At a time when the smartphone has become the must-have accessory of modern-day life, hard-wired to act as camera, debit card, personal assistant and sat nav, it’s easy to overlook the virtues of a simple phone which focuses on doing the basics. Also known as feature phones, they have specialist functions to assist the hard-of-hearing and vision-impaired, a great option for older people:
A very valuable resource during a power cut at home or when trying to unlock the front door in the dark after a night out. The torch is in fact the camera flashlight. To activate, just tap on the “Torch” icon and the flashlight will be turned on instantly. When you’re done, just tap on the icon again to turn it off.
- SOS button
One of the most useful features on simple phones, especially in an emergency. You can pre-set emergency contacts and when you press the button, these people will be notified that you require assistance.
- Large keys
Large keys on a simple phone make it easier to use, both for making calls and texting. Great for those with rheumatic or arthritic hands.
- Hearing aid compatible (hac)
Some simple phones are designed specifically to connect to a hearing aid. The output from the phone is transmitted directly to the hearing aid, so that the sound is delivered at the settings that suit the user.
- Smart features
Although you can use a phone only to make calls and send texts, communication apps such as WhatsApp continue to grow in popularity. You don’t need to be left behind if you choose not to buy a smartphone. Some simple phones come with browsers and apps, even app stores, so that you can customise your phone to to your taste.
The phones may be called “simple” but you can spend from as little as £15 up to around £200 depending on what kind of specification you’d like. We’ll take a look at some of the leading ranges of simple phones.
Doro is a brand with a wide range of models from basic to some having smartphone functions and touchscreens. The Doro 1370 lies at the basic end of the spectrum and has a candy-bar design, meaning it’s a solid device with no moving parts except for the keypad buttons.
It comes with a reasonably-sized 2.4” display and features a 3Mp camera on the rear of the phone. It has 2G network capability but no smart features, although it has Bluetooth, which will allow you to take calls hand-free and transfer data. Hac/torch/SOS button/around £38.
The Doro 2404 is a clamshell or flip phone with a white interior and large buttons. It also has a 2.4” display and 2G connectivity. The rear camera has a low resolution of only 0.3Mp, although the phone comes with Bluetooth. Torch/SOS button/around £35.
Alcatel, the French manufacturer, has a reputation for making simple cheap phones and smartphones with classic designs. The Alcatel 3025X is a clamshell phone with an unfussy design, large buttons and navigation keys, and a good-sized 2.8” display screen. With 3G network capability, you’ll be able to surf the web and access social media sites which are bookmarked on the phone. Torch/SOS button/around £35.
The Alcatel 1066G has a more standard design, a small 1.8” display and a low resolution camera (0.08Mp) but you can capture videos on it. It claims to offer seven-and-a-half hours of talk time. Hac/torch/around £14.
Nokia produces retro style phones with 4G. The Nokia 8110 4G has a unique curved design with a sliding feature that covers the keyboard and a 2.4” display. It also has a 2Mp rear camera and, as its name implies, 4G connectivity as well as a wireless hotspot feature so you can use your phone as a wi-fi connection for other devices. Hac/SOS button/torch/around £58.
MobiWire is another French manufacturer of simple phones with 4G and expandable storage capability. The MobiWire Nokosi has a 2.4” display, a 2Mp rear camera and 3G function. You can expand the data storage using a maximum 128GB micro-SD card. Hac/torch/around £30.
The MobiWire Koi, another clamshell phone, has 4G capability, an MP3 player and FM radio, although less storage, being expandable only up to 32GB with a micro SD card. Hac/SOS button/torch/around £15.
As you can see, there is plenty of choice in the simple phone market, depending on how much you want to spend and how much functionality you desire.