Initially, I began writing up this page because I wanted to make the switch to a KaiOS phone. However, due to various reasons that will soon be outlined, KaiOS did not live up to my standards.

What is a KaiOS phone?

In a nutshell, KaiOS phones are designed to be feature phones with modern capabilities. They attempt to run new apps while also functioning the same way as mobile phones did in the past (a more archaic user interface, no touch screen and a reliance on the number pad for navigation and input).

Personally, I was very excited to use a KaiOS phone and decided to do some research. First, I tried to narrow down the absolute essentials I needed out of a mobile phone in [the current year]. I will go through the process of reducing your reliance on smartphones in another article one day. For now, here is the list of essentials I came up with. Your list of essentials may be different, but these were the ones I settled on:

Eventually, I settled on the Nokia 2720 since this was what was available to me at the time.

My experience with using the Nokia 2720

Initially, I liked using KaiOS, I didn't find the t9 typing to be a big issue. Furthermore, you could set the keyboard to multiple languages (I set mine to English and Arabic) which is a huge plus. The t9 typing also has the advantage of preventing you from mindlessly browsing and consuming content on your phone. Since the Nokia 2720 is a flip phone, it was also nice to be able to use an old school flip phone in the modern world. However, there were various issues that had popped up.

Firstly,the KaiOS app store only has approved applications. While this is good in terms of not downloading privacy invading apps or having the app store flooded with malicious applications, if you need an unapproved application on your device, you will need to install the Banana Hackers storefront. I don’t intend to sideload anything onto my device so I won’t do this.Secondly,the camera is not high resolution compared to even the most basic smartphone. As a result the QR reader may not work.Thirdly, you cannot run .jar games or applications on this device. While these issues are inconvenient, they weren't a dealbreaker. However, I had a very bad experience with trying to set up Whatsapp on my device which soured the experience. If you want to use Whatsapp on KaiOS, there are 2 things to keep in mind, first-do not install system updates on the phone. For some unknown reason, Whatsapp does not function with the current KaiOS system updates. Furthermore, if you do use it on KaiOS, then you cannot use the desktop version of Whatsapp. This results in you having to keep a seperate smart device with a seperate sim card with the sole purpose of being able to use Whatsapp on your desktop computer. Such a tedious workaround defeats the entire point of why someone would want a KaiOS phone to begin with.In addition to this, there are no other alternative messaging apps available on the KaiOS store that I could use as a substitute. The phone only works for calling and texting.

What if I only need a phone that makes calls and texts?

I still cannot recommend using KaiOS. You would have a more enjoyable and reliable experience by looking for a second hand 4g feature phone from 10 years ago. Not only would they have an overall better build quality, but depending on the phone you buy you can have custom user interfaces. Many of them would also be compatible with .jar games and applications. I'd recommend looking into Japanese feature phones as those still manage to be quite modern in comparison to this.

However, if you're still interested in using a KaiOS phone, I can give you a few pieces of advice:

Lastly, I will get into navigating yourself.

How to find your way around when you have a KaiOS phone and everyone else has a smartphone

Some people write about “the thrill of getting lost” when they recount their experiences with not using a smartphone for navigation. While this is all well and good for going off the beaten path and finding an interesting landmark tucked away, it’s not ideal if you’re stranded somewhere. So, here is some advice on how to deal with this (note that this guide is primarily for navigation within suburban and metropolitan areas).

Overall, while there is a lot of room for improvement for KaiOS, I will hold onto my device for now until things change or I find a better alternative. There is a lot of promise and I am hoping that it becomes more robust as time goes on. To close, I have compiled a variety of sources that have helped me or found useful: