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FYI: Many providers put data caps on their so-called “unlimited” plans; however, T-Mobile’s senior plans are truly unlimited. To learn how this works, read our T-Mobile 55+ review.
What Are Flip Phones?
Flip phones are compact, folding cellular devices that feature tactile buttons and simplified menus. In the past, flip phones possessed only basic features like calling and texting, but modern flip phones have incorporated voice commands, cameras, and internet access. I could even use apps like WhatsApp on some phones, like the Nuu F4L, to communicate with friends in other countries!
When testing out a range of flip phone options, I looked for the following features:
Simple design: The main benefit of using a flip phone is that it’s easy to use. So I looked for devices that had simple menus and were straightforward when it came to making calls, sending messages, and taking photos.
Long battery life: Unlike smartphones, which usually need a daily charge, flip phones can last for days — or even weeks — without requiring additional charging. All of the phones on this list lasted at least one week in terms of standby time. That was great, particularly when I was on vacation and forgot my charger!
Smart features: Many of our favorite flip phones offer advanced features normally reserved for smartphones, including internet access, app stores, and even voice assistants like Google Assistant (looking at you, Nokia 2720 V Flip!).
Affordability: In addition to simplicity, the low cost of a flip phone is a big draw. All of the phones on this list cost less than $100; the cheapest one costs less than $60 — good news for my wallet.
Lively offers an impressive medical alert system, the Lively Mobile Plus, so it’s no surprise that its phones are senior-friendly. Their Jitterbug Flip2 was made specifically for seniors and is designed to be easy to use. It even doubles as a medical alert device — all I had to do was press the 5Star button on the handset to be connected to the urgent response center. This is an especially great feature for seniors who are susceptible to falls, like my grandmother.
In terms of its design, the Jitterbug Flip2 features a bright backlit display and large buttons, which made it easy to use, even in the dark. It also has a clear speaker, flashlight, magnifier, and dual cameras for both selfies and traditional photos. Moreover, all of these features were easy to access through this phone’s simple, list-based menus.
Another feature I haven’t seen from any other phone is for rideshares. Rather than go on the Lyft app, I could simply call Lively and they’d schedule a Lyft to pick me up. While I don’t mind going on the app with my smartphone, this is a great option for people who primarily use a flip phone.
Additionally, as with any Jitterbug phone, the Flip2 has optional medical alert features. For an extra monthly fee, you can enable urgent response services on your phone, giving you access to help in the event of an emergency. In our experience, this service is surprisingly responsive, frequently answering our distress calls in under 10 seconds.
Overall, the Jitterbug Flip2 is reasonably priced, easy to use, and ideal for seniors who don’t need a smartphone but still want to keep in touch with friends and family. To learn more about this company, read our rundown of Jitterbug phones for seniors, in addition to our full Jitterbug Flip2 review.
FYI: The Jitterbug Flip2 offers some impressive medical alert features; however, if you’re looking for a stand-alone device, read our rundown of the best medical alert systems.
Price: $69 when purchased through Consumer Cellular
While the Consumer Cellular Iris Flip doesn’t offer the plethora of features found on other flip phones, it’s hard to find a more affordable flip phone. Add this on top of the affordable Consumer Cellular prices, and you get one of the most budget-friendly flip phones on the market.
In terms of features, you’ll find the basic ones with the Iris Flip. It makes calls, sends text messages, and takes photos. It also has a large, legible keypad and Bluetooth capabilities for a wireless headset or streaming. This phone is also rated M3/T3 for hearing aid compatibility, and in my tests, I used it with hearing aids and didn’t experience any noise issues. Additionally, this phone’s battery lasted for a long time. During heavy testing, it lasted for four days on a single charge. On standby, it lasted two weeks. I could talk on the phone for 14 straight hours before the battery died (although I’m not sure anyone would want to talk to me for that long).
Additionally, while the apps on this phone are somewhat limited––no Facebook or WhatsApp here––this phone did support voice-to-text. So rather than having to painstakingly type out words on this phone’s nine-digit keypad, I could speak, and the phone would transcribe. This, alone, makes the Iris Flip better than the vast majority of flip phones.
While the other flip phones on this list offer safety features and higher-quality cameras, the Consumer Cellular Iris Flip performs the basic duties of a phone at an unparalleled price point.
