on 12 March 2012
This is a well-made phone and the designers have obviously given quite a lot of thought to how it will be used and who will use it. It's actually a similar size to Panasonic's cordless phones, which is good for older people but not so good if you like to slide your mobile in your jeans pocket. However it does mean that the display and the keys are both of a decent size, and the feel and operation of it are familiar to those who are not used to mobiles.
The screen is clear and colourful, the buttons are big and easy to press, the phone speaks the numbers as you press them which can help those with poor eyesight to know they've not made a mistake. The lock is a slider on the side, which again is easy to understand and use. It has a torch built in to the top with a separate button to operate, and would save carrying a separate torch on dark nights. It won't light the way home but will help you find your keys and the keyhole to put them in.
Charging is easy with a separate charger unit, just like the cordless phone, and it won't overcharge as it switches off when done. There's an emergency button on the back which can be programmed with up to 5 numbers and a mobile for a text message. It sends the text first and then rings the numbers in turn until someone answers. Not sure if it counts an answerphone as an answer, which might be a bit unreliable. To avoid accidental calls the button must be held for 3 seconds or pressed 3 times quickly. If someone was really in trouble this might be difficult and would the user remember what to do if they don't use it very often (which hopefully they won't)? Still it could be helpful, I wouldn't rely on it though.
Overall a nice phone, easy for someone to get used to, and well-made. I give it five.
on 18 January 2012
I bought this for my 80-yr-old mum, having watched her struggle to use her existing 'normal' phone. She is partially sighted and has diabetes, meaning her sense of touch isn't very sensitive so she has trouble both seeing and feeling small fiddly buttons. She loves this phone and finds it easy to use, with a lovely bright, clear display. She can press the buttons easily, and see what she has pressed. I also like the fact that the keylock is a separate button on the side, not a sequence of keys one has to remember!
Two small niggles:
1. Although it says that it can use most SIM cards, it failed to recognise my mum's, admittedly rather old, Virgin Mobile PAYG SIM. No real problem, as I happened to have a new Orange SIM, which worked just fine.
2. For a phone that is intended for use by elderly and sight-impaired, the user manual is in the usual tiny impenetrable print, which Mum struggled to read. I had to set it up for her, and it was easy - but I'm very familiar with the technology, so didn't really need the manual anyway. But why couldn't they produce a large-print 'quick-start' guide?
One of the odd things about miniaturization is how counter it can run to usability. My sense is that most product designers and engineers are young with the excellent eyesight that usually comes with youth.
As I have attained middle age and my eyesight has got less acute, I have found it more and more of a pain that most gadgets have got smaller, and thus their displays and buttons harder to read without popping glasses on. I can only imagine how off-putting this must be for people rather older than me, and how excluded it must make them tend to feel.
Of course the heaping of more and more functions and applications into consumer devices such as phones also runs somewhat counter to the needs of older users, most of whom have little or no interest or use for anything other than basic phone and SMS functions.
Fortunately though, some manufacturers have recognised this problem: There are quite a few "big button" phones available now. This is one such from Panasonic, the KX-TU301. Catchy name, Panasonic! How about something more descriptive like the "Easy-See"?
The phone is well made, the buttons are large (each is about twice the size of the buttons on Nokia 3200 or 6200 series phones seemingly used by many older people). However, the buttons don't have that toy "fisher-Price" look that some big button phones have. The display is also high-contrast and the coloured icons easy to differentiate without reading the text.
Very easy to get this phone going, I just took the SIM card out of an existing Vodafone and put it into this one, battery charge (on the supplied charger and drop-in cradle) and after entering time and date, off we go!
I have no way to try it, but apparently the phone can be used with hearing aid loops: But, the built in earpiece volume actually can go pretty darn loud. Number displays for contacts and incoming calls are nice and big - I can easily read them sans glasses.
The only thing I am not really sure about for the target market is the use of the four-way joystick-like button navigation.
Why do so many older people struggle with modern consumer devices? Well, I've tried to show quite a few older people how to use modern phones and found that, apart from the eyesight issue, their main confusion stems from the fact that one button can do different things, according to context. In the pre-mobile phone world, no device had anything other than single-function buttons. In my experience, older people get very confused by that no longer being true. Having said that, I don't know how you would fit all the required single function buttons onto a mobile phone, so there's no way around it. Anyone under 60 has no problem with the notion, so I guess it's a problem only for a minority.
Navigation is, once the multi-functional button issue is overcome, very very easy with clear on-screen direction.
As with most of these kinds of phones, you can set-up a "panic" button which allows just one key press to make a call for help to whatever number you want to set up (999, son or daughter's mobile etc).
