Originally released in 2013, the Doro PhoneEasy 506 is a little-known handset released by Swedish company Doro who occupy an interesting niche: making assistive handsets for the elderly. No doubt that demand was brought on by the complications smartphones brought and the decrease in size of smaller handsets.
The PhoneEasy range has been around for a fairly long time, and one of the best things about making phones like these is that they never really go out of fashion, and there is no real need to have the latest technologies on board. So short of a few tweaks, many of the more modern Doro phones of today are little better off than they were several years ago. With many basic needs of phone users – calls and texts – not changing, reliability is more important.
But that is not to say that these phones are bricks, and are comparable to some of the lightest phones on the market.
The Doro handsets went down different development paths and cover all types of mobile phone. There are some candybar types such as this one, flip phones and even full-screen smartphones. The basic design of these phones have not moved on and are very similar even today.
Pros of Doro PhoneEasy 506:
The design is extremely simple and easy to use. Much attention has been paid to the design of the buttons: unlike many other basic phones which have difficult to press keypads, the Doro 506 buttons are separate. They also are clearly numbered in white font. The overall footprint of the phone is lightweight and easy to carry.
Accessibility is at the forefront of the phone design. There are three programmable shortcut keys for calling at the top of the phone, as well as an emergency contact feature. The phone also comes with a cradle charger which is much less fiddly than the micro USB lead.
Features have been cut down to avoid confusion. The screen comes in a 128 x 160 pixel – not the highest resolution but adequate enough for what it needs to do. Text size can be adjusted accordingly so it can be read. Additionally the volume levels of the phone are above that of standard phones, a help for the hard of hearing.
Another benefit is that phone batteries are directly compatible with the Nokia BL-5C, the most popular on the market at the time. This makes a lot of sense because of the lack of retailer support for Doro.
Cons of Doro PhoneEasy 506:
The phone’s main selling point was it’s basic usage, although this came at the expense of missing out on other features such as a camera. With some other feature phones of the era not that much harder to use, there was stiff competition, particularly as the Doro did not come at a price discount.
Despite the large screen and keys, texting was not made much easier, although it would be difficult to see a way around this while the phone had a keypad.
Future Prospects and Current Pricing
It is unlikely that Doro phones will become real collectors items, but we may still be surprised. Many older handsets were not particularly successful in their day but still pick up premiums, and it is fair to say that the Doros are recognisable in their own right.
In fact much of the prices achieved now reflects the fact that they are still being used as phones. They will last as long as the old SIM cards are supported and typically remain in good condition, not being used outdoors.
Where can I get one?
Interested in more phones? See a list of phones I own here.