The 9 Best Cell Phones for Senior Citizens to Buy in 2018

Find a phone that's perfect for the elderly

Jitterbug phone
Photo from Amazon

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. They have 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.

Best Overall: Moto E Plus (4th Generation) - 16 GB - Unlocked

For those making their first foray into smartphones, the Moto E Plus is a great option.

Running Android 7.1 Nougat, it’s a breeze to navigate between messaging, e-mail and apps. It has a bright 5.5-inch display – the same size as Apple’s iPhone 8 Plus – which makes reading text and watching videos easy on the eyes. As with most high-end smartphones these days, it also has a fingerprint reader embedded on the front, adding an extra layer of security to your phone.

On the inside, the Moto E Plus houses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 427 1.4 GHz quad-core processor, plus 2 GB RAM with 16 GB internal memory. That should be plenty of space for storing photos of all their adorable grandchildren, but just in case it’s not, it also has support for up to 128 GB microSD card. And speaking of photos, they will look stunning, thanks to the phone’s 5 MP front-facing camera and 13 MP rear-facing camera. Perhaps our favorite feature is the massive 5,000 mAh battery, which claims to last up to two days on a single charge.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Best Prepaid: Alcatel A383G

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.

Best No Frills: Snapfon

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.

Best iPhone: Straight Talk Apple 6 32GB Prepaid Smartphone, Space Gray

If you’re on the hunt for the perfect phone for your parent, and you yourself have an iPhone, it may be wise to get them the same so you can answer all their questions. If that’s the case, we recommend the iPhone 6 due to its elegant design and intuitive interface. Plus, do they really need the latest and greatest version of the iPhone? Probably not. The 6 has a bright 4.7-inch Retina HD display, plus dual 8MP and 2MP cameras. While those aren’t as sharp as the iPhone 6S’s cameras, the untrained eye likely won’t notice the difference.

It has 32GB of storage, which is a steal considering it costs under $200, and should serve all your storage needs. The drawbacks? One reviewer laments: “Overall, the volume could be a little better. But some of us just need to have our ears cleaned.”

Best Android: SIMPLE Mobile - Samsung Galaxy J3 Luna Pro 4G LTE

In the same vein, if you’re a Samsung owner and want to be able to provide Android tech support to your parents, check out the Galaxy J3. It runs Android 5.1.1 and TouchWiz, Samsung’s custom skin, which isn’t the latest version but performs slickly in its own right, thanks to a Spreadtrum quad-core 1.2GHz processor. The phone is reasonably priced, but still flaunts fancy features like a five-inch 720p OLED display. And although it doesn’t have an ambient light sensor, it does have an Outdoors Mode that works brilliantly on bright days.

While its body is plastic, its build still feels solid and slim. Lest you forget you’re holding a budget phone, its mere 8GB of storage will remind you. Still, that should be adequate for most seniors without libraries of music and photos, and thanks to a microSD slot for expandable memory, that won’t be a dealbreaker.

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