The 5 Best Cell Phones For Senior Citizens

phonesforseniors   The 5 Best Cell Phones For Senior CitizensUs young punks love our fancy mobile phones. We text, we visit websites, and we view video – all on a device that uses small text and is fragile if dropped. The HTC SuperMan FullThrottle XIV may be lusted after by those of us with great vision, but recommending it to someone over 60 usually isn’t the best idea.

So what are the best cell phones for senior citizens? There aren’t many, but some do stand out from the crowd.

Snapfon Ez One

snapfone   The 5 Best Cell Phones For Senior Citizens

Of all the phones that I researched for this article, this is the only one that’s explicitly made with seniors in mind. Visiting the website shows that its tag line is “the cell phone for seniors” so obviously the designers knew there was a market for this kind of device.

The most obvious distinguishing characteristic is the huge buttons on the face of the phone. They’re large, easy to read and easy to activate. This, combined with a simple large-print LCD screen and high earpiece volume, make the Snapfon Ez an obvious choice.

There’s more to it than big buttons, however. It also includes an SOS button which can be used to automatically connect with an emergency phone number. This makes the Snapfon a particularly good choice for seniors that have difficulty with movement. Rather than trying to reach an emergency phone, help can be contacted by pressing a single button.

Snapfon is a GSM world phone, so it will work with most carriers. There’s also a plan available direct through the phone’s manufacturer. Though the plan lacks features like mobile data, the phone only supports voice and text communication, so the plan fits well with the device.

You can buy the Snapfon Ex One-C, the latest version, for $59.99 on Amazon or on Snapfon’s website.

Doro 410

doro410   The 5 Best Cell Phones For Senior Citizens

Another phone that is built with seniors in mind, the Doro 410 is a somewhat smaller, sleeker device than the Snapfon Ez One. It uses a flip-phone design and has smooth edges that make it easier to slip in and out of a pocket or bag. In other words, it looks like a fairly normal phone.

That doesn’t mean you lose functionality. The keys  are larger than normal and the small display is configured to display large text. An emergency SOS button similar to the Snapfon’s is included, although it’s not as large and easy to use.

The Doro 410 also includes Bluetooth, a feature not found on the Snapfon. This could be a boon to seniors who want something easy to use but also want to talk with both hands free.

You’ll have to pay $69.99 for the Doro. Although it is technically a GSM world phone, it ships locked to the Consumer Cellular network, which is apparently associated with AT&T. You can potentially unlock it, but doing so may take some effort.

Samsung Jitterbug

jitterbug   The 5 Best Cell Phones For Senior Citizens

The Jitterbug is Samsung’s entry into the easy-to-use phone market. It’s been around for some time and generally received good reviews over its life. While the exterior features a jelly-bean like design, flipping it open reveals an interior that has large buttons and an LCD with big, high-contrast text.

Jitterbug’s most unusual feature is its close tie-in with the carrier, named GreatCall. The company boasts that Jitterbug users can call GreatCall and use them as a personal operator. If you want to enter a calendar event, you don’t have to do it yourself – you can call the operator, tell them the information, and they’ll enter the event for you.

Other features include Bluetooth, voice dialing and an SOS-like feature that uses a keypad combination rather than an SOS button. Overall, this phone is not as easy to use as the others, but it’s also more stylish and has features the others don’t.

You can pick up the Jitterbug for about $65 through Amazon. You’ll need to sign up with GreatCall, which offers plans for as little as $14.99 or as much as $79.99 (for the unlimited talk + text plan and access to all GreatCall apps).

Nokia C2-01.5

nokiac2   The 5 Best Cell Phones For Senior Citizens

Though not designed for seniors, the Nokia C2-01.5 has many features that will appeal to them. It is a simple, basic phone with an easy to use layout. It doesn’t have large keys or a display that only uses large text, but this also means that if offers more functionality. Unlike the pure-breed senior phones we’ve already discussed, this one has an okay camera, can use apps and can even access the Internet if you pay for a mobile data package.

The Nokia C2-01.5 also nails the basics. It gets good reception. It is relatively loud and call quality is excellent. Bluetooth works well and basic text messaging is easy to use and understand. In other words, the Nokia C2-01.5 is a good phone – a much better one, in fact, than many smartphones costing two or three times as much.

