Doro 8030 Ba­sic phone over­com­pli­cates things

A phone that aims for sim­plic­ity

Computer Active (UK) - - Contents -

As re­cently as 2012, only half of us in the UK owned a smart­phone. To­day, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey by Deloitte ( www.deloitte.co. uk/mo­bileuk), it’s 85 per cent. Among 55-75s, the num­ber has shot up from 29 to 71 per cent (see page 8). Just be­cause you’re older, that’s no rea­son to get left be­hind.

That said, to­day’s smart­phones can of­ten pose a few prob­lems. Al­though the touch­screens seem easy to some, the lack of la­belled but­tons can leave oth­ers won­der­ing what to do. Tap­ping graph­ics un­der glass isn’t easy if your eye­sight’s not 20/20 and your fin­gers aren’t as nim­ble as they used to be.

The Doro 8030 is more help­ful. Its chunky case feels sturdy, though it isn’t wa­ter­proof. Three phys­i­cal but­tons take you to your re­cent apps, your home screen, or ‘back’ – al­ways a re­as­sur­ing op­tion. On the rear is an­other but­ton that can call an emer­gency num­ber.

A plug-in ca­ble comes as stan­dard, but there’s also an op­tional charg­ing cra­dle (for £15) that you can sim­ply drop the phone into. It sits side­ways-on, handy if you want to watch a film on your phone while it is charg­ing. The bat­tery lasted just un­der 10 hours in our video-play­back test, and would go a lot longer with just oc­ca­sional use.

Inside, a ba­sic pro­ces­sor runs a spe­cial ver­sion of An­droid 5.1, which is nearly three years old now. Doro has cus­tomised it to look very dif­fer­ent from other phones. Icons and menus present op­tions based on what you want to do: tap View, for ex­am­ple, and you get the choice of see­ing your text mes­sages, emails or photos. It’s clearly been care­fully thought out. But we’re not quite con­vinced. The screens re­main clut­tered, with lots of small text, and it can still take sev­eral steps to per­form sim­ple tasks. If you can get the hang of this, you could prob­a­bly use any An­droid or Ap­ple phone with prac­tice. For some it’ll be too fid­dly.

Sound is clear through the speaker or sup­plied ear­phones, and com­pat­i­ble with hear­ing aids. The screen is coarse, dull and smaller than av­er­age. This is a rel­a­tively cheap phone, but feels like a cheaper one, like the £30 Al­ca­tel Pixi 4. The rear cam­era is poor; and the front cam­era – im­por­tant if you want to video chat – is worse.

We like the idea of the Doro 8030, and cus­tomers re­port the com­pany is friendly to deal with. But it may not be the an­swer for users who have real dif­fi­culty us­ing a stan­dard smart­phone.

VER­DICT: It’s not a rad­i­cal re­think of the smart­phone, but phys­i­cal but­tons and sim­pli­fied op­tions make this af­ford­able phone less daunt­ing

★★★☆☆

AL­TER­NA­TIVE: Mo­torola Moto E4 £120 Buy this su­pe­rior An­droid 7 phone and in­stall a launcher such as Necta or Wiser, from the Google Play Store, to sim­plify things

If you can han­dle this, you can prob­a­bly han­dle an iphone

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