Technology

Top 5 Smartphones for Seniors (2020 Cellular Phone Review)

Smartphones for Seniors

Smartphones, once a novelty especially for seniors, have become commonplace. With access to the internet, you have a wealth of information at the tip of your fingers. With social media, you can keep up with friends and family as well as make new friends. This is no less true for senior citizens who may have reduced mobility and fixed incomes that may prohibit seeing friends in person.

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In the past, seniors, as a demographic, have been slow to embrace smartphone technology. This has changed recently, however, as increasingly more seniors are buying cell phones. The Pew Research Center reported that the percentage of adults 65 years or older that have a cell phone increased from 18% to 24% between 2013 and 2017.

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Perhaps one aspect that has led to this growth is the development of smartphones that are better suited for seniors. This article discusses the top 5 smartphones for seniors on the market today.

Best Smartphones for Seniors: Side By Side Comparison

Best Value
Moto G Power
Galaxy A11
Amazon's Choice
OnePlus 7 Pro
Best iPhone
iPhone 11
Amazon's Choice
Nokia 5.3
Display
6.4"
6.4"
6.67"
6.1"
6.55"
Resolution
1080 X 2300
720 X 1560
1440 X 3120
828 X 1792
720 X 1600
Battery
5000 mAh
4000 mAh
4000 mAh
3110 mAh
4000 mAh
Hearing Aid Compatibility
M3/T3
M3/T3
M3/T3
M3/T4
N/A
NFC
No
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Moto G Power | 3-Day Battery1 | Unlocked | Made for US by Motorola | 4/64GB | 16MP Camera | 2020 |...
Samsung Galaxy A11 Unlocked | 6.4" Screen | 32GB of Storage | Long Lasting Battery | 2020 Model |...
OnePlus 7 Pro GM1925, 8GB RAM + 256GB Memory, Sprint + GSM LTE Unlocked - Nebula Blue.
Apple iPhone 11 [64GB, Purple] + Carrier Subscription [Cricket Wireless]
Nokia 5.3 Fully Unlocked Smartphone with 6.55" HD+ Screen, AI-Powered Quad Camera and Android 10,...
$240.00
$131.56
$479.00
$599.00
$191.85
Best Value
Moto G Power
Display
6.4"
Resolution
1080 X 2300
Battery
5000 mAh
Hearing Aid Compatibility
M3/T3
NFC
No
Moto G Power | 3-Day Battery1 | Unlocked | Made for US by Motorola | 4/64GB | 16MP Camera | 2020 |...
$240.00
Galaxy A11
Display
6.4"
Resolution
720 X 1560
Battery
4000 mAh
Hearing Aid Compatibility
M3/T3
NFC
No
Samsung Galaxy A11 Unlocked | 6.4" Screen | 32GB of Storage | Long Lasting Battery | 2020 Model |...
$131.56
Amazon's Choice
OnePlus 7 Pro
Display
6.67"
Resolution
1440 X 3120
Battery
4000 mAh
Hearing Aid Compatibility
M3/T3
NFC
Yes
OnePlus 7 Pro GM1925, 8GB RAM + 256GB Memory, Sprint + GSM LTE Unlocked - Nebula Blue.
$479.00
Best iPhone
iPhone 11
Display
6.1"
Resolution
828 X 1792
Battery
3110 mAh
Hearing Aid Compatibility
M3/T4
NFC
Yes
Apple iPhone 11 [64GB, Purple] + Carrier Subscription [Cricket Wireless]
$599.00
Amazon's Choice
Nokia 5.3
Display
6.55"
Resolution
720 X 1600
Battery
4000 mAh
Hearing Aid Compatibility
N/A
NFC
Yes
Nokia 5.3 Fully Unlocked Smartphone with 6.55" HD+ Screen, AI-Powered Quad Camera and Android 10,...
$191.85

Motorola Moto G Power

Moto G Power | 3-Day Battery1 | Unlocked | Made for US by Motorola | 4/64GB | 16MP Camera | 2020 |...
  • Unlocked for the freedom to choose your carrier. Compatible with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon...
  • Up to 3 day battery *. Go up to three days1 on a single charge thanks to a 5000 mAh battery.
  • 16 MP triple camera system. Capture ultra-wide angle panoramas, sharper portraits, and super...