Speaking of which, you can buy this phone unlocked for a little over $90. It’s a GSM phone, so it will work with a number of carriers worldwide. It’s a great phone for people who are not tech-savvy but are otherwise mobile and don’t need oversized buttons or text to properly use a phone.

Samsung Galaxy Note

samsunggalaxynote   The 5 Best Cell Phones For Senior Citizens

The Galaxy Note is Samsung’s “phablet” –  a bit bigger than a phone, a bit smaller than a tablet. It’s not designed with seniors in mind, but then again, not all seniors are technophobes. If you‘re a senior who wants to check out smartphones the Note is a good pick.

The Note’s distinguishing feature is its 5.3″ display. This makes the phone much larger than others, which in turn makes the display easier to read when the user zooms in on text. The fact the display is a bright AMOLED helps – a lot of smartphones cause problems for older users because reflections destroy the perceived contrast of a glossy display. The Galaxy Note can’t escape this problem entirely, but it handles it better than most.

Even the Stylus can be handy, as it allows for more precise input in certain apps. Its old-fashioned feel is exactly what might appeal to some seniors.

The Samsung Galaxy Note can be purchased for $550 on Amazon if you want it unlocked. Otherwise, you can buy it for $299 through AT&T.

Conclusion

Do you know of a great phone for a senior that isn’t listed here? Leave a comment and let everyone know about it! I selected the phones above carefully, but I had to cut out some decent devices in the process.

The comments were closed because the article is more than 180 days old.

If you have any questions related to what's mentioned in the article or need help with any computer issue, ask it on MakeUseOf Answers—We and our community will be more than happy to help.

37 Comments -

Jan

Thank you, Kaggy. This article helped me as well.

Anonymous Senior Citizen

Being a senior myself, I find this all a bit condescending.

My husband and I both own Android phones – I have an HTC Thunderbolt that I got the week it was released. A mistake I know now, but not because of my “poor eyesight”. My husband has a Droid Razr and he can use it just fine.

So maybe you didn’t have to really have to cut out all those decent devices.

Matt Smith

How would the list have been different from a generic “top 5 smartphones” list if I just listed normal smartphones?

ceteco

Not trying to be rude or anything, but vision degrades as we age, maybe you’re on of the few lucky ones who doesn’t.

Jo Erne

It’s not just a vision issue. Obviously, there are plenty of people 65+ who have been using computers and smartphones for quite a while and who know how they work. For some seniors, though, the bells and whistles of even the “simplest” of mainstream phones are VERY confusing. My 85-year old mother, for instance, used to have basic computer literacy, but technology is still not her way of thinking and now, after a couple of strokes, she finds her cell phone (Verizon’s simplest model) too baffling to do more than answer. Also, the buttons are difficult for her to see and to operate. A simple phone, perhaps like the Snapfon EZ One described in this article, would be a big help. She has friends her age–very smart, very with it, but who have never been comfortable with “new” technology, and who simply forgo cell phones because they are too confusing. Shame, too, as a cell phone is a pretty useful thing in case of emergency.

By the way, I’m in my early 50s and have a hard time finding cordless phones for home use with buttons big enough for me to see. Even if I can see the numbers, the letters are way too small. I have come to loathe 1-800-NUMBERS. I have to go get glasses or a darn magnifying glass to dial. And my eyesight isn’t even that bad.

Nagendra kumar Gummapu

nice share dude thanks

Kyem Ghosh

may be today’s 60+ citizens are smart enough to use high end androids and even iPhones. But still 80% of them goes for simple phones or some introductory smartphones. My father, a senior citizen, choose to have a qwerty keypad phones. Last year he asked me to buy a nokia C6 00 which is a full touch screen phone and has a sliding keypad just for Rs 12500 (250$ app.). He uses it fine cz he says that its much easy to use a touch phone as the icons are big enough, there is no confusion in pressing buttons just there are three keys, one for menu and the other two for call and end and as the phone runs on symbian s60v5, it has loads of option to customerize. He smoothly uses the sliding keypad for texting and using a lil bit of internet, may be for sending some mails or googling. Yes the processor speed and the RAM is low but speed is not a headache for my father. Thus Nokia C6 00 is a good phone for the senior citizens at a lower price!!!

