We know it’s frustrating to find a non-camera smartphone in Singapore to use in the army or for your work. With smartphones becoming more advanced and cheaper to produce, almost every new phone model nowadays has a built-in camera.
Thus, we searched high and low for non-camera smartphones still available for sale in Singapore. The options may be limited, but at least you’ll have a phone handy if your new workplace is in a high security area.
Non-Camera Smartphone Policy in Army Camps
Are you starting National Service or going for reservist? You may require a non-camera smartphone if your army camp is a ‘Red Zone’.
In March 2016, the SAF eased rules on electronic devices in army camps:
- Green Zones – Camera-enabled smartphones, tablets and laptops are allowed to be brought in. Unauthorised photography or videography is prohibited.
- Red Zones – Camera-enabled smartphones are not allowed in high-security areas with classified information. You’ll either have to leave it in designated locker facilities or disable the camera function in accordance with SAF standards.
It’s recommended to check with your superiors for information on the use of camera-enabled smartphones. When in doubt, consider getting one of these non-camera smartphones instead.
iNo 6 Non-Camera Smartphone
iNo Mobile is a homegrown mobile phone brand that produced its first non-camera phone, the iNo ONE, in 2012. Since then, it has continued to update the series with new Android models.
The iNo 6 is the latest addition to its non-camera smartphone series. The phone runs on the newest Android 8.1 Oreo operating system with an impressive set of features for its price.
Highlights include an octa-core processor, 4GB of RAM and a huge 4040mAh battery. That’s enough power to last for 5 to 7 days of standby time, or 24 hours of talk time. Other notable features in the iNo 6 are its wireless charging and fast charging capabilities. You also get an 18-month local warranty in case you run into any issues.
Best for: Those working long-term in high-security areas, who don’t mind paying a slight premium for the latest Android smartphone features.
iNo 3 Non-Camera Smartphone
Don’t need the newest smartphone features at work or in camp? The iNo 3 non-camera smartphone will be the better choice for you.
This 4G LTE phone runs on Android 5.1, so it’s still compatible with most apps like WhatsApp or YouTube.
You won’t benefit from the all newest software upgrades though. At two-thirds of the iNo 6’s price, we think that’s a reasonable drawback.
Best for: Those who need a non-camera smartphone but not the latest bells and whistles. If you already have a flagship smartphone, the iNo 3 works great as a second phone for work purposes.
Nokia 130 Dual SIM Non-camera Feature Phone
Okay, we cheated – this one is technically not a smartphone. But at $32, you get a usable non-camera phone without feeling the pinch.
Living up to the reputation of Nokia feature phones, you can expect the Nokia 130 Dual SIM to be extremely durable. Its battery life is even rumoured to last over a month without charging! You’ll still be able to do basic functions like calling, text messaging and audio playback. Just don’t expect this simple phone to run the latest smartphone apps or games.
Best for: Those who already have an expensive flagship phone and just need a cheap non-camera phone temporarily. This could be for reservist or a short business trip.
P.S.: Be sure to get the Nokia 130 Dual SIM or Classic model as these do not have a camera. The latest Nokia 130 (2017 model) comes with a 2MP front camera.
Camera Removal Service for Smartphones
Besides buying a non-camera smartphone, an alternative is to remove the camera on a camera-enabled smartphone. You can do this via:
- Removing the camera module – This method requires disassembly of your phone but lets you keep the camera module so you can install it back in the future. You risk damage to your phone by doing this complicated operation yourself, so we recommend engaging a professional for help.
- Sandblasting the camera lens – You can attempt this yourself using a sandpaper or etching cream, but this can easily damage your phone’s exterior. Moreover, newer models may have toughened camera lenses that can render this method ineffective.
Before doing this, do check with your superiors if this is allowed. It’ll be a nightmare if you remove your phone’s camera for nothing. For those in the army, ask if you need any proof of camera removal before bringing your phone in.
We also wouldn’t do this on a premium flagship smartphone. Removing the camera voids its warranty, plus the thought of removing the camera from an expensive smartphone is painful.
You’re better off buying an affordable mid-range smartphone on Shopee and removing its camera. We recommend those produced by Xiaomi or Honor for their powerful hardware and attractive prices. If you buy yours at Shopee Mall, it is guaranteed to be authentic and comes with free shipping!
We hope you found this guide useful, do share any tips you have about non-camera smartphones below. For more tech tips, read about the 10 best power banks you need in 2018.