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Doro 7030 review: A great feature phone for the elderly

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
65
inc VAT

It might look like a phone from a bygone era, but the Doro 7030 is an ideal choice for the less tech-savvy

Pros 
Doro Response button for emergencies
4G, Wi-Fi and GPS
Simple, spacious keypad
Multi-day battery life
Cons 
Small TFT display
No messaging apps other than WhatsApp
Web browser is slow and limited
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Technophobic seniors don’t always need the latest and greatest tech in order to stay in touch with friends and family. Feature-packed smartphones might be the go-to choice for the social media savvy and frequent Netflix binge-watcher, but if you don’t do much of that then a simple feature phone is perhaps your best bet.

READ NEXT: Best phones for older people

Phone-maker Doro, which specialises in handsets geared towards the elderly, has a handful of feature phones in its repertoire. At first glance, the Doro 7030 might look like a basic phone from a bygone era, but it actually shares a few similarities with its smartphone siblings.

Doro 7030 review: What do you get for the money?

Coming in at just £65, the Doro 7030 is a classic clamshell handset, with nicely rounded edges and corners – similar in appearance to the 2005 Motorola Pebl.

It weighs just 124g and measures 109 x 57 x 20mm when folded. Slip it into your back pocket and you might almost forget you’re carrying it.

Of course, the Doro 7030 is a simple phone, so its external controls are minimal. There’s a two-piece volume rocker on the left, as well as a micro-USB port for charging and a 3.5mm audio jack on the right. The phone’s single camera and flash combo are placed on the phone’s clam top, next to multi-coloured charging and notification icons.

Flip the Doro 7030 open and you’ll find a 2.8in screen with a resolution of 240 x 320, which equates to a pixel density of 143dpi. It’s quite a bright display, with a maximum luminance of 444cd/m², but since it’s a TFT panel there's a fair bit of chromatic shift at extreme viewing angles.

The good news, however, is that despite only being a feature phone, the Doro 7030 does come with a handful of smart features. It can connect to the 4G mobile network, comes with 2.4GHz Wi-Fi connectivity and Bluetooth 4.2 for connecting any external devices, and has a GPS antenna. It also comes with basic WhatsApp and Facebook apps pre-installed.

Storage is a bit limited, with just 4GB of internal space, but this can be expanded via a microSD card, the slot for which sits next to the dual nano-SIM slots under the removable 1,350mAh battery.

Lastly, you can charge the Doro 7030 either directly via the micro-USB port on the right-hand side of the phone or by simply standing it on top of the supplied charging cradle.

Buy now from Argos


Doro 7030 review: What’s it like to use?

Without a touchscreen, the Doro 7030’s navigation is done via a four-way nav pad with a central “OK” button. The usual numeric keypad also makes an appearance, along with call answer/end buttons, a dedicated camera button and Menu, Back and Clear buttons.

All of the Doro 7030’s physical buttons are large, tactile, well spaced and backlit when switched on. The phone’s black and white colour scheme also helps make the buttons stand out, which is especially useful for the visually impaired.

The design of the Doro 7030’s home screen resembles the “EVA” launcher on Doro’s mainline smartphones, with large, easy-to-explain icons labelled Call, View and Send. Select any of these labels, and you’re sent straight to the relevant app or setting.

The Doro 7030’s simple interface makes for a remarkably straightforward experience. Even technology novices shouldn’t have any problems navigating the Doro 7030 after just a brief period of use.

The phone’s quad-core 1.1GHz MediaTek MT6731 chipset is no powerhouse, though, and it also only has 512MB of RAM. Even so, the phone’s user interface, which runs a slightly tweaked version of the widely used KaiOS, never felt noticeably slow in operation.

READ NEXT: Best budget smartphones

Unlike standard KaiOS phones, however, the Doro 7030 doesn’t have an app store, although I suspect this is partly to do with operational simplicity. Pre-installed apps extend to basic WhatsApp and Facebook interfaces, an email client and a simple web browser. The latter is rather slow to load and is best suited to just basic search enquiries.

As for accessibility, the phone’s earpiece and speaker are loud enough, especially when set to High mode. It also has M4/T4 hearing aid support, which is the highest possible rating.

A special “Doro Response” button is located on the rear of the handset, which can be programmed to connect to a pre-selected contact or group of contacts when pressed in case of emergency. Once a receiver has acknowledged the call, they can see the caller’s location and a hands-free phone call is initiated.

Conventional battery rundown tests are irrelevant on a handset like this, but suffice to say I’ve been using my test handset solidly for two full days with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth switched on and I’ve still got around a quarter of charge available, according to the battery level indicator.

Buy now from Argos


Doro 7030 review: What isn’t it good for?

The answer to this question is pretty much anything other than basic calls or messages. Beyond that, it simply can’t do the things smartphones have been able to do for quite some time, including sending and receiving Facebook messages (which the pre-installed app doesn’t support).

Then again, that’s also pretty much the entire point of the Doro 7030, since increased functionality also means increased complexity.

The camera is a fixed-focus 3MP affair with a simple LED flash and video is shot at a piddly maximum resolution of 640 x 480. Quality-wise, it really is quite atrocious by modern standards, but you’d be a bit deluded if you expected a £65 feature phone to be at the forefront of photographic capabilities.

Doro 7030 review: Should I buy it?

As a basic mobile phone and emergency alert device for a vulnerable person, the Doro 7030 does everything you’d want it to do and does it well.

It’s very simple to use, it has a battery that can last a couple of days, and it can send and receive WhatsApp messages and emails. It may be a horse for a rather specific course, but the Doro 7030 is no donkey.

Buy now from Argos

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