Matt.Smith

Looks like that could be cool, I’ll put it on my list of things to check out.

Bruce

Okay, I really hated this article. Its condescending and over-generalized. However, I checked out your blog and liked it. What’s an old man to do? Guess my hope for you is that you check out the difference between having a disability and being a “senior” (whatever that is).

rafael

My grandparents are both over 85 and these are the kind of phonea they need. They cannot use a regular Nokia non- smartphone.

ts

err… there’s an invention around (called spectacles) which allow me to read my Desire HD. Yes, old like me. So next obstacle? I am senile???? I’m sick to death of being stereotyped as some sort of senior, physically challenged, idiot. Why not an aritcle on what phone to buy for an IQ challenged “young punk”? From what I see, there’s a huge demographic right there waiting to be tapped.

Archie

HHahaha….
Nice…hats off to u…..
well some people just write down articles without proper knowledge…

Matt Smith

Like I said to the other reader, if you want to read an article about the best smartphones for everyone, then do that.

This is a piece about phones specifically for seniors.

aarp member

sounds like you are the stereotypical “Grumpy Old Man”
I for one think this is a great article for helping my mom get a phone she can use at 80

Ken

There seem to be a few sensitive people around who are annoyed at being classed as seniors. The fact is that there is a market for simple phones with large text that are easy to use. If you are 80 years old and still on top of your game, then get an I phone. These phones are made for people who want to keep it simple. By the way, is the TRacfone SVC still around?

Barbie

Yes, the SVC is still very much around. I got one for my mom for Mother’s Day. Was surprised not to see it in the line-up here-being cheaper than any of the phones listed ($15), but with most of the same user friendly features. My mom has been refusing to get a cellphone, but once she got used to using it and saw how easy it is, she’s quite at home sending texts, setting reminders and generally finding her way around the menu. There really are some seniors out there who are afraid of new technology and haven’t been exposed to it in the past, as well as those who have no desire to spend more than $10/month on minutes.

Cheryl Fetterman

Thanks for the article. I have a friend who is in rehab after a stroke and I asked if she would have been able to use her cell phone if she had had it with her when the stroke happened. She said she was ‘fuzzy’ and couldn’t move well. Later, she yelled and banged with her cane untile a neighbor heard her and came. I told I wouldn’t be able to use my cell phone if I was very sick (nothing wrong with me including eyesight) and I wondered if she would like to have a big number simple phone that’s only a phone. She said yes, that sounded better than the one she has so here I am online looking at what’s on the market. Thanks for the article – it a good starting point.

Brenda Wendt May

My mom is 67 yrs old and has Alzheimer’s. This does not mean she is incapable of using a cell phone, only that it NEEDS to be easier. As their disease progresses tasks with to many steps get confusing like ATM machines (too many options). Right now the stats are 1 in 10 people will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or some type of dementia. By 2025 it will be 1 in 6. Its time for the big wigs to take their heads out of their wallets and back on the end users. Just because your a senior, it does not mean it was made especially with YOU in mind. Only an option due to the vastness of people as individuals.

Jan

Thank you for this article. My mom is 92 years old and amazing in regard to her physical abilities and mental status. That being said, she has absolutely no technical aptitude so I have been searching for a cell phone that she might be able to use. You have helped me greatly. Again, thank you.

Alex

Nice Article! But you forgot to mention one of the real leaders in the cell phones for seniors market – The Just5 phones, that has a lot of satisfied customers and credibility in the market! Check them out at http://www.Just5.com

Ish

Very informative article! I was looking for an simple phone for my grandfather to use. Any suggestions for a qwerty keypad for him? He is hard of hearing, and it is easier for him to text me.
He liked my blackberry bold for texting, but the phone itself is too complicated.
Thanks

Matt Smith

Your best bet will be a QWERTY feature phone. The Nokia C3-00 is a good example. Do an Amazon.com search for “QWERTY phone” and you will receive many results. None of them are super-simple, though.

Chris Smart Consumer

Matt. This is a VERY helpful article. Some people would not appreciate it if you bought the phone for them and paid off all their bills, then stocked the fridge and cooked dinner.
Please keep your cool the way you have done, and appreciate the constructive comments.
Thanks for a well written and simple list dude. You ain’t no punk.