I imagine that with an ageing, but increasingly technically literate, population there will have to be a greater recognition of eyesight issues from smart phone & gadget manufacturers in the years ahead.
Overall, as a Christmas or Birthday gift for an elderly friend or relative, or one with poor eyesight, this would be an excellent choice.
This phone as well as being so simple to use, is easy for novice mobile phone users to get to grips with, both for setting up and ease of use.
I am thinking as well as seniors this phone is perfect for people with disabilities or illnesses like epilepsy. Mainly because as well as being easy to use it has the fantastic Priority Call function. This is a stand out red button on the back of the phone. You can program it with up to five contact numbers. When pressed for just three seconds the phone will call starting with the first number, then if this isn't answered within I minute it goes on to the next number. etc.
I think this function would be very useful in emergency situations say where the person is outdoors and needs help, could be a collapse or fall, could be epileptic fit, could be something else, point is that a helper could easily find the phone and just press that button and be in contact with a friend or relative who can come to their assistance, and provide important information on the phone, which is immediate. Brilliant.
Extra on the phone is a handy little built in torch.
When you type in the number you are calling it confirms each number audibly , making the user sure of what they are doing. This is a good phone for anyone with sight problems as well as hearing difficulties.
I think this is a great phone for its purpose .
on 23 September 2012
I purchased this for a older gentleman who is techno-phobic. Needless to say they like it - the charging cradle makes it feel like a normal Panasonic house phone - if it wasn't for the fact it doesn't plug into the phone socket and works far outside the house you'd think it was one of their excellent house phones.
From my perspective (a non-technophobe) the phone feels well built and looks really nice - it looks and feels like a quality product, and the handset software is as straightforward as you can get. Highly recommended.
As simple and easy to use as you can get with a mobile phone. The buttons and screen are large and clear, and the phone has a chunky, solid, quality feel to it. Using the phone is simple - not dissimilar to the basic Nokia phone set-up. The phone is unlocked meaning you can use any SIM card you want, which is great. The charger docking station makes it easy to use this as a home phone. The phone is large but will still fit in a pocket fine. A great phone if this is what you are after.
on 5 November 2012
Well built, sturdy, weighty, big buttons and its a Panasonic need I say more! Very simple running platform for easy understanding. Comes with a charging dock/cradle which gives the added feel of a cordless house phone when at home. Not many 'senior' design phones come with the charging dock/cradle.
Before buying this phone went through three other phones!!! Unknown makers, all arrived with technical issues. E.g a button didn't work, turned itself off, charging error on screen. So a lot of unnecessary hassle/time returning and getting a refund. Compared to the Panasonic they were cheap looking, very light and well, just simply built.
So bit of advice to anyone wanting a senior mobile. Pay a little more, go for a well known manufacture and leave the rest!!!
on 16 June 2012
Any members of the older generation loking for a simple to use mobile phone need to look no further than this Panasonic KX-TU301EME.It is certainly very simple to use, Big Buttons,Panic Button,Torch,Audible keys which speak each number as you dial,SEM,and a coloured screen.Would certainly recommend.
on 2 August 2012
We bought this for my mother-in-law to replace a Binatone one that stopped working. It certainly seems more robust than the Binatone but she finds it less intuitive to use (more buttons to press in order to do specific things than before). However, she has persevered and it is fine now.
on 2 January 2013
I ordered the phone for my elderly father who is hard of hearing, and due to arthritis finds it difficult to press buttons. This phone has clear, big, illuminated buttons that are easy to press and each time a button is pressed a female voice speaks the number pressed. The display is clear and bright, with adjustable brightness and the digits are shown clearly in large format. The icons (directory, SMS, Settings etc) are bright and colourful and easy to move to using the "cursor" pad which seems to be a little bit slim but my father found it easy enough to use.
There is also a LED flash light at the top of the phone that is very bright but makes me wonder how much battery it'll use! The phone has a "lock" feature via a little sliding button at the side which stops accidental presses of buttons. At the back there is the "SOS" button which can be programmed to dial 5 selectable numbers - the phone will dial one number and if it's engaged it will dial the next one; speed dials can also be easily set so that a number can be dialled with a couple of presses. The speaker volume is loud (if a little crackly at higher decibels) but nothing to stress about; the volume can be adjusted using two little +/- buttons on the other side of the phone, and just above these is a jack-plug headphone socket.
Charging the phone couldn't be easier - a cradle is supplied into which the phone stands proudly and a little orange/green LED shows charging and charged (respectively); the phone charging cable can be plugged directly into phone if desired.
I'm really hard-pushed to find anything "not-so-good" with this phone; everything just seems to be well thought out and designed, it's fine. If I had to be picky then I think the screen could've been slightly wider but as it is, the display is wide enough to show the numbers clearly. Well done Panasonic!