July 27, 2018

What is the best mobile phone for seniors in Australia? Compare Mobile Phones

best mobile phone for seniors australia

Sound like a familiar question? You’re not alone. How do you find the balance between the most up to date simplistic technology whilst considering various ailments, such as hearing loss, poor eyesight, dexterity challenges and dementia?

As we get older, we become less patient and any new technology can seem daunting resulting in frustration and giving up. The frustration is not only with the user, however, as this expands to loved one's trying to assist the user that is finding it hard to get their head around the system. 

Wouldn't be handy if you were able to make changes to mobile phones for seniors remotely so that your senior loved one could get the best out of their device?

What about a phone that connects to the users Hearing Aids, so they can hear the conversation with clarity in pure stereo?

Please take a moment to read through our investigation into the Mobile Phones for Seniors, so that you too can make an informed decision.

Buying for a loved one? Here are some key points you need to consider:

User mobility - do they venture out of the house i.e. do any of the following: shopping, driving, restaurants or social activities etc. If the answer is yes, then you should also consider getting some sort of protection for their phone. Nimble hands might result in the mobile phone being dropped causing damage, frustration, and expenses or repairs and/or replacement devices.

How the user is cared for -if the user is cared for in a retirement home, a mobile phone with a cradle is a great way for the user to always know where the phone is and keep it charging.

Internet or cable TV access – if this is not required then a simple Mobile Phone for Seniors is a great way to maintain their hard-earned savings and do away with costly monthly landline rental,  saving from roughly $29.95 per month. 

Particularly in a retirement village, rest or a nursing home, landline fees can be costly and even changing rooms can incur significant relocation connection fee’s associated with the time and effort porting numbers across.

Mobile network provider - there are some good deals out there for the conscious user, but none of that matters if you are not able to make or receive good quality calls. When choosing your mobile phone network provider and SIM card, consider where the user is based and the strength of the connectivity in that area. This is quite important for those not based near a metro area or those who live in an apartment where mobile signals may not be strong.

Why a smartphone may not be the answer

At Hear for Less we are inundated with enquiries, mainly from the sons and daughters of a frustrated parent. Sadly, in a lot of cases, the user has been to a high street mobile phone provider and has been upsold a smartphone. Yes, smartphones have some great features and functionality geared towards the hard of hearing or vision impaired user, however, it is the usability that causes major issues, headaches, and confusion.

Feedback regarding smartphones for people on average aged 70 years and over results in issues swiping, confusion with apps, bill shock, answering calls and many further problems.

Top five most common issues with Smartphones for seniors

mobile phones for seniors

1. Ease of use (or lack thereof!) – smartphones can be second nature if you have experience of using one before,  however they can quickly become frustrating for seniors and prove the technology is too much for them to handle, especially with the touchscreen feature.

2. Ageing skin on smartphone touchscreens - feedback, as voluntarily provided by consumers or loved ones, is that smartphones do not always behave the way they’re supposed to when touched by seniors. Touchscreens require static electricity from our fingers to swipe, text and navigate a smartphone. The feedback we have received is that smartphones respond poorly to ageing skin resulting in the device not behaving as intended – photos randomly appearing, misdialled numbers, an inability to dial and so on.

3. Messaging issues due to lack of tactile buttons - this means typing becomes ’blurred’ and wrong keys are commonly hit by mistake; add in predictive texting on top of that and the simple task of messaging can quickly become a minefield.

4. Unnecessary apps -apps are great and make our life easier but can also chew through data. With lots of digital mobile advertising these days, a user can accidentally click on an ad app which, unknowingly to them, create bill shock through unwanted monthly subscriptions. On top of this there is the tedious task of having to contact your local network provider to get that removed and money refunded if it’s caught early enough.

5. Lack of grip - with the latest craze in curve screen technology and a super smooth outer shell, smartphones have become slippery little things. Smartphones are becoming larger, wider for better entertainment viewing and there’s not much depth to grip onto, which can result in sore hands or even dropping the phone regularly and potentially damaging the touch screen glass or worse, the smartphone panel itself… a timely and costly exercise.

These common issues lead to disappointment and loss of confidence in the use of today’s technology and ultimately result in the device not being used at all.

So let’s discuss what makes a great mobile phone for seniors.

mobile phones for elderly hard of hearing

Here we have compiled a list, of the features included in the very best seniors’ mobile phones.

Does the size of your phone matter?

1. Large Screen This makes incoming call numbers and texts easy to read.
2. Large tactile buttons -heavily reduces the user pressing too many or the wrong buttons at once, which can lead to misdials or incorrect messaging.
3. Grip -as we get older, we may lose the grip in our hands; having a medium wide phone can make a world of difference.

