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The best cell phones for seniors are accessible, easy to use, and don't require users to navigate a lengthy, elaborate setup process before they can start making calls and sending texts. This doesn't mean they have to sacrifice a ton of the features offered by the flagship options in our best smartphones roundup, either. While they may not come with the same high-resolution cameras or powerful processors, even less expensive phones still need to competently fill a couple of main roles.
So what should you prioritize when you're shopping the best cell phones for seniors? Call quality should be crystal clear, and these phones should prioritize accessibility: big, clear, legible displays, simple, intuitive interfaces, and effortless functionality. We've rounded up the best phones for senior citizens that meet these criteria but cost a fraction of the price of flagship models from major smartphone manufacturers.
Bright, easy to read display
Simple menus and setup
Doubles as a personal safety device
Requires the GreatCall carrier service
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.
Google Assistant integration
Adaptive battery mode
Slightly subpar 3.5MM audio quality
Just because you’re looking for a phone that doesn’t cost a fortune doesn’t mean you should have to settle for mediocrity. The Nokia 4.2 is perfect for anyone who wants a phone they won’t have to replace anytime soon, and it’s full of handy features to make your life easier.
Google Assistant will remind you of important events or help you respond to texts without lifting a finger, and thanks to Android One, you won’t have to worry about bloatware filling up your phone. Plus, with its Adaptive Battery mode, you’ll be able to really get the best out of your phone, making it a great value choice for seniors wanting a phone that fits their needs.
Big, clear display
Great for multitasking
No LED light for messages
With a price tag that won’t scare anyone away, the Moto G6 Play is an excellent option for most seniors. Geared toward the more tech-savvy, the phone’s combination of a large display and long battery life make it a smart buy.
Right away, the 5.7-inch display grabs your attention. Its 720p resolution ensures that fonts are easy to read, and underneath the display is a quad-core processor which allows multiple apps to run concurrently with no slowdown. That’s great for seniors who want to do some mobile shopping or check in on Facebook. The rear of the device is adorned with a 13-megapixel camera that takes sharp, accurate photos. It’s perfect for vacations or for pictures of the grandkids.
The biggest highlight of the Motorola is the 4000mAh battery. Even for power users, that battery size is more than enough to get through a day. For someone who might use the phone considerably less, charging every other day is a real possibility. This phone also has Amazon Alexa capabilities, meaning you can ask about traffic or weather using voice commands.
Good app access
Large accessible buttons
Great voice-to-text support
Occasional lag switching between apps
The Jitterbug Smart2 is an easy-to-use phone with some updated features that make it a great choice for more than just texting and calling. The phone’s 5.5-inch screen makes everything easy to read, and the simple home screen menu has large buttons for basic functions like making phone calls, accessing the phone’s camera, and sending emails. You can also download additional apps, such as Skype or Google Hangouts, in the Google Play store. The phone comes with 16GB of built-in storage with the ability to expand to 32GB using an SD card.
The Smart2 also has a voice typing feature that makes texting simpler. All users have to do is press a button and speak their text message instead of having to type it out. Additionally, this phone offers 5Star service as a safety precaution — with a press of a button on the phone’s home screen, users can access immediate emergency assistance. The phone is also hearing-aid compatible and comes with the GreatCall Link app that updates family members about your health and safety.
The bottom line is that the Jitterbug Smart2 is specifically engineered with seniors’ needs in mind. And with a large screen, access to apps, and voice typing, they can enjoy the benefits of up-to-date technology on a device that’s also easy to use.
Bixby utility is questionable
Part of what makes the Galaxy S8 a great choice for seniors is the inclusion of "Easy Mode." An optional setting on Samsung smartphones, this mode reconfigures the home screen with a simpler layout and larger fonts. There’s still access to the powerful features of the Galaxy S8, just in a more user-friendly capacity. Bixby’s voice commands are also a bonus, allowing menu navigation with voice control.
The Galaxy S8 display is gorgeous both in Easy Mode and Samsung’s more traditional interface. Colors are bright and vibrant and easy to see even in direct sunlight. At 5.8 inches in total size, there’s plenty of room for larger fonts. The body of the phone is IP68 rated as well for five feet of water resistance for up to 30 minutes.
The 12-megapixel camera takes gorgeous photos and with 64GB of memory available, storage is unlikely to be an issue. A 3000mAh battery adds up to 30 hours of life before requiring a recharge.
An inexpensive, accessible phone with plenty of attractive features, the Jitterbug Flip is a great choice for seniors. If you're willing to spend a little more, the Samsung Galaxy S8 is a powerful, modern smartphone with an excellent camera and a capacious 64GB of storage.
David Beren has been covering tech for over a decade now, and is an expert in smartphone and mobile technology. He's managed content for major carriers/retailers like T-Mobile, Sprint, and Tracfone Wireless.
Display - For seniors who have an app for everything, a large screen is a must. Around 5 inches, measured diagonally, should do the trick. A good resolution, around 1280 x 720 or higher, will make viewing media a pleasure. But if apps and media streaming take a back seat to texting and calling, a smaller display with a lower resolution will be just fine. This will also save you some money and earn you a better battery life.
Keyboard - If texting is a top priority, spring for a cell phone that has a convenient keyboard. That might be a subjective quality, but for most it means a digital QWERTY keyboard with no physical buttons. Basic phones generally have a keypad that doubles as a keyboard, but that might slow you down.
Camera - No need to pull school photos of grandkids out of your wallet anymore; a cell phone with a great camera can act as a whole photo album. The best phones have rear-facing cameras around 13 megapixels and some even feature a front-facing camera for selfies. Say cheese!