Phone for The Old Man

Hi Friends,

The old man is keen to purchase his first smart phone, so looking for advice and suggestions. He will need it for calls, texts, covid check ins, and occasional internet banking. The old lady bought herself some piece of rubbish from the post office (possibly Alcatel) with a screen that is near on unusable, need to make sure this doesn't happen. He wants something that fits comfortably in his pocket. He is a 70 year old farmer.

My best idea so far is what I have had for 4 years and has served me well - Redmi 4x

Although I was thinking 5G would be good to ensure it is useful for a long time and possibly better reception in the country. Something more robust could be worth considering too, in case it gets knocked around or left in the rain.

My search results using the above criteria have so far returned only refurbished phones or iphones, which is too expensive and way above his needs. Hoping to keep it under $300.

If anyone has a suggestion please let me know!



  • +7

    iPhone of course, very easy to use…lots of oldies have iPads without drama (which is the same operating system), doesn’t crash or need antivirus, is secure and has face ID.

    • +2

      You must have missed the bit about the budget.

      • +2

        Could be a false economy if OP have to then fix the $300 problem, by spending another $400+

        Might be better spending $700 upfront…

    • +1

      Thanks for your thoughts, you're certainly not the only one suggesting ipone.
      We may have to reconsider that budget.

  • +5

    You/he doesn't need 5g, either for the budget or for battery life

  • +1

    I got my old man who happens to also be a 70 year old farmer a Moto G10. He's very happy with it, although doesn't often carry it around the paddock as it's just not an automatic reflex to always have it like us

    • Thanks for the rec., but that one is 6.5", larger than he wants.

  • -3

    Fold 3

  • +1

    Recommend screen protectors, had to replace two phones for dad when a $10~ screen protector from ebay could have saved them. Can look at getting any phone with good specs and then getting a rugged case + screen protector.

  • +1

    How much do you want to spend for “phone + plan” per year?

    What networks can he actually get (esp in regional areas)?

    Is Band 28 important?

    5G has limited availability, especially in regional areas, and very expensive plans so doesn’t seem to fit the situation at all.

    • Ok, so turns out I know nothing about 5G. I was expecting that it would be useful for regional, clearly not!
      Will be Aldi $20/month or thereabouts. Reception is pretty good for me.

  • Not much point future proofing a $300 phone with 5G.

  • +3

    You won't get a decent smart phone under $300.

    Apple refurbished products are good, I had some scepticism before purchasing products from there however haven't had any major issues and the minor issues I have had were easily covered under AppleCare.

    Although I was thinking 5G would be good to ensure it is useful for a long time and possibly better reception in the country.

    3G/4G/4G LTE is good enough for the long term for your usecase. It's highly unlikely a rural area would have 5G coverage as it requires base stations in close proximity and the only place which is financially viable for telco's is in areas with a lot of current or potential future use

    Something more robust could be worth considering too, in case it gets knocked around or left in the rain.

    Get an Otterbox or similar case to protect the device.

    • +1

      What country are you living in? That refurbished link is for the USA i think.

      • +1

        AU. Good point, didn't check before pasting.. looks like Apple refurbished iPhones aren't in the Australian online store. There's always Kogan, but I can't vouch for what their quality is like.

        • +1

          I’ve seen people link to USA store a few times. Quite a common mistake. By the time you convert to AUD the prices aren’t that good but still reasonable considering apple refurbished is like new. However obviously not an option in australia.

    • Thanks. I've been very happy with my phone, think it cost about $170, but now seems to be about 100 more.
      It wasn't the speeds I was proposing 5G for, I wrongly assumed it would be good for regional cover, so we can forget that.
      I'll check out the Otterbox.

  • Moto G31 is launching this week. It is $319 (RRP) with AMOLED FHD+ Screen, 128GB Storage, NFC, and a reasonable processor. My expectation is, on Boxing Day (if not before), it will be 20% off at JB HiFi which makes this $260ish. Just because your dad is OLD, it doesn't mean he should be getting a blurry HD LCD Screen.

    • Thanks, although that phone is 6.4", larger than desired.
      Great idea to keep an eye out for Chrissy/Boxing sales!
      I agree, the older the person the better the screen should be! I find my phone great, no idea what the screen is though, but surely it won't be worse now?
      My Mum's Alcatel is horrible!!

      • Have you considered Redmi Note 10 from Banggood for USD$140? It is just 1 cm taller than your Redmi 4x and about the same for the other 2 dimensions as your 4x. Yes, the screen is also 6.4 inch (AMOLED btw. FHD+ Resolution, Stereo Speakers) but because it is full screen, you can hold it the same way as your 4x (just a bit taller). Note: as it is from Banggood, don't expect you will get warranty service. But since you are using a Redmi 4X, you may be comfortable with that.

        (Btw, AMOLED Screen is the best screen you can get at the moment, it is mostly useable under bright sunlight.)

  • +2

    Ios on iphone is good for the old guys but also bad. The security features are brutal and unforgiving. Ie get the pass code wrong 10 times and it is disabled.

    • +2

      Ie get the pass code wrong 10 times and it is disabled.

      They shouldn’t be using a phone if it happens.

      I aware many seniors don’t have that particular problem… but, getting lost in an app (eg why can’t I get back to that screen, it seems to be stuck, I didn’t press what you are accusing of pressing…) and lack of tactile feel is usually a more common…

  • +5

    i understand the budget, but as someone who works in a retail phone store, I think iphones are the best for an older demographic, especially as a first phone. the "customisable" factors of android phones that the more tech-savvy of us love, is an absolute detriment to people who aren't too well-versed with phones. especially cheaper android phones. they are slow, and can seem very complicated to people who are not phone-literate.

    despite the budget constraints, in my opinion an iphone is always the best choice for elderly people, especially those who are not well-versed with phones.

    • +2

      +1 , less malware, safer for old man.

    • appreciate you sharing.

  • +1

    Pixel 2/3/4.

  • Although I was thinking 5G would be good


    He is a 70 year old farmer

    ??? Dont get me wrong but I honestly haven't met any one that old who's complaining about not getting more than 3G internet speeds. Most people of that age dont even use internet, and just need text and calls (for which a nokia brick phone is fine too).

    You are probably best of looking at deals in your local stores, like Woolies, Target, Coles etc.

    like these ones,

  • +2

    A used iPhone 8 is a good buy.

  • +4

    Both my parents are 70+ yo and they have been using smartphones for years. I would not recommend an old iPhone because of screen size. Due to eyesight issues they usually want large screens (and 150% scaling) so look for something that's 6.5" and more.

    My mum got a POCO X3 earlier this year and she quite likes it.

  • You could roll the dice on a Refurb iPhone 8 + Tempered Glass + Case (Example 1, Example 2)

    • Thanks, sounds like the battery life is a real issue with those. Still a possibility.

  • Another refurb option at Boost Mobile -

  • If it helps, we bought a bunch of Nokia G10 for the grandparents to use for QR code check ins… Huge screen and they seem to use them just fine, were around $170 iirc

    • Cheers, but a huge screen is not what we're after.

  • +1

    Coles are doing refurb iPhone 8’s soon, someone posted the deal recently. Don’t bother with anything else. Best thing about the iPhone is the amount of people around who can fix them, you’ll make your money back by the time they’ve smashed the screen twice

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