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3 Ideal Cell Phone Models for Seniors

Michael Kwan
Senior man texting on cell phone

Considering how expensive cell phones have become, buying one is not a decision to be taken lightly. Although much of the marketing and brand messaging may be directed more toward younger users, choosing the right phone need not be particularly confusing for older adults. Check out these three great options, each of which has senior-friendly features.

1. Jitterbug Flip

The Jitterbug Flip from GreatCall is one of the best basic flip phones you can buy today, especially for seniors. Not everyone is interested in spending $1,000 or more on a high-end smartphone with all sorts of advanced features. Some users just want a phone that's great for phone calls on the go and the Jitterbug Flip fits that description to a tee. Key features include:

  • Very easy to use
  • User interface features larger fonts for easier legibility
  • Extra-large backlit buttons with large numbers
  • Simplified menu with yes/no buttons
  • Reading magnifier function
  • Dedicated 5Star button for emergency help
  • Loud speaker for conversations

It sells for about $100 or less in your choice of red or graphite.

2. Apple iPhone 8 Plus

There is a reason why the iPhone series from Apple is so popular among users across nearly every demographic. Seniors who are interested in having a smartphone will find a lot to like here. The size of the iPhone 8 Plus is a great advantage, as it houses an extra-large 5.5-inch Retina HD display. Text appears especially crisp and the App Store offers limitless potential. Plus, Siri is a great tool for using voice to control your iPhone rather than pressing keys or using a touchscreen. Key features include:

  • Second largest iPhone screen next to the iPhone X
  • Retains the physical home button with Touch ID
  • Rated IP67 splash, water and dust resistant
  • Convenient Siri voice assistant
  • Incredible camera with optical image stabilization and portrait mode
  • Larger text available in accessibility settings
  • Medical ID stored in the Health app for emergencies
  • Works seamlessly with other Apple products and services like AirPlay and iTunes

The iPhone 8 Plus sells for about $800, though it is available through many carriers on a monthly installment plan. To save some money, you might want to consider an older iPhone model.

3. Samsung Galaxy S8 Active

The Samsung Galaxy S8 Active offers a few key advantages for seniors over the regular Galaxy S8 or even the newer Galaxy S9. The "Active" designation indicates that this phone is hardier and more resistant to damage than its counterparts, featuring a military grade body and durable metal frame. It also has an extra large 5.8-inch Super AMOLED display for ease of viewing, as well as a larger 4,000 mAh battery that allows it to last longer between charges than most other phones. Key features include:

  • Very large and high resolution display (1440 x 2960 pixels)
  • Available Easy Mode for a simplified home screen layout
  • Wireless charging and Quick Charge 2.0 support
  • Great battery life
  • Extra durable construction without the "slippery" feel of the regular Galaxy S8
  • Powerful processor with lots of memory

The Galaxy S8 Active sells for about $850 new or you can find a certified refurbished model for less. Just be sure it is unlocked or compatible with your carrier before buying.

Cell Phone Shopping Tips for Seniors

One of these models may work perfectly for you, or you may want to shop around for other options. As a senior looking for a new mobile phone, there are a few key criteria to keep in mind.

  • Do you want a basic phone mostly for talking or do you want the advanced functionality of a smartphone?
  • Will you benefit from the advanced features of a more expensive device or will a cheaper alternative do?
  • What size is the display and what is its resolution? More pixels mean text will be clearer and easier to read.
  • Does the device offer any accessibility options that allow for larger fonts and an easier-to-read user interface?
  • How loud are the earpiece and speakers? This is especially important for users who have difficulty hearing.
  • What is the expected battery life with normal usage? Compare the mAh (milliamp-hour) rating, as well as real-world scenarios.
  • Does the phone include any emergency features, like storing vital health information or the ability to call for help in a single tap?

The Best Phone for Your Needs

Whether you want to engage with online communities for seniors or you just need a simple phone to stay connected with friends and family, there are plenty of great options available. Selecting a cell phone as a senior is just as much of a personal choice as with any other age demographic. It starts with deciding the type of phone you want and looking for a model that fits your budget that also has features that meet your needs.

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3 Ideal Cell Phone Models for Seniors