trying to get your hands on one. It's clearly a niche product but it does seem to have a loyal following behind it.
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