II have made a few phone related comments here, and have read the the post on security, privacy, choice.
I've been going without a smart phone for a few years after my last one was bricked by an update. My fault for having a MTK based phone, it's not even listed anymore by Sonim like it never existed.
Nope. No way in hell I'd spend 4 figures on a phone, 3 is a stretch. My old V195 flipper has been working great for a decade, but it's starting to drop every call. Maybe, they know it's an old phone and they secretly barf my calls to induce a new purchase. More likely, technology is changing, and tower priority is changing, and the old frequencies are slowly going away. This actually seems to be the case. In a few places, it works fine. But there are new dead zones that used to have good coverage.
I've tested out a few used phones over the years, smart phones that is. They typically have had worse reception in the mountains and a much shorter battery life even when I don't play with them and turn all the non-phone stuff off. The comparison is no longer valid if the towers stop dealing with older technology.
So I got forced into a decision, coincidentally at the launch of the newest 'unsmart' phone. So for only the second time since I bought the V195, I paid full launch price on a phone. The kind-of wonderful Alcatel Go Flip 3. Way over priced at T-mobile, unless it last the next decade! The At&T version is much cheaper but I'm not convinced they are identical. T-mobile claims more bands for their version, and support for the new bands not yet in service that may make the phone useful for the next decade.
It's simple, not an android exactly, and definitely not IOS. As a phone it works. Reception is up and voice quality adequate. With wifi, BT, 32GB of extra storage and an actual headphone jack it has the 'ipod' functionality covered my old flipper lacked. I've been using an ancient PD2000 mp3 player, one with an actual micro 20GB hard drive. What that does is actually drive my decent noise canceling full ear cup head phones. This phone struggles with those, but drives basic ear buds ok. Maybe some higher end bluetooth style might help.
Also, it operates fine on a voice only sim. I separated that years ago, with a hotspot and a data only sim. Also an Alcatel, I've noticed as the voice on the flipper has deteriorated over the last few years, the data performance of the hotspot has improved to 3-4X what it was when I first got it.
So I plugged it in to my Debian Box, it appeared on the desktop as an Android with an almost accurate icon (has a keypad!) and it mounts up fine, charging while I load a few podcast. The full cups do ok with people talking, just not powerful enough for music.
So while I've not caught up with the Joneses, they only come here for vacation.