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Made specifically for people with dementia and Alzheimer’s, the RAZ Memory Cell Phone is one of the most streamlined cell phones we’ve encountered. It can make calls, receive calls, and store up to 30 contacts — and that’s pretty much it. This simplicity, combined with a more sophisticated portal for caregivers, makes the Memory Cell Phone an ideal way for seniors with dementia to stay connected to their families. That said, the phone's limited features might not be for everyone.
In this Memory Cell Phone review, we'll take a closer look at this phone, testing out its features, and seeing if it's right for your loved ones.
Pro Tip: The Memory Cell Phone can be used on a variety of networks. To figure out which one works best for you, check out our rundown of senior cell phone plans.
RAZ Memory Cell Phone Pros
Extreme simplicity: The Memory Cell Phone features one screen, upon which you’ll find your contacts, their photos, and a 911 button. To mitigate confusion, this is the only screen or menu on the device.
Photo-based contacts: Just about every smartphone can support photos for contacts, but the Memory Phone puts these photos front and center, making it easy to make and receive calls.
Caregiver tracking: From either a smartphone or internet browser, secondary users can keep track of a Memory Cell Phone’s battery life, location, and usage. They can also adjust settings like volume remotely.
Customized controls: From the RAZ Care app, secondary users can add a dial pad to the Memory Cell Phone’s home screen, change the call-answer mechanism, and change the ringtone.
Video calling: As of May 2023, the Memory Cell Phone now supports video call functionality.
RAZ Memory Cell Phone Cons
No text messaging or voicemail: Simplicity is the Memory Cell Phone’s main draw, but certain features such as messaging or voicemail may have been useful.
Secondary user required: Since the phone can only make and receive calls, many of its abilities — such as adding contacts and adjusting settings — require a secondary user to do so from their smartphone or web browser.
Our Video Review
To see the Memory Cell Phone in action, watch our full-length video review.
Raz Memory Cell Phone Features
Despite resembling a typical Android smartphone, the Memory Cell Phone cannot send text messages, browse the internet, use apps, or even take photos. Even the volume rocker, located on the side of the phone, is disabled, and the Memory Cell Phone’s volume is always set to maximum.
The upside of the limited functionality is that it’s nearly impossible to get lost or confused with the phone. From the home screen, a user can:
View six to 30 contacts, displayed alongside their photos.
Initiate a call by pressing one of the contacts.
Initiate a 911 call by pressing and holding the red Emergency 911 button.
The only time the Memory Cell Phone’s home screen changes is during an incoming call. When a person calls the Memory Cell Phone, the user will see the contact’s image, along with Answer and Hang Up buttons. Once the call is complete, the phone returns to the home screen.
To make use of the Memory Cell Phone, you’ll need at least one secondary user, who will set up the phone, add contacts, and manage additional settings of the phone. All these functions can be accomplished through the RAZ Mobility Memory Cell Phone Portal, which can be accessed either through your web browser or the RAZ Care mobile app.
As well as modifying the contacts list, a secondary user can:
Change the Memory Cell Phone’s ringtone.
Send reminders to the Memory Cell Phone (see image below).
Track the Memory Cell Phone’s GPS location.
Change the way a user accepts calls, either by tapping and holding, tapping and holding for longer, double tapping, or single tapping.
Add a dial pad to the user’s home screen.
Limit incoming calls to be only from contacts.
Monitor the battery level and signal strength of the user’s Memory Cell Phone.
View the Memory Cell Phone’s call history.
I was a bit skeptical when I realized a majority of the Memory Cell Phone’s settings are outsourced to a secondary user, but that becomes a benefit when you consider that the phone’s primary user is a person with cognitive impairment.
From either a web browser or the RAZ Care app, a user can remotely adjust the phone’s settings, and the changes happen instantaneously. When you add a new contact in the portal, their image and name will appear instantly on the Memory Cell Phone.
During my tests, I was pleased with how long the battery lasted — nearly five days on standby and well over one day with heavy use. Whenever the battery level dipped below 20 percent, the phone sent automated text messages informing my contacts of the change.
To charge the Memory Cell Phone, you can either use the included USB-C charging cable or purchase a wireless charging kit from RAZ for $59.99. Since the Memory Cell Phone does not feature native wireless charging, the kit includes both an adapter that plugs into your phone and a wireless charging dock. To charge your phone with the kit, you simply place your phone on the stand, and it will automatically charge.
RAZ Emergency Service
By default, the Memory Cell Phone comes with an emergency button that dials 911; however, RAZ offers an optional service that directs emergency calls to a dispatch service, as opposed to 911. In receiving the call, the dispatch agent will know that the caller has memory loss and will determine whether to contact first responders or a loved one. In doing so, this feature can prevent the Memory Cell Phone user from making unnecessary 911 calls.
The RAZ Emergency Service is billed on an annual basis, costing $99.99 per year.
RAZ Memory Cell Phone Costs
The RAZ Memory Cell Phone costs $309 and includes a charging cable. The price also includes a SIM card with three months of free service from Mint Mobile. After the initial three months, you can keep the SIM card and reload service onto it.
Memory Cell Phone Plans
RAZ does not provide its own cellular service, so you’ll have to choose a wireless provider. Since RAZ includes three free months of Mint Mobile, it will most likely be your best option, especially considering its plans for seniors cost $15 per month with three-month commitment periods.
You can also purchase a SIM card from T-Mobile, AT&T, or Cricket, since they are also compatible with the Memory Cell Phone.
Memory Cell Phone vs. SmartVision 3
Among the phones offered by RAZ Mobility, the Memory Cell Phone and SmartVision 3 are two of our favorite options; however, they differ significantly in terms of features.
The Memory Cell Phone can essentially just make and receive calls, be they voice or video calls. The SmartVision3, however, is a fully-featured phone designed for people with vision impairment. If taking photos, browsing the web, or downloading apps are of concern, then we’d recommend the SmartVision 3.
In my time reviewing cell phones for seniors, I’ve never encountered a device as simple as the RAZ Memory Cell Phone. By limiting the front-end functionality to making and receiving calls while also allowing caregivers to track the phone’s use, the Memory Cell Phone is incredibly easy for anyone to use.
The RAZ Memory Cell Phone is compatible with all major networks, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile.
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.