Doro 8080 smartphone for the elderly
With the 8080 Doro has recognised that the sophistication of a smartphone can be daunting to a new user. Consequently, in the Quick Start Guide and when setting up the phone for the first time, one is given the choice of selecting between “Yes, I am a beginner”, “No, I have already used one” or “I’m setting the phone up for someone else”. Having chosen the former one is taken through basics such as “swiping” on the screen and then gently introduced to features so as to (relatively) painlessly become familiar with smartphone features as one sets up the phone.
The phone is 174 x 74 x 9mm in size and weighs 175g and has a 5.7 inch 1440 x720 display with a narrow bezel so will fit conveniently into a pocket or handbag and yet the screen is large enough to be read easily. A few people might consider that the back and sides of the phone are too smooth and so do not provide a comforatable grip and so could benefit from having a case (available from Doro directly or from Amazon).
The power button is on the RH side and volume up/down controls are on the left together with the SIM drawer which can also accommodate a microSD memory card of up to 128GB. Unlike virtually every other smartphone, one does not need a pin tool(or a straightened paper clip); one just uses one’s fingernail to open the drawer. On the top edge of the phone is a standard 3.5mm headphone port while at the bottom is a microphone, the hands-free mode loudspeaker and the USB-C power connector.
As well as the power adapter, a convenient desk stand/charging cradle is supplied with the phone. Not only does this make it easy to use the phone in a hands-free mode, it also makes it more convenient so that the user is less likely to forget to put it on charge. The claimed talk time is up to 15 hours and standby up to 360 hours
The display has very clear icons, its brilliance can be adjusted, and there is the option to change the type size. Similarly, its audio can also be optimised for moderate hearing impairment as well as offering hearing aid compatibility.
On the face of the phone, at the top, is the earpiece, the 5MP front (selfie) camera and a proximity sensor which turns off the touch screen when the phone is held up to one’s ear. At the lower end is the fingerprint sensor. On the rear of the phone is the 15MP camera together with its associated flash which doubles as a torch and the second microphone. Although the available options for photos and videos are rather limited, I don’t think that it will really be significant to the target audience.
As is common to a number of Doro phones which are aimed at the elderly there are also the ICE (In Case of Emergency) and Assistance features. With the former personal (contact) and health data (such as blood group and allergies) can be stored on the phone so as to be readily accessible in case of an emergency. With the latter, pressing the Assistance button on the rear of the phone initiates a call and an SMS alert, complete with location, to pre-programmed number of a friend or relative who can be relied upon to respond.
Based on Android 9, which is the current version of the operating system, the phone has been designed to be straightforward to use so that, for example, when touching the “View” button one is offered a choice of My messages, My emails, My call history or My pictures and videos. Similarly, the Send button takes one to messages, emails, a picture of video or your current location. It comes with a useful range of pre-installed Android and Google apps such as Gmail, Maps, YouTube while extra apps can be readily downloaded and installed via Play Store. As well as all apps being listed alphabetically, the most frequently used ones can also be displayed on the opening screen for immediate access.
Irrespective of whether it is during initial set-up or at a later stage one has access to a useful amount of help and tutorials so that on one, not even the Luddite, is likely to toss the phone to one side in disgust and despair. Furthermore, the manual that can be downloaded from the Doro website provides a useful amount of background information as well as actual instructions so that, in due course, will be able to work out how to use all the apps they need. In this context, though the 32GB of storage should be adequate for the majority of users even though it is not over generous.
The approach that the 8080 employs to introduce a new user to mobile technology could well be a major aid in enabling a technophobe to move into the 21st Century. Having a list price of £320 but available on Amazon for £259.64 the Doro 8080, which is available in either black or white, is the ideal upgrade for an elderly person who is currently using a basic mobile phone and wants to have access to the features and versatility of a smartphone.
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