Income Disclosure: I recommend products that I have experience working with seniors. I may earn a commission on items purchased from links in this guide.
Overview : Best Android Phones for elderly
Senior users are often overlooked by phone companies when designing and manufacturing new smartphones. However, communication is one of the most essential needs for people especially at a time when most elderly people live separately from their family members. For them, having user-friendly, hassle-free smartphones is of the utmost priority.
Needs vary from emergency services, long battery life, to key features like a big screen for improved visibility, hearing aid compatibility, fingerprint sensor, and simple interface.
I have aimed to list the best phones for seniors available at a reasonable price. Read on for more!
Top Features to look for in Best Phones for Seniors
I have tried to point the key features one should look for when buying phones ideal for senior users.
- Quick response/Less lag: Many seniors need quick access to emergency services. Hence, features like well-functioning fingerprint sensors, to reduce time in emergencies are crucial. This includes key features like urgent response button, etc.
- Speech to text: For seniors, being able to rest their bodies is important. Voice typing can really come in handy for typing text messages.
- Good visibility: Most seniors beyond an age are visually impaired to some degree; hence it gets difficult to read phone numbers, and any small text.
- Easy usage phones/Basic cell phones: With increasing age, comes the need for simplicity of design and UI. Many seniors hence prefer basic flip phone models. Easy home screen, launchers, bigger buttons, etc., are features under this category.
- Camera(s): Some seniors require cameras for video calls or video chatting with friends and loved ones, for example. Besides, if you are a tech savvy senior who indulges in multimedia usage, you might need good internal storage.
- Long battery life: A unanimous need when looking for the best smartphone. This might be crucial when buying an Android phone for seniors—with medical situations always cropping up, it is good to know that your cell phone will be there for you when needed.
- Prepaid/Postpaid: This is a point of contention among all other cell phone buyers. This will depend on your choice, your geography, and provider.
Top Picks: Best cell phones for Seniors
I have combed the internet and present my recommended cell phones for seniors according to what I think are good, comprehensive user categories. Read on, and make sure to check out all categories to know exactly where your needs lie.
Simple smart phones for the elderly
Simple OS/UI are features of the best phones for seniors. These enable them to use their phones and stay up to date with loved ones, and even the world.
A great device to have in times of emergency, these phones that I have picked are not only affordable but also durable and long-lasting.
About the item
One of the most reliable, yet simplest, cell phones, the Uleway Flip is, as the name suggests, is a basic flip phone.
And, simplicity was what drove the company to have this phone designed.
Some of the key features of this basic phone:
- Flip back
- MP3 player
- FM Radio
It is an ergonomic, compact mobile phone, with a bright display of 2.8″X1.8″; it comes with a dual display, large volume buttons, and a screen that is well-suited for a bigger font size. Keeping in mind special needs, this cell phone has speed-dialing, and one-touch emergency phone calls for SOS situations. And, it can save 5 emergency contacts simultaneously.
Let’s discuss benefits and pain points then:
- Optimized for elderly use
- Long battery life: Comes with 2 900 mAH batteries, that can support up to 4-5 hours of calling and 150-180 hours standby. That’s more or less up to two days of service.
- Great customer service: Availability is quite good in case your cell phone runs into problems.
- Flashlight: For visually impaired consumers, this might be a good thing in emergencies like power cuts.
- Bluetooth, for more tech savvy seniors, is one of the “cool” features of this phone, as you can connect with other devices and share files too.
- Memory of up to 16 GB.
- Dual SIM, supports up to 3G.
- Prominent SOS button: On the back of the cell phone, is a large SOS button that, when pressed for 3 seconds, it dials the contact saved as an emergency contact.
- Does not work with AT&T networks, which now need 4G compatibility.
- No CDMA carriers supported: This is a prepaid-only phone. Among these t-mobile phone does not work on the Verizon network.
- The memory card slot is set too low to aid in card insertion. The major drawback for users who like to store data offline on their phones.
Available in two colors: blue and red, priced at US$54.
About the item
If you don’t want to compromise on price to go the extra mile for a great display, the BLU G9 Pro would be a good cell phone to carry. And, it comes in a great “Nightfall” color, with a glass back cover and a metallic middle case for the parts.
Some of the key phone features would be:
- Long battery life
- GSM carriers unlocked
- Great display for seniors who love binging
- Android 9, upgradable to Android 10
- Great memory capacity
Its 6.3″ screen has a great HD+ display and its longer battery life and memory capacity make for some key benefits that more tech-literate senior users want in a smartphone. Here are some of the pros and cons.