The Motorola Moto G Power, released on April 17, 2020, is first on this list. The Moto G Power works with all major US cell phone carriers and prepaid carriers.

Moto G Power Specs & Features

Here are the specs and features of the Moto G Power:

  • Display

    This phone features a 6.4-inch LCD screen with a Full High Definition+ resolution (1080 x 2300 pixels). When you increase the display and font size of text, less is displayed on the screen at one time. However, the Moto G Power’s display has more real estate available so that you can see more.

  • Battery Life

    The Moto G Power’s battery is rated at 5000 mAh. Motorola’s website claims the battery can last for up to 3 days of average use under ideal network conditions. When tested by PC Magazine, the battery lasted for just over 18 hours while streaming High Definition videos over Wi-Fi at full brightness continuously.

  • Volume

    The earpiece volume peaks at 87dB, making it easy to hear; for reference, a running lawnmower’s sound is usually between 85 and 90 dB. The phone’s stereo speakers peak at 92 dB.

  • Hearing Aid Compatibility

    The Moto G Power has a hearing aid compatibility rating of M3/T3; a rating of 3 indicates that this phone satisfies the American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) standards for use with a hearing aid on the microphone (M) setting or telecoil (T) setting.

  • TalkBack

    The Moto G Power features TalkBack, an accessibility service developed by Google. TalkBack reads the text on your phone screen out loud.

  • Google Assistant and Google Voice

    With these, you can give your phone voice commands to call or send a text. You can also command your phone to create calendar entries, set reminders, and complete Google searches. The ability to command your phone with your voice makes it easier to use if you have difficulty typing on the touchscreen.

  • Triple Camera

    16 MP main lens, 8 MP ultrawide lens, and 2 MP macro lens + a 16 MP selfie camera.

  • USB-C Port

    The days of struggling with plugging the mini-USB cable into phones will not be missed. USB-C cables are reversible and much easier to use.

  • Unlocked

    Since the phone is unlocked, it will work with all major US carriers.

You can hardly make an informed decision about which is the right phone for you if you don’t know the negative aspects as well, right?

Moto G Power Potential Issues

Some issues with the Moto G Power are:

  • The camera performance was called “mediocre” in a PC Magazine review. The review states that daylight photos are good, but low light photos are merely okay. This is hardly a scathing review, and the camera will still allow you to capture memories with your family and friends.
  • The display’s glass extends a bit past the phone’s frame, making it vulnerable to drops. However, you can use a case that protects the body and screen.

This phone is particularly great for seniors because of its large display, loud volume, and battery life. There are other phones with batteries that can compete with the Moto G Power, but not within its price range.

Sources: Moto G Power User Guide; TLC Direct; Windows; Cellcom; Springerplus;

Pros

  • Loud volume for hearing impaired
  • Long battery life
  • Reasonably priced (good value)

Cons

  • Basic camera features
  • Vulnerable glass display

Samsung Galaxy A11

Sale
Samsung Galaxy A11 Unlocked | 6.4" Screen | 32GB of Storage | Long Lasting Battery | 2020 Model |...
  • CHARGE UP. POWER THROUGH: You need a phone you can rely on. Thanks to the long-lasting battery(Based...
  • TAKE YOUR ENTERTAINMENT TO THE EDGE: A 6.4” Infinity-O Display(Measured diagonally, the screen...
  • THREE LENSES. ENDLESS POTENTIAL: Getting a great photo and video is now easier with this versatile...

