The Best Smartphones for Senior Citizens
Switching from a flip phone to a smartphone can be scary for anyone, but especially for those who don’t consider themselves “tech-savvy”. In this high-tech world, there is a pressure to keep up with this fast-paced even when you don’t feel ready. If you’re a person who grew up when rotary phones were in most households, you might feel especially overwhelmed at the prospect of picking out a smartphone and having to learn how to use it.
I recently purchased a new Android smartphone and I was surprised at how much more difficult the choice was than I expected! Even as a millennial who, by stereotype, should be pretty smart when it comes to technology, I didn’t even know where to begin.
So many manufacturers, sizes, specs… it was overwhelming! I’m not an overly tech-savvy person and looking up the specifications of a phone online didn’t really tell me which would be the best fit for me. With the help of the RW team, I was able to choose the phone that best fit my needs. Through my search to find the right smartphone for me I learned a lot about the smartphones we carry in the process.
As a senior citizen, possibly new to the world of smartphones, you might have certain needs that have prevented you from making the switch.
- Maybe you have trouble reading the tiny text on these small phones
- Perhaps you need a battery that will last so you don’t have to fumble with the charger every day.
- Maybe you need a phone with a loud and clear speaker.
- Or maybe you just want a smartphone that is simple to use without all the extras.
These Republic Wireless phones might have just what you’re looking for! Hopefully, this breakdown will help you find the right smartphone for your needs.
If you’re someone who wants a fully-functional smartphone for a fraction of the price, the Alcatel A30 might be for you.
Alcatel A30 $99*
At a retail value of $99 you simply can’t beat the price. You might be thinking, “You get what you pay for,” and, in some ways, you’re right. The Alcatel A30 won’t have as high a quality camera as a device like the Samsung S7 Edge ($599), longest lasting battery, or lightning speed processor BUT it makes calls, sends texts, and allows for use of apps - pretty much everything you’d need if you were a light to mid smartphone user.
The Alcatel A30 allows you to do everything you need to with a smartphone and at such a low price. It also has nice features such as its 5MP auto-focus camera, 2 MP front camera, and 5.0” HD display. With a fairly large screen, touch ability becomes easier and reading text becomes less of a challenge as well. One downfall is that it is not water-repellant. I would recommend purchasing a case with this phone to help protect against drops and spills.
“Provided that you put yourself in the mindset of what capabilities should be standard on a super budget device, this phone performs admirably for basic communication functionalities and even single-threaded applications.” - Nov. 15, Republic Wireless Team Member
If you’re someone who wants a quality phone that can do all of the video streaming and image-capturing for a reasonable price, these phones could be for you.
One thing I love about Motorola phones is that they allow you to have a more “pure” Android experience. What this means is that they do very little to modify the operating system. With fewer modifications, the faster the phone typically runs. It is also argued that phones providing this more “pure” experience are often simpler to learn and use than one with many alterations.
All of the Motorola phones I describe below allow the user to have this “pure” experience - something many Android users say is one of the top things they look for when choosing a phone.
Moto G4 $179*
The Moto G4 gives you a great bang for your buck. You get a lot of awesome features with this phone for what many smartphone users consider a rock-bottom price. Like most Moto phones, the G4 has a large, day-long lasting battery. You get a 13MP camera, 5.5” HD display, and front-ported, loud-speaker for easy listening.
One really great feature of this phone is its water-repelling abilities. Although it isn’t “waterproof”, this phone will survive getting caught in the rain, or being lightly spilled on - and if you’re clumsy like me, this can be a lifesaver! The G4 is also easy to grip due to the rounded edges of the phone, making it slightly less likely to be dropped. Of course, I always still recommend a case to protect your smartphone.
"My first smart phone! I am 68 years old and was a little worried I might have trouble figuring it out. I would say I'm even enjoying it and have found it easy to navigate. I like the size. Old dogs can learn new tricks." - Jan. 27, G4 owner
Moto E4 Plus $199*
The affordable Moto E4+ is perfect for basic tasks like web-browsing, watching Netflix, texting, making calls, and catching up with Facebook friends. This budget smartphone is best known for its long battery life - lasting 2 days or more with light use! Other notable features include the fingerprint reader and its ergonomic design, so it fits comfortably in your hands. It comes with a front-ported loud-speaker for clear, high-quality audio. The Moto G4, it has a 13MP camera and 5.5” HD screen.
