The 8 Best Cell Phones for Senior Citizens to Buy in 2017

Find a phone that's perfect for the elderly

Shocking as it might be in today’s smartphone-centric world, not everyone needs a cell phone with the latest in multi-touch gestures, app stores or a constant stream of social media feeds. For seniors, sometimes a phone just needs to be a phone that can just make and receive calls. The good news is that several phones exist today that are focused on the senior citizen community, phones with large buttons, emergency dialing and easy-to-access speed dial functions. Not sure which one is right for you or a loved one? Our list will help you decide.

With a large 2.4-inch LCD display, long battery life and large lettering on the dial, Jethro’s SC330 3G unlocked flip phone is a fantastic choice for seniors. It's powered by AT&T’s 3G network or T-Mobile’s 3G/2G networks. Weighing just 3.5 ounces, the SC330 is small enough to handily fit into a front/rear pocket or purse. The four-hour battery life won’t win any awards, but the optional handy charging dock makes this phone easy to recharge in a hurry.

Beyond battery life, there are plenty of features that will call attention to the SC330’s focus on senior citizens like the SOS emergency button. The SOS button can contact up to six different contacts in case of emergency, as well as emergency services. The large keyboard is easy to read and allows dialing to more than 300 contacts stored on the phone’s internal memory or set for speed dial. Additionally, there’s a rear camera for quick snapshots and a loud speaker, as well as support for 12 different languages.

Alcatel’s One Touch “big button” senior cell phone is an ideal device for the elderly crowd searching for a day-to-day emergency device. Sporting a 2.4-inch display, two-megapixel camera and an SOS button for emergency help, Alcatel’s phone isn’t heavy on bells and whistles, but gets the job done. Powered by quad-band GSM (2G network) support, the Alcatel can run on T-Mobile’s network or internationally where service is available. As an unlocked device, the Alcatel can accept a SIM from any network around the world that utilizes one of the quad-band GSM frequencies. The simplified menu system is easy to navigate and takes you right where you need to go without dozens of options.

Additional features like a built-in FM radio, as well as an MP3 player, Bluetooth, flashlight and alarm clock all add a little “extra” to the feature-set without losing focus as a senior-friendly cell phone. All those extras are good, but it’s the 2.4-inch 320 x 240 display with large fonts and even larger buttons that serve as the highlight. The bottom half of the phone is all buttons along with the large "OK" button that's smack in the middle. The battery life is good enough to get you through each day.

With a large 5.5-inch touchscreen, Jitterbug’s Smart easy-to-use smartphone is a fantastic choice for senior citizens who want something with a little extra while still getting the basics. Featuring the 5Star Urgent Response integration and simplified Android software, the 6.1-ounce phone offers a 1280 x 720 display surrounded by a black bezel. The display itself is sharp, bright and has decent enough viewing angles. It offers extra-large font and app icons for quick menu navigation. In fact, the menu itself is organized into a list rather than the standard Android “app drawer” for simplified menu navigation.

Running on Jitterbug’s network, there’s nationwide network coverage that allow owners to stay in touch with family around the country. Additionally, Jitterbug includes the 5Star service, which offers immediate, 24/7 access to help through a single button tap. Upon pressing the button, you’re connected to an agent who can determine if you need medical assistance, emergency services or if a designated emergency contact needs to be connected. Beyond emergency support, the Jitterbug Smart is hearing-aid compatible and offers a louder-than-standard speakerphone for increased support for an older audience.

Built by Samsung for Jitterbug, the Touch3 is another take on the smartphone for the senior crowd, offering a four-inch touchscreen, full keyboard and a whopping 13-hour battery life. Along with its counterpart the Jitterbug Smart, the Touch3 offers a unique Android-based navigational menu that is organized into a single list so options are easier to find. The larger icons are also a dramatic difference from the standard smartphones with tiny icons and multiple screens that increase the difficulty level. The Touch3 also includes the GreatCall link app that allows designated family members to discreetly check on the phone owner’s position and if any calls were made to 5Star medical alert agents. Additionally, Jitterbug’s 5Star service is present across the device, so a one-touch button will provide immediate access to a Jitterbug agent who can contact emergency services or a previously-approved emergency contact.

Running on Tracfone’s nationwide prepaid network, the Alcatel A383G “Big Easy Plus” is a device designed for seniors that has a large bright keypad, large font and 3G connectivity. While the 3G connectivity might not mean much (data use isn’t the focus of the A383G), it offers a better overall phone connection when compared to the 2G networks most senior devices use.

The device itself has a keyboard on the bottom with large light-up keys, a two-megapixel camera, an MP3 player (up to 32GB microSD) and Bluetooth. Tracfone offers a car charger as a bonus, which is great for seniors who should always keep their devices charged no matter the time of day. At just 15 ounces, the A383G is light enough to easily place into a pocket or drop into a purse and all but forget about its presence until you need it. Plans start as low as $19.99 per month.

Blu’s Joy is an ideal candybar-style phone that offers just enough flash to not feel outdated while still offering the type of features and looks that seniors will love. Beneath the 2.4-inch display is a large numerical keypad that offers easy-to-find numbers and answer and end keys. Powered by quad-band GSM, the Joy is more than capable of running on T-Mobile’s network (or on GSM networks around the world as an unlocked dual-SIM device). The built-in SOS button offers easy access to police, medical and fire support at the press of a single button. The Joy makes it a point to be both senior-friendly and attractive (the leather-patterned back cover that feels great in the hand). Additionally, a built-in flashlight makes for a handy method to quickly light up a small space or when trying to find the right key to open a door at night.

Snapfon is a name that’s not going to ring any bells with traditional phone buyers, but this device is designed to be the ideal device for the senior crowd. The plastic build is sturdy and feels comfortable in the hand. It has a large, rubbery, easy-to-use numeric keypad with answer and end buttons. The display itself is just 320 x 240 and 1.8 inches overall and, while it offers color, it keeps the numbers and text in black and white for easier reading. An optional charging dock supports the 1000mAh battery with around four hours of daily battery life, which should hold up for a few extra days with minimal use. It’s not the longest battery life in the senior phone category, but it’s good enough for at least a few days.

The rear of the device has a red SOS button and holding it for more than a few seconds connects you to a OneCall mobile response agent who can contact 911 or alert a designated contact. The service itself bills for right around $15 a month, but is well worth the added cost for peace of mind. As a quad-band GSM device, there’s support for T-Mobile’s 2G network along with Bluetooth, a VGA camera and an optional speaking keypad to ensure proper number dialing.

Jitterbug’s large presence on this list shows their dedication to the senior community and the Jitterbug Flip is no exception. The 4.7-ounce device offers an exterior 1.44-inch 128 x 128 display that has basic information such as incoming call notifications and date and time. Inside the device, you’ll find a 3.2-inch 480 x 320 display that’s bright, but still offers exceptional outdoor visibility. The text is large and easy to read and there's a simple, organized menu that’s navigated through the directional arrows alongside “yes” and “no” selection buttons.

The addition of 5Star turns the Flip into a personal safety device that’s customized specifically for an older audience. With one-button touch for emergencies and agents standing by 24/7, there’s plenty of peace of mind for the phone owner, as well as their families and friends. Additionally, the LED flashlight on the exterior of the device doubles as a reading magnifier for assisting with small print reading in dimly lit areas. The included GreatCall Link app assists family with staying up-to-update with your health and safety while not intruding on your independence.

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