Driana

This is a great article for help in finding a phone for anyone who needs or wants a basic phone without any or a minimum of bells and whistles. My mother-in-law at 85 and has no trouble seeing or pressing regular size number or reading regular size text. However, she does have problems with her old LG and her new Samsung flip phones many features. She gets stuck on speaker phone, car audio set up, and any manner of extra program modes that she then cannot get out of. This is a bright, capable woman who is a senior at 85; she needs the simplicity of this type of phone because she has no interest in learning this type of tech though surely could if it was of interest to her. I am 44 and need this type of phone for the large type and keys. I have an I-phone that I love and use but definitely have trouble reading because my eyes sight has gone from near-sighted to just plain bad.

I don’t think I would have found this article if it had been listed under disabilities (where I would look for my son who is disabled). I did find it on my first search try under phones for seniors.

Larry Testerman Jr

Dude, everyone has forgotten about the BEST phone out there. The Rugby series. I have the first two and tried my best to destroy them. I even ran over my Rugby 1 over two years ago. did not phase it. my ex still uses it. I get the Rugby 3 later this month. Everyone who can not live without a touch screen must have it!!

KT

I’m 57, a college professor. I have an iPad, iPhone, and every fancy electronics device out there. I teach computer courses and am a licensed CPA.

I’m considering getting a Jitterbug because it is simple to use, the numbers are large, and I can use my other devices if I want to use facetime, upload pics, use my apps, etc.

I think the article was great. There are MANY seniors with poor vision (even with correction.) Ease of use is desirable when you just want to make a call.

My 76-year old brother, with an IQ of 145, and computer skills, found the smart phone to be too complicated for his needs. You should consider needs rather than ability.

Petersen

This site has quite some information about Doro mobile phones and Doro phones in general:

http://www.enkeltelefon.dk/

Its in danish, so you have to be keen on using google translate :)

dr manoj vaidya m d

i need a mobile with big size fonts to be able to read dial
should have speed dialing
emmergency number service
should speak numbers while writing
or read the messages e read the number u type i type i am 82 6/60 vision only thanks pl suggest urgently

Stephanie

My 73-year-old father is computer literate, but has never owned a cell phone (if he’s not with my mother, he’s at the bowling alley). That said, after a minor car incident, if I wasn’t with him with my cell, calling for help would have taken more time. He’s now considering a cell phone. But at his age, and with his needs, he’d really only need a simple cell phone. My mom has one, and even though it’s a fairly straightforward Nokia, she only uses it for calls as well. I think that instead of automatically getting defensive, people ought to consider what others’ needs might be (and be appreciative of any and all efforts being made towards that end), instead of only thinking about themselves.

Jayson

Re: uppity seniors
I laughed a little when I read the comments on here from tech-savvy seniors upset about this article. I laughed because it’s usually the seniors who complain about society having to be so politically correct and how ridiculous it is that “stewardesses” want to be called “flight attendants” and you should know that when someone says “he” they mean “he or she”. So how does it feel now, seniors? Someone has made a generalization about your group and in the process called you something that you’re not.

By the way, you should be thanking this author not chastising him b/c eventually everyone will need a phone like this.

Desiree

It seems a few people got offended but I’d like to say Thank you for the article! Perhaps it could have been called “Best 5 basic phones.”

I’m currently looking for a phone for my uncle. He’s 69 and due to cataracts he stopped driving, but hes in otherwise good health. When he goes out he rides the bus around. (Doesnt like to call me unless its a DR appointment, and even then I hve to talk him into letting me take him) There arent very many pay phones anymore and I’d like him to have something to call me on if its late or if he just simply doesn’t feel like walking to the bus stop.

Next top: finding prepaid plans that hold minutes for a very long time without expiring.

cecelia

can I use a jitterbug phone with another carrier besides great call by changing the sim card?

NN

I liked this article. I am 41 yrs old and have been looking for simple phones w/o the craziness new phones have. A phone is a device for convenience, not being caught up in. I may not be a senior by the way the law defines them but then again, my preference is some of the last 2-3 phones u listed there. the Nokia sounds great to me! ;-)

NN

For a 41 yr old, who likes things simple this is a great article. thanks.