An Exploration of the Ghost Phone Pro

An Exploration of the Ghost Phone Pro

A Look at the Ghost Phone Pro

The widespread proliferation and adoption of modern, mobile communication technology has given rise to an increasing awareness of its effects on human health and productivity. If you’re reading this article, perhaps you are looking for ways to use this technology more wisely, and to reduce its harmful effects. Recently, we previewed the Wisephone II from Techless, an austere device that offers a very simple UI with fairly limited functionality—exactly what many are looking for.

Some of us, however, may need a few more options, or a little more functionality. Perhaps our employer requires us to communicate on Signal, or maybe we need to sync our work calendar with CalDav. Maybe we would like to have Uber when we travel for business. All of these options are available on the Ghost Phone Pro, a phone that still blocks all browsers and social media apps.

Without buying and using this product, this article will review it’s stated features, and some pros and cons based on company claims and user experience testimonies found online.i

About Ghost Mode

Ghost Mode LLC was founded by developer Sebastian Snell of New York to provide “the most premium dumb phone ever.” The website says “At Ghost Mode, we believe getting a distraction-free phone shouldn’t be a compromise. You still want fantastic photos and crisp, 4K video. You want group chats and navigation and music. You want your time back without being held back. Our devices are phones without browsers or app stores, no social media or endless scrolling. Just the essentials you need on our own Android-based operating system.”

It should be noted that we are not affiliated with Ghost Mode in any way, nor have we received any commission or incentive to review the phone. T

Although we hope to get our hands on models of both the Wisephone II and the Ghost Phone Pro, as we said, we have not yet personally used or tested the hardware, so all information about the phone is assumed at this point and should be independently verified.

Hardware

The Ghost Phone Pro appears to be the third iteration of this device (following the Ghost Phone, and the Ghost Phone Plus). It is a 6.1” Google Pixel 6a with 128GB of RAM, 4K 12MP dual rear cameras, An HD 8MP selfie camera, wifi, bluetooth (5.2, LE), under-screen optical fingerprint reader, and stereo speakers. The phone does not have an SD card slot or a 3.5mm headphone jack. The battery is built-in at 4410 mAh. The cellular radio works on GSM, HSPA, LTE, and 5G networks. Also, this phone is capable of wifi hotspot, so if your carrier offers it, you can use it.

Software

The phone runs GhostOS, a custom Android-based OS that is not just locked-down Android, but a custom AOSPi built from the ground up by Ghost Mode. GhostOS includes no browser or social media apps, and uses software to prevent the installation of them as well. Fifteen essential apps come pre-installed, with a variety of Add-On apps available to extend phone functionality (and more coming) per the website. So far, the user can choose to install an upgraded navigation app called Navigation “powered by HERE maps data.”ii This one is labeled “Beta” and “Experimental” so expect some possible glitchiness. Other “Regular Apps” include Antennapod for Podcasts, Mstream for Youtube Music streaming, Signal, WhatsApp, Aegis or Duo for two-factor authentication, DavX5 for syncing with online calendars and contacts, Recorder for recording audio, and Uber, the rideshare app. In addition to this, you can sideload other apps, but keep in mind browsers and social media apps are blocked. Apps that depend on the Google Play Store also will not work.

Carrier

The Ghost Phone Pro is said to be carrier unlocked, and it is capable of working on all major carriers except for GoogleFi. The one caveat is that you must have a physical SIM card. Ghost Mode says users will need a small amount of data for the phone to work properly. 1GB is considered plenty. This is to cover map navigation, streaming music, sending images, etc.

Price

The current price is $599.00. This is obviously much higher than current market pricesiii for a standard Pixel 6a as of the time of this writing. As newer hardware becomes available, the Pixel 6a price will continue to drop. However, this phone is outfitted with special software for a special purpose and as such is understood to be a custom enhanced or value-added product. The phone comes with a 1 year warranty covering hardware manufacturing defects.

Pros & Cons

Pros: 3 things I like about Ghost Phone Pro

#1. It provides the user with more functionality than your typical dumbphone.

Flip-phones and other dumbphones are all many of us need, and we’re glad to be free of the many smartphone encumbrances. But many utilitarian phone users appreciate the usefulness of things like GPS navigation, access to rideshare services, connectivity with home or office calendars and contacts, and modern messaging capability. This phone offers more of all of these things for those who need it.

#2. It provides the user with more carrier choices.

Other phone options are sometimes limited to certain carriers. Ghost Phone Pro will likely work with the best carrier available to you in your area.

#3. Privacy

GhostOS is an attractive alternative to the infamously privacy-violatingiv Android OS. While not touted as a feature or selling point of this phone, depriving “Big Tech” of one’s private user data is a hugely compelling reason to purchase a Ghost Phone Pro.

Cons: 2 things I dislike about Ghost Phone Pro

#1. Price

The price of the phone is not outrageous, but it is higher than some would like to pay for a limited functionality device of this kind. After all, a tower PC with respectable specs and a licensed copy of Windows 11 Pro can be had for less.v Apparently, refurbished units used to be available for $539.00 but they are out of stock as of the time of this writing.

#2. Doesn’t operate on voice commands for those who use those features.

This writer does not personally use voice activated features, but many users do and voice commands can be a safety feature while driving, etc. Ghost Phone Pro offers nothing comparable to Google’s or Apple’s voice features.

Conclusion

Overall, this phone seems to deliver on it’s promise of being perhaps the most premium dumbphone ever. The hardware is powerful and modern. The software is flexible and eminently usable. If you can get your hands on one, the Ghost Phone Pro seems to offer the most features in a device of this type that we have seen so far. If this is what you are looking for, check out the Ghostphone Pro.

It’s Your Turn

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iAndroid Open Source Project – the open source version of Android OS.

iiThe built-in map app uses MapBox data and lacks the ability to map addresses to business names like some other navigation apps.

iiiSwappa.com says current market prices for the Google Pixel 6a range from $138.00 – $178.00.

ivSee https://www.theverge.com/2017/11/21/16684818/google-location-tracking-cell-tower-data-android-os-firebase-privacy for an example.

vSee the Dell Vostro 3910 Desktop available on Amazon.com for example.

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