Monday, April 2, 2012

Sprint's Kyocera DuraPlus: A good Rugged phone for Seniors?

The phones in Sprint's Direct Connect network provide a nice selection if you are looking for a mobile phone for a person who is 65 or older. The carrier's Direct Connect service provides instant, one-to-one push-to-talk calling nationwide and other features that can benefit seniors. For example, we have featured the Kyocera DuraCore as a possible option for the elderly.

A new phone for Sprint's upgraded push-to-talk platform may also be a good choice for seniors. The new Kyocera DuraPlus feature simple and easy to use features in a rugged body that can stand up to dust, shock, vibration, temperature extremes, and humidity. It can even resist blowing rain and can be immersed in up to 1 meter of water for half an hour.

Can a phone that is certified to Military Standard 810G be suitable for seniors? I think that they can because durable devices are good for any consumers especially the elderly. A rugged phone can keep on working after being dropped several times and can keep on working for years. A cell phone get's broken easily will need to be replaced and getting replacements cost money. A device that stays working after being dropped by frail hands will be beneficial for folks who do not have a steady source of income for buying new phones and replacements to ones that break easily.

Since the Kyocera DuraPlus from Sprint is a rugged phone, it is built solidly. It is thick and heavy because it was built to withstand damage from a number of hazards. That being said one cannot describe it as an aesthetic phone. However, a fashionable look is not a priority for senior citizens since they do not use cell phones to show off during parties. The elderly use mobile phones to communicate with friends and family so the looks of the DuraPlus is not an essential factor when discussing it as a phone for grandparents.

This handset has a 2-inch screen with a resolution of 240x320 pixels. It's nothing special when compared to the ultra bright displays of premium smartphones but it works for the needs of seniors. It also offers a nice keypad with bulbous buttons that are easy to press and feel. However, the number keys are a bit small and it would be a lot more user-friendly if they were bigger.

Here are some images from the manufacturer website to give you an idea of how this device looks:

Some folks may criticize this phone for not having a camera or a slot for microSD expansion. Those are valid points for most handset but for a device that's to be used by a senior, those features are not the priority. It would be nice to have those but the Kyocera DuraPlus is designed to make phone calls not take great pictures or store thousands of media.

This phone is compatible with Call Alert with Text , a Direct Connect service that allows users to send an audio alert with an optional text message to let another Direct Connect subscriber know you are trying to reach them and why. This feature is great for emergencies and other situations may a senior may need to contact someone immediately.

The call quality for this phone is good and the battery can last for days with normal use.

Here's a video that gives you another look at this cell phone for seniors:

Visit us again next week as we look at more phones, and services that are suitable for elderly users.

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