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Best simple mobile phone for older people 2024: Easy-to-use Android, Apple and feature phones for seniors

Doro 8050 on a table, leaning against a plant pot, green leaves in the background

Keep in touch with your loved ones with our list of the best simple mobile phones for older people

We pride ourselves on our tech knowledge here at Expert Reviews, but there’s a slightly different thought process to selecting the best mobile phone for older people. Our team has tested more than 600 phones and tablets on the site over the years, but we’re always aware that not everyone feels so comfortable using these devices.

The idea of navigating and using a phone can be daunting for those who have only encountered them in later life. If you or someone you know struggles with conventional devices, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on everything that a mobile phone has to offer. Thankfully, there are quite a few mobile phones that have been designed with simplicity and ease of use in mind, and we’ve tested a number of them.

Our roundup of the best simple mobile phones for older people is designed to help you make an informed decision based on your own specific requirements or the needs of someone you know. Whether your concerns are ease of use, vision, mobility impairment or generally just a bit of technophobia, our comprehensive list of the best simple mobile phones includes something for everyone. We’ve also included a hand buying guide to help make your buying decision even easier.

Best simple mobile phone: At a glance

Best all-round simple smartphoneMotorola Moto G54 5G (~£159)Check price at Amazon
Best smartphone under £100Motorola Moto G13 (~£96)Check price at Amazon
Best feature phone for limited hand mobilityDoro 5860 (~£70)Check price at Amazon

How we test simple mobile phones for older people

Our testing differs depending on whether we’re looking at a smartphone or a feature phone. With smartphones, we use a consistent methodology across all handsets, testing for the following criteria:

  • Performance: We run the Geekbench 6 and GFXBench applications to achieve quantifiable data measuring the CPU and GPU performance, which can then be compared to other phones.
  • Display quality: We use a colourimeter and the DisplayCal software to accurately measure the phone’s maximum brightness and colour accuracy, as well as the black and contrast levels.
  • Battery life: We set the phone to a brightness of 170cd/m2 and engage flight mode, to ensure consistency across all tests. We then run our looping video, recording the timestamp when the battery finally dies.
  • Cameras: Photography isn’t as much of a priority in this price range, but we’ll test all available lenses in a variety of lighting conditions.

Testing a Doro 7030 feature phone

When it comes to feature phones, most of the above tests aren’t available, nor are they especially relevant. The simpler nature of such devices means that performance and battery metrics aren’t so important. Instead, we’ll test how intuitive the interfaces are to use, as well as how tactile and robust the physical buttons are.

From there, we’ll run through key functions such as calling, messaging and setting up the SOS feature, to assess the ease of use for each. Charging methods also vary a bit with feature phones, so we’ll judge how fiddly that process can be. Finally, cameras are even less of a factor here, but we’ll still run a quick check to see whether they can take good pictures in decent lighting.

READ NEXT: Best smartphones for all budgets

The best simple mobile phones for older people to use in 2024

1. Motorola Moto G54 5G: Best all-round simple smartphone

Price when reviewed: £159 | Check price at Amazon

Motorola Moto G54 5G sitting face up on a desk, clock and apps showing on homescreen

  • Great for… decent display and performance for the money
  • Not so great for… poor low-light photography and limited software support

The Motorola Moto G54 5G ticks a lot of boxes as an easy-to-use smartphone. It’s relatively cheap, yet its performance is strong for the money, meaning you won’t have to contend with annoying freezing or stuttering issues. Motorola’s software is some of the simplest on the market, with a straightforward interface and little in the way of superfluous apps. There’s even a helpful tips app to get you acquainted with your new phone.

We found the phone to be fronted by a large, sharp and fluid 6.5in display, which presents text and images very clearly indeed. Battery life isn’t as good as the feature phones on this list, but the smartphone lasted for 21hrs 13mins in our in-house tests, so it should see you through a whole day’s use with little trouble. Throw in a competent camera – in good lighting, at least – and you have a very accomplished simple smartphone for a decent price.

