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How to choose the ideal Senior Cell Phone or Smartphone

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It is not easy to choose a senior cell phone or smartphone. I speak from experience that recently I had to (once again) choose one for my grandmother. Although there are several features to take into account when choosing, we often make the mistake of thinking that all cell phones or smartphones are the same because they all have the same system and all do the same thing. This is not true. And the various existing offers make the process of choosing difficult and unreliable.

First and most important of all is to know who you are buying for. It is not the same to choose equipment for a 70 year old than for a 90 year old. Then we must also consider what it will be used for. The vast majority of us want it to be as easy to use as possible, the sound on calls to be loud, and preferably the keys and their letters to be large and visible. But there is also a senior audience with enough basic knowledge to embrace new technology.

Choosing a cell phone is simpler than a smartphone, but we should not assume that they all serve the same purpose for what we want (that our Parents or Grandparents answer our calls or use the equipment to call some predefined people). In addition, many manufacturers assemble low quality components, which allows them to offer cheaper phones. In any case, we should at least consider:
  • The format (if classic normal phone or shell). The former has the advantage of being more practical to use, while the latter allows you to have a protected screen and the ease of answering or ending calls by just opening the lid.
  • The size of the screen. The bigger it is, the easier it is to read text and even enlarge the letters on the screen. The usual are screens starting at 2 inches.
  • The sound, both the ring tone and the volume. Be aware that many have low volume and insufficient volume.
  • Dedicated emergency button. Most cell phones that purport to be for seniors already have this feature. They allow the user to choose an emergency contact and, by pressing the button, immediately make a call to that chosen person.
  • Agenda with favorite contacts. This way the user can define in order which contacts are favorite or also assign speed dial numbers (on the keypad).
  • Hearing aid compatibility. Many already have this feature, which allows you to enjoy amplified and better quality audio for those who use hearing aids.
  • Advanced features such as access to email or whatsapp. There are models that have these features. For users who want these functions, but do not want the complication of a smartphone.
  • Charging cradle included. It allows you to simply place the phone on a base and charge it directly without the need and complication of connecting cables.
For users who like to take or receive photos of family and friends (for example of that party they couldn’t go to), surf the internet to see that news or video, or even use advanced features like measuring their state of health, the smartphone is the ideal option. More than some basic knowledge, the use of this smartphone will require above all a minimum learning (given by people with knowledge, availability and ability to teach this specific audience). In this field, then, there are two operating systems on the market. The iOS system marketed by Apple and the Android system distributed by several brands:
  • iOS (iPhone). It features ease of use, thousands of well-developed applications, and excellent technical support with several representative stores in Portugal.
  • Android. Here, the choice is wider due to the variety of manufacturers’ offer.

Other factors to consider:

Screen size – There are several models with screens larger than 5.5 inches. Gaining over regular cell phones.

Choice of brand – Even though they all have the same system it is important to choose a reliable manufacturer, which has robust equipment and has a good technical support network in case of breakdown.

Technical features should be considered – This is because usually cheaper models mount poor quality components which results in a bad user experience and much lower deterioration and resistance.

My suggestions:

For cell phones, I recommend the DORO brand. It is a manufacturer that specializes only in the area of cell phones for seniors, and has a wide range of models, from the most basic phones to more advanced phones and smartphones. It has a good support network and they are often sold in medical device stores for those with hearing or vision problems.

For users who prefer smartphones, I recommend Motorola. It is a manufacturer known to many with a long history within the industry. It has a wide range from simpler to more advanced models. It has a streamlined Android experience, excellent battery life and is very simple to use.

Do you want help choosing your new cell phone or smartphone and would like to give it already configured to a Senior Friend or Family member? Contact us for personalized help in [email protected]

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