Purchasing a smartphone shouldn’t mean foregoing senior-friendly features and, vice versa, purchasing a simplified, economical alternative shouldn’t mean departing with an easy way to call, text, or share updates with family and friends. We’ve rounded up our two favorite smartphones and our two favorite no-frills phones, each with unique features to highlight.
We’re making the search for a new phone easy, but, no matter where your search takes you, remember to be discerning along dimensions of: cost, battery life, camera quality, and wireless service for online access.
For seniors in the market, you should pay special attention to: senior-friendly navigation and display, emergency features, and enhanced speaker and volume settings.
Touchscreen phones are best for: web surfing, camera, and storage
You know the jingle: it’s Jitterbug, the phone designed with seniors in mind—this list wouldn’t be complete without it’s Smart device. GreatCall has curated the popular Android smartphone by displaying only the apps you’ll want most and without all of the clutter.
An easy-to-use menu lets you find those frequently used features fast, even during crisis situations with several premier, pre-installed emergency apps. Medcoach sends prescription reminders; Urgent Care connects users with healthcare concerns to medical professionals; the 5Star app alerts and connects you to GreatCall’s own live medical service team day or night.
A new, wider 5.5” screen combined with large letters and numbers ensures legibility; a full size keyboard and the ability to type via voice command make writing texts and emails effortless. It’s also got your mobile internet access, 8GB of storage, long-lasting battery, front-facing and main camera with flash covered.
Cost: $149,99 + talk, text, and data.
Another phone engineered especially for seniors, the Doro 824 SmartEasy from Consumer Cellular presents us with a similarly uncluttered design, large icons, crystal clear sound, and hearing aid compatibility.
Its 4G/LTE network allows you to share pictures with family and friends, enjoy entertainment online, and download apps from Google Play™. With buttons for simplified access to the home screen, recently used applications, and “back” button, the Doro 824’s 5” layout is highly navigable.
The phone also allows you to preprogram a number of your choice into a one-click button for those emergency dials. What’s more, the My Doro Manager app lets trusted family and friends help you to manage your phone remotely when they download the app to their own phone.
Cost: $100, plus selected phone plan. Discounts for AARP members.
Keypad phones are best for: cost, battery, and speaker system
Look no further than Snapfon’s smartphone for enhanced volume controls and hearing aid compatibility (M3/T3). This phone won’t grant you Internet access or a camera, but it features a true numeric keypad as opposed to a touchscreen, a high-power LED flashlight, and great security features.
For your safety, we love the big, red “SOS” alert button on the back. Just push and hold for a siren and an emergency speakerphone, which connects you to a 24/7 monitoring service. Snapfon’s low-battery warning feature is a winner: you can set the phone to text a nearby friend, relative, or caregiver if your battery gets low.
Cost: Two for $79.99, plus selected phone plan on Amazon. 30 day money back guarantee.
Like the Snapfon, Blu’s Joy phone is a great option for those that want a keypad to type with, and are willing to forego internet access. Using this phone is similarly straightforward, with large buttons and numbers and a clear, full color 2.4” display. A one-touch red alert button on the back connects you to emergency personnel, much like the Snapfon.
Unlike the Snapfon, though, the Joy includes a camera and a media player, making it easy to take, share, and enjoy photos and content. With a streamlined leather cover, it looks about as modern as any phone on the market these days. But make no mistake: this phone was designed to meet all the needs of the senior crowd.