Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for 2020
While mobile phones might seem complicated at first, they hold a number of benefits for seniors looking to stay in touch with family or friends and explore the world around them.
But which model should you choose? With hundreds of options available, finding the best phone might seem intimidating.
You need not worry.
We're here to help!
Before diving into reviews to find the best senior mobiles in 2020, we came up with a few requirements:
Availability: A specialized mobile doesn’t help much if there’s no one there to provide support should things go wrong. We wanted to find options that most people could find either online through major retailers or at a local store.
Ease of Use: Having a mobile you can’t use is more frustrating than not having one at all. Whether this is your first mobile or an upgrade, we wanted to find choices that were simple to learn and use.
Reliability: As smartphones continue to become common parts of daily life, they aren’t always the dependable devices they used to be. We wanted to find models that offered consistent performance and would withstand daily use with minimal frustration and need for replacement.
Features for Seniors: From hearing aid compatibility or emergency call buttons to specialized menus and interfaces for easy use, we wanted our picks to include features beneficial to senior citizens.
With these options in mind, we filtered through a slough of contenders until 5 great options emerged.
Pros: Loud speaker, emergency button, speed dial buttons
Cons: Weak ringer
With its candybar format, bright display and hardware buttons for common features, the Doro 1370 offers an experience very similar to a traditional cordless phone.
Doro 1370 (Unlocked)
From £33.99 at Amazon
It’s unlocked so it will work with a wide range of networks without the need for a contract or finance agreement.
Features include a dedicated flashlight button and hearing aid compatibility.
Bottom Line: With it's loud speakers and basic design, the Doro PhoneEasy 508 is a great, simple mobile option for the elderly or anyone who doesn't want the complication and advanced features of modern smartphones.
Get it From: Amazon
Learn More: Full Review
Easyfone Prime A1 3G
Pros: SOS button, microSD support, extra loud speaker, quick dial buttons, charging dock
Cons: Weak flashlight, so-so camera
If you're looking for a simple flip phone for kids or older adults, the Easyfone Prime A1 3G offers some ideal features. The large keypad makes it easy to dial numbers while the 2.4-inch display and adjustable font sizes make it easy to see notifications and read text messages.
There's a programmable SOS button the back and three quick dial buttons above the keypad for added peace of mind and ease of use.
For seniors, the phone is hearing aid compatible and reviews indicate that the speakerphone is also very loud.
The 2MP rear camera won't win any photography contents, but it's stronger than most comparably priced options.
If you're worried about losing cords or damaging ports, the charging cradle makes the phone easy to charge as well.
Easyfone Prime A1 3G
From £48.99 at Amazon
Additional phone features include FM radio, MP3 playback, a flashlight and a very basic camera. While the images won't work for printing, they're good enough for quick reminders or copying text. You'll also find a microSD slot if you wish to load music or audiobooks onto the phone!
Bottom Line: The Easyfone Prime A1 3G features a wealth of usability options while providing you freedom to choose your own service provider... a rarity in the phones for the elderly market.
Get it from: Amazon
Learn More: Full Review
Pros: Solid design, great display, compact and pocket-friendly, massive app selection, consistent Apple experience across devices, fingerprint scanner, good camera
Cons: No microSD support
Smartphones from most popular brands today keep getting bigger and bigger and Apple is no exception. If you don’t want something that’s going to take up your entire pocket or require two-hands to use, the iPhone SE (2020) with its 4.7-inch display offers one of the most compact smartphone experiences available.
However, the biggest reason this phone makes the list is the consistent experience, quality design and world-class support offered by Apple. The phone’s hardware offers more than enough performance for typical use.
Battery life should last well through the day as well. You’ll also find a number of smartphone accessibility features in the settings to improve screen visibility and adjust hearing aid compatibility.
iPhone SE (2020)
From £399.00 at Apple
Features include a 12MP camera on the back of the phone for taking pictures, a 7MP camera on the front for video chat and selfies, up to 256GB of storage and a fingerprint sensor to avoid having to remember complex passwords or gestures.
Bottom Line: Apple is known for their quality and consistency. The Apple iPhone SE (2020) delivers the basic Apple experience at a price point that is friendly to tight budgets and in a format that's as compact as smartphones get in 2020.
Pros: Solid design, great display, larger screen, massive app selection, consistent Apple experience across devices, fingerprint scanner, great camera
Cons: No microSD support, may be large for one-handed use
While this is the largest option on the list, we don’t consider that a bad thing. You might need to hold the the iPhone XR with two-hands. However, this can add some stability to the experience and prevent accidental drops or damage. The large 6.1-inch display also provides more room for adjusting accessibility settings without cramping the screen.
As with the iPhone 8, this choice stands out for its world-class support, durable design and consistent experience.
