What 4G flip phone is easy to text on?
August 24, 2021 6:14 PM   Subscribe

My ninety-year-old father loves to text on his old 3G Pantech P2030 flip phone. He loves being able to contact people without bothering them if they're busy. He's never had a problem with the technique of pressing the number buttons multiple times to get different letters; he probably does it without even looking very much, and always with perfect punctuation. Unfortunately, the old phone relies on 3G, which is going away in February.

His carrier, AT&T, without asking or notifying him in advance, helpfully sent him a new flip phone, a Cingular Flip IV, which uses 4G. He was happy about this, until he got an AT&T person to set it up for him and he tried to use it. Adding contacts or sending a text involves choosing things from nested menus, which are far more difficult to use. This is a real problem. It's also difficult to figure out basic things like how to place a call, which for some reason at this point stupidly results only in ringing his own phone, not the number he has entered. This is worrisome. At ninety, he doesn't need to be making changes for the worse in his technology!

He'd like to get another flip phone that is simpler to use, more similar to his old one. Smart phones are out of the question, too complicated and too big for his shirt pocket. I am looking at other flip phones, using sources such as this list of the "13 Best Flip Phones", but they don't say anything about how simple they may or may not be to write a text on, or to add contacts.

Is there any way to tell in advance whether a flip phone is as easy to use as the old one, without the stupidly laid-out menus on the Cingular Flip IV?

His hearing is excellent, so he doesn't need anything special in that respect. He really would like the phone to come with a manual, because he likes to be able to learn how things are supposed to work. The phone AT&T sent him did not come with a manual or a charging cable; the manual I found for it online is singularly obfuscatory in describing how to do anything. I've pored over it repeatedly, trying to learn something simple (how to get the phone to actually place a call), but it is absurdly unhelpful.
posted by metonym to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
This is apparently multi-tap input, if that gives you a phrase to search for.

I know I've been able to disable T9 in favor of it on every keypad phone I've had; of course, I can't say that's particularly useful experience 10 hears later.
posted by sagc at 6:29 PM on August 24, 2021

Response by poster: Wow, that's exactly it. Is it possible to disable T9 on a Cingular Flip IV?
posted by metonym at 6:37 PM on August 24, 2021

If the issue is T9 (otherwise known as predictive text), you can apparently disable predictive text by going to Settings (to access Settings, press the OK key from the Home screen and select Settings from the Apps Menu) then Personalization -> Input methods -> Use predictive -> Disable predictive text.

This is from page 57 of the manual (link)
posted by Tawita at 6:56 PM on August 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

If disabling T9 isn't enough, you could go to a store like Best Buy or Target and play around with their display phones. You could also watch reviews (from individuals, not tech companies) on YouTube; they typically show the screen in great detail.
posted by Comet Bug at 8:01 PM on August 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

This article about the Pantech 2030 on AT&T's site has a place which says "Note: Limited 4G LTE availability in select markets. 4G speeds delivered by HSPA+ (with enhanced backhaul) and LTE, where applicable. Not available everywhere. Deployment ongoing. Compatible device and data plan required. Learn more at att.com/network." - so is it possible to go to the AT&T store and ask them about that statement in connection with your friend's phone? Maybe he doesn't have to switch after all?
posted by TimHare at 11:56 AM on August 25, 2021

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