Yet Another SpeakOut-Friendly Phone for Seniors

Just yesterday I topped up my mom’s SpeakOut Prepaid account for another year. You wouldn’t think that a housebound senior would have any need for a mobile phone, but the benefits are actually twofold: (1) I get peace of mind in case the power goes out, taking her cordless landline phone system with it, and (2) she gets to enjoy a network-connected timepiece—not at all what I expected but she loves it for that reason alone.

It helps that her handset, the Snapfon ezTWO, was made expressly for seniors. But what if the elder in your life prefers a flip phone form factor? If that’s what you’re after, I’ve got just the device for you:

Jethro [SC213B]

Meet the Jethro SC213B, $44.99 unlocked from Amazon Canada. My girlfriend bought one for her 70 years-young mom, and it looks like another winner for seniors!

Like the Snapfon it’s got a big, high-contrast colour display and similarly big buttons that emit a satisfying click when pressed. My only gripe about the layout is that the soft menu buttons should be above the M1 and M2 keys rather than below. But since Auntie will most likely be entering numbers manually it’s not a deal-breaker by any means.

Jethro Cradle, Charger & Box

This handset is a particularly good value as it includes a charging cradle at no extra cost. There’s also a micro USB slot on the side of the handset for when (and if) you travel. I forgot to take note of the battery capacity, but I will say that in the three days that I had it in standby mode there was barely a dip on the battery level indicator—it came out of the box with a more-than-three-quarters charge.

Jethro Camera

Pointless extras include a VGA-or-worse onboard camera and micro SD card support (good luck with that), a torch button that’s hard to find and FM radio function that no one will ever use—plus the requisite SOS button on the back, really just a shortcut to dial whomever you want to complain to that you’ve fallen and can’t get up. Wouldn’t it be great if you could repurpose this button to activate the flashlight?

Americans reading this can purchase the handset directly from the manufacturer’s website (it’s also available in white). In Canada it’s exclusive to Jethro’s Amazon presence, but your order will be fulfilled by Amazon so returns, if necessary, shouldn’t be a problem. This particular phone is GSM-only, so it won’t work at all on Bell, TELUS or WIND Mobile. It does, however, have quad-band GSM support, so it should work with a local SIM when the girlfriend’s mom takes it with her to Hong Kong next winter.

I’ll have to get back to you on that…