Smartphones are not really elderly friendly, Apple may say all they want about being inclusive but they are not interested in targeting the elderly and their devices are not friendly for the elderly consumer and those with early dementia .
When I repeatedly tried to explain how an iPhone works to a few 70 plus year olds, they didn’t like it. They found the tactile screen, the passwords and constant unlocking, “fiddly” .We want a “normal” phone-they said.
Thinking about it , it is indeed rather complicated and also pretty unnecessary to buy an smartphone if all you want is to make and receive phone calls.
Nowadays unfortunately, not many companies produce basic phones anymore, the market is rather small considering they are great back up phones for smartphone users and elderly people love them. Alcatel is one of the companies still producing them and I tried a few of their phones with my elderly relatives. All 70 plus.
Both the Alcatel 3026 and 2053 are rather similar in the sense that they are flip phones and extremely user friendly, however the 3026 has bigger numbers and a large 2.8” screen. It also benefits from the one icon function per page.
I tried both phones with a 76 year old and the Alcatel 3026 was no doubt easier to use for this person . The large, ergonomic soft touch keypad makes typing easier and it offers a more efficient experience than the 2053. You can also use the shortcuts buttons to access the key functions.
Alcatel 3026 comes with its own charging cradle which is rather convenient. It also has a SOS button on the surface which helps to make the user feel secure and it offers hearing aid compatibility (M4/T4) . The Alcatel 3026 is definitely a great simple phone for elderly people and the user who tried it, who suffers from mild memory loss, loved it. He is able to make and receive calls and charge it as doesn’t need it for anything else so Alcatel 3026 all the way if you need it for your grandparents or elderly friends .
It won’t last forever and I have been told by someone whose dad had one for 4 years that one day and for no apparent reason , it stopped working altogether. So a good phone for 4/5 years max if lucky.
The Alcatel 2053 on the other hand, was disappointing. The sound was probably faulty and even though I sent it to repair twice, both times it came back just as faulty even though they said it was like new. There were also two instances when the screen stopped working altogether. It was literally dead even though it was only a few months old. It was frustrating and we gave up on this phone. The numbers on the keypad are also rather small for people with visual impairment. I would avoid this model and pay the extra £10 for the Alcatel 3026 as I wasted £39 for a phone I coudn’t use after 2 months. This phone is okay as a backup phone only but it is rather limited for anything else.
Alcatel Cingular Flip 2 4G LTE FlipPhone
This phone is also good for the elderly as it offers nothing but the essentials, so ideal for anyone who just wants the basics. The intuitive interface takes a few minutes to master, and the large buttons are easy to see and operate. The 2.8-inch main screen is large enough to read messages and display phone numbers in large text for those with impaired vision. It has a mobile hotspot so advanced users, can tether other devices like tablets or computers to wireless networks while on the go.
The Alcatel 1 (2019) offers all the key features you need to handle your phone in your day to day life, it is a great option for those who don’t need a high-tech smartphone and are on a limited budget (the phone costs just under £60)
This smartphone runs on Android 8.0 Oreo Go Edition operating system, which offers a decent performance of the device. It has a brushed metallic finish but the phone is plastic through and through, it also offers a full view 18:9 display, and it comes packed with 1 GB RAM and 8GB internal storage, the storage can also be extended with the help of a memory card. The camera on the Alcatel 1 is very limited and this is not the phone you want to use for holiday snaps or photo memories, avoid it and use it just when you need to take pics that you know you will delete.
I gave this phone to a lady who is 75, who mentioned she was ready to use a smartphone and leave the basic phone behind. However, after a few days she gave it back saying she found it “complicated” to use. I was a bit disappointed as I thought this would be the “smartphone” to recommend for elderly people but it really isn’t. Even though she got the hang of it , the fact that it has a tactile screen and you need to swipe up and down to use it, made it complicated for her. Alcatel 1 is however, a really good option for smartphone users who need a back up phone or those looking for a cheap and functional smartphone with all the features we are used to.
I appreciate Alcatel for being an inclusive company and making phones for everyone not just the youth , many companies ignore the elderly consumer so hands up and thank you Alcatel for still manufacturing basic phones for the elderly buyer and people with disabilities . We need companies to think “people” not just “money” so hands down to companies , Apple included , who leave the elderly behind.
* This is an honest review, I bought and paid for all the phones except the Alcatel 1 which was provided for review purposes.