6 of the Best Smartphones for Seniors in 2020

It’s unfortunate but true: technology tends to leave seniors behind. Older folks find it more difficult to adopt new technologies, and with the cell phone industry on the forefront of emerging tech, some seniors find them simply too difficult to use.

Do Grandma and Grandpa seem flabbergasted by the latest iPhone? Do they think an Android is the metal trashcan from “Lost In Space?” It’s time to take them under the arm and guide them into the modern age. The phones listed below should be enough to convince them that smartphone technology isn’t all that scary.

1. EmporiaSmart.3

Best Smartphones For Senior Citizens Emporiasmart3

The latest edition of the popular accessibility-focused EmporiaSmart isn’t just a phone designed for senior smartphone users, it’s actually an up-to-date and powerful smartphone in itself. It has the important accessibility features like large display buttons, hearing aid compatibility and an emergency Call for Help button, but it also runs Android 9.0 and packs an HD resolution.

The 5.5-inch screen should really be a minimum for senior smartphone users, as it offers plenty of leeway for less accurate button presses, and is a good size to ensure visibility of everything onscreen. It also comes with a full training book, helping new users really learn the ropes of using a smartphone.

Crucial technologies like Bluetooth and LTE/4G data connectivity ensure that users will be able to connect online and between devices.

Specifications:

  • 5.5-inch display with 720 x 1440 resolution
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 16 GB internal storage, expandable via microSD up to 64 GB
  • 13 MP rear camera,  MP front-facing camera
  • 2,500 mAh battery
  • LTE/4G
  • Android 9.0
  • Hearing aid-compatible – M4/T4 rating

2. Google Pixel XL

Best Android Smartphones Seniors Google Pixel Xl

Yes, the first phone in Google’s flagship range may have already received its last major Android software update, but as a way of getting older people acclimatized to the ways of true stock Android, the Google Pixel XL remains the best choice.

First of all, it’s not too expensive, and can be purchased for under $300, which is a great price considering the power onboard. It has a sizable 5.5″ display squeezing in 1440 x 2560 pixels, ensuring everything is nice and clear for faded eyes, and its 12.3 MP camera is sure to dazzle your old folks. UI elements like icons and font size can be increased for convenience.

The last Android software update the Pixel XL received was Android 9.0 Pie, though not the latest, but is just one version behind. That means that seniors will still get most of the bells and whistles of Android that anyone else would. Why does this matter? Because the stock Android UI is among the most user-friendly around, and will help familiarize older people not just with using this specific phone, but with the Android OS as a whole.

Specifications:

  • 5.5-inch display with QHD resolution
  • 32GB/128GB internal storage, no card slot
  • 3,450 mAh battery
  • Android 9.0
  • 4G LTE

3. Doro 8040

Best Smartphones For Senior Citizens Doro 8040 2

The latest version of the Doro series of smartphones focuses on simplicity and accessibility. As well as offering a senior-friendly simple interface, more confident users can also choose to switch this to the stock Android UI to have the same experience as the rest of the world.

It has a GPS localisation and emergency button, letting you select contacts who can keep track of your whereabouts, and this combines with the emergency button that beams your location to your chosen emergency contacts. Like most senior-friendly phones, it is of course hearing aid-compatible.

One of the neater features of the Doro 8040 is the charging cradle, which can rest elegantly by your bedside, charging your phone and offering a large-buttoned display while doubling as an alarm clock. All the modern conveniences like 4G and Bluetooth are included, and the 5-inch display is a decent size while being better for smaller hands.

Specifications:

  • 5-inch display with HD resolution
  • 16 GB internal storage, expandable via microSD up to 32 GB
  • 8 MP rear camera, 2 MP front-facing camera
  • Android 7
  • Hearing aid-compatible
  • GPS localisation for emergency contacts
  • Charging cradle1

4. Jitterbug Smart2

best-smartphones-for-seniors-jitterbug-smart2

The upgraded version of the Jitterbug Smart continues in the vein of its predecessor, with a sizable 5.5-inch 720p screen and big, bold interface elements making it easy to use for those whose fingers aren’t as graceful as they used to be. It’s not the fastest of phones, but the GreatCall UI is designed for accessibility rather than gaming, and in that it does its job very well.

