Hands-On with the Doro PhoneEasy 615
Doro specializes in phones for older users. They've had success in the US market with the PhoneEasy 410 for Consumers Cellular. Now they have a 3G model coming: the PhoneEasy 615. Read on for our first impressions.
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Doro specializes in "grandma" phones. They compete with the likes of the Pantech Breeze, Samsung Knack, and of course the Jitterbug. Many of these phones skimp on features, but that in itself is a "feature", as these phones are designed to be no-frills so they're easy to use.
Unfortunately, that can mean no features at all, and small screens, which means small, hard-to-read-text. That's not always what older users want. In fact, they generally want the biggest screen possible, with large text. They also may want some features, like a camera.
Enter the Doro PhoneEasy 615, a simple phone for older users, that also happens to have 3G, a camera, and a very large color display.
Using it, though, it's clear who it's made for. The menus are large and simple. The standard text size is huge and you can make it even bigger. There are physical speed-dial keys to call three family members or close friends with the push of one button. There's also an SOS key on the back. None of these features are necessarily groundbreaking, although they do add up to a solid feature set for this market segment.
There are also Jitterbug-like remote management services, that let you configure shortcuts on the phone remotely via SMS. So if grandma can't figure out how to set a speed dial to call you, you can do it for her, over the air.
What we haven't quite seen before are color themes, for people who find it easier to read light text on a dark background, or certain contrasting colors. That's a thoughtful touch. They also promise, of course, louder sound volume than most phones, for the hard-of-hearing.
There are also some handy health apps, such as the ability to interface with a Bluetooth glucose meter, which can then upload data to a web service for tracking glucose levels over time.
There's also a pill-minder service that reminds you to take certain medications. If you don't confirm on the phone that you've taken each pill, it can notify a health professional.
And there's a camera, with a surprisingly good interface.
All in all, the 610 looks like one of the most feature-complete phones for seniors we've ever seen.
Unfortunately, it won't hit the market for a while. Look for the 610 to hit the US by the end of 2011, at the earliest.
In the meantime, Doro already sells the 410 through the Consumer Cellular. It doesn't have everything the 615 has, although it's arguably more stylish and definitely thinner and lighter.
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