The headline to this article is slightly misleading. We did not use the Banana Phone nonstop for 45 days. We didn’t even use it every day. We did use it more than a dozen times in a variety of situations to put it through its paces. What we found is that the Banana Phone mostly works as advertised. However, the price is a bit steep. We recommend it as a gag gift, for people who are serious about their physical comedy, and individuals who are obsessed with bananas (maybe if your name rhymes with banana, Johanna?)
We Got Our Banana Phone for Free
First of all, we must disclose that the fellas at Banana Phone gave us their product for free so that we could review it. We made it clear that the review would feature constructive criticism, and for some reason, they still sent us the Banana Phone. We performed the unboxing of the phone in November. And, I interviewed the President and Co-Founder, Brian Brunsing, in December for the first episode of the Brains Report Podcast.
How Does the Banana Phone Work?
When the phone arrives it doesn’t have any instructions on the exterior of the box other than the “Talk More, Smile More, Save Gorillas” tagline. After about half an hour of yelling at the box to reveal its secrets, my toddler opened the box. Contained within was all the information I needed. I first needed to charge the phone. I am a sensitive guy, and the light-emitting diode that notified me that the phone was charging was harsh on my eyes, but it was bright enough to serve as a reading light (UPDATE: Brian with Banana Phone informed me: “We’ve adjusted the LED brightness on all new units.”) Once it was charged, the light turned green. It helps to charge the fruit while it’s turned off.
The naner features three buttons (in order from top to bottom): volume up, multifunction, and volume down. To turn it on, you hold the multifunction button down for five seconds until a nice lady tells you “power on.” You then pop over to your smartphone and connect to “Banana Phone” via your Bluetooth connection. The nice lady says “connected” once it’s connected.
You need to be on speaking terms with your phone’s voice assistant to use this device. I generally keep this turned off because I don’t like the idea of allowing companies to listen in on me at all times, but to serve our audience, I decided to make an exception.
Making a Phone Call
I have only used the Banana Phone on an Android phone, specifically the Moto Z2, so my information is based on my experience using this type of phone. Results may vary. There are a couple ways to call. You can press the multifunction button twice and formally address your phone via the Banana Phone mouthpiece with your call request, “Ok, Google. Call Flanders.” Or, I found that I can just skip the button pressing and tell my phone to call someone.
The only difference is that when I press the multifunction button first, all of the voice commands are through the Banana Phone. Otherwise, I’m interacting directly with my Moto.
Once you get someone on the line, you can talk for up to 10 hours before the battery dies. I did not get the opportunity to test this out because I can’t stand talking on the phone. I tried to get my teenager who has a phone glued to his ear to try it, but in teenager fashion, he was completely uncooperative. I did have an hour-long conversation on the Banana Phone without any issues.
Once you are done with your phone call, you can press the multifunction button twice to hang up. Also, if you want to answer an incoming call, you just press the multifunction button once and say, “Yo yo yo, ‘sup dog?”
Overall, I enjoyed using the Banana Phone. It is great for what it is. When we get free stuff at Brains Report, we tend to give it away after testing, but we’re going to keep this one. It is much more comfortable to hold between your shoulder and ear than your run-of-the-mill smartphone.
One of the main reasons I don’t like talking on the phone is that I have a hard time hearing people. This was not a problem with the Banana Phone. The volume range is quite broad. If you have it at top volume, it will blow your eardrum out. Voices are also clear, but that is only if you have your smartphone within a few feet of you. The makers state that the Banana Phone has a 30-foot Bluetooth range, and we found this to be accurate, but the sound quality degrades quickly at distances greater than 10 feet.
After you hang up, I recommend holding down the multifunction button to turn off the Banana Phone because I’ve noticed that it does not hold a charge for long when it’s in ready mode. The makers state that it has a battery life of 70 hours when idling, but in testing, it seemed to be closer to 48 hours or less. However, if you have the Banana Phone turned off, we found the charge will hold for a week or more.
What We Liked about the Banana Phone
There are four main PROS to using the Banana Phone:
- 1% of all sales go to Gearing Up for Gorillas
- It gets loud
- Great for young children who tend to get distracted on smartphones
- It’s nearly impossible to be sad while using it
When you look at larger companies like Toms (one pair of shoes donated for every pair sold) and Leesa (one mattress donated for every ten sold), Banana Phone’s 1% donation doesn’t look like much. But, you also need to take into consideration that they’re donating cash-money and not product. They’re also a new company just getting off the ground, and from talking to Brian, the President, their profit margins are fairly narrow at this point. Plus, there are millions of companies out there that don’t give anything back.
I enjoyed having my toddler talk on the Banana Phone because he didn’t know how to hang up on people. And, he wasn’t distracted by apps. Basically, he wouldn’t ghost his bubbe so he could watch Peppa Pig cartoons on YouTube. It wasn’t an option.
What We Didn’t Like about the Banana Phone
There are three main CONS to using the Banana Phone:
- It must be within a few feet of your smartphone if you want to hear clearly
- You have to charge it every couple days if you want to have it ready at all times
- Mildly inconvenient for others to use
I’ve already covered the first two bullet points in the Performance section. As for the third point, I would have liked it if friends could easily take it for a ride. And, really, they can. They just need to go through the two-minute setup process with their phone. However, my toddler doesn’t have a phone. He doesn’t even have a job to afford one. It would be awesome if he could contact 911 using the Banana Phone after one of my “Leeroy Jenkins” moments. Anyway, as you can see, I have very high, weird expectations that are beyond the purview of this amusement phone.
Should You Buy the Banana Phone?
Overall, I think the Banana Phone costs more than most people are willing to pay. It’s one of a kind. It more-or-less works exactly as advertised. But, it’s hard for me to see the average Joe spending around $40 for it. However, if you are seriously into bananas, want a way to put a smile on your face and stay positive throughout the day, or you have a large gag gift budget, then I strongly recommend the Banana Phone. Like I said, we are keeping ours. It’s fun!