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The Best Smartphones For Seniors in 2021

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Like a computer in the palm of your hand, a solid smartphone can do just about anything you could do with your desktop or laptop. From surfing the web to capturing professional-quality photographs, these devices continually impress their wide range of functionality.

What’s more, these devices are often easy to pick up and use. Despite their various features, modern smartphones often have simple menus and easy to read screens, so even if you’re accustomed to the traditional cell phones of yore, transitioning to a smartphone can be a simple process.

This brings us to the question at hand: What is the best smartphone for seniors? More importantly, which is the best smartphone for you?

In this rundown, we’ll take a closer look at the latest and greatest in smartphones for seniors. Our team at The Senior List has spent hours testing the many devices on the market, and we’ve come up with this list of the best smartphones for seniors in 2020.

Let’s dive in.

Best Smartphones for Seniors

What Is a Smartphone?

For the uninitiated, the term smartphone might connote many different meanings. Touch screens, web browsing, video streaming––these are all likely features you associate with smartphones. Generally speaking, a smartphone is any mobile device with functionality beyond simply calling and sending text messages.

With each of the phones on this list, you can surf the web, send emails, listen to music, share photos, and even play games. Additionally, many of these phones give you access to an app store, a digital marketplace where you can download additional features and tools, many of which are free.

Even if you only want a phone for simple functions, a smartphone can fit the bill. Especially now, with the advent of 5G technology, a network primarily available on the latest smartphones, you’ll gain access to more reliable signal and faster data speeds. No matter your cellular needs, there’s a smartphone for you on this list.

What Should Seniors Look For In A Smartphone?

With all of the features packed into a smartphone, it can be a bit overwhelming to figure out which ones are most important when it comes to the older set. To help me decide which smartphones were best for seniors, I screened for the following criteria.

The Best Cellular Provider for Seniors

As important as choosing a phone is selecting a cellular provider that has the features you need. When checking out different plans, you should try to find one with ample allowances of talk, text, and data.

For this reason, I always recommend T-Mobile, which offers a trio of unlimited plans catering to people 55 and up. These discounted plans give you access to one of the largest cellular networks in the nation, in addition to not requiring annual service contracts.

The Best Smartphones For Seniors

After hours of research and testing, we’ve narrowed the field down to five exceptionally simple phones. Here is our roundup of the best smartphones for seniors in 2021:

1. iPhone 11 Pro Max - Best Overall Smartphone

4.9 / 5
View Packages
Call for best price:
844-882-3705
What We Like Most:
  • Long-Lasting Battery
  • Stunning Camera Quality
  • Face ID for Security
  • Available on T-Mobile

Overview

Since its inception in 2007, the iPhone has become the most popular smartphone in America. And with its sophisticated features and easy-to-use design, it’s plain to see why. Apple’s latest iteration, the iPhone 11 Pro Max builds on its predecessors with a larger screen, increased battery life, and a camera capable of taking album-worthy photographs.

What I love most about this iPhone, however, is how easy it is to operate. Its home screen lays out its functions with large, legible buttons, and toggling between apps is as easy as swiping your finger. Additionally, with Siri, Apple’s built-in voice assistant, you can accomplish many tasks through merely speaking. For example, calling home was simple as saying, “Hey Siri, call home.”

All this is to say that the iPhone 11 Pro Max combines advanced features in an approachable package. It’s easy for me to imagine just about anyone picking up this handset and quickly becoming an expert. This is why the iPhone 11 Pro Max is our pick for the best smartphone for seniors.

Cost: $1,099.99 when purchased through T-Mobile

Pros
  • High-Tech, Long-Lasting Device
  • Solid Battery Life
  • Voice Commands
  • Access to Apple’s App Store
  • Great Camera
  • Large, Easy-To-Read Screen
Cons
  • Expensive Device
  • Difficult To Hold with One Hand

For the senior looking for an easy to operate phone that does it all, look no further than the iPhone 11 Pro Max.

2. Jitterbug Smart3 - Best Senior-Specific Smartphone

Lively
4.8 / 5
View Packages
Call for best price:
833-695-0501
What We Like Most:
  • No annual contracts
  • No cancellation fees
  • Keep your existing phone number
  • U.S.-based customer service

Overview

Available through Lively, the Jitterbug Smart3 is the only smartphone on this list designed specifically with seniors in mind. So not only can the Jitterbug Smart3 make calls, send messages, and surf the internet, but it also boasts features that cater to the older set. First, there’s its large screen, displaying text in crisp detail. Then there’s the speaker, rated M4/T4 in terms of hearing aid compatibility, the highest possible score.

What I appreciate most about this phone, however, are its capabilities as a medical alert device. Using one of Lively’s health and safety packages, you’ll have access to their 5Star Urgent Response feature. Using the dedicated 5Star button on the side of your phone, you’ll be immediately connected to a care specialist at a Lively monitoring center. This trained professional will assess your situation and plan an appropriate response, whether this means contacting a loved one or emergency services.

For a more in-depth look at this device, check out my Jitterbug Smart3 Review.