- Memory of 128 GB and expandable up to 128 GB. RAM of 4GB
- AI Triple camera: 8+2+48 MP rear cameras make for a great picture every time.
- Wireless charging available: Supports wireless charging pad (not included). So no need to fumble for wires.
- Fingerprint sensor: For quick and seamless unlocking, when in need of emergency services for example.
- 12 nm P60 Mediatek Helio Octacore processor for quickest response/lowest lag.
- Quick charge 18W C type cable if going for wired charging.
- Comes with a hardshell case for extra security.
- No CDMA support (Verizon networks, Sprint, and Boost mobile), and limited AT&T support.
- Wireless charging (10W) at extra cost.
- Not water-resistant.
- App compatibility—many apps might not work on this otherwise affordable smartphone.
Available in the exotic “Nightfall” color, for $149.99.
About this item
The Nokia 106 is the ideal little companion for senior users. This phone is ideal for seniors who have problems acclimating to new technology, and what’s more, it has some amazingly cool features, which are tried and tested for years.
- Long-lasting battery life: Charge lasts almost weeks and one charge can give you 15 hours of uninterrupted talk time.
- Ergonomic and durable: Small and compact, this phone can fit into your palm. However, especially for seniors with nerve problems and difficulty gripping, this phone is ideal as it is made from tough polycarbonate material that keeps it scratch-free and clean. And, it’s Nokia, the company which had a penchant for indestructible phones!
- Memory: For a phone its size, it is built just to make communication better. To that end, it can store 500 text messages and over 2000 contacts.
- Nostalgia trip: A phone from Nokia’s earlier days, it’s a total nostalgia trip, with games like Snake Xenzia, Tetris, Danger Dash, Nitro racing supported. I think this is great to have because seniors often get lonely and this is a perfect way to go live their younger days again.
- Utility and other features: It has dual SIM, MTK 6261D processor, 4MB RAM (I mean, it’s just for calling and Snake. No pretenses here) and a removable 800 mAh2 battery.
- Unlocked SIM: It uses GSM dual band 840/1900, which allows connectivity with AT&T prepay and T mobile sim cards.
- Not a smartphone: This phone does not promise to be a smartphone or support the Internet. Instead, it is kind of the best phone for users looking JUST to communicate.
- Connectivity with various providers: While on paper, it should connect to most GSM services, there are limitations to its connectivity with international providers. Besides, things like Tracfone and Tello are not supported.
Colors vary and are priced very reasonably at US$16.
Very similar to my first recommendation, the Uleway Flip phone. For more information on its key features, pros, and cons, please refer to the section, “#1 Uleway Flip Cell Phone (W340D).”
This 3G unlocked flip cell phone comes in a bright red color, priced at US$47.99, very similar to the Uleway.
Tech savvy Cell phones for the more tech savvy Seniors
Here are some good options if simplicity is not what you’re looking for. These are quite good and rounded-off when it comes to their key features and applicability for senior consumers.
About this item
Samsung Galaxy phones have always been game-changers in the mobile industry, and thus I had to include this on the list first.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 brings superb connectivity (5G supported) with awesome features! Here are some you should definitely look out for:
- Best-in-class camera
- AMOLED display
- Long lasting battery
- Big screen size
- 12 GB RAM
- Expandable memory
Here’s my take on the pros and cons of the Samsung Galaxy S21
- Screen size and display: Galaxy S21 Samsung phone solves this issue with its 6.8″ screen size. Additionally, it is equipped with an AMOLED display which enables high-quality video calls. If you are a senior consumer who invests in streaming platforms, the Samsung Galaxy is the way to go.
- Superb connectivity: Comes enabled with 5G. Works great with almost any network.
- Best in class cameras: Dual zoom focus gives unforeseen depth. Great for seniors with a flair for photography. Its camera is a 108 MP one; enough said, I think.
- Video: The Samsung Galaxy truly gives you a memorable binging moment in 8K.
- Long lasting battery: 25W charging; a battery that lasts up to two days (5000 mAh). Charges in minutes.
- S Pen compatible: As this is the highest model in the Samsung Galaxy S series, it is compatible with Samsung’s stylus, the “S Pen,” which gives seniors the ease of accessing smaller icons and buttons; especially helpful for visually impaired users.
- Hearing aid compatibility: This is what differentiates this phone from just being a good phone; easily connect hearing aids using Bluetooth after activating “Hearing aid compatibility.”
