CHOICE membership

New test: Mobile phones for seniors

Review our free buying guide to see how we test mobile phones for seniors, and then see our recommendations in our product test above (member content), including sight, dexterity and sound scores.

Feel free to post your experiences or questions in the comments below.

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Hiya Brendan, I was thrilled to learn of the Choice “Mobile phones for Seniors” review, as my 80 year old mother lives with me and my family, and she needs to have a mobile phone with her for medical reasons when she goes out.

Well done Choice for reviewing products and services for ALL ages!

Cheers Natalie :wink:

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Thanks for the kind words @njfking.

In case this is of iterest to other readers, we also have a section on this forum to request products or services you would like CHOICE to test. Click here to go to Request A Test.

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We’ve updated our mobile phones for seniors test, which now includes the Nokia 3310 along with other phones that are easy to use and cost effective.

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I found your article on simple mobile phones disappointing. All the phones you recommended have two main problems for someone like me, at 74, or my 86-year-old aunt, both of us having real problems with phones.

The screens are too small for someone with limited sight to read.

The button alphabet is much harder to use than the QWERTY touch keyboard, and it is much easier to make mistakes when using it. If you have huge fingers or tremors you can use a “pen” which attaches to the headphone hole to make the keyboard easier to access. Most older people, especially females, are used to the QWERTY setout from their employment days.

What is the solution? All I can think of is a hinged phone with the screen on the lid and a touch keyboard – possibly with button keys – on the main body. Like a mini laptop.

Then we could also get rid of all the confusing icons and apps, especially the ones that seem to magically sign you up for things you really don’t want.

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Hi @algemyone, apologies that our review didn’t meet your expectations. We value the feedback and I’ll be sure to pass it onto the product testing team.

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Wonder if Choice in the next test also look at some of the Apps available for smart phones, such as this one for Android devices, as an alternative to a specific senior’s mobile phones.

It may alleviate some of the screen issues raised by @algemyone, at potential a cost premium (for a entry level smart phone compared to a simpler senior’s mobile phone).

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Thanks. I’ll definitely have a good look at this ap!

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This was only one example (there are several more shown here) and while not searching the Apples iTune store, I expect that there is also likely to be ones which have been developed for Apple OS phones (which are generally more expensive than Android phones).

Some of the Android Apps have video showing their functionality and also read the reviews just in case the apps are buggy/don’t work as presented.

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Good suggestion @phb, makes sense to put the apps/phone together in a testing environment and add to the review :thumbsup:

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$11.99 sounds pretty reasonable…

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It does if it works well…but one has to also consider the cost of at least an entry model smart phone as well. These are usually more (can be several $100s) expensive than the mobile phone marketed at seniors which have a starting price of less than $100.

If one needs a smart device as well…such as using some of the apps available, it may make sense to purchase at least an entry level smart phone instead of the senior’s phone. But, noting that the size of text on a smart phone can be difficult to read as well.

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You can now find our updated mobile phones for seniors reviews here.

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My senior parents bought a Opel SmartFlip and while it is easy to use (they wanted a 4G phone similar to their Telstra 3G flip phone), it has terrible battery life. When new, the battery would last almost a week on standby until needing charging. After about 6 months and a following a firmware update, this dwindled down to about 1-2 days (less with use). Opel has replaced the battery but it appears that it may be a firmware issue rather than a battery issue…namely some firmware, app or drivers draining the battery quickly.

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Good point, noting sometimes a firmware update reduces battery life because the manufacturer discovered service or operational problems that could only be resolved through more processor cycles being used. Sometimes such conditions are obvious to every owner, and sometimes they apply to specific circumstances but the fix must be applied universally.

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Looking for a mobile phone, easy to use, for my dear Mum who is used to cordless landline type phone, but is totally lost when it comes to screen only smart phones. No access to data required. Just phone calls and SMS. Works on all mobile networks, and prepaid sim type use. Any suggestions on what is available now, and user experiences? The last choice review of this was a long time ago (in tech terms) but I’d appreciate actual user experience.

It’s worth a look at the following.

http://www.seniorsphones.com.au/phones.html

Our 92yo mum has transitioned to the push button imitation fixed phone. It uses the mobile network, has a battery and wall plug pack so when the power goes off it keeps working.

The transition from the old Telstra fixed T-phone was relatively painless. It’s 4G LTE and has a very simple push a number and hold to speed dial any preprogrammed number. It’s not intended to be portable, but can be moved around and used on battery only. The menu system is very clunky and the SMS screen very small, but our mum has very poor eyesight and uses neither.

There are some other larger size mobiles including basic flip phones from the same supplier, if that is what you require. The supplier is online or over the phone if that is a concern. Nice Aussie lady somewhere down south, Tassie from memory.

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I moved your post here. Note that @jhook posted a link to the Choice review, last updated 12 August 2020.

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Thanks…some good info on your link.

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It would be worth comparing connectivity to hearing aids - not in microphone or tcoil mode but with bluetooth (which allows binaural streaming of voice calls - to a person with hearing loss that is absolutely life changing!) A POV from an independent audiologist/hearing aid prescriber who assists older clients in connecting a wide range of hearing aids to popular phone handsets would be valuable.
Some handsets connect easier than others!

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