Cost: $74.99 through Lively

Pros
  • Simplified screen
  • Large, clear font
  • 30-day return policy
  • No long term contracts
  • 13MP camera with LED flash
  • Medical alert feature included in all plans
Cons
  • Needs to be charged nightly
  • Some complaints about initial set-up difficulty
  • Must use Lively phone, text and data plans

The Jitterbug Smart3 is not the most sophisticated device on this list; however, it provides a solid experience, one perfect for someone looking to dip their toes into the world of smartphones.

3. LG Velvet 5G - Best Battery Life

LG Logo
4.2 / 5
View Packages
What We Like Most:
  • High-Performing Battery
  • Sleek Design
  • Large, Bright Screen
  • Relatively Affordable 5G Device

Overview

The LG Velvet is one of the most affordable phones compatible with 5G signal, meaning that it will give you solid call and data performance without breaking the bank. It’s also rated M4/T3 in terms of hearing aid compatibility, so you can rest assured that you’ll have no trouble making and receiving calls.

Its eye-catching quality is its 6.8-inch OLED screen, capable of displaying pictures and video in a gorgeous high resolution. The size and quality of this screen also make it a breeze to navigate through its menus.

What I loved most about the Velvet, however, is its fantastic battery life. With most smartphones, you’ll find their power running low after each day of use, but the Velvet outperformed this expectation. In my tests, this device was able to last over two weeks on standby and for several days with mixed use of talk, text, and Internet browsing.

Cost: $588 through T-Mobile

Pros
  • Long-Lasting Battery
  • 3.5mm Headphone Jack
  • Large Screen
  • Chic Design
  • Waterproof
  • Fingerprint Sensor
Cons
  • Camera Underperforms in Low-Light
  • Runs Slower than the iPhone 11 Pro Max

The LG Velvet provides all the features of an advanced 5G phone at an attractive price.

4. Blackberry Key2 - Best Smartphone with Buttons

BlackBerry Logo
4.0 / 5
View on Amazon
What We Like Most:
  • Great Battery Life
  • Physical Keypad
  • Quick Load Times
  • Non-Slip Grip

Overview

Although touchscreens have become the standard among smartphones, there’s certainly something to be said for physical buttons. Particularly for those of us who find ourselves frequently penning emails and text messages, an actual keyboard can streamline this entire process. Luckily, there’s the Blackberry Key2.

Once the king of smartphone companies, Blackberry has fallen somewhat fallen out of style in recent years. However, the Blackberry Key2, running on Android’s operating system, does a great job of modernizing this classic product. The Key2’s sleek design, multitasking capabilities, and fully-featured phone capabilities make it a solid choice for a smartphone, not to mention the added bonus of a tactile set of buttons.

Its 12MP camera delivers detailed photographs, and its relatively large touchscreen positioned over the keypad is still useful when it comes to pinching and zooming on the text. Plus, its battery, which lasted over a day in our tests, means that this phone can keep up with even the heaviest users.

Cost: $569 through Amazon

Pros
  • Hearing Aid Compatible
  • Long-Lasting Battery
  • Great for Multitasking
  • Solid Camera
  • Android Operating System
  • Durable Keypad
Cons
  • Pricier than Other Button Phones
  • Relatively Small Screen

Merging a keyboard’s tactile experience with a touchscreen’s features, the Blackberry Key2 is perfect for the button-loving smartphone lover.

5. BLU JOY - Best Budget Smartphone

3.7 / 5
View on Amazon
What We Like Most:
  • Large buttons
  • Inexpensive
  • Built-in SOS button
  • Unlocked smartphone

Overview

BLU’s JOY phone was designed for seniors, yet it looks as modern as any regular smartphone, thanks to a smooth leather pattern battery cover and a streamlined body. The leather pattern on the phone also makes it easier to hold, unlike other slippery smartphone textures. It’s available in both black or red.

The JOY features large buttons and numbers, and a clear full-color 2.4″ display. The SOS button on the back of the phone can connect to emergency services with just one press.

The JOY has plenty of features such as a camera and media player that makes it easy to enjoy content or take and share photos, with a continued focus on ease of use. Other extras like a flashlight, FM radio, and Bluetooth connectivity round out any cell phone user’s functional and basic needs.

Cost: $29.99 through Amazon

Pros
  • Large buttons
  • Simple, uncomplicated phone
  • Great for basic calling and texting
  • Easy to press SOS button in case of emergencies
Cons
  • 2G phone, does not work with all carriers
  • Some complaints of lack of instructions for setup

While not as feature-rich as the other phones on this list, the BLU JOY delivers a substantial cellular experience with some advanced smartphone capabilities.

Written By
Amie Clark

Amie has been writing about senior care products and services for the last decade. She is particularly passionate about new technologies that help improve the quality of life for seniors and their families. Seeing her parents and grandparents age made Amie ask herself, “Would this be good enough for my loved ones?” In her spare time, Amie enjoys outdoor adventures and spontaneous road trips. Learn more about Amie here

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