The 10 Best Cell Phones for Seniors in 2019

Make sure your loved ones are always in touch

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The Rundown

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Jitterbug Flip

Jitterbug Flip
Courtesy of Amazon.com.com
4.3

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.

Best Value: Nokia 3.1 Android One

3.4

Strip some of the unnecessary bells and whistles and leave only the things you really need and you end up with the Nokia 3.1 Android One. The aluminum frame looks good but also helps with cell reception, and the plastic back is comfortable to hold and use.

Its hardware is powered by a processor that can move quickly through multiple apps. The 5.2-inch 720p display is compact but still large enough that font size can be increased and icons clearly seen. A rear 13-megapixel camera captures good photos for the price and there’s a front-facing camera for video chat. The 2990mAh battery is reasonably large for the device’s size and will provide at least a full day’s charge.

As an Android One device, there’s the promise of regular security updates. That gives the Nokia at least two promised years of lifespan, which is good news for seniors who may not be inclined to upgrade their phones as frequently.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Motorola G6 Play

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.

Best Basic: LG Exalt VN220

LG Exalt

 Verizon

The Verizon-powered LG Exalt flip phone has a solid combination of performance and battery life. The 1470mAh battery keeps it running for more than 10 days of standby time and up to six hours of talk time, so you rarely need to recharge. It's also capable of HD voice calls, which gives you crystal-clear audio so you don't miss a word. (This can be especially helpful for users who are hearing-impaired.) Another plus: the Exalt can be used as a mobile hotspot and share its network connection with your other devices if you need internet access away from home. While there’s no display on the outside, the internal three-inch LCD screen is easy to see, with large fonts and numbers. The buttons are also comfortably large and easy to type on.

Check out our guide to the best basic cell phones you can buy today. 

Best Display: Jitterbug Smart2

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.

Best Battery: ASUS ZenFone

While senior citizens might not drain their phone batteries using Snapchat as fast as the rest of us, but keeping them powered is more a matter of safety. The ZenFone 3 Zoom has a high-capacity 5000mAh battery that will deliver an incredible performance. One self-proclaimed basic user noted on Amazon that “After using this phone for a week or two, the battery life is truly as impressive as they say. I get about three to four days before I have to recharge.”

The phone has a 5.5-inch AMOLED Gorilla glass 5 display with 1920 x 1080 FHD resolution and runs Android Nougat 7.1.1. It has three great cameras: two 12-megapixel cameras on the rear and a 13-megapixel camera on the front. At its core, you’ll find a 64-bit, 2GHz octa-core Snapdragon 625 processor, 3GB memory and desktop-grade Adreno 506 graphics performance. Overall, it’s a beloved phone that won’t let you down.

Read through our best senior cell phone plans article.

Best for Emergencies: Doro 7050

Doro 7050

Best Buy

If you want a phone that’s always emergency-ready, look to the Doro 7050. This Consumer Cellular-based phone sets itself apart from the competition with its dedicated “Assistance” button on the rear of the device. If the button is pressed three times in a row, it automatically dials a preset contact, whether it's a close family member or simply 911.

On the front of the device is a monochrome LCD screen that displays caller ID and the time. Inside the phone is a 2.8-inch LCD display that automatically defaults to larger fonts. The entire keypad is also easy to read, with well-sized send and end buttons and a large numeric keypad for dialing. There’s room for up to 500 contacts as well as 26 distinct ringtones, each of which can be linked to different contacts for customized notifications. There’s also a calendar for appointment reminders and a 2MP camera for quick photos. As an extra bonus, the Doro is hearing aid compatible.

Best Durability: Samsung Galaxy S8 Active

As one of their flagship devices, Samsung’s Galaxy S8 needs no introduction. When it was unveiled, this phone was the crème de la crème of Android devices. For the tech-savvy senior who wants a go-anywhere, do-anything device, this is the one — there’s no shortage of features here.

The Galaxy S8 Active is rated IP68 which means it can be submerged under water up to five feet for up to 30 minutes. That’s on top of being dustproof. It’s not quite indestructible, but it’s as close as you can get without military specifications. The 5.8-inch display adds Gorilla Glass 5 for extra durability.

Bixby, the digital assistant for weather, news, and voice dialing, runs beautifully with the super-fast processor and Samsung-specific Android interface. Even the 12-megapixel camera on the rear is superb. There’s plenty of storage space as well, so grandparents can fill up their devices with hundreds, if not thousands, of pictures and video.

Best iPhone: Apple iPhone 7

The iPhone needs no introduction and it’s often considered one of the best devices for seniors. Included are extras like "voice dial," which allows users to ask Siri to call someone without touching the device. Apple’s recent addition of Medical ID is an often-overlooked function that could save a life. iPhone owners can add allergies, medications, blood type, emergency contacts and more that can be accessed by emergency personnel if necessary.

All that is on top of the more traditional features Apple has included. There’s a multitude of text sizes to choose from. Volume for notifications, alerts and incoming calls is easily adjusted. The App Store is full of applications that are dedicated to seniors, and FaceTime is a great way to video chat with friends and family. 

At the end of the day, the Apple interface is fairly straightforward with app-based navigation. It also has a great camera, fast data speeds, and plenty of storage, making this phone a true home run. 

Best Android: Samsung Galaxy S8

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.

See more reviews of our favorite Android cell phones available for purchase.

Tested by

How We Tested

We bought two top-rated cell phones for seniors that our reviewers tested by using daily for weeks on end. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using these cell phones, from their display to their camera. We’ve outlined the key takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in a Cell Phone for a Senior Citizen

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!

Test Results: Jitterbug Flip (Best Overall)

4.3

What We Like

  • Large buttons and text

  • Includes a 5Star Urgent Response button

  • Excellent battery life

  • Camera takes clear photos

What We Don't Like

  • No internet access

Jitterbug Flip
Jitterbug Flip
Jitterbug Flip
Jitterbug Flip

Surprisingly, flip phones are making a comeback — and the Jitterbug Flip is a perfect starter model if you’re looking for something with simple features that are easy to navigate. Not only does this phone have a 5Star Urgent Response button, its bright display and large text caters to phone users that usually need a little help reading text messages and phone numbers. One of our testers described the screen as “very large” and he said that the “straightforward features” were the best part about this phone.

Test Results: Nokia 3.1 Android One (Best Value)

3.4

What We Like

  • Good price

  • Durable

  • Helpful Android One support

What We Don't Like

  • Small storage space

  • Outdated design

  • Not very powerful

Nokia 3.1 Android One
Nokia 3.1 Android
Nokia 3.1
Nokia Android One
Nokia 3.1 Android One Phone

Noting its budget-friendly price, one of our testers said the Nokia 3.1 is “a good, reasonable phone for regular use.” One of our reviewers called the Android One support “a big advantage” and also liked the wide 18:9 display ratio, which he said is “perfect for movies.” The downsides, according to our testers, include “small storage space and limited processing power.” The takeaway: “With an extremely tight budget, the Nokia 3.1 could make a decent starter phone,” one of our reviewers declared.