Smart-phones changed the world. Some people would debate how much for the better, but they’re here to stay and I admit to relying upon mine daily, for everything from shopping lists to nudging me to take the stairs and burn a few extra calories.
Not everyone needs a smart-phone though and for people that don’t there is a decent selection of phones on the market that hark back to simpler times of big buttons and are focused on the phone-call, rather than the Instant Chat.
The Alcatel OneTouch 2004 is one such model designed specifically with senior users in mind. It’s a small phone, conveniently fitting in the palm of a hand. It’s well made, even rugged or tough looking but still looks stylish and not at all like a relic from the 1990s. It has a 2.4 inch screen which is ample for the job it does and part of that job is displaying huge text or numbers which are easy to read. One of the notable features is the large numeric keypad, which adds to the ease of use as misdialing is extremely unlikely with such big numeric keys.
Along with some straightforward contact and calendar functions there are smart extra features, like a Voice Dial Assist mode which prompts the phone to say the numbers out loud as you dial them assisting those who may lack a little dexterity or just forgot to put their glasses on to make a call. There’s also an alarm function which allows you to record a voice message that’s played back to the user instead of an alarm tone and battery life is superb – stand-by time is claimed to be 400 hours.
The 2004 has a built-in FM radio, with the phones simple volume controls buttons on one side and on the other there are simple manually operated screen lock and unlock buttons Beside the lock keys is a push button to operate the built-in torch, which is easily bright enough to help you find your way to the front-door. When you turn the phone around you’ll notice a large red button on the back, which is the SOS button. Pressing this activates a loud alert tone from the phone and the phone begins calling the five SOS numbers you can pre-program. If the call is unanswered, the phone moves on the to next number and it also sends an SMS text message to the SOS numbers, with a message that you can customise – the default message setting is an urgent help request.
The phone’s call quality is good for a device in this price-range and the OneTouch 2004 has noise cancelling for clearer calls and is hearing aid compatible and works well with induction and acoustic hearing-aids. It’s sold with an adequate headset for making calls or listening to the FM radio.
The phone is obviously designed for senior users who don’t need smart-phone features and the SOS function is an ingenious addition. It could also make an excellent first phone for younger children if you’re anxious about them starting their social media lives a little too soon. It’s sold by two of the Irish networks for €24.99 but that’s a locked version of the phone. I’d prefer to buy it unlocked, at the full RRP as it could be ideal to bring on holiday, picking up a SIM card at the holiday destination’s airport. allowing you to use it for local calls or texts whilst away from home.
This is the lowest priced phone I’ve ever tested but the OneTouch 2004’s simplicity, personal safety features and ease of use make it real value for money for those who need a companion phone rather than smart-phone frills.
RRP: €49.99 SIM Free
More info at: alcatelonetouch.com