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How we test mobile phones for seniors

How we find the phones that are easy to use and provide the best way to communicate in times of emergency.

fl swissvoice c50s smartphone

Our lab testers carry out ease of use, call sound quality and various ergonomic and daily use assessments for each mobile.

How we choose what we test

We look for readily available mobiles with a focus on ease of use and features to help enhance the usability experience for people with limited eyesight, dexterity or cognitive ability. For our most recent test, we selected mobiles with claims of support for seniors as well as some feature phones and simple keypad phones that are affordable and readily available at outlets such as Big W and Australia Post

Scoring

Below are the aspects we test and their contribution to the overall score.

  • Vision: 30%
  • Dexterity: 25%
  • Sound receiving: 20%
  • Sound sending: 10%
  • SMS: 10%
  • Manual and support score 5%
  • SIM installation score (assessed but doesn't contribute to the overall score).

How we test

Our expert testers rate the following aspects of each phone:

  • Vision score: Our tester checks to see how well the mobiles perform under conditions relevant to a person with low vision. They look at how easy it is to read the display in general and in low light, and assess the icons showing battery level and reception.
  • Dexterity score: Our tester assess the process to install the SIM, access the battery, accept a call and dial a number. They also look at the indications of a call coming in such as vibration (haptic feedback) and ease of carrying.
  • Sound receiving and sending score: Sound quality measurements are carried out with users assessing the sound quality of a call as a receiver and as a caller.
  • SMS score: Our tester looks at the ease of composing and sending a text message as well as reading a received text message. Models without SMS capabilities are not penalised in the overall score.
  • Manual and support score: Our tester looks at the quality of the supplied manual as well as whether a support phone line is supplied.
  • SIM installation score: Being able to install the SIM is an important aspect for some users, particularly older carers working with the phone for themselves or their partner and a poorly designed SIM holder that is difficult to access can be an issue. However, it's only used when changing providers or on initial installation, and so is presented as a score to let readers know but does not contribute to the overall score.
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