Best Low-Tech Cell Phones Suitable for Seniors

A series of reports by CBS News and USA Today explores the aging of an iconic generation and the impact on the nation.

As smart-phones get increasingly complicated, there's another trend in the making: low-tech, easy-to-use, inexpensive cell phones for senior citizens.

And as "The Early Show" continued the CBS News series "Senior Moment," being done in conjunction with print partner USA Today to mark the oldest baby boomers turning 65 next month, CNET Technology contributor Katie Linendoll looked at what she sees as some of the best ones available.

CBS News/USA Today Series: Senior Moment

(The following descriptions were prepared with information given to her by providers)


$99, with a one-time $35 activation fee; no contracts and no cancellation fees
Purchased online at
In-store: Best Buy, RadioShack

++ The original easy to use cell phone, custom-designed by Samsung
++ Large keypad makes dialing easy
++ Powerful speaker delivers clear sound
++ Bluetooth®, Caller ID and Speakerphone enabled
++ Access all options with simple "YES" or "NO" questions
++ Dial "0" anytime to reach a friendly GreatCall Operator
++ SimpleText Messaging available


Medication Reminders ($10 per month):
++ Award-winning service allows customers to easily follow medication schedules exactly as prescribed by their doctor, track adherence to that schedule and get prescription refill reminders
++ Users receive an inbound call for each scheduled reminder and respond to one of five options using the keypad to record their medication adherence
++ For example, they are prompted to hit 1 if they have, or will now take, the medication or to hit 2 if they are not taking the medication because they feel they do not need it at present
++ Users may program up to 16 reminders per day
++ By simply logging into their account, users can see a chart of adherence by each medication. This compliance chart can be printed from home by the user or loved one, or users can call a GreatCall customer care representative who can print and mail the compliance report to them. Users can then share the results with their doctor, care taker, or family
++ The service also offers a prescription refill component. Users can work with a customer care representative or online at to program where and when they pick up their prescriptions. When it's time for a refill, the automated system will call the customer directly and connect her or him to the appropriate pharmacy to place the order

LiveNurse ($4 per month, and free on Premium and Unlimited plans):
++ Award-winning service offers unlimited 24/7 access to live, registered nurses for medical advice and support wherever and whenever it's needed
++ The nurses can also connect users to an updated health library featuring current information on hundreds of general health-related topics
++ In addition, the nurses track the topics discussed each time a customer calls, allowing personalized service for each user by identifying specific issues or concerns that may arise during subsequent calls

Operates on any GSM Carrier: AT&T, T-Mobile, take SIM card out of old phone and pop into Just5


• Big, easy to use dial buttons, also there is a confirmed keypad which speaks the numbers when you dial them
• Amplified sound and hearing aid compatible
• Big Red SOS Button on the back of the phone offers sense of security- immediately sends text message to your 5 contacts and will start calling those contacts one by one and will go into speakerphone mode
• Not many extras though it does offer text messaging, flashlight
• No apps, no internet, bare boned

$39.99 with two year contract


• Basic flip phone no camera
• Large display and keypad
• 1 inch external display / 2 inch internal
• In case of emergency button and a 911 button
• Texting available / Can receive picture message but cant send one
• Good speakerphone
• Pill reminder option

$49.99 w/ 2-year contract & rebate *requires a $20 minimum payment plan
• Well spaced- buttons
• Large fonts
• An easy mode that goes right to the most-used functions
• Text and picture messaging
• Video capture
• Web Browser
• Extras: 2MP camera, voice guided GPS, full QWERTY keyboard

For information on calling plans for seniors, go to Page 2.