If you are someone who is looking for a cell phone for a senior relative, or an elderly person in the market for a new device, there are a lot of factors to consider when making the right choice. As capable as our smartphones are, there are admittedly some that aren’t the most intuitive to use, and that can be a big problem for anyone not already familiar with the ecosystem.
If you are planning to pick up a new phone for yourself, or a senior citizen in your life (a parent, grandparent, etc) you have a few considerations to make. First, do they really want or need a smartphone? While some seniors love the idea of being connected to their friends, family, and information at all times thanks to the power of a smartphone, others just want a simple calling device.
So what are the best cell phones for seniors? In this guide, we aim to answer this question by giving you several options, both in the smart and ‘traditional’ phone realm.
Best Android-powered cell phones for seniors
Jitterbug Smart 2
Jitterbug is a brand created by GreatCall and is intended to help the elderly with their smartphone needs by not only providing an interface that is easy to see and navigate, but also by offering medical and emergency services that are easily accessible from the device. The Jitterbug Smart 2 offers all this and more.
The phone boasts a large 5.5-inch display, which may make for a slightly awkward handling experience for some, but with the larger screen, the icons and other elements on the screen are much easier to see. There is a simple menu that is organized as a single list, allowing for all your important information to be within easy reach. And with an affordable monthly subscription, you get access to a slew of useful medical and emergency services right at your fingertips.
The device is also hearing aid compatible and comes with 4G LTE connectivity. The Jitterbug Smart 2 is available from Amazon and currently priced at just $75. You can find out more about this device here.
- 5.5-inch display with HD resolution
- 16GB internal storage, expandable via microSD card up to 32GB
- 13MP rear camera, 5MP front-facing camera
- 3,000mAh battery
- 4G LTE
- Hearing aid compatible — M4/T4 rating
The Emporia Smart.2 sports a 5-inch HD display and runs a customized version of Android 6.0 Marshmallow that makes using the device even simpler. The phone sports an emergency button at the back and will ring up to five emergency numbers one after the other when pressed. There’s an additional back plate in the box that covers up the button in case you don’t want to use it and are worried about pressing it by accident.
The phone has a 2,400mAh battery, an 8MP primary camera, and a built-in LED flashlight. There’s also a 2MP camera up front so that grandma can make video calls with her family members. The Emporia Smart.2 is definitely one of the best cell phones for seniors out there, but it does have a major problem — availability. The phone is available in a few European countries but was not released in the U.S.
- 5.0-inch display with a 1,280 x 720 resolution
- 1.3GHz quad-core CPU
- 2GB RAM
- 16GB internal storage, expandable via microSD up to 32GB
- 8MP rear camera, 2MP front-facing camera
- 2,400 mAh battery
- Android 6.0 Marshmallow
- Emergency button at the back
Best ‘not so smart’ cell phones for seniors
Not everyone wants or needs a smartphone, and as much as we want to push forward smartphone tech at Android Authority, we understand that it might not be right for everyone. Two basic cell phones for seniors worth considering are the JitterBug Flip and the Snapfon ezTWO.
Snapfon ezTWO 3G
The Snapfon eZTwo 3G is a phone for seniors at every level, with big buttons, enhanced volume, 28 point font numbers, and even a speaking keypad. It provides around five hours talk on a single charge and standby of up to 120 hours. It also works with just about any GSM carrier — like T-Mobile, AT&T, and StraightTalk. You also have the option of getting the SnapMobile service which has extra features intended for the elderly like the ability for operators to call urgent care using your information and more. The phone is affordable, coming in at just $90.
It’s not just smartphones that Jitterbug makes — the company also has a great line of cell phones for seniors that are more traditional. The Flip features large buttons and an easy interface. Obviously, just like the ezTwo, you don’t get anything other than a basic phone for calls and texts. But for some, that’s really all they need. Those interested in this model can find plans tailored towards seniors at the Great Call website.
Consider a Samsung because of its Easy mode
While Samsung phones obviously aren’t made specifically for seniors, Samsung includes a feature that is designed with simplicity in mind. Dubbed Easy Mode, this optional setting is found in pretty much every modern Samsung device — flagships, mid-range, and even budget offerings. Easy Mode enlarges the icons as well as puts pretty much everything within easy reach.
Read more: Best Samsung phones you can buy right now
Of course, you’ll have to enable it first. Even if you aren’t particularly tech saving, it’s not too difficult at all. Once you initially set up the phone, or have someone help you do that, you simply go into settings. Here’s how to do it:
- In Settings, tap the Display section and then scroll down a bit until you see Easy Mode.
- Tap Easy Mode and it will take you into a sub-screen.
- Tap on the “Easy mode” setting and press done to apply.
Consider an iPhone because of its user-friendly UX
Launchers that are useful for seniors
The beauty of Android is that you’re not only limited to the devices above. You always have the option of picking up any Android smartphone, depending on your needs and budget, and you can then download a third-party launcher from the Google Play Store that fits your requirements. Check out our recommendations below.
Simple Launcher is free to use and brings a simple interface to your Android phone with large icons and fonts. There’s a quick dial option for calling friends and family right from the home screen, and you even get an SOS button to call your emergency contact and send a text when in danger. The features offered by Simple Launcher can be customized via the easy to use Control center. Not only is this launcher free, but it also doesn’t have any in-app purchases and is not supported by ads — get it via the button below.
Big Launcher provides a fast and simple Android interface for seniors and people with vision problems. It makes a smartphone suitable for seniors, children, and people with eye diseases, motor problems, or the legally blind. Visually impaired and technically challenged users can use the simple and easy-to-read interface with ease. There is no fear of making a mistake and losing everything with stress-free navigation, and it also features an SOS button. Large texts and color coded icons make everything easy to use, and leaves no room for errors, and the app comes with multiple language support as well. There is also a free version of the app with some limitations, but if you like the launcher, the paid version is very affordable.
There you have it — these are the best cell phones for seniors along with a couple of launchers that will simplify any Android handset. Which phone would you consider using or buying for your grandma? Let us know in the comments!