5 of the Best Smartphones for Seniors

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.

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

jitterbug-home

The Jitterbug Smart features an interface that is easy to see and navigate with a simple list interface. The phone also boasts a large 5.5-inch display, which may be a turnoff for older users who might find the form factor awkward.

However, with a larger screen, everything is much easier to see. The device even has a number of urgent care apps pre-installed. Say goodbye to “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” scenarios! The Jitterbug Smart is also hearing aid-compatible and comes with 4G LTE connectivity.

Specifications:

  • 5.5-inch display with HD resolution
  • 8 GB internal storage, expandable via microSD card up to 32 GB
  • 5 MP rear camera, 2 MP front-facing camera
  • 2,500 mAh battery
  • 4G LTE
  • Hearing aid-compatible – M4/T4 rating

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

emporia-smart

The Emporia Smart features a unique marriage of old and new. The Android smartphone has a touchscreen that can be overlaid with a keypad cover. This cover allows those who prefer a more tactile experience to dial and text while using a physical keypad. If at a later date the user warms up to the touchscreen, the keypad cover can be completely removed.

The Emporia Smart’s user interface has large buttons and a simple menu for easy navigation. Finally, the phone comes with a stylus for those uncomfortable with touch-based navigation. Despite some interesting features that we don’t normally associate with modern smartphones, the Emporia Smart doesn’t have the best specs. That being said, ease of use is the major draw with this one.

Specifications:

  • 4.5-inch display with a 960 x 540 resolution
  • 1.2 GHz dual-core processor
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 4 GB internal storage, expandable via microSD up to 64 GB
  • 8 MP rear camera, 1 MP front-facing camera
  • 2,600 mAh battery
  • Android 4.4.2 Kitkat
  • Hearing aid-compatible – M4/T4 rating

doro-liberto-825

The main selling point of the Doro Liberto 825 is its ease of use, so naturally it features an easy-to-use UI with large icons and clear text. When users first fire it up, a comprehensive tutorial walks through the basics of smartphone operation. It can be skipped, but the tutorial is ideal for anyone who hasn’t used a smartphone before.

In addition to the tutorial, there are also interactive tips that guide users through the process of sending text messages, emails, etc. If Pop Pop is still struggling, there is an online help center featuring videos that walk him through step by step.

One of the more interesting features of the Liberto 825 is remote access. Users can nominate trusted contacts who can remotely control the Liberto 825. So instead of pulling your hair out trying to explain how to install apps or set up a contact list, you can do it for them. Be aware that the Liberto 825 isn’t available in the US, so double check what bands your cell provider operates on before importing.

Specifications:

  • 5-inch display with HD resolution
  • 1.1 GHz quad-core processor
  • 8 GB internal storage, expandable via microSD up to 32 GB
  • 8 MP rear camera, 2 MP front-facing camera
  • 2,000 mAh battery
  • Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
  • Hearing aid-compatible

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 May 2018.

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