Trying to find phones without a camera in Singapore for work or reservist can be challenging! With improved technology, every new smartphone on the market seems to boast even better built-in camera capabilities than their predecessors. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of non-camera smartphones that can be used within army camps or at work — perfect if your new workplace is in a high-security area!
Non-camera smartphone policy in army camps
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. You can’t take unauthorised photos or videos.
- 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.
Even though Green Zones in army camps means you can bring in your smartphones with cameras, it’s still better to play it safe and check on intra-unit policies with your superior. If your camp is in a designated Red Zone, where camera-enabled smartphones are not allowed, your best bet is a non-camera smartphone or to disable your camera function in accordance with SAF standards. Here’s a guide on how to do the latter:
Removing or sandblasting your smartphone’s camera
Before going into non-camera smartphone options, here are two best approaches to convert your current mobile device into phones without a camera:
- Removing the camera module: You’d need to disassemble your phone for this — the bright side, however, is that you’ll be able to reinstall your smartphone’s camera when required. To prevent accidental damage to your phone, we recommend engaging a professional to handle this complex operation instead of giving it a go on your own.
- Sandblasting the camera lens: A less delicate method, sandblasting your smartphone’s camera involves using a piece of sandpaper to blur the phone’s camera lens. While you’d run the risk of scratching other parts of your phone, this method is straightforward and effective.
Prior to modifying your smartphone, you should be certain that these modified phones are allowed in red zones — you wouldn’t want to go through all the hassle for no reason! Do also ask your unit’s security officer if proof of camera removal is required. If you’re planning to go ahead with these methods, you’d want to avoid doing so with an expensive flagship mobile phone. We recommend conducting this operation on affordable entry-level smartphones – read on to check out some of our suggestions.
Affordable non-camera smartphones to pick up
1. SGINO 6S
Homegrown brand iNo Mobile specialises in manufacturing non-camera smartphones. Despite having no camera function, they don’t compromise on the phone’s other performance aspects. The SGINO 6S (available on Sonic Connection) is the brand’s latest release and comes with an impressive set of features for its affordable price point. Stand out specifications include the Android 9.0 operating system, 4GB of RAM and even a fingerprint scanner for added security. Overall, SGINO 6S is a simple yet slick-looking phone without a camera, one you should definitely consider getting before heading to camp!
Best for: Those working long-term in high-security areas and don’t have regular access to power sockets to charge their phone.
2. Nokia 215
Despite their candybar phones being a popular pop-culture meme, the Nokia 215 (available on hxdz0022.sg) certainly holds its own in the non-camera smartphone space! By featuring a throwback design that pays homage to the early days of mobile phones, Nokia have redesigned their classic phones and added a modern ergonomic twist. At just 78.4-grams and 4.6-inches, we dare say this is one of the most portable phones without a camera! With additional 4G capabilities for casual internet use, the Nokia 215 is certainly worth considering if you’re planning on travelling light! Besides, it’s a non-camera smartphone that costs less than your average local data plan.
Best for: Those who hate bulky phones or rugged outfield days, where you’d be much better off carrying a lightweight phone.
Affordable smartphones that need their camera removed
3. Xiaomi Redmi 9A
If you ask any lao jiao which affordable non-camera smartphone they recommend for you to own in a red zone, odds are they’ll point you to Xiaomi’s phones while asking you to remove its camera! Out of their lineup, your best bet will be Xiaomi Redmi 9A (available on Xiaomi Global Official Store). Despite its low price tag, Xiaomi has jam-packed plenty of features into this no-frills device! From its minimalist matte finish and 6.53-inch display to its MediaTek Helio G25 chipset and 5000 mAh battery, you’ll find all the necessities here to make gaming and watching videos a breeze. Ultimately, Xiaomi ensures Redmi 9A survives today’s media streaming and mobile gaming age without costing a bomb! Just make sure you remember to get the camera removed or sandblasted.
Best for: Those who need an affordable, branded smartphone that checks all the boxes of a modern entry-level device!
4. i11 Pro HD
Having to spend long nights awake during night shift duties can be really mundane. Want to catch up on your favourite TV series? You’d want to get a smartphone with a large display. Coming in at less than $70, the i11 Pro HD (available on smartwatch123.sg) offers you the best bang for your buck! The smartphone boasts a huge 6.1-inch display along with excellent battery life and 8G RAM – all the specifications you’ll need for a night of your favourite Netflix Asian dramas. That said, the stock device is not a non-camera smartphone. However, this shouldn’t be a problem with some sandblasting!
Best for: Those who need a phone without a camera to binge-watch films and TV series – but be sure to not get too engrossed in your film, lest you face disciplinary action!
5. K-TOUCH I9
Does your vocation or posting require you to regularly carry out physical and laborious tasks within camp red zones? Trying to fiddle with a large smartphone while lugging heavy equipment can be cumbersome. The K-TOUCH I9 (available on hxdz0022.sg) is a compact smartphone mobile device that comes with a 3.5-inch display and fits perfectly in the palm. Despite its small frame, apps such as YouTube and Gmail can still run smoothly on the device. Although the K-TOUCH I9 does have a built-in camera, it can be easily removed with the help of a professional.
Best for: Those who need a small and functional phone without a camera while still being convenient for use on-the-go.
Pair your non-camera smartphone with the best affordable electronic devices
From specialised non-camera smartphones to sandblasting your phone’s camera, we hope you’ve solved your non-camera smartphone dilemma! Before enlisting or returning for reservist, you should also buy some of these best power banks that’ll help your phone last for days even if you don’t have access to a power socket. If you’re looking for other affordable mobile phones, check our recommendations for the best budget phones!
This article was updated on 21 April 2021. Additional research done by Bryant Tay.