What's the best festival phone?

Using a smartphone at a festival

I’m going to Glastonbury, but I don’t want to take my iPhone 7 - I’d be worried about it getting broken or nicked. What’s the best ‘festival phone’ to take instead?

Courtney, via email

Getting a festival phone - that is, a cheap temporary mobile specifically for taking to festivals and other places full of thieves and mud - is a great idea, Courtney. You'll want something low-cost, durable, and good enough for the basics.

So, let's take a look at some options.

Feature phones

Feature phones are phones that aren't smart. They're good for letting you just stay in contact with your mates (via good old SMS) and maybe take a few pictures, and these days they have impressive battery life. You can't really use apps or access the internet, though.

Nokia 3310

Nokia 3310

The classic, the iconic, the absolutely legendary 3310 is back in shops. And you can buy it, and it makes a great festival phone. It has buttons; it has a 2MP camera and an SD card slot; you can listen to MP3s on it; and its battery lasts an ultra long time.

If you've been looking for an excuse to get your hands on one of the new models, here you go. I'm giving you permission to purchase a Nokia 3310 and take it to a festival. Compare Nokia deals

Cat B30

This one's a bit more rugged. It's IP67 certified, making it dust and water resistant, and can do pretty much everything the Nokia 3310 can - albeit with a smaller display, higher price, and the ability to do it all in the pouring rain. Buy one here.

And the rest

The Nokia 108 may not be quite as iconique as the 3310, but it's tougher and quite a bit cheaper. There's also the Samsung E1200, which is even cheaper, but doesn't have a camera. And then there's the Alcatel One Touch 10.16 which is even more cheaperer.


For a bit more functionality, you'll need to upgrade to a smartphone. This'll cost you more, but if you want to be able to use apps, access 4G internet, and take half decent pictures, it's worth it.

Huawei Y3

Huawei Y3

Here's your best option for a sub-£50 Android phone. It's super cheap, but still has good enough specifications to run all the apps you need - and an 8MP camera on the back. As an added bonus, it's also dual-SIM. See deals here.

Motorola Moto G

Motorola Moto G

If you plan on going to a lot of festivals over the next couple of years - or holidays, or other events where having a throwaway phone comes in useful - it's worth splashing out on a Moto G. Specs are a bit higher, the screen and battery are better, and, best of all, it's water resistant. That said, this isn't the best choice if you expect your phone to get totally destroyed.

More smartphones

Some older models are worth grabbing if you can find them at a good price. Look out for water resistance (IP certification is your friend here), 4G, and of course the quality of the camera - because why should your Instagram suffer?

Some good examples include the Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini, and the Sony Xperia Z1 - both of which are available pretty cheaply and still work great.

SIM card

SIM card in smartphone

In most cases, you can just stick your usual SIM card from your iPhone into your new festival phone and use that. On the other hand, if coverage on your network isn't the best, or if you really don't want to risk losing your SIM, you're better off with a temporary SIM-only deal.

You could either go pay-as-you-go, or save money with a 30-day SIM deal that you can cancel once the festival season is over.

Since you're going to Glasto, Courtney, it's genuinely worth grabbing a SIM from EE. As always, the network is providing Worthy Farm's mobile connectivity, giving its customers a 4G boost and gadget charging stations.

You'll get the same coverage from MVNOs that use the network too - such as Asda Mobile, BT Mobile, Plusnet Mobile, The People's Operator, or Virgin Mobile.

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