Give me your newfangled thingamabobs!
June 5, 2012 6:45 AM   Subscribe

What Verizon phone would be best for 70-somethings learning how to text?

My 70-something parents have been using our local phone provider for cell service, and are considering switching to Verizon. (Literally the only other option in our area, so no comments on the choice, please!)

They've been using basic flip phones for calls only, and texting on the devices has defeated them. They'd both like to text and take photos, and Dad wants to check his email.

Ideally, the phone would:
a) have a QWERTY keyboard/pad of some sort, even virtual.
b) be blunt-finger friendly.
c) have text, email and photo icons on the main screen.
d) have a good-for-cell-phones camera.

We've been considering the iPhone 4s, but I haven't tested one yet, so I turn to you, MeFites.
posted by ThisKindNepenthe to Technology (8 answers total)
The Droid 4 has a slide-out keyboard. That may help with the fat-fingering. But, you may want to get one with a bigger screen if they have trouble reading small text.

My own currrent phone is the HTC Rezound. I find that it's been generally good, and has a nice, large screen.

The good news is that both the Android phones and the iPhone allow you to put the importnat-to-you icons on the main screen, any way you'd like. So, you set it up once, and it more-or-less just works. And, all the cameras on the front-running phones have been very good, so you don't have to think much about that.
posted by Citrus at 7:40 AM on June 5, 2012

You'd be amazed at how quickly your parents will take to whatever device you select (I love my iPhone, but Androids are great too.)

My Mom won a Blackberry and she texts me all the damn time. They're in Philly right now on a little vacation and I'm getting random pictures of shit, updates on meals they've eaten, I even got a text about how their plane was delayed because of weather. At Seven. In the MORNING!

You get the idea. You're opening Pandora's box, but it will totally enrich their lives.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:52 AM on June 5, 2012

iPhone. It won't be any easier to type on than any other phone with a virtual keyboard, but it will be easier to maintain, get help with, find apps for, etc. every iPhone works the same way, whereas on Andriod, you're likely to get into the situation of "oh, it's a droid moto bionic x4? I don't know how to do [task] on that one, it's different from mine."

All other phones that aren't an iPhone or one of the better Andriod phones aren't the "best for..." anyone.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 7:53 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

iPhone or one of the better Androids. Texting is so f'ing difficult with an old-school phone I can barely figure it out sometimes, and I eat, sleep, and breathe technology. They'll pick it up quickly.
posted by randomkeystrike at 8:08 AM on June 5, 2012

My 85 year old FIL is an iphone fiend. He's very adept with the texts, the camera, and everything else. Once they get used to the touch screen, it all is much easier.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:17 AM on June 5, 2012

Yes, iPhone. It really is the most intuitive, user-friendly phone available.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 8:36 AM on June 5, 2012

I recently went through this with my girlfriend's mother (in her mid 60s). I got her a used few years old phone with a slide out full qwerty keyboard. I would reccomend this route rather than a virtual keyboard. She loves texting and sending photos by text and picked it up remarkably fast.
posted by fieldtrip at 9:25 AM on June 5, 2012

For basic phones, I'd recommend the Samsung Brightside. It has a physical QWERTY keyboard plus a virtual keyboard if they're so inclined to learn it, a decent-for-basic camera, e-mail, and fairly bold icons on the home screen. Depending on how they're planning to use the phone (i.e. if e-mail is the extent of their internet usage), a basic device may be all they need, and the extra $30/mo. for a smartphone may be unnecessary.

For smartphones, I'd recommend the Samsung Stratosphere, which also has both physical & virtual keyboards, has a nice big screen, and you can customize the home screen to put the apps they'll use the most front and center. It's also a 4G device, which may or may not matter to you depending on your area.

I've noticed that it's a toss-up between the Stratosphere and iPhones among older users at my job. I think it would really come down to how important the physical keyboard is to them.
posted by shooze at 8:21 PM on June 6, 2012

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