That’s the motto of Swedish Phone Manufacturer Doro. They do not sport the slogan, “Phones for the Elderly, made by the Elderly.”
Probably because that’s a poor slogan. Also because it wouldn’t inspire much confidence!
‘Phones for the Elderly, made by industry professionals with careful skill and consideration’ would be a far more accurate tagline, especially for the Phone Easy 409 GSM. But still wouldn’t be as catchy.
“At 83dBs, from 1m away it’s literally as loud as a speeding diesel truck!”
Slogans aside, the 409GSM makes itself heard, in a very literal sense. Easily the most immediately apparent feature, you should be able to hear this model beckon from the next street, let alone the next room. At 83dBs, from 1m away it’s literally as loud as a speeding diesel truck!
With a handset volume of approximately +35dBs, clear networks and hearing-aid compatible loudspeakers, even the hard of hearing will struggle to ignore the 409GSM when it calls.
Younger generations, used to microscopic font sizes, may initially be taken aback by the 409GSM’s intentionally massive symbols. Yes indeed, that is what the number 9 looks like up close! Catering for the visually impaired, Doro has designed this clamshell accordingly: With massive keys, large characters, a non-reflective full colour display and a simple, spacious and easy to read OS, the 409GSM endeavours to be seen as well as heard.
The final affliction Doro strives to remedy is limited dexterity, and here the almost garish design shines. Its rubber keys provide considerable grip, reducing key slips, mistakes and the need to correct them. The clamshell design ensures the unit folds into a manageable, easily gripped package.
Most considerably, the reductionist ethos of the OS removes superfluous, unwanted features in favour of easily navigated menus, single button key-locks, voice-mail and speed-dialling. This substantially reduces the number of keystrokes needed to produce a desired result, be it texting, calling etc.
Doro obviously put massive effort into crafting phones for the elderly, but there are a few hiccups along the way. The lack of variety in terms of tones is a minor, if glaringly obvious, issue. More urgently there are problems with the battery life, and even texting seems to gnaw away at reserves.
In terms of accommodating the impaired one wonders why the display itself, colourful and proudly displaying characters as it is, is actually quite miniscule. And finally, considering the work that went into sparing aching digits the hassle of unnecessary inputs, why does the 409GSM have to be flipped open with each use? A somewhat trickier process than thumbing the call key!
Otherwise Doro get their job done well. True, some may criticize it for it’s obviously niche design and intentional features deficit, but that’s a redundant argument. The target audience had no need for Angry Birds or Twitter. It’s got an intelligent emergency call feature and a 100+ name address-book.
What else could they possibly want?
Who else could they possibly know?
So in conclusion, to its detriment, the Doro 409 GSM is a large, loud handheld, with giant keys and few functions.
But on the other hand, to its eternal credit, the Doro 409 GSM is a large, loud handheld, with giant keys and few functions!
So it entirely depends on your age, health and technological literacy. If you’re a young buck, stick to your Smartphones, touch-screens and homepages replete with applications.
If you’ve ailing sight, hearing or dexterity, and simply want a phone to make calls and send texts, the 409 GSM is designed for precisely that. And designed well.