“I like the size - it is just big enough for me to be able to read things on the phone with ease, but not too big not to be able to handle it easily.” - Oct. 24, E4 plus user
Moto G5 Plus $229* Save $30 offer ends 11/30
Although there are many things I love about this phone, my favorites include the large, bright screen and long-lasting battery. I would consider myself a mid-high range smartphone user. I stream video, play games, and browse the internet and with doing all this my phone battery usually lasts at least a day and a half! While watching videos I love the large, 5.2” HD screen. I went from a 4” display to 5.2” display and also found it much easier to read texts and web pages compared with my old phone.
Other awesome features of this phone include 12MP auto-focus camera, water-repellent nano-coating, and a front-ported loud-speaker. After having this phone for a couple months, the only problem I notice is that sometimes it is hard to hear other people on the phone. However, if I turn it on speaker phone, it is clear and I have no trouble hearing the person on the other end of the line.
“I was using a “not so smart” phone that didn’t have good reception. I wanted one with an excellent camera and something that wouldn’t break the piggy bank. This phone fit my needs and I have really enjoyed using it. The screen is a great size for reading, the apps work well without any slowing.” - Sept. 18, G5 plus owner
If you’re someone who is extremely tech-savvy, enjoys streaming video and taking super-sharp, clear images, and are willing to pay more for the perks, this may be the best option for you:
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge $599*
The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is certainly one of the more high-end, top-tier smartphones you can purchase. Its premium features are reflected in the price. At $599, this phone can be a little on the expensive side if you are a not a heavy user and/or don’t need the fancy features a top-tier smartphone provides. These top-of-the-line features include a fingerprint sensor, 5.5” HD Display, water-resistant technology, and a 12 MP auto-focus camera.
Though I have not used this phone for a long period of time myself, I have seen many mixed reviews about it being difficult to text with the curved screen. People say it is sometimes a challenge to press the buttons you want and that it is easy to accidentally tap something you didn’t intend.
If you are someone new to smartphones, I might recommend something a bit more user-friendly for your first time(like a Motorola). If you are someone who is on their smartphone a lot (streaming video, taking pictures, recording video, using apps), and are familiar with smartphone navigation, this phone might be perfect for you due to its exceptional camera, speed, and display.
Another thing to be aware of is the all-glass screen. This can be problematic if you are someone who tends to drop their phone often. Although I always recommend having a case for your phone, I especially recommend it with this more expensive phone option.
"This is a great phone for those of us with hearing that isn't as good as it used to be. The camera has a ton of features for those that want more control. Pro setting gives aperture and shutter controls...among others, useful for those low light photos. Phones comes with security features, like fingerprint reader and encryption" - Mar. 28, S7 Edge user
Even with the many smartphone options out there, it’s possible that none meet all of your needs. That’s where the real beauty of an Android comes in - its customizability. If you need a bigger font, more easily accessible emergency buttons, or a way to simplify your home screen, you can get it!
If you haven’t heard of launchers or aren’t too familiar with what they do, they are apps that make changes to your phone so that it will look and do exactly what you want it to. There are many launchers that can give you just the help you’re looking for!
- Avoid all the “bells and whistles” of the typical smartphone while still giving you easy access to making/receiving calls, SMS, managing contacts, take photo and video, and use your daily apps.
- Has a simple design with large buttons that make it easy for making phone calls and texting. -Optimized for people with poor eyesight
- Intuitive to keep use simple
- Has helped over 400,000 senior people and vision loss people use Android phone
- Uses very large buttons for easy visibility and touch
- Has an easy-to-use camera that reacts to touch anywhere on the screen -Provides a weather forecast, alarm, local newspaper (with larger text size), flashlight, and more!
- Will get you home so you never get lost.
Koala Phone Launcher:
- Is focused on easy calling and messaging
- Allows you to see big photos of favorite contacts and provides a large dialer
- Contains touch-optimized apps like the camera, photo gallery, alarm, and flashlight
- Gives the ability to increase text size for more comfortable use without glasses
- Reads texts aloud when pressed on for a couple seconds
These launchers can be downloaded from the Google Play Store. All you have to do is tap the Google Play Store app, type the launcher’s name into the search bar, and tap download. VOILA! You will have a new launcher on your phone.
While launchers are amazing, they still may not meet all of your needs if you have an especially difficult time seeing or hearing.
- Device’s hearing aid compatibility - For those with hearing aids, it is important to make sure that the smartphone you choose is compatible. All smartphones suggested above have hearing aid compatibility rating M4/T3.
- Stylus (for increased dexterity) - A stylus is a pen that does not use ink, but rather uses pressure from your touch to select items on a screen.
- Phone locator - Phone locators are extremely useful for anyone, but can be especially useful for those suffering from memory loss or forgetfulness. Some great phone locators include: Find My Device, Family Locator - GPS Tracker, and Where’s My Droid.
*Phone prices subject to vary, check our website for current prices and availability. Prices last updated 1/11/18.