These days many daily tasks require a smartphone because of new online payment security checks and the widespread use of parking apps. This is a potential nightmare for those who struggle with touchscreens, apps and texting but there are some easier-to-use models to help conquer the technology divide.

Manufacturers continually modify their smartphones to make them more straightforward to use but, unfortunately, when it comes to apps, whether it is your bank or WhatsApp, you will still be at the mercy of their interface as this cannot be changed. So while there is no truly simple smartphone that can do every task, here are some of the best options.

Emporia Smart5

The Smart5 has a clever folio case with four physical buttons for answering calls, and an emergency call button on the back.

Price: £241

The Emporia Smart5 is one of the better smartphones targeted specifically at the over-65s. Its main selling points are a simplified home screen, clever folio case with four physical buttons for answering calls, and an emergency call button on the back, which when pressed rings a set of five contacts. Unusually, the phone ships with a printed manual to walk through some basic tasks. It also comes with a magnifying app and a training app that teaches touchscreen interactions such as tapping and scrolling.

Otherwise, the Smart5 is a fairly standard smartphone, with a 5.5in screen, camera, splash resistance and full Android 10 (not the stripped-down Android Go) with access to the Google Play store and all its apps, including banking and messaging apps. It can be bought with a charging cradle, too; otherwise it uses a USB-C cable.

Unfortunately, when you open a third-party app the simplified interface is left behind for the app’s regular interface. It also doesn’t have a fingerprint sensor for your banking app or similar. Emporia only guarantees two years of crucial security updates from purchase; as soon as it stops getting updates you should replace it to stay secure.

Apple iPhone SE 2022

The iPhone SE with a simplified home screen. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Price: £449 RRP – deals from £300

The iPhone SE isn’t specifically tailored for older people but you can change the settings to make it easier to use and it has all the advantages of an Apple smartphone. With a 4.7in screen, the phone is fairly compact and there is a huge range of third-party accessories available, which makes buying a solid case easy.

The home screen can be simplified by removing all unnecessary apps and putting widgets for one-tap access to favourite contacts on the screen. Increasing the zoom and text size in settings will make everything appear huge on the screen . It also has a range of accessibility features that can be enabled, including additional screen and text magnification and adjustments for hearing aids. …….


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