Review by Sunetra Chakravati,11/16/2014 9:27:36 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
Customised for ease of use
'My Doro Manager' app allows remote management
Walk-throughs for all features
By Sunetra Chakravarti
Smartphones are everywhere- look around you and everyone is buried deep into their phone screens... interacting more with them than those around them. But smartphones are also complicated little things... a bit like driving cars- if you know how to drive, you could probably manouvre any but if you don't? Well, tough!
So, what happens to seniors or those with disabilities? How do they make sure they are upto speed with the latest trends and know which grandchild had what themed birthday party on the other side of the globe...
Swedish phone manufacturing company Doro say that over 58% of over-65s want a smartphone. And this is where the Doro Liberto 820 steps in.
An incredible improvement over the first iterations, the Liberto 820 was announced this year at IFA in Berlin in September.
The Liberto 820 has a soft-touch plastic back with a removable battery. There is a guard-rail like plastic bumper on the front around the edges of the phone. On the right of the frame is the power button as well as the volume rocker buttons… all the buttons are hard to miss and resolutely plastic.
There is also a dedicated camera shutter button which should make taking pictures really simple because there is no way it can be confused with the other buttons on the same side panel.
The phone comes with its own dock which works with the usual microUSB charger and also has a charging point at the top next to the headphone dock. Both are again very clearly labelled so very hard to miss.
The Liberto 820’s 4.5-inch screen has a resolution of 940X560, a pixel density of not very much bt the screen is pin sharp and we found no problems with viewing videos and pictures.
The screen has a slight dip in the middle, reason behind the concavity being that if the phone is placed face-down on the table, the screen will not pick up scratches.
Liberto 820 has Android 4.4.2 Kitkat and we did not experience lags or sluggish performance.
The battery isnt the biggest at 1900mAH but it does a decent job, charging is via a cradle... again very handy to spot if your eyesight isnt great.
The keyboard has had a huge improvement since we reviewed the Liberto 810, so there's Swiftkey at the ready on this one, but what really baffled me was how tiny it was... Elsewhere on the phone everything is really big but those with arthritis and bad eyesight will find it difficult to type messages out- a pop-up message asking to hold the phone in landscape mode while typing will help them further- maybe one for Liberto 830?
The primary camera has a resolution of 8-mega pixel and has the usual settings and functions except that there are no filters, or that they are not called that- they are named after settings or images you try to capture...So, there is a beach setting which imparts a slightly Magnolia hue to images, the sunset setting gives it a golden/yellow tinge, while 'Snow' gave it a blue edge. It is a very innovative way of explaining the filters, my mum would understand it better than amaro/valencia/x-pro II or sierra. If you are wondering what these words are, they are the names of filters on Instagram.
The front-facing camera is a functional one and will not win any awards, but then i dont think the selfie taking craze has gripped the OAP community just yet.
The best part of the Doro handset is the number of assistance features it sports. Every phone feature comes with a step-by-step tutorial to guide the uninitiated through the steps.
And even if you forget the workings, you can easily go back and read up on them.
There is an assistance button on the back which can be set up to send out messages to multiple contacts and also on the activation mode. When activated, it emnates a long beeping sound so you know if it has been activated in error.
My Doro Manager is an app that allows the phone to be remotely accessed by family members to adjust the volume/brightness/wifi, basically anything and everything on the phone.
It can also be used to push photos onto the phone- a really handy feature if your mum is a bit like mine and habitually forgets to access her texts/messages and Facebook.
We spent a few days with the Liberto 820, using it as our primary phone. It is not the aim of the manufacturers to compete with the top flagships- the phone will not win any design awards or for having the sleekest design and/or being the lightest and thinnest. However, it plugs a massive gap in the market by providing a product that is created and aimed specifically for over-65s and in that it does a great job.
The inclusion of the panic button at the back, the 'My Doro Manager' app and the heavily altered UI combined with tutorials for almost every aspect of using a phone is sure to make life easy for OAPs.
Buy it for your nan, your dad or your aunt... it will make a massive change in their lives.