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11 Jan 2021

New simple-phone reviews reveal a 'Don't Buy' to avoid

Nokia, Doro, Emporia and Alcatel phones have been put through our test lab - it's fair to say they're a mixed bag

We just tested six new simple mobile phones that range in price from £15 to £150. While some impressed in our tests, one was bad enough to be labelled a Don't Buy.

Smartphones are ubiquitous, but not everyone needs the latest touchscreen handset packed with fancy features, or has the best part of £1,000 to spend on it. Luckily, there are still plenty of simple mobile phones to choose from for those who need a pared-back, easier-to-use model, are working on a tighter budget, or are after a second handset to use as a backup.

The best simple phones are user-friendly, have crystal-clear call quality, and have a battery that lasts for days. Others, like one of the phones we recently tested, fall far short of the mark.

Read on to compare the latest simple phones to go through our test lab.

We've tested more than 40 simple phones aimed at a range of audiences. Browse all our simple phone reviews to see which impressed.

Nokia 215 4G (TA-1272) - £35

Nokia 215 4G

It's missing a camera, but otherwise this phone comes equipped with quite a few features: Bluetooth connectivity, a built-in MP3 player, games, a torch and a card slot to add up to 32GB of internal storage. It doesn't connect to wi-fi, but you'll be able to use 4G mobile data to browse the internet.

Read our full Nokia 215 4G (TA-1272) review to see how well it performs.

Nokia 225 4G (TA-1316) - £45

Nokia 225 4G

This model is very similar to the Nokia 215 4G, with one key difference: it has a rear camera. It's fairly basic, but it does have an autofocus lens, self-timer, night mode and the ability to record videos. It's missing a flash, though.

See what our experts made of this phone by reading the Nokia 225 4G (TA-1316) review.

Alcatel 3080G - £15

Alcatel 3080G

It might be the cheapest phone in the line-up, but it's not scrimping on features. You get a music player, a 1.3Mp rear camera and the ability to share photos over Bluetooth. You won't be able to connect it to your home wi-fi, but you can access 3G or 4G mobile data.

Discover how easy it is to use, how well the battery lasts and how the call quality shapes up in our full Alcatel 3080G review.

Emporia Comfort V66 - £70

Emporia Comfort

This flip phone gives you two screens to work with: an external display for your notifications, and a main 2.4-inch display inside. You can only access 2G internet, and there's no built-in music player. It does have a feature-packed 2Mp camera though, as well as Bluetooth and hearing aid compatibility.

Read our full Emporia Comfort V66 review to see if it's the right phone for you.

Doro 780X (DFB-0330) - £150

Doro 780X

As you can see from the missing keypad, you can't text on this phone and you can only call the three numbers saved in your speed dial. However, it's got extra features designed to keep you safe, such as GPS localisation and an alarm button. There's no camera or music player, but you do get Bluetooth, wi-fi and 4G connectivity, and it's compatible with hearing aids.

Read our full Doro 780X (DFB-0330) review to see how it compares.

Three unique features of simple phones

Simple phones are very pared back compared with the average smartphone, but that doesn't mean they don't have a few tricks up their sleeve. Here's some of the features that might make you consider choosing one over a smartphone.

  • SOS button. The Doro 780X broadcasts your location in case of an emergency. If you live very remotely, or you're concerned about an elderly relative, this is a feature worth looking out for.
  • Hearing aid compatibility.If you wear hearing aids, try to find a simple phone with a high microphone/telecoil rating. M4/T4 is the highest.
  • Large buttons. Some simple phones are designed with extra-large buttons to help those with sight or dexterity issues to stay connected.

Considering a smartphone? You don't have to pay the earth. Read our guide to the best cheap mobile phones.