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Using a cell phone for seniors can often prove difficult, whether due to inadequate volume, hearing aid incompatibility, or the complicated nature of modern smartphones.
One particular problem that affects many people is the size of the buttons on a handset. Some devices have tiny little buttons that are hard to see and press, and many phones now have touch screens that lack the tactile quality of physical buttons. For the many folk working through arthritis and vision impairment, these issues add up to a frustrating experience.
Thankfully there are a few models out there with big buttons that make life much easier for seniors. Some were created especially with older adults in mind, while others just happen to be robust models with the right kind of buttons. Let’s take a look at four of the best.
Available through T-Mobile, the Alcatel GO FLIP 3 is our choice for the best big-buttoned cell phone because it provides the tactile experience of a flip phone with the advanced features of a smartphone. Additionally, the device itself costs only $100.
The call quality on this device can stand up to that of the most advanced smartphones. During my tests, each conversation came through loud and clear. I was also impressed by the GO FLIP’s battery, which lasted me nearly two weeks on standby. Additionally, T-Mobile plans for seniors offer discounted unlimited plans that cost nearly half the cost of competitors.
When it comes to buttons, the standard keypad on this phone provided ample room for each of my calls and texts. If this weren’t enough, this phone also supports speech to text, which streamlines the messaging experience even further. For the senior looking for a simple phone, one that stretches itself into the world of smartphone capabilities, the Alcatel GO FLIP is a great option.
Cost: $100 when purchased through T-Mobile
Lively, one of the best medical alert companies, also makes some great cell phones. The Jitterbug Flip2 from Lively, while a fully functional phone, doubles as a medical alert device. This phone has a dedicated 5Star button you can press to connect with their call center and get help whenever they need it. Agents can pinpoint their location, and send emergency services or roadside assistance if needed. They’ll also contact listed friends or family.
Although this phone offers a relatively limited feature set, in terms of smart abilities, it carries out essential phone functions with aplomb. In my tests, calls came through clearly, and messaging was a breeze on this device, thanks to its large and nicely spaced-out buttons. For the person looking for a phone to augment the features of their medical alert system, the Jitterbug Flip2 is a great choice.
Read our full Jitterbug Flip2 phone review to learn more.
Cost: $99.99, plus activation fees and monthly plan
The LG Exalt LTE features a large, 3-inch screen, a 5 MP camera, and HD audio quality. On top of all of this, this classically designed flip phone has buttons that can accommodate even the largest of fingers.
What’s not to love? Well, unlike the other phones on this list, the Exalt has no external screen, so if caller ID is a feature you commonly find yourself using, then you might want to consider one of the others on this list. Still, when it comes to battery life, call quality, camera quality, and ease of messaging, the LG Exalt LTE does not disappoint. Currently, it’s available on Verizon. To learn more about this provider, read our rundown of Verizon phones for seniors.
Cost: $144, plus activation fees and monthly plan
Available on AT&T’s 4G LTE network, the Cingular Flip IV is a simple phone with some advanced capabilities. For starters, this handset has large, easy to see buttons, and a 2.8” display. It also features a 2-megapixel camera for capturing both images and video, and an external clock so you can see the time without opening the handset. The Flip IV costs $62.99 plus a $30.00 activation fee.
This phone comes with 4GB of internal memory, plus an SD card slot so you can extend the memory capacity if you need to. It also comes with a built-in FM radio app so you can listen on the go. Calls and texts to Mexico are included in both plans. Overall, we found the Cingular Flip IV super easy to use, and we love the on-screen menu as well. It’s very easy to text on, and we also appreciated the stellar sound quality.
To learn more about this provider, read our review of AT&T phones for seniors.
Cost: $62.99 plus activation fees and monthly plan
Choosing a phone with big buttons can make all the difference for seniors who struggle with their eyesight or weak or painful hands. Whether you want something very basic, something a little sturdier, or the capability to connect to the internet, there’s something on this list of big button phones for every need.
Also, if you’re looking to save a little extra money, be sure to check out our list of senior cell phone discounts.