Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Advice on what cell phone to get

  1. Nov 8, 2009 #1
    Have totally confused myself looking on line for a good phone.
    I was excited about jitterbug because it was simple and seemingly made for exactly our family needs.
    However the reviews leave me thinking I should ask advice.
    We need two Very Simple phones with a simple service. In the NY area minimum daily use.
    Does anyone know what non tec seniors are using these days?
    Thank you.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 8, 2009 #2
    Having some non-tech seniors as parents I can offer you this. Go to a Best Buy or some other major retailer and play with different types of phones.

    Don't necessarily buy one there or even let the sales people try to help you. There are some very basic things that non techs want in a phone.

    First, the phone should be intuitive. If it uses icons in the main menu, do they make sense? Does the 'messages' icon look like an envelope or a pigeon? Because it should look like the former. Older folks don't want something that they need to read a book about. The phone should just make sense.l

    Second, larger buttons are usually a plus. So maybe opt for a 'flip phone' over one with the 'sliding screen' as the latter usually has smaller buttons.

    Most major providers offer a 'family plan' and I would go this route if at all possible. They usually start around $40/month for the first phone and $10 - $20 per additional line and you all share the minutes.

    That's what I have and I get 700 anytime minutes for the three of us (which is plenty since we have no friends) and all of the usual extras; i.e. free nights and weekends, caller id, some finite number of texts, free long distance, etc.

    Plus, most providers have deal where if you call people that use the same provider as you, then it doesn't use up any of your minutes. So when we call each other, we don't use our minutes.

    Hope that helps.
     
  4. Nov 8, 2009 #3
    Thank you Saladsamurai,
    That was wonderfully helpful and reassuring. I will start with Best Buy in the morning, it is right where I was going anyway. Good sign.
    I had seen it there so many times and did not want to go in.
    My DH extends his thanks as well.
     
  5. Nov 8, 2009 #4

    Monique

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Mine is at least 6 years old, so I haven't been in the phone store for a long time. What's wrong with buying the cheapest one if you don't need all the gadgets?

    My phone looks something like this: it has buttons to call and letters on the buttons to text, that's all I need (actually, the numbers and letters have worn away.. but I don't mind).

    alcatel-ot-311.jpg
     
  6. Nov 8, 2009 #5
    Thank you Monique,
    We are looking for the simplest they make. I don't even think we will be texting.
    We would be using walkie talkies if we could get them. lol. And we still would not be the weirdest thing you see on the streets on NYC. :bugeye:
     
  7. Nov 8, 2009 #6

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    If they aren't going to use it much, go to Walmart and get a pre-paid phone. That would bve the best deal. No contract, no monthly fees, just buy a block of minutes and renew if they use them up.
     
  8. Nov 8, 2009 #7
    The thing is that now days most of the cheap cell phones have all the same capabilities... which a senior who knows nothing about technology will probably take some time getting used to... like the media aspects of the phone... like the camera.

    Most of these types of phones you get for free when you get a contract or you can get them for around 50$ if you buy them with a pre-paid plan.
    Just don't get a smartphone since they cost extra money and all the features that you pay the extra amount for probably will never get used.
     
  9. Nov 8, 2009 #8

    Moonbear

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I agree. I can't even find a phone that doesn't have a camera on it anymore. I NEVER use the camera on my cell phone, and would be perfectly happy with one that doesn't have it (I think I have literally used the camera once, when I first got the phone, just to figure out how it works, then never touched it again).

    I wouldn't even know what to suggest to someone who just wants a phone for...oh golly...calling people!
     
  10. Nov 8, 2009 #9
    That is why I suggest that you go to the store and try some out. You don't have to buy it there. Just figure out which one you want.

    Going the Cheap route is ok, but still test the phone. You never know what you might find that you will hate. For example: my folks went with the POS Ericsson phones that came free with sign up. AWFUL. The buttons made no sense and the phone's response time was horrendous. Even to my low tech parents. My mom said "why is the amount of time that the phone takes to do something after pressing the button so long that it makes you think you didn't press it ? So you press it again?"

    they were so bad we made the company take them back and got new ones.

    I think they may have been LG's that sucked, not Ericsson.

    P.s. I posted this from my super hot iPhone 3GS. Don't be jealous :biggrin:
     
  11. Nov 8, 2009 #10
    Yup! Just calling someone at lunch time and for emergency's.
    Just the basics with numbers big enough to see without a microscope.

