Should you dump your smartphone for a flip-phone?

Should you dump your smartphone for a flip-phone?
The Razr V3, a 13.9mm thin, metal-clad flip phone
PHOTO: Motorola

Bigwigs, celebrities and ordinary people are saying no to smartphones and going - or staying - old school flip.

On the subway, commuting into the heart of New York City, Danny Groner stands out. He is one of the only people in the carriage not staring at a small screen.

He's proud to not be one of the more than two-thirds of Americans who own a smartphone.

Like billionaire business leaders Warren Buffett and Blackstone private equity's Stephen Schwartzman, Groner's only mobile connection with the world is an old-school flip-phone used just for calls and SMS (text messages).

But he's not an old fogey. At 32, Groner is at the heart of the smartphone target audience.

He's young, and he's a manager at the US$1.2 billion-listed (S$1.62 billion) stock photo agency Shutterstock, one of Silicon Alley's big success stories.

His office is in the company's swanky headquarters, occupying two floors of the Empire State Building. It's a start-up vision complete with swings, games rooms and a yoga studio.

Surrounded by technology, Groner makes it crystal clear why he benefits from being a smartphone refusenik.

"I worry about burning out," he said. "I spend 13, 14 hours a day in front of a screen, that's enough. It doesn't need to be 17 hours."

Despite his enthusiasm for retro devices, he admits we can't all ditch our smartphones: "If everybody was like me, no work would get done," he said, even though Groner thinks his smartphone avoidance makes him a better worker.

When those studies were extended to include workers across a broader spectrum of occupations, and included a look at the effect of TV and laptop use the results were confirmed.

"Out of all those devices, smartphones were associated with the most powerful effects," they reported.

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