The Samsung Galaxy A11 was released on May 1, 2020. The Samsung Galaxy A series is more budget-friendly than higher-end Samsung phones. The Galaxy A11 works with all major US carriers.

Samsung Galaxy A11 Specs & Features

Here are the specs and features of the Samsung Galaxy A11:

  • Display

    The Samsung Galaxy A11 features a 6.4-inch screen with a High Definition+ screen resolution (720×1560 pixels).

  • Battery Life

    The Samsung Galaxy A11’s battery is rated at 4000 mAh. A blogger with Ting.com reports they used the phone regularly for just over two days on a full charge.

  • Hearing Aid Compatibility

    M3/T3.

  • Screen Reader

    Samsung provides a screen reader that is not available with other Android brands. It works with Samsung’s Voice Assistant to provide audio of what’s on the screen for the blind and visually impaired.

  • TalkBack, Google Assistant, and Google Voice

    As this is an Android product, Google’s accessibility features are also available for use.

  • Triple Camera

    13 MP main lens, 5 MP ultrawide lens, 2 MP depth sensor lens + 8 MP selfie camera.

  • USB-C Port

  • Unlocked

    Since the phone is unlocked, it will work with all major US carriers.

Samsung Galaxy A11 Potential Issues

One complaint about the Samsung Galaxy A11 is that it only has 2 GB of RAM. So, the phone is not as fast as some of the higher-end models and is not ideal for playing more advanced mobile games.

The Samsung Galaxy A11 is another great budget-friendly smartphone for seniors to consider. The Moto G Power beats it in terms of screen resolution and battery life, but not by much. Not to mention, the Samsung Galaxy A11 is just over $70 cheaper.

Sources: Samsung; CNET

Pros

  • Budget-friendly smartphone
  • Screen reader for visually impaired

Cons

  • Less RAM – slower than competitors
  • Not ideal for playing advanced games
  • Lower battery life than competitiors

OnePlus 7 Pro

OnePlus 7 Pro GM1925, 8GB RAM + 256GB Memory, Sprint + GSM LTE Unlocked - Nebula Blue.
  • This is the Sprint USA GM1925 Unlocked Model. This phone has been opened and resealed by OnePlus in...
  • Compatible with Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T and all GSM Networks along with their compatible MVNO...
  • Qualcomm SM815 Snapdragon 855 | 8GB RAM + 256GB Storage | In-display fingerprint sensor - Simply...

The OnePlus 7 Pro is not the most recent phone released by OnePlus. This particular phone was released on May 16, 2019. This phone works with all major carriers except Verizon.

OnePlus 7 Pro Spec & Features

Here are the specs and features of the OnePlus 7 Pro:

  • Display

    The OnePlus 7 Pro features a 6.67-inch screen with a Quad High Definition+ resolution (1440×3120 pixels).

  • 90Hz Refresh Rate

    The display can refresh at a maximum rate of 90 frames per second.

  • Battery Life

    The OnePlus 7 Pro’s battery is rated for 4000 mAh. It also features OnePlus’ proprietary Warp Charge technology. Warp Charge has a 30-Watt power rating that can charge a phone from 0% to 50% in 20 minutes. It will charge to a full 100% in an hour.

  • Volume

    The earpiece speaker peaks at 79.6 dB; the stereo speakers peak at 77.7 dB.

  • TalkBack, Google Voice, and Google Assistant are all available.

  • Hearing Aid Compatibility

    M3/T3.

  • Durability

    Gorilla Glass 5 front and back and an aluminum frame.

  • Triple camera plus a pop-up selfie camera

    Main Camera – 48 MP; Secondary Camera – 8 MP with 3x optical zoom; Ultra-wide camera – 16 MP. Rather than interrupt the display with a front-facing camera, the 14 MP selfie camera will pop up from the top of the camera when needed.

  • USB-C Port

  • Near Field Communication (NFC)

    NFC is a technology that allows data exchange between devices that are close together.

