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How Do I Choose the Best Simple Cell Phone?

By Jeremy Laukkonen
Updated Jan 20, 2024
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Selecting the best simple cell phone can depend largely on the reasons that you need a handset that lacks modern features. The best simple cell phone for a senior can be different from the right unit to choose for a teenager or someone who does not want to carry around an overly complicated device. Seniors can often benefit from handsets that are large enough to support buttons that are easy to read and press, but you may want to choose a phone for your teen that specifically lacks the ability to send text messages or incur various other costs. The best simple cell phone for someone who does not want an overly complicated device may include basic texting capability, but it should have good battery life in exchange for lacking other features.

Modern smartphones can perform many of the same functions that much larger laptops and computers are traditionally used for, such as playing games, accessing the Internet, and sending emails. This situation is ideal for many people, but it can also be seen as overly complicated and unnecessary. If you want an uncomplicated handset that only performs the functions of a telephone, then you first need to determine who is going to use the unit and for what purposes.

Many seniors can benefit from a simple cell phone for a variety of reasons. Smaller is often synonymous with better in the world of consumer electronics, which has resulted in many cell phones that are too small for some people to use comfortably. The small keypads and touchscreens of many cell phones can be difficult to read by those with poor eyesight. A number of manufacturers have addressed this specific issue by providing handsets that are somewhat larger than other modern devices. In addition to being more comfortable, these simple cell phones can also have keypads that are easier to see and use.

Another reason to seek out a simple cell phone is for a teenager. You may be interested in this type of phone if you want your teen to be able to contact family or emergency services but do not want to provide them with the easy distraction of text messaging and mobile Internet access. In this case a plain cell phone with no camera, no apps, and a plan that includes free talk time between family members is often a good choice.

There are many other reasons to seek out a simple cell phone, and a variety of different options are available to meet those needs. Prepaid cell phones that provide basic functionality offer one option that can allow you to avoid being tied down to a multi-year contract. Most service providers offer free basic cell phones when you sign up for one or two years, but these handsets typically include a camera along with the ability to send text and picture messages.

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Discussion Comments
By turquoise — On Nov 26, 2013

@SarahGen-- I just bought a cell phone for my mother. It's simple but not too simple because my priority was a large screen and a large keyboard. The elderly usually have difficulty seeing small screens and pressing small buttons, so make sure that you get something that's large enough for them to see and press.

I ended up getting an unlimited plan cell phone with a touch screen for my mom. It's still simple because it doesn't have internet access or a music player. But it does have a camera and text messaging. But she really loves it and uses it easily. The screen is fairly large and the numbers show up very big.

I also pay the bill because the payment is made online and she can't be bothered with that. So make sure that the payment options are easy as well.

By SarahGen — On Nov 25, 2013

I need to get a simple cell phone suitable for the elderly. It's for my grandfather in the nursing home. He told me that he doesn't want anything fancy or difficult to use. He will only use it to call people. What type should I get? Any recommendations?

By stoneMason — On Nov 25, 2013

My first cell phone was a simple, pre-paid cell phone. It was a small flap phone and easy to carry but it didn't have any fancy features. I could only call people and send text messages. At that time, cell phones were simple in general. People didn't use them to post pictures on the internet and send video messages.

I still use a fairly simple cell phone. It doesn't have internet access but it does have a camera to take pictures with.

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