There are various subscriptions you can get that add extra services such as nurse contact lines, the option for family members to track you by your phone’s locations, and more. The camera is pretty decent for a phone like this too, so your grandpa will be able to dabble in the joys of photography and maybe social sharing without pictures looking like they were processed through a 90s games console.

Specifications:

  • 5.5-inch display with HD resolution
  • 16 GB internal storage, expandable via microSD card up to 128 GB
  • 13 MP rear camera, 5 MP front-facing camera
  • 3,000 mAh battery
  • 4G LTE
  • Hearing aid-compatible – M4/T4 rating

5. Samsung Galaxy Note 5

best-smartphones-for-senior-users-samsung-galaxy-note-5

While this list features plenty of phones dedicated to those unfamiliar with phones, there’s no reason why the older generation shouldn’t own a regular powerful handset like the rest of us.

While splashing out on the latest Samsung flagship might be a bit much, the Galaxy Note 5 remains an excellent smartphone that can be picked up for around $200 – $300 these days. Crucially, it features a large, vibrant 5.7-inch screen and a stylus. (After all, everyone over the age of 60 is probably more comfortable with a pen than a touchscreen).

In addition, the Galaxy Note 5 has an “Easy Mode” which makes everything on the screen bigger and clearer, cutting out many of the more intricate UI features and letting you customize it.

Specifications:

  • 5.7-inch display
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 32/64/128 GB internal storage
  • 16 MP rear camera, 5 MP front-facing camera
  • 3000 mAh battery
  • Android 5.1.1
  • 4G LTE
  • ‘Easy Mode’ which makes UI more accessible

6. PowerTel M9500

powertel-m9500

This 5″ smartphone is made by a company called Amplicomms whose motto is “Loud and Clear.” As you may have guessed, the PowerTel M9500 is super loud. The phone’s ringtone can go as high as 90 dB, which is similar to a train whistle or an oncoming subway train.

The phone also features a volume boost key that can enhance the speaker volume by an additional 40 dB. It’s safe to say that with that level of amplification, you won’t have to ask “Can you hear me now?” when talking to Nana ever again. In addition to being really loud, the PowerTel M9500 has a retooled user interface with clearly-labelled large buttons.

Specifications:

  • 5-inch display
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 8 GB internal storage, expandable via microSD up to 32 GB
  • 8 MP rear camera, 2 MP front-facing camera
  • 3,200 mAh battery
  • Android 5.1
  • 4G LTE
  • Hearing aid-compatible – M4/T4 rating

Conclusion

Do you know of any other senior-friendly smartphones? Do you have any strategies for helping an older person embrace smartphone technology? Let us know in the comments!

This article was first published in July 2017 and was updated in Jan 2020.

2 comments

  1. The price of the Doro 8040

  2. I am 74, have worked with computers and Emails etc since they are used! But, I always stayed away from even cel phones! But recently, I found that you cant even get a doctor’s appointment without using an app! So, I bought me a nice phone in 6 months ago with a great camera since i am a picture person….. and I still cannot master the simplest task except phone calls and even then… ! I notice that its another language in a way, these pictograms are not evident for me, the number of passwords to access anything, I notice that I am nearly in depression to realize that this is not a phone but a computer that has access to all my life (witch I really dont want! ) I still have a land line phone and dont use this nice phone. I like that you are taking the wave of seniors in consideration with new phones more adapted. Noticed the finding location possibility witch could be extremely helpful. So I am looking to get rid of my Cadillac phone and buying something more in synch with my needs or blood pressure!

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