Read our full Motorola Moto G54 5G review

Key specs – Processor: Mediatek Dimensity 7020; Display: 6.5in, 2,400 x 1,080; Storage: 256GB; Cameras: 50MP, 8MP (wide); Operating system: Android 13; Weight: 192g

2. Motorola Moto G13: Best smartphone under £100

Price when reviewed: £96 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… stylish design and impressive battery life
  • Not so great for… disappointing camera and screen not very sharp

If the Moto G54 5G still sounds like too much money, never fear. Motorola also sells the Moto G13, which offers a broadly similar experience at a lower price. The unfussy software and stylish design are present here, too, and the display is just as large as the G54 5G’s – though not as sharp, at 720p.

We didn’t find battery life to be quite on par with its pricier sibling, lasting a little under 20 hours in our looping video test, but that’s still plenty of stamina for a smartphone of this price. Equally, performance is fine for the light tasks that the phone will be used for and the 90Hz refresh rate makes scrolling feel nice and smooth.

The Moto G13’s 50MP main camera captures decent images in good lighting, and you also get some welcome extras such as expandable storage and a 3.5mm headphone port, allowing users who don’t want to mess around with Bluetooth to plug in their headphones.

Read our full Motorola Moto G13 review

Key specs – Processor: Mediatek MT6769Z Helio G85; Display: 6.5in, 1,600 x 720; Storage: 128GB; Cameras: 50MP, 2MP (macro), 2MP (depth); Operating system: Android 13; Weight: 184g

3. Doro 6820: Best feature phone for simple calling, messaging and charging

Price when reviewed: £83 | Check price at Amazon

Doro 6820 phone flipped open on a work surface

  • Great for… easy to use physical keypad and bundled charging dock
  • Not so great for… no web facility and rubbish camera

The Doro 6820 is the perfect choice for users who just want a simple handset for calling and messaging. It strips out any serious form of online functionality, with no web browser, email or social media applications. Attention is instead focused on creating a solid typing experience, with high-quality physical numerical keys, as well as dedicated buttons for accessing the messaging functions and the basic 2MP camera.

There are also a couple of useful features that reflect Doro’s status as a company that makes phones specifically for older customers. It has a dedicated assistance button on the back that can be set up to call and message emergency contacts with a simple press. We particularly appreciate the fact that it comes with a useful dock, which allows for easy home phone-like charging.

Read our full Doro 6820 review

Key specs – Processor: Unisoc UMS9117; Display: 2.8in, 320 x 240; Storage: 17.3MB; Camera: 2MP; Operating system: Mocor OS; Weight: 173g

4. Doro 5860: Best feature phone for those with limited hand mobility

Price when reviewed: £70 | Check price at Amazon

Doro 5860 placed on top of a milk jug

  • Great for… robust ‘candy bar’ design and dedicated emergency button
  • Not so great for… no web facility and terrible camera

Unlike the other feature phones on this list, the Doro 5860 doesn’t need to be flipped open. In our opinion, this simpler ‘candy bar’ design is a better choice for anyone with hand mobility issues, as it doesn’t require the user to fiddle around opening it every time they want to make a call. Compared to the Doro 6820 above, the 5860 is also a little cheaper and the display is slightly shorter and wider, which some may prefer for text legibility.

Otherwise, the experience is near-enough identical to using the 6820, with a focus on messaging and calling and a complete lack of any online functionality. There’s a helpful assistance button for emergencies, and a useful charging dock that eliminates the need to mess around with fiddly wires. You’ve also got a 2MP camera but, as with the 6820, it’s barely good enough to be worth including.

Read our full Doro 5860 review

Key specs – Processor: Unisoc UMS9117; Display: 2.4in, 320 x 240; Storage: 17.3MB; Camera: 2MP; Operating system: Mocor OS; Weight: 112g

5. Nokia 2660 Flip: Best flip feature phone for less than £70

Price when reviewed: £65 | Check price at Amazon

Nokia 2660 Flip review

  • Great for… lightweight design and appealingly low price
  • Not so great for… too many buttons and bad camera

Nokia is a familiar brand from the pre-smartphone era, and it continues to put its name to solid feature phones like the Nokia 2660. This is another simplified flip phone, like the Doro 6820, that places the onus on texts and calls with tactile physical buttons rather than a touchscreen. There are a couple of noteworthy points of differentiation however, one of which being the significantly cheaper price.