  • Unlocked

    This phone works with all major US carriers but Verizon.

OnePlus 7 Pro Potential Issues

Some potential issues with the OnePlus 7 Pro include:

  • Lacks water resistance rating
  • No headphone jack
  • Lacks expandable storage

The biggest drawback to this phone for a senior would have to be the price; for what it offers, though, the price is still competitive. This phone beats every other phone on this list in every spec except the Moto G Play’s battery life and the iPhone 11’s hearing aid compatibility rating.

Sources: OnePlus 7 Pro User Manual; GSMarena; AppleDystopia

Pros

  • Amazing camera features
  • Great volume for hearing impaired (hearing aid compatible)
  • Excellent battery life
  • Super fast charging
  • Solid manufactured durability 

Cons

  • Lacks water resistance rating
  • No headphone jack
  • Lacks expandable storage
  • Not supported by Verizon

iPhone 11

Apple iPhone 11 [64GB, Purple] + Carrier Subscription [Cricket Wireless]
  • OFFER INCLUDES: An Apple iPhone and a wireless plan with unlimited data/talk/text
  • WIRELESS PLAN: Unlimited talk, text, and data with mobile hotspot, nationwide coverage, and...
  • PROGRAM DETAILS: When you add this offer to cart, it will reflect 3 items: the iPhone, SIM kit, and...

The iPhone 11, released on September 10, 2019, is also not the most recent Apple release. While this particular phone is not unlocked and will only work with Cricket Wireless, you can buy an unlocked iPhone 11 from apple.com.

iPhone 11 Specs & Features

Here are the specs and features of the iPhone 11:

  • Display

    The iPhone 11 features a 6.1-inch screen with a High Definition+ resolution (828×1792 pixels).

  • Battery Life

    The iPhone 11’s battery is rated for 3110 mAh. Techradar tested the battery and found that it lasted a little over 24 hours with low usage. When PC Magazine tested the battery by streaming High Definition videos over Wi-Fi with the screen at maximum brightness, the battery lasted 5 hours and 40 minutes.

  • Volume

    The earpiece speaker peaks at 70.8 dB; the stereo speakers peak at 72.3 dB.

  • Hearing Aid Compatibility

    M3/T4.

  • VoiceOver

    iOS screen reader. VoiceOver gives a verbal description of everything on the screen.

  • Input braille with or without a braille display.

  • Sound Recognition

    Gives hearing-impaired users a notification when the phone hears and recognizes certain sounds such as doorbells or alarms.

  • RTT and TTY

    Software for the deaf and hard of hearing; no need for TTY hardware.

  • Gorilla Glass

    With Gorilla Glass on the front and back, this phone is more durable than previous iPhones.

  • Dust and Water Resistant

    up to 2 meters for 30 minutes.

  • Dual Camera

    12 MP main lens and 12 MP ultrawide lens.

  • Dual Selfie Camera

    12 MP and a Depth/biometrics sensor.

  • USB Port

    Proprietary Lightning connector. This is similar to the USB-C in that it is reversible, but the Lightning connector is smaller and is only compatible with Apple products.

  • NFC

    Available.

iPhone 11 Potential Issues

Some potential issues with the iPhone 11 include:

  • No headphone jack
  • iOS file management is complicated

Much like the OnePlus 7 Pro, the main drawback for the iPhone 11 as a smartphone for seniors is its price tag. Unlike the OnePlus, the iPhone 11 doesn’t stand up against the other phones quite as well. Its only clear advantage is its hearing aid compatibility rating.

Sources: GSMarena; CNET

Pros

  • Highest hearing aid compatibility rating
  • Good dust and water resistance
  • Screen reader with braille support

Cons

  • No headphone jack
  • iOS file management is complicated
  • More expensive than competitors

Nokia 5.3

Nokia 5.3 Fully Unlocked Smartphone with 6.55" HD+ Screen, AI-Powered Quad Camera and Android 10,...
  • Go big with the Nokia 5.3 smartphone's epic-sized 6. 55-inch HD+ display and incredible quad rear...
  • Capture great detail with the quad camera's 13 MP main lens, get everything in the frame with the...
  • Stay in the game for longer thanks to the dynamic Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor's silky smooth...

The Nokia 5.3 was released on April 2, 2020. This phone works with all major US carriers.

Nokia 5.3 Specs & Features

Here are the specs and features of the Nokia 5.3:

  • Display

    The Nokia 5.3 features a 6.55-inch LCD screen with a High Definition+ resolution of (720×1600 pixels).

  • Battery Life

    The Nokia 5.3’s battery is rated for 4000 mAh.

  • Volume

    The earpiece peaks at 87 dB; the speaker peaks at 94 dB.

  • TalkBack, Google Voice, and Google Assistant

    Are all available.

  • Durability

    Gorilla Glass 3 front with a plastic frame and body.

  • Quad camera

    13 MP main lens, ultra-wide 5 MP lens, 2 MP macro lens, 2 MP depth sensor lens + 8 MP selfie camera.

  • USB-C Port

  • Android ONE Program

    This phone will receive updates sooner than other Androids (except for Google Pixel devices).

  • NFC

    Available.

  • Unlocked

    This phone works with all major US carriers.

Nokia 5.3 Potential Issues

Some potential issues with the Nokia 5.3 include:

  • Mediocre cameras
  • Speakers are known to distort mid-range and high frequencies

The Nokia 5.3 is a solid smartphone for seniors, with a large display, a good battery life, and loud volume. Where it may fall short in comparison (but not by much) to the other phones on this list, it does have a guaranteed Operating System and security updates for two years.

Sources: Hearing Loss Association of America

Pros

  • Large display
  • Good battery life
  • Loud volume
  • 2-year guarantee (OS & Security)

Cons

  • Mediocre cameras
  • Lower quality speakers (frequency distortion)


Amazon’s Bestseller Smartphones for Seniors

SaleBestseller No. 1
Jitterbug Smart2 No-Contract Easy-to-use 5.Smartphone for Seniors by GreatCall,Black
  • Large touchscreen makes it even easier to read. The 13.0 Megapixel built-in camera with flash has...
  • Simple menu organized in a single list with large letters and icons makes it easy to navigate. Our...
  • Easy-to-use smartphone with exclusive features that are only available on the GreatCall network....
Bestseller No. 2
Easyfone Prime-A4 GPS Localisation Unlocked Smart Senior Cell Phone, Big Button Hearing Aids...
  • Big volume for easy hearing, Big font & big icon for easy viewing, Big button for easy dialing with...
  • 2.31'' HD display screen + 2.0MP HD camera + Φ20 Box speaker w/ Hearing Aid Compatibility(HAC) +...
  • 1500Mah real capacity battery, Standby time up to 5-7 days w/ easy cradle charger, just place your...
Bestseller No. 3
BLU Studio Mini -5.5HD Smartphone, 32GB+2GB Ram -Black
  • 5.5”Hd+ 18:9 Curved Glass Display 720x1440 Resolution.
  • 13MP Main Camera with LED Flash, 8MP Selfie camera with LED Flash.
  • 32GB Internal memory 2GB RAM Micro SD up to 64GB; Octa-Core 1.6GHz processor with ARM Cortex-A55...

Conclusion

Unless you plan to do some serious photography or hardcore gaming on your phone, any of the above-listed phones will be an excellent smartphone for a senior to use. Of the five phones listed, the Motorola G Power and OnePlus 7 Pro are the best.

If you’re on a budget or new to smartphones and don’t want to spend too much on your first phone, the Motorola G Power will be your best choice. It has the longest-lasting battery and the second-highest resolution on the list. However, if you have the money to spend, the OnePlus 7 Pro is the phone to buy.

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