Some people say things like: Phones should have bigger batteries, I don't care how thick it is. Or: Why aren't there any smartphones with screens smaller than 5 inches anymore? Or: There used to be a wider variety of phones; I'm missing keyboard phones/rugged phones/phones without a bunch of bloatware/etc. I think it is a very small group of people who feel like this strongly enough to say it. But I keep stumbling over such comments and I notice them because I have sometimes felt the same. And there's some truth about some of it. The most popular phones are all large and thin with privacy-invading bloatware that you can't uninstall and often with other malware pre-installed. They don't have keys on the front and you can't simply switch out the battery. But there is a bigger variaty of phones than there has ever bean. If you're missing a certain feature in your phone and can't find one that has it, you probably haven't looked far or long enough. I'd just like to mention a few manufacturers of not entirely mainstream phones and then maybe I'll make individual entries about some of them later with more information.
Notable options are:
F(x)tec: Flips open, keyboard in the style of late Nokia keyboard smartphones, best for thumb-typing, currently the first version is only available used and the newer version is currently shipping to Indiegogo backers. So it should be available without a long wait from the web shop soon.
Planet Computers: Different variants available, older ones are clam-shell, the latest is trying a new mechanism that leaves the touchscreen on the outside and usable when the physical keyboard is closed. Keyboard in Psion Series 5 style, best for table typing.
Unihertz: Clones of late Blackberry keyboard phones, screen above keyboard, for thumb-typing.
A used phone. Because you can still get a blackberry if you like. A few weeks or months from now you probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference between you almost new one and a refurbished one anyway. It's cheaper, you have more devices to choose from and it's better for the environment (whatever your definition of that may be). Did I miss or forget an option?
Phones with small screens
Uniherts also has started to fill this gap. Or you can get an older phone, maybe a used one. A few weeks or months from now you probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference between you almost new one and a refurbished one anyway. It's cheaper, you have more devices to choose from and it's better for the environment (whatever your definition of that may be). Did I miss or forget an option?
Phones with large batteries
If that's your one important requirement, you have many cheap phones that claim to have batteries with around 10 Ah (yes, 10.000 mAh if you prefer to see read more zeros) to choose from. Some manufacturers that I don't know anything about are: Yess, Gionee, Blackview, Ulefone. Ulefone seems to have several current models to choose from and I know somebody who is happy with theirs, whatever that tells you. I'm sure there are more brands of phones with giant batteries. But I'm personally happy with the 2 to 3 days I get out of my regular phone. I only complained about this when phones would at most last for one day without getting charged. If you're content with a battery with a capacity of around 6 or 7 Ah, you have even more to choose from and that range has actually started to enter the mainstream phone market (Huawei, Samsung, Asus, ZTE, …). You'll easily find some if you look for them. But many still don't think of searching for one. I guess this has been more of an issue 10 years ago, where phones needed more power to come through a day while at the same time no smartphones with big batteries existed. Getting an external battery that clips to the back of your phone has been more of a thing back then. That's still an option if such a product exist for your phone or you really love duct tape.
Headphone jacks, removable batteries, hardware buttons below the screen, ...
How about getting a used phone. A few weeks or months from now you probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference between you almost new one and a refurbished one anyway. It's cheaper, you have more devices to choose from and it's better for the environment (whatever your definition of that may be). Or at least I read that somewhere a few minutes ago. There are new phones with current hardware that haven't given up on these concepts. But none that I care to mention and the choice of phones with current hardware and easily removable batteries or hardware more than one hardware button below the screen doesn't appear to be good. Did I miss one?
But what about software? Security updates, free software, Google-less Android, privacy-respecting operating systems
Well, it would certainly make choosing and setting up a phone easier if you don't care about those things. But the FOSS community is producing images for many phones that otherwise would only run an Android built by the manufacture or carrier with all the usual insults like bloatware, pre-installed malware and other privacy-invading components. Using an older smartphone (maybe not a Nokia Communicator/Nokia 9xxx, but like maybe 10 years old) with current free software is certainly an option.