“Going from a basic cellphone to a smartphone may seem too complicated for some people” who shy away from hard-to-read screens, tiny buttons and myriad apps, but there are quite a few smartphones that will appeal to people over 50, said author and nationally syndicated Savvy Senior columnist Jim Miller. “The big thing people over 50 want is a bigger screen. Bigger is better.”
For those older than 65, “the issue is simplicity. A simple interface is easier to use,” Miller said.
Smartphone manufacturers are catering to consumer desires with “phablets,” phones with screens approaching the size of a tablet. And the phone’s interface doesn’t have to be jam-packed with complexities and apps.
“Nowadays, almost all smartphones come with the option to click a button and break down the screen to show only the most popular things you use like phone, messages and missed calls. Everything else is hidden until you want to use it,” Miller said.
Here are a few options for smartphones that will appeal to folks who don’t need all the complications:
Samsung Galaxy Mega
Measuring 6.6 inches by 3.46 inches with a 6.3-inch display and a weight of just over 7 ounces, the Mega aims to be both tablet and phone. It runs Google’s Android operating system, has a built-in microphone and speaker, and connects to AT&T’s voice network and high-speed data service. It can be used with a sty- lus for note-writing. Available through AT&T for $150 with a two-year con- tract, the Mega comes with 16 giga- bytes of storage (enough for thousands of songs or photos), an 8- megapixel camera and a big battery.
Doro PhoneEasy 740
This has a generous keypad — both touchscreen and slide-out — bumped-up audio and a simple, easy-to-read interface with large, clear icons and clearly organized functions and apps. Powered by Android, the PhoneEasy 740 can browse the Internet and download apps. The device includes a 3.2-inch screen, a 5-megapixel camera that can double as a magnifying glass, and an emergency button that will dial preprogrammed numbers when pushed. To be released by year’s end.
Jitterbug Touch 2
The newest offering from GreatCall, which special- izes in senior products and services, the Touch 2 is a 3G Android all-touch smartphone that features scrolling lists of large-font text boxes rather than icons for contacts and apps. There’s a 4-inch display, 4 gigabytes of storage, front and rear cameras, and a suite of health and medical apps preloaded on the phone. Cost is $140. It doesn’t require a contract, and GreatCall offers plans that start at an affordable $2.49 a month.
Like a feature phone with Android capabilities, the 4G Flex is ideal when in Easy Experience mode, which shows only essential features. With a two-year contract, the clearly organized and easy-to-read Flex costs only 99 cents. The Android-powered touchscreen smartphone features a bright 4.3-inch display, an 8-megapixel camera and 1.5 GHz dual-core processor for speedy Web browsing.