Make it work for you:

4. Cradle charger -a great way for seniors to keep their phone charged and ‘give it a home’
5. Unlocked to any network - allows you to have control over which carrier you wish to choose
6. Speed dials - make calling someone instantly a much easier experience
7. Picture dialling – perfect for seniors to see who’s calling and also making calls
Bluetooth - gives you options to connect with other devices, such as hearing aids
9. Simple technology- the more bells and whistles on a phone, the more issues there can be. A seniors mobile phone that can reduce the menu options is going to really help with the user experience
10. One-touch easy access buttons - this saves having to navigate through the menu to achieve simple tasks, enlarge text, lock screen, volume control…
11. SoS button- especially for seniors this feature could be a lifesaver. The ability to press a button to alert your loved ones instantly is a great feature.
12. 4G and GPS Location- 4G allows for data and having a GPS locator means that loved ones can track the user to their location immediately.
13. Lightweight - makes it easier to carry around
14. Long battery life - a great way to keep the phone active, if not charged for a couple of days
15. Assistance from afar- this can be a huge winner with new technology if you can remotely assist a 'non-tech savvy' loved one from afar then it's really going to help them achieve a better user experience. The ability to instantly increase the users volume, add contacts, locate the user and so on. This not only assists in the set-up of the phone but ongoing programming (e.g. reminders) and troubleshooting.

A phone that suits my condition

1. Hard of Hearing - if you wear Bluetooth or Telecoil (Tcoil) enabled hearing aid(s), then you will want a mobile phone that is M4/T4 compatible. Once connected you use the phone as normal, however, the quality of sound is amplified through your hearing aids creating a much better conversational experience. Loud ringtones and call volume are also key here.
2. Vision Impaired - if you experience issues with your vision then getting the right mobile phone is key. A large screen with the simple ability to enlarge the text will provide for a much better experience. A ‘talking’ mobile phone that reads out your buttons and options is also a huge help.          
3. Osteoarthritis / limited dexterity- a medium body mobile phone allows the user to maintain a better grip, a lightweight phone reduces the users' hands from becoming inflamed, tired and finally large tactile buttons makes pressing each key easier. A flip phone will offer a form of respite with easy answering upon opening and terminating the call upon closing.

Save on monthly phone line rental bills

With the rollout of NBN, or users being in a retirement village/care facility, a mobile phone with cradle charger is a great way to mimic a portable home phone, without the extra monthly landline fees.

What's the difference between 3G and 4G Technology

3G is an older voice and low data technology these days, and Telstra is the first mobile phone network provider to announce the decommission of their 3G network mid-2024. 4G was created for faster bandwidth of larger data, such as streaming, using more powerful apps and internet usage, something that smartphones require for a better user experience.

However, with the rise of touchscreen smartphones, simplified phones for seniors have become scarce. In fact, the large mobile phone providers have only one or so models available now. Their main focus is on smartphones with their biggest feature push surrounding the highest quality of pictures their inbuilt cameras can produce. This is measured in pixels. The higher the camera pixels, the clearer the image. 

What are the best PAYG/Pre-Paid mobile phones for seniors available today?

The following table takes into account all of the above information and compares the latest in today's technology from a PAYG and Pre-Paid point of view. We will continue to update this information as new technology is released. 

Compare Mobile Phones

seniors mobile phones

What about other mobile phones for seniors?

Yes, there are some other mobile phones in the marketplace, some quite economical, however, they have been poorly built for the seniors marketplace and like issues with Smartphones these can equally cause frustration. These phones might have a large screen, but the buttons are too small and fiddley. They might have a large screen and big buttons but to access simple calling volume is hidden within the menu - settings area. All of the annoyances are personified and results in time-consuming frustration.

Out of the few mobile phones for seniors in the current marketplace across Australia, Hear for Less we have carefully selected and fully recommend the Olitech EasyFlip mobile phone for seniors.

The Olitech EasyFlip was designed by two occupational therapists who have dedicated a lot of time and investment to bring the seniors of Australia an award-winning mobile phone.

The lightweight Olitech EasyFlip 4G unlocked mobile means that users can choose any mobile phone network provider, connects to Bluetooth/Telecoil enable Hearing Aids, offers the perfect hand size, easy call answering, terminating, allows for picture dialling, offers voice reminders (i.e. lets the user know it's time to take their pills), can be accessed remotely to increase volumes, add contacts and troubleshoot and comes with a hand charger.

Being 4G makes the Olitech futureproofed and will work on any 3G/4G network around the world, which makes for a superior mobile device. This mobile also comes with a handy cradle for easy storage and instant charging.

The Olitech EasyFlip ticks a lot of boxes when it comes to simplicity and the full customer journey. Olitech has just been voted #1 mobile phone for seniors by Choice Magazine since 2018. 

What Is MyEasyAssist?

MyEasyAssist allows your EasyFlip to be remotely programmed, located and backed up via our custom-designed web platform. This not only assists in the set-up of the phone but ongoing programming (e.g. reminders) and troubleshooting. Perfect if the user is in a rest home or far away.

Afterpay Mobile Phones for Seniors means you can stretch your payments over 4 weeks to assist you with your full payment.

best smartphone for seniors australia

Contact Us
To discuss mobile phones for seniors with a member of our expert team, do not hesitate to contact us. Call +61 3 9088 0282 or reach out to us via our email sales@hearforless.com.au. We will be more than happy to answer any queries you have.