For those prone to dropping their phones, the Kyocera DuraXE Epic is the perfect solution. Though no larger than the average flip phone, this handset is drop-proof, dust-proof, and waterproof, making it virtually indestructible.
In addition to this phone’s durability, we were also impressed by its sound quality. Through its HD voice features and noise cancellation, calls came in crystal-clear on both ends. Additionally, this phone’s battery lasted us for nearly two weeks on standby time.
While the menu of this phone looks pretty standard for a flip phone, you can also customize it to have your favorite features front and center. For example, we were able to make one of our home screen buttons call emergency responders. Although this phone was not fully compatible with hearing aids, it’s still a compelling option for those who want durability.
To learn more about this phone and AT&T’s plans, check out our guide to AT&T senior plans.
Long-lasting battery, with nearly 15 hours of talk time
Loud and high-quality speaker
Two-week battery life
Large internal display
Price: $89.99 when purchased through T-Mobile or Metro by T-Mobile
The Alcatel Go Flip 4 is my No. 2 choice for the best flip phone because it combines the best of both worlds: the advanced features of a smartphone and the simplicity of a flip phone. What’s more, when paired with one of T-Mobile’s senior plans, people aged 55 and older can get unlimited talk, text, and data for $55 for two lines.
In terms of design, this phone features a small external screen that displays the time as well as a larger internal screen that allows me to navigate its features easily. In terms of buttons, this phone uses a large, tactile keypad, and the buttons are also backlit. What impressed me most about this phone, however, is its sound quality. When making calls with this device, voices and sounds were consistently loud and clear. Additionally, it worked exceptionally well with hearing aids, due to its M4/T4 rating for hearing aid compatibility.
The battery of this phone also impressed us. In our tests, it lasted nearly three weeks on standby and one week with heavy usage. It also allowed me hours upon hours of talk time, 12.7 hours on a 4G network. The Alcatel Go Flip 4 also provides access to the KaiOS app store. Unlike other smartphones, which are confined to basic features, this phone allows you to download apps for internet browsing, social media, and email. I never knew I could be so productive on a flip phone!
When I think of a flip phone, I think of something with very few capabilities outside of talking and texting, which some seniors might prefer. However, that’s not the case with the F4L flip phone from Nuu, which allowed me to use apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Light. Another big advantage is that I could use the following carriers with this device:
Metro by T-Mobile
Q Link Wireless
This allows a wide range of people to get this phone without having to change their phone number or change carriers. Although the front and rear cameras aren’t particularly high quality and the screens could be larger, this is a good option for seniors who want on-the-go apps.
Price: $79.99 when purchased through Verizon (plus a $35 activation fee)
While the Nokia 2720 V Flip looks like your ordinary flip phone, it has a bevy of smart features that make it a highly advanced device. The V Flip has an app store, SOS features, and even Google Assistant built in. I love using Google Assistant to set my alarm, turn off my Wi-Fi-connected lights, and remind me to do certain tasks. Virtual assistants are great for technologically-averse seniors, as they don’t require screens, apps, or hard-to-see buttons.
For starters, this phone features the keypad and large screen that you’d expect from a flip phone. It’s also got adjustable font sizes, a loudspeaker, and a battery that lasted more than a week on a single charge. Where the V Flip really impressed me is with its Google Assistant features.
By pressing the Google Assistant button on the home screen, I was able to accomplish a number of functions through voice commands. Making calls, browsing the internet, and even sending messages could all be accomplished solely by using my voice. Additionally, this phone gave me access to an app store, where I could download popular apps like Facebook and WhatsApp.
To learn more about this phone and different options from Verizon, check out our guide to Verizon senior plans.
Google Assistant capability
Dedicated SOS button
Long battery life
Compatible with hearing aids (M4/T4)
Poor camera quality
Only 5.56 hours of talk time
If you’re looking to learn about other great cellular options for seniors, be sure to check out our most recent list of the best cell phones for seniors.
Additionally, consider taking a look at our other cell phone guides:
Ryan has years of experience researching and testing products that help people successfully age in place. After years of working for various publications such as Boston Magazine and The Believer, he has found his home at The Senior List, writing about all things related to caregiving and senior healthcare.