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iBall Aasaan 2  

With services such as banking, travel, healthcare and a host of entertainment facilities now available at one’s fingertips, the spurt in the growth and popularity of smartphones is understandable.

However, there is one segment of population that finds this gadget an inconvenience — the elderly. Volunteering opportunities with Helpage India and ‘Samagam’, a community initiative for senior citizens residing in the President’s Estate, gave me a firsthand experience of their woes with the mobile phone.

Already battling with decreased levels of dexterity, eyesight and increased dependence on hearing aids, the complexity of smartphones is proving distressful to them. “Slippery”, “sensitive touchscreens”, “small fonts” and “complicated” were some adjectives they used to describe mobile phones.

Srinivasan, an octogenarian and retired bureaucrat, summed up the complaint, “We don’t know how to use today’s mobile phones nor do we want to learn. We need a phone that should just do the basic things and be easy-to-use. Can you suggest some such phones?”

At that time, I did not know of many phones that fell into this category. So, I started researching and tried to find some phones that would cater specifically to the senior population of India. To my delight, the mobile market threw up many surprises.

Keeping ‘ease-of-use’ and ‘price’ as tangible parameters, I waded through various phone models and features to come up with my list of easy-to-use phones.

iBall Aasaan 2
This is the first phone I found. Priced at around Rs. 3,000, it comes with a 7.36 centimetre display with huge fonts. Below that are big, comfortable numeric keys numbered in English as well as Hindi. It has a dedicated SOS button which triggers an alarm in the phone and sends a built-in message to pre-defined phone numbers. It also comes with the ability to store media and play music but these features are not an impediment to the simplicity of use.

Philips Xenium X2566
Priced at Rs. 3,800, this is also a similar phone with a few extra features. There is a lot of space between the buttons so that they do not get pressed accidentally.

It also comes with dedicated buttons for increasing and decreasing the font size. It houses a powerful battery with 24 hours of talk-time and a whopping 47 days of standby time.

Swingtel SW50 Plus Senior Citizen
If one is looking for a price-sensitive alternative, this Rs. 1,100 phone can do the trick. It comes with a dedicated SOS button like the other phones and also has dual SIM functionality. One drawback, though, is the small display with poor resolution and small fonts. While it is suitable for people with normal eyesight, it is not recommended for those with weak eyes as it can cause strain.

Mitashi Play Senior Friend
During my search, I came across this comparatively expensive, heavily featured smartphone. This phone actually runs on Android.

Although it may have some of the complexities that come with an Android phone, Mitashi claims to have minimised this with their customised interface that provides a user-friendly experience.

All elements on the screen are really bright and have distinct and easily identifiable colours. Like other phones, it also comes with a dedicated SOS button.

Magicon Senior Duo
The most interesting phone that I found was the Magicon Senior Duo, priced at Rs. 1,500. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it had a magnifying glass attached to it which could be folded in and out at any time. This was an interesting feature which I thought could benefit a lot of people trying to read small text. It also includes standard features such as an SOS button, simple interface and so on. It comes with a high-contrast display for people with weak eyesight. It is also bundled with an MP3 player and torch light.

So go ahead and make the life of your grandparents a little easier by gifting them the power of connection.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 9:09:09 AM |

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