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This Android phone for the visually impaired is surprisingly feature-packed
- US company Raz Mobility has released an Android phone for visually impaired users.
- It comes with a T9 keypad, navigation keys, and a Google Assistant button.
- The phone also offers wireless charging, a 3.5mm port, and microSD card expansion.
Today’s top Android phones come with plenty of accessibility enhancements, including several features for the visually impaired. What if that isn’t enough for you, though?
US company Raz Mobility has revealed the SmartVision 3 smartphone for blind and visually impaired consumers (h/t: The Verge). And you only need to look at it to realize that it’s very different from 99% of Android phones out there.
Plenty of features for the blind
The SmartVision 3 packs a physical T9 keypad for typing, for starters. And this is important for visually impaired users, offering a consistent, tactile experience compared to a virtual keyboard. The keypad also has physical navigation keys, allowing consumers to find their way through the operating system without using the touchscreen.
The new Android phone also offers handy features like a dedicated hardware key for summoning Google Assistant, the usual TalkBack feature when using the touchscreen, and a host of vision tools. The latter includes a banknote recognizer, light detector, color detector, navigation app, and screen magnifier.
Raz Mobility’s phone also includes wireless charging (albeit at 5W), which might just be the first time we’ve seen wireless charging on a phone with a T9 keypad. This could nevertheless be a handy addition for the target market, as you don’t need to look for the charging port and cable.
Otherwise, the rest of the phone is squarely mid-range. Expect a 2019-era Helio P70 budget processor (no 5G here), 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and a 3.5-inch 640 x 960 screen. You’re also getting a 3,500mAh battery, which should give you decent endurance in concert with the smaller screen and 4G connectivity.
It’s also worth noting that the SmartVision 3 offers microSD expansion (up to 128GB) and a 3.5mm port, two features we don’t see very often on modern Android phones.
Other notable features include dual-SIM support, the Google Play Store, a 16MP+2MP rear camera pairing, a 5MP selfie shooter, and a rear fingerprint scanner.
SmartVision 3 price and availability
Those expecting a mid-range price to go with the phone’s mid-range core specs are sorely mistaken, though. Raz Mobility is selling the SmartVision 3 in the US for $539. That’s a pretty penny, it must be said.
The company is also selling a $599 variant which comes with a wireless charging pad, phone cover, screen protector, lanyard, pedestrian GPS app, and book/document reader.
Would you go back to a phone with a physical keypad?
There clearly aren’t many Android phones out there with a keypad and specific enhancements for visually impaired users, so we’re glad this phone exists. Toss in features like wireless charging, a 3.5mm port, and microSD support, and it’s a unique proposition.
In saying so, you might want to consider keypad-toting phones like the Unihertz Titan Pocket and older phones like the BlackBerry Key2 LE if all you need is the physical input. Many Android phones also ship with features like TalkBack, magnification, Select to Speak, and audio description functionality. So you might want to try these features first before buying something like the SmartVision 3.