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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.

  • Poor sight: 30%
  • Poor 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

Testers rate the following aspects of each phone:

  • Poor sight score Our tester checks to see how well the mobiles perform under conditions relevant to a sight-impaired user. He looks at how easy it is to read the display in general and in low light, and assesses the icons showing battery level and reception.
  • Poor dexterity score They assess the process to install the SIM, access the battery, accept a call and dial a number. He also looks at the indications of a call coming in such as haptic (vibration) 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 Scott looks at the ease of composing and sending an SMS as well as reading a received SMS. Models without SMS capabilities are not penalised in the overall score.
  • Manual and support score We look 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 is only used when changing providers or on initial installation and so is presented as a score to let readers know but not part of overall score.