You’ll have to make do without that charging dock, with the Nokia 2660 instead charging with a micro-USB cable, but you still get a dedicated assistance button, this time on the side of the phone. The Nokia 2660 Flip also includes a web browser, unlike those Doro phones, but we have to stress that surfing the web on such a limited phone is far from an optimal experience.

The 0.3MP camera also borders on the useless. Suffice to say if you want strong web-browsing or decent photographic capabilities, consider either of the smartphones on this list instead.

Read our full Nokia 2660 Flip review

Key specs – Processor: Unisoc T107; Display: 2.8in, 320 x 240 (internal), 1.77in, 160 x 120 (external); Storage: 128MB; Camera: 0.3MP; Operating system: S30+​; Weight: 123g

How to choose the best simple mobile phone for older people

Why should I buy a simple mobile phone?

The older generation may not have grown up with some of the tech we enjoy today, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be used. While learning new tech at a mature age could put you at a disadvantage, there are still plenty of things you can do to make the transition as easy as possible.

Simple mobile phones are a great way to get to grips with new tech without being bombarded with potentially unnecessary features and functions. They can also alleviate some of the issues that may come with using a mobile device in old age, such as poor vision and arthritis.

What features should I look for in a simple mobile phone?

Simple mobile phones aren’t often feature-rich, but still allow you to do everything you need such as make phone calls and send text messages. They’re not all old, brick-sized phones, either – some of the latest smartphones cater to the difficulties older people might face.

When choosing a simple mobile phone for an older person, there are a few features we feel you may want to look out for to help make the phone more accessible.

Bigger screen: If sight issues are a worry, a larger screen may help to alleviate concerns. With screens getting bigger and bigger every year, it’s now easier than ever to find a mobile phone with a generously sized screen.

The size of the screen isn’t the only thing to consider, though, as small text can also cause problems for those with vision problems. Thankfully, we’ve found that most mobile phones include basic software options to change the font size in order to make reading and writing text messages, documents and any other text much easier. Some even have the option to make text bold or change the font, which can also boost readability.

Bigger buttons: Phones with physical buttons aren’t quite as common as they used to be, but if you struggle with touchscreen mobile phones, buttons can often make things much easier. Some touchscreens can be unpredictable – even for the most nimble of fingers – so trying to use them with impaired hand mobility can make life quite difficult. Thankfully, many phones still include physical keypads.

Simple interface and operating system: The sheer number of things you can do on a modern phone continues to impress. For anyone relatively new to using them, however, it can be quite overwhelming. If you’re looking for something that performs basic duties such as calling, texting and occasional web-surfing, we think that you should consider a phone with a stripped-back user interface or slimline operating system.

Many phones support stripped-back versions of the Android operating system, while some don’t use Android at all, offering only the most basic of features for simplicity.

What are the differences between a smartphone and a feature phone?

Before deciding on a simple mobile phone, you should consider whether a smartphone or feature phone is best for you. Understanding the differences between the two will help you make the best choice based on your specific needs.

A feature phone includes all of the basic features you would expect from a mobile device, but very little else. These include applications such as a calendar, calculator and photo gallery, but many go beyond this with a smattering of other features such as email and web-browsing functions. With a feature phone, you won’t be able to download any additional apps from places such as the Google Play Store.

A smartphone is essentially like a mini-computer, which allows you to use the internet as well as install and use apps from the Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store. This could be anything from games and social apps to media-streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Of course, smartphones can be harder to navigate than feature phones, but if you’re looking to improve your mobile phone skills, we would venture that this might be the better choice.

How much should I expect to pay?

Simple smart and feature phones, which are easier to use and typically designed for inexperienced phone users, are significantly cheaper than the all-singing, all-dancing top-of-the-range models.

Prices can start as cheap as £30 for basic feature phones, going above £100 for more sophisticated smartphones. As a general rule, the more basic it is, the cheaper the phone will be.

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