    We bought a couple of pay as you go phones a few years ago. We took such good care of the little things. Every time they would beep for a charge, if in the middle of the night, we would push each other out of bed and claim it your turn to feed the baby.
    Then one day we realized that they were no longer working so we took them back to the very big chain store we bought them from and they said it would just be cheaper to buy a new set of phones than try to get more minutes on an obsolete phone.
    I kept the little phones going trying to think what to do with them and finally just gave them away to someone who would never be able to really use them, just played with them.
    I couldn't even give them to the service that uses them for battered women.
    For sure we won't be getting a "smart phone" The implication are that it would be a very unhappy relationship.
    I always envy "Earl" on the insurance commercial, with his old car, old phone and old insurance.
    But we do need a couple of phones now so we will start the hunt in the morning starting with the first suggestion.
    Let me say it hear, because I won't be calling.
    I am on dial up and will probably have limited minutes.
    Many Thanks.
     
  12. Nov 8, 2009 #11
    Ooops! And press it again I did.
    Can you see us with a "smart phone?"
     
  13. Nov 8, 2009 #12
    Oh WOW! Look at that "Earl!" Bet ya didn't know Anybody could do THAT!
     
  14. Nov 8, 2009 #13
    Maybe I am showing my age (or not), but I don't get it. :smile:
     
  15. Nov 8, 2009 #14
    Hi,
    And thanks for all the advice. Earl is the brother of some woman in an AARP insurance commercial that has been showing here in NY for about a year. Earl is not very old by my standards. I think he is about 50 something. But he never upgrades anything and that is suppose to be his charm. He has one of those old phones that looks like an Army walkie talkie.
     
  16. Nov 8, 2009 #15

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    LOL The i-phone has been named the world's worst cell phone. :tongue2:

    http://finance.yahoo.com/family-home/article/108096/brit-Blog-names-iPhone-worlds-worst.html?mod=family-love_money [Broken]

    The new Google Android phones are out, if you are into gimmicky phones.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  17. Nov 8, 2009 #16

    turbo

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Go to the TracFone agent nearest you (Wal-Mart is the biggie here) and get a simple phone with a 1-year plan. My phone is a very simple LG, and it came free with the minutes, plus the package gives me free double minutes for the life of the phone. For about $100/year, I have all the cell-phone I need.
     
  18. Nov 8, 2009 #17
    Maybe it's a matter of mastery. Saladsamurai's seems to be working pretty darn well. The fingers must be flying over the tiny little buttons. I am envious. But I feel that if my kids are not way better than I am in everything, when why did we have them??
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  19. Nov 8, 2009 #18
    HTC is a fantastic but super expensive cell phone brand
     
  20. Nov 8, 2009 #19
    Well OK then. Thank you. :smile:
     
  21. Nov 8, 2009 #20
    And by super expensive you mean it does a lot of stuff too that technical people would love and non tech people might just not understand or have a need for?
    Is that what you have been taking pictures with as you bounce about the globe?
    Are you back in the states now?
    Safe and sound.
     
  22. Nov 8, 2009 #21

    turbo

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    You're welcome. My father is 83 years old, and when he saw my simple LG phone, he wanted one, and we scaled back his land-line service to the bare bones. He still brings his phone down to my place so that I can add new numbers, contacts, etc, but he loves it. He never uses up his minutes, but he gets to gab to his sister when she goes south for the winter and never sees the calls on a phone bill. He's happy. You can buy minutes from TracFone on-line with a CC, and all you have to do is leave the phone on after buying the minutes and they're transferred to the phone in no time. You don't have to go back to the store, buy an air-time card, and punch in a million codes. I like it.
     
  23. Nov 8, 2009 #22

    turbo

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I should add that one of the beauties of the TracFone model is flexibility. My father and my mother-in-law are both elderly, and if either one takes a big down-turn health-wise, and I end up using the cell a lot to touch lots of bases, I can add minutes on-line and not have to pay for a long-term contract that I may not need in the future. Plus, you can transfer minutes from one TracFone to another. If my father keeps letting minutes build up by renewing once a year to get the year's coverage, I can roll them to my phone and use it for more long-distance calling. My nephew is now stationed out of Honolulu, since his promotion to Chief Warrant Officer, and another is in South Carolina. With land-line service we didn't talk to them all that often because our long-distance charges are ridiculous. Email is OK, but not very spontaneous or personal.
     
  24. Nov 8, 2009 #23

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    The HTC Hero with Google Android has the highest postive user feedback I've seen.

    It's not for novices, but from what I hear, it's outstanding.
     
  25. Nov 8, 2009 #24

    turbo

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Eek! 180 bucks for the phone AND the purchase of a pricey contract? You'd have to break my fingers and toes to make me consent to that. I don't need internet access or a 5Gb camera in my phone. I just want to make phone calls on it. Why would anyone want a virtual QWERTY keyboard on a compact cell-phone anyway? I can't stand using anything less than a full-sized PC keyboard because I'm a touch-typist. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, or maybe I'm just plain old, but this modern cell technology seems like over-kill.
     
  26. Nov 8, 2009 #25

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    It's not for me either, I just want a phone, but I do like the camera.
     
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook