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Mobiles for seniors & kids

We test five simple to use mobile phones priced from $175 to $340.
 
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01 .Introduction

Phone-with-border

Test results for five simple to use mobiles for seniors and kids, priced from $175 to $340.

Australians have taken to mobile phones, with the 22 million-plus devices in use outnumbering the population. It’s easy to see the appeal – packed with all the bells and whistles, the latest models are highly sophisticated pieces of technology. But comments on the CHOICE website show some users just want a phone that can make and take calls.

An affordable, easy-to-use phone is useful for parents to give their children to stay in contact, while many seniors want a phone with a menu system and button setup that is clear and uncluttered.

CHOICE tested five phones without the features that could complicate the process of making and taking phone calls. They aim to help users with hearing or sight impairment, or those wanting to send quick calls or alerts when in trouble. All the phones on test have an illuminated keypad, and include the ability to call or SMS a series of numbers in an emergency and simple access keys for numbers used most often.

Online purchase only

Please note, these models are not available for purchase in stores in Australia and must be purchased online. Please see, Why you can not buy these for more information. 

Models tested

  • Doro PhoneEasy 410gsm
  • Doro PhoneEasy 338gsm
  • Emporia Lifeplus 
  • Fitage Big Easy 2
  • Oricom EZY100

We rated each model for:

  • Normal daily use
  • SMS
  • Sensitivity
  • Menu
  • Durability
  • Sound quality receiving
  • Sound quality sending
  • Instruction manual
  • Suitability for users with poor sight
  • Suitability for users with poor hearing
  • Suitability for users with restrictive movement
  • Emergency button performance 
  • Battery life

What else you'll get in this report

As well as the test results for the five mobiles you'll also get:

  • Our interactive database with test results, prices, specs and features for all models
  • Invaluable buying information: Plus practical tips on how to choose the right plan for your needs. Read this before you buy!
  • CHOICE Shopper: Buy a membership and get this exclusive members' service that can save you time and money on your purchase.
 
 

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06.Why you can't buy these mobiles locally

 
All but one of these mobiles (the Oricom) was never available in Australia even when CHOICE started this test, so you may be wondering why we tested these mobiles if you can’t walk into a shop and buy them?
Firstly, CHOICE conducted this test because we felt the major phone makers were ignoring people who simply wanted a simple to use mobile. There seemed to be little choice for mobiles that had simple menus, big buttons and the ability to get a loud ringtone and volume control.
This test was an attempt to embarrass local retailers to start satisfying a market that may not want the latest and greatest smartphone.
Since this story has been published, some local mobile operators have seen fit to make the models available locally, however it’s still not widespread. For example, Telechoice, an Australian retailer has the Doro 410 available for $169 at http://www.telechoice.com.au/phones/browse/doro/410
And searching on sites such as shopping.com.au or getprice.com.au also brings up results for locally available online stores for the Doro 410 and 338.

The second reason we tested these models was that although not available locally, the online world of shopping means that the mobiles were still attainable.
All the phones for the CHOICE test were bought from the UK Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) (www.rnib.org.uk) by CHOICE and sent to Australia in order to confirm local phone network support. The prices in the table represent purchase price plus delivery charge, using the exchange rate that was effective at the time.
For further information on international orders and deliveries please contact them on 44 (0) 1733 37 54 00 or email exports@rnib.org.uk
I found that Maxine Lewis (Mrs) was the person I talked to at the time and she mentioned that it’s OK for Australian buyers to either use the email address you showed above or her email on mlewis@rnib.org.uk (maybe cc her address).
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