- Samsung’s easy mode: The most common complain against an Android phone par excellence like S21 is the complexity of UI and operating systems. However, using Samsung’s Easy Mode (Setting -> Display -> Easy Mode) gives seniors the freedom to simplify their mobile phones, especially the home launcher. This streamlining helps give them the great features of a high-end phone while not compromising on simplicity and basics.
- Memory: 12 GB RAM with 128/256 GB ROM and 16 GB RAM with 512 GB available.
- No infrared sensor: Hence cannot be used as a remote control.
- No headphone jack: You need a USB C to 3.5mm converter for using headphones. So you can’t use wired headphones.
- No headphones/charger out of box
- Pricing: For existing users of S20, the price might be too much.
A proper high-end smartphone, the S21 Ultra comes at a pinch of US$1,199.99. This is my favorite Samsung senior citizen phone, to be honest.
About this item
I would say this is a similar device, especially in the outcomes achievable for senior users: these two Samsung phones are well-suited to seniors who are quite independent and active. Both devices are camera-heavy and laden with awesome features.
Let’s dive into the pros and cons directly.
- Exquisite looks with a notch-less large screen: It’s 6.5″ large Infinity-O display, combined with availability in 6 great colors, make it an excellent phone for seniors with a love for bingeing!
- Triple lens camera: With 30X Space Zoom. Single-take AI mode lets you capture a flurry of crystal clear photographs in a single take, even in Night Mode.
- GSM/CDMA compatibility and 5G: Great connectivity with almost all carriers, GSM or CDMA (AT&T, T mobile, Verizon networks, Sprint) carriers. 5G allows for great video and audio calling.
- Samsung Accessibility: Refer to point #7 under “pros” of Samsung Galaxy S21.
- Fingerprint sensor and Facial recognition: This enables smooth phone usage and reduces lag when needing your phone urgently.
- Easy mode: Samsung easy mode will simplify the home screen and launcher, and also make your phone accessible to even the most tech shy senior user.
- Long-lasting battery life: Has a 4500 mAh battery, compared to Samsung Galaxy S21 which has a 5000 mAh battery. This is where your budget will affect your purchase, although I find them both at more or less the same level. This too charges in minutes.
- Memory: The phone offers great memory for its price, with 6 GB RAM and 128 GB ROM. So elderly users can rest assured that this phone has enough power and space to store all the lovely pictures they take!
- Touchscreen issues: This seems to be the most major problem with this phone. Users complain that Samsung hasn’t been able to solve this despite three firmware updates. The problem comprises unresponsive screen/touch, jittery swipe/scroll when on websites, two-finger swipe causes crisscross patterns.
- Black crush issue: Non technically speaking, this means the lack of shadow detailing in the darker parts of an image.
- Single SIM and not Dual SIM/no slot for a memory card: The cell phone is not a dual sim one. As a result, if you have the single sim version of this mobile phone, you will not be able to insert a memory card in the slot either.
- No headphone jack: Refer to the “cons” section of S21.
- Bluetooth disconnects a lot: Bluetooth seems to disconnect a lot on this phone
The 128 GB version is priced between US$ 624.99 and US$699.99.
Senior Consumer Cellular Phones (Prepaid/CDMA)
Senior consumer cellular phones are one of the major categories as, as you might have noticed before, it is a major customer requirement. Good connectivity with prepaid networks means seniors have better communication whenever required, something that is imperative in this user base.
This also has a lot to do with budgets, especially with regard to the prepaid plans you can purchase.
Here are my picks.
About this item
Reasonably priced and with Android Pie, the LG Journey is a good phone to get seniors to start using Android phones. Locked and loaded with a TracFone SIM, this phone has smartphone features that will just satisfy senior needs, but also not overwhelm them.
Let’s look at a few key features of this phone:
- 4G Connectivity
- Bluetooth/WiFi connectivity for seamless internet access and sharing
- Prepaid—locked with TracFone sim
- Rear camera and front camera with portrait mode
- Unlimited talk time, texting, and data with plans as low as US$20 per month
Let’s deep dive into the pros and cons
- Display: Screen size: 5.45″ HD+ Fullvision display.
- Processor/Operating systems: 1.4 GHz Quadcore processor, Android 9 (Pie) that enables smooth and seamless usage.
- Battery: Has a 3000 mAh battery.
- Memory: What I like about this phone is that it gives you reasonable specs at an affordable price—while we do not want senior users to feel deprived, sometimes it’s good if a phone model doesn’t overwhelm senior users. It has 2GB RAM and 32 GB internal storage (with 32GB extendable).