In general, if you’ve ever seen an iPhone, they all work almost the same. This means should you need to replace your smartphone or upgrade to a new version later, you won’t have to relearn how to use it. Just power it on and get back to life!
From £629 at Apple
The iPhone XR also includes one of the best cameras currently available in a mobile device. This is great for video chat with family and friends. Storage ranges from 64GB to 128GB, ensuring plenty of room for photos, apps, and media -- even on the basic model.
Bottom Line: As long as you can overlook the lack of headphone jack, the iPhone XR offers an excellent blend of features and price within the Apple lineup. The larger screen is perfect for ageing eyes while the quality and consistency of Apple products ensures a good experience.
NOTE: One potential drawback to the iPhone XR is a lack of headphone jack. This means if you want to use headphone or a microphone to talk, you’ll need to purchase an adapter or use wireless headphones.
Pros: Simplified interface, 4G support, hardware buttons, detailed screen, emergency button, hearing aid compatible
Cons: So-so camera
Known for their simple, high-quality mobile phones with an emphasis on easy operation Doro's 8035 is a great choice for seniors looking for a basic smartphone.
Large on-screen buttons make it easy to find common features while the high-contrast hardware buttons on the front of the phone avoid the hassle of finding a touch-based button.
It is a great compromise between the basic and full-featured mobiles on this list. Features include a 720p touchscreen display, an 5MP rear camera, voice dialing, an emergency call button and hearing aid compatibility.
It's also bundled with a charging dock to avoid having to keep track of cables or plug them into tiny USB ports.
There is even an optional emergency wrist button you can pick up on Amazon for easier monitoring and peace of mind.
From £152.00 at Amazon
Bottom Line: Offering a basic smartphone experience with an interface designed for easy operation, the Doro 8035 offers a unique take on smartphones backed by a brand with a solid track record of quality.
Get it From: Amazon
Learn More: Full Review
The following phones either didn't make our list but came close or have been replaced in our list during an update...
They still make great phones for seniors and are solid runner-up options if one of the others in our roundup doesn't interest you or isn't in stock.
Doro 3060 - £43.98 - While it doesn't include all of the safety features of the iSheep SF220 above, it's a solid basic flip phone option for seniors. It's large keypad, high-contrast display, and memory dial buttons make it simple to choose while the the long battery life avoids having to charge it every night. Full Review
Mobile phones are a great way to stay in touch with family and friends and reach help should an emergency arise. In the case of smartphones, they’re also becoming a central hub for the entertainment, news and research in our lives.
The five choices above for best senior mobile span the full range of options--from simple to the cutting-edge--and offer exceptional value to senior citizens.
Before you get your new phone, there are a few other points to consider:
The True Cost of Mobile Devices
When shopping around, many sites and stores will list two prices.
The lower price is often a monthly payment plan which typically requires a credit check and allows you pay off the device over 2 years.
While this is great for getting a newer mobile without impacting your budget upfront, it also means you must maintain service with that carrier for the next two years as well.
The window to get a refund or cancel your contract is only 14 days.
If you choose to go with this type of deal, be sure to use your new device often to uncover any concerns or questions you might have before you’re locked into the contract.
Paying for your mobile upfront often removes this contract requirement. If it is also unlocked , you can switch between networks if you do not like the service you receive.
If you pay for your device in full and it isn’t already unlocked, most networks will unlock it for no charge once you meet their requirements.
For more information on the benefits to buying an unlocked mobiles, consult our guide .
Choosing a Good Plan for Your Needs
When you’re picking a tariff to go with your mobile, there’s a good chance the salesperson will try to convince you to take a package much larger than you need.
Related: Compare mobile tariffs
Where the big price differences lie is data.
It’s important to have enough data because overage fees add up fast. However, if you’re paying for data each month that you don’t use, you’re paying more than you should.
Our guide on finding the amount of data you need will make this step simple.
Don’t Forget the Prepaid Networks
If you’re new to mobile phones, you might think that a monthly tariff is the obvious way to go.
However, unless you need unlimited minutes, lots of data or international calling features, there’s a good chance prepaid networks will save you money and make billing simpler.
Most networks can tell you if your phone is compatible with their service with a quick phone call.
Don’t Forget the Accessories
- A stylus pen is a great way to improve accuracy and make it easier to use your screen. Not to mention there’s less smudges and fingerprints to clean up later.
- You might also consider a protective case . While they’ll make your mobile a little bigger and heavier, a good case can be the difference between a shattered screen or no scratches at all should you drop it.
- Lastly, if you’re always on the go, a smartphone car mount makes it easier to use navigation, hands-free calling and other features without distracting yourself or forcing you to dig under the seat for your mobile when you get home.
If you have any additional questions about the options listed here or have an alternate suggestion, leave us a comment below!
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