Smartphone Buying Guide for Seniors

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Determine your needs

Phones come in all shapes and sizes with different features and different prices. The first step is to assess your specific needs, says Ramon T. Llamas, research director for devices and displays at IDC, a research company based in Framingham, Massachusetts.

“For example, what are you going to use the phone for? Do you need all the new features, like 5G and augmented reality, or are the proven features enough for you, such as phone calls, texts and a camera?” asks llamas.

If you don’t need the latest iPhone or an optimized Android device and are just looking for an emergency communication device to keep in your glove box, then a regular cell phone may be right for you.

The same can be said for the budget: if you only have a few hundred dollars to spend, that will exclude the latest high-end devices, such as the iPhone 12 or the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G, both from $ 799. There are more affordable devices, says Siddharth Lal, vice president of customer acquisition marketing at T-Mobile.

“For example, there is the beloved Samsung Galaxy A32 5G [for $282] or the [$239.99] OnePlus Nord N200, which has a large screen with three rear cameras and a front camera, ”he says.

In addition to the cost of the phone itself, factor in your budget for monthly service charges for voice calls, texts, and data, he says. You use data to browse the web, access your email, download apps, and other online activities.

Lal says his company’s research has found that the 55 and over segment tends to be more “value conscious” than other consumers, which has helped T-Mobile design more appropriate plans for the group. of age.

Consider accessibility, ease of use

The next consideration should be any accessibility features worth considering, whether it’s related to using the device, viewing text, or listening to the person you’re talking to.

“Many seniors can use a consumer smartphone with little to no problem, while others can benefit from additional features, such as bigger buttons, a bigger screen and a more powerful speaker,” Llamos explains. . “As needs vary from senior to senior, assess whether your needs merit a smartphone specifically designed for senior citizens.”

For example, some phones offer high definition voice for the hearing impaired and text-to-speech functions for people with arthritis, Parkinson’s disease and other medical conditions that may make cell phone use more difficult.

Virtual assistants, such as Google Assistant, are ideal to have in a smartphone because speaking can be faster and more precise than typing. And you don’t need to break the bank for this feature: the $ 100 Alcatel GO FLIP 3 is a basic flip phone with big buttons, hearing aid compatibility, and long battery life – close. 22-day standby time – plus Google’s built-in personal assistant.

Look for scam protection

“Protecting against scams is also important,” says Lal. “We know older Americans are often ‘played’, and we offer a great service to prevent this with Scam Shield, which is included in all 55+ plans. “

Other big phone carriers, such as T-Mobile and AT&T, offer similar services to help customers fend off auto callers and scammers, and apps like Nomorobo and YouMail work with any carrier.


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