5 reasons the Punkt MC02 is awesome – but not for everyone

A unique phone that could be the one for you

Punkt MC02
(Image credit: Punkt)

We love talking about phones here at T3, but I must admit it can often fall into the trap of talking about them only as a binary decision. Do you go for the best Android phones? Or the best iPhones? But there is a third option. Neither.

Enter the Punkt MC02, a unique handset from the Swiss brand that instead opts for Apostrophy OS and a privacy-first approach. It's very unusual to see a phone shun an Android OS or at least a 'skinned' Android like Samsung's OneUI or the Nothing Phone (2), so we had to check it out for ourselves. 

Having used it for a while we can definitely see its merits, but it is also understandably niche. So here are 5 reasons why it's awesome but might not be right for everyone.  

1. Smooth operator

As I've mentioned the MC02 doesn't use Android, instead it opts for the Swiss-based Apostrophy OS. This is an interesting system that has a monochrome aesthetic but does look a lot like Android. 

Functionally however there are some key differences. The MC02 comes with 5GB of secure cloud storage and its own 'Digital Nomad' app. No, it's not a reference to the cringey influencer type person tech companies love to pitch us, but a built-in VPN that has a choice of three continents (with connections via Germany, the USA and Japan). 

That's handy not only for privacy and security but also say if you were on holiday and want to watch your own country's version of Netflix

On top of that, you also get double protection when using the VPN with the phone's Vanadium browser, a more secure Chrome variant that functions very similarly to Google's offering.

2. Android is an option

Punkt MC02

(Image credit: Future)

Having said that, if you do want to use Android, you're also covered. Hop on the 'GMS Wizard' app and you can download the Google Play Store to get access to all of your regular Android apps. The in-built 'Aphystore' is limited so you'll definitely want to do this to get recognisable apps. 

Android apps you install will show up in full colour, as opposed to the monochrome Apostrophy apps, an easy signal to show that they aren't quite as secure when it comes to data privacy. You can see I've got a mix in the shot above.

3. The Data Ledger

Punkt MC02

(Image credit: Future)

It can be difficult on most 'normal' phones to know exactly how much data you're sharing with the outside world. The Punkt MC02 doesn't have that problem. 

Thanks to its 'Data Ledger' function you can set a preset privacy level (from 1 to 5) for just what gets shared with your permission. From 1 - all requested permissions are allowed, to 5 all permissions are denied. 

Handily there's also a 'Carbon Reduction' dial that lets you save the phone's battery by restricting different levels of background data and other processes that eat up your phone's life. This is all a bit geeky but it's super simple in practice. 

Speaking of battery, I've been really impressed with the MC02's longevity. It can easily go 24 hours without a charge thanks to these conservation measures and a bumper 5500 mAh capacity. 

4. Form Factor and performance

Punkt MC02

(Image credit: Future)

Here's probably the biggest gripe I have with the MC02. I get that it's a practical rather than a poserish phone, but they could have made it look a bit easier on the eye. 

At £599/$749 this is very much a mid-range phone but it doesn't feel like one. The plastic back and sides are the most obvious culprit. It seems like something from a bygone era. The display isn't terrible with a 1080 x 2400 resolution, but the 60Hz refresh rate will take some getting used to coming from more impressively specced devices. The camera doesn't have the fancy AI tricks of flagships, but does pack a solid 64MP main shooter, 8MP ultrawide sensor and 2MP Macro camera. Let's be honest though, the camera isn't the main reason you'd by a phone like this. 

I have to give the MC02 massive credit for having a headphone jack in 2024, but aside from that, for such a unique phone, it doesn't stand out to the eye. Maybe, just maybe, that might be the point though.  

5. You have to subscribe 

Of course, privacy isn't something that's accomplished and then never needs addressing again. You have to continuously be protected, and there is at least a guarantee of 5 years of software updates but for the security services, you'll need to pay monthly. As a result, to use all of the Apostrophy features, you'll need to subscribe to Apostrophy Services. This brings good news and bad news. 

The good news is that you'll get a year's free subscription when you purchase the phone, the bad news is that after that it's 14.99 CHF (Swiss Francs) a month, around £13.50/18$. It's a bit like having two phone contracts at once. 

Of course for some people, you can't put a price on privacy so it will very much depend on your personal circumstances. We've not really seen another phone like the MC02 so it's hard to judge, the closest comparison would be the Fairphone, but that doesn't have the emphasis on privacy. 

Andy Sansom
Staff Writer

Andy is T3's Tech Staff Writer, covering all things technology, including his biggest passions such as gaming, AI, phones, and basically anything cool and expensive he can get his hands on. If he had to save one possession from a fire it would be his PlayStation 5. He previously worked for Tom’s Guide - where he got paid to play with ChatGPT every day. When it comes to streaming, Andy will have his headphones glued in whilst watching something that will make him laugh. He studied Creative Writing at university, but also enjoys supporting his favourite football team (Liverpool), watching F1, teaching himself guitar, and spending time with his dog.