- Rear cameras/Front camera: 8 MP rear and 5MP front with portrait mode: enough for photography and video calling.
- Activation issue: Users have complained about issues relating to activating the service, and with transferring minutes for Tracfone’s existing users.
- Lag issues: Especially when transferring/uploading files.
- Speaker: Not its strength really.
- Not exactly up to date: However, since the idea is to give seniors an easy-to-handle phone, this might not be a con.
Available in Black, priced at $29.99.
The updated/upgraded version of the LG Journey, the LG K31 comes with the following enhancements:
- Cameras: 13MP + 5MP wide Dual rear cameras, a 5MP front camera with Autofocus and Auto Shot Snap Facial Recognition for selfies.
- Display: 5.7″ HD Fullvision notch display.
- Processor: 2.0 GHz Octacore processor, with Android 10.
For details on pros and cons, refer to the pros and cons list of the LG Journey.
This enhanced version of the LG Journey is priced at $49.99 and comes enabled for 4G with its locked Tracfone SIM.
Senior phones on standard carriers
This is for senior users who want to get the most of their Android smartphones. This feature-heavy mobile phone comes with these interesting features:
- Water-resistant and durable
- 5G enabled and unlocked
- Super fast charging
- Seamless usage
Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of this Samsung device; please also refer to the section, “tech-savvy cellphones for the more tech-savvy seniors,” for a good comparison.
- Great utility for multimedia usage: This phone combines a long-lasting and fast-charging battery with 5G and a great display (6.5″ edge-to-edge Infinity-O full HD+ display): the cornerstones for a heavy-multimedia user, such as seniors who love to binge content!
- Seamless lag-free operations: Comes with 6/8 GB RAM and 128 GB (+1 TB expandable) ROM for well-oiled operations. Carries Android 11 OS with Qualcomm Snapdragon Octacore processor.
- Cameras: 64MP+12MP+5MP+5MP Quad Primary camera with LED flash and 32 MP HDR front camera with 4K video (best for video calls).
- User convenience: Fingerprint sensor and facial recognition for easy unlock and security and Type C charger for super-fast charging and data transfer.
- Lacks wireless and phone-to-phone/reverse charging
- Dedicated SD card slot unavailable
- Lacks infrared connectivity available
- Non-removable battery
- Comes with a 15W wall charger, despite supporting 25W fast charging like Galaxy S21
Comes at US$498.89 plus shipping.
About this item
Consciously chose to talk about a Motorola phone because this is a good counter-purchase if you are not excited by Samsung. Motorola phones are known for their build, loudspeaker quality, and display. This one is no different and I found it had quite a few features that I recommended previously.
I found these commendable are.
- Super fast 5G connectivity on all major carriers
- 5000 mAh Battery that lasts up to two days
- Advanced water resistance
- Fingerprint sensor
- Excellent camera
Let’s look at some of the pros and cons in detail:
- Compatibility across carriers: For both CDMA and GSM, including Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, Tracfone, etc.
- Memory and speed: 5G-enabled with 6GB RAM to back it up. Comes with 128GB of internal storage.
- Up to date model: This phone was released in Jan 2021.
- Display: 6.7″ Full HD Max Vision display for clarity.
- Camera: 48 MP triple camera system with AI for excellent low-light and nighttime photography.
- Lacks WiFi calling.
- Does not work on Verizon prepaid plans and seems to have issues with Sprint as well; may extend to not being able to receive text messages.
- Not much of an upgrade over the 2020 version; as a matter of fact, I thought the 2020 version was a better choice.
Comes at US$395.14 plus shipping.
Bonus Pick: For seniors who just don’t want Android
It’s never a list of best phones if there’s no Apple entry. Here’s my pick for the best Apple phone for seniors.
I consciously chose a renewed product here as this is a good segue into iOS.
I think the accessibility setting is top-notch in Apple, which can come in handy for all seniors.
Here are the three categories of settings:
#1 For visually impaired users:
- Display size and font settings
- Spoken content and audio descriptions
# 2 For physically impaired users
- Back tap
- Touch accommodation
#3 For hearing impaired
- Live listen
- Hearing device compatibility
As a general con, I think you should exercise caution whenever going for renewed products as they always have room for improvement, compared to out-of-box.
Comes at US$799.00 plus shipping.
A lot of factors need to be considered before investing in a smartphone for elderly users, especially for first-time users, such as good hearing aid compatibility for hearing impaired seniors, accessibility features, etc. With communication devices becoming more and more complicated and varied, I have tried to collate a list of a few best phone that covers all user needs. Hope it’s helpful!