We recently met with Doro Ireland MD, Chris Millington to discuss their present and upcoming devices and also the launch of “Doro Experience”

For anyone who may not be familiar with them, Doro are a Swedish company that focuses on developing products and software specially adapted for Seniors. Several Doro phones are now available both SIM free and on the Mobile networks in Ireland, more details of which we will get into later.

Doro Experience is a Cloud based service which will facilitate device syncing, backup, photo and content sharing between Doro phones, tablets and a web interface from a PC. The Doro Experience software will run on top of Android with the first devices expected to launch in Ireland in Q3. The software itself, which will be able to be installed on any Android device, will be available in the coming weeks and we will take a more in depth look at it then.
We had the chance to use the Doro Experience software on a Samsung Galaxy Tab and on an early version of one of Doro’s upcoming Android based phones.
The software is very straight forward and easy to use with a clean icon driven UI that makes the key features of the device easy to navigate to.
The web interface will allow family members to push content, such as photos, to the device remotely and during a quick demonstration of this by Chris, it worked instantly.

Doro will also be launching their own App store for applications that have been tailored for the platform.
Watch out for full review of this in the coming weeks

 

 

Doro PhoneEasy 510

From their current range of feature phones I have been using the Doro 510 for the last week or so.

 

These days when new phones are launched we rush to see what type of processor it has and to compare benchmark tests but obviously this is not the market Doro are aiming at. For the purposes of reviewing the phone I set out to see how it performed in a few key areas that I thought would be most important for the people Doro expects to see using the phone.
Ease of use and setup, phone signal, call quality and reception, the screen and text, the speaker and loudness.

 

Inside the box you get the usual accessories and user manuals. A power lead and cradle to sit the phone in while charging is included, as is a set of earphones.

 

The phone itself is very light, coming in at just 80 grams including the battery. It is very noticeable when you are used to today’s current crop of Smartphones.
The screen measures 31 X 39 mm with a 176 x 220 resolution which isn’t mind blowing by today’s standards but at it’s price point it serves it’s purpose perfectly well.

 

Taking a look around the phone there are volume control buttons on the right side, a Flash light on the the top edge with a Micro USB port for charging and an audio jack on the left side. The bottom of the phone just has pins for charging while in the cradle.
On the back of the phone is an Emergency button. This can be programed in the settings menu  to send out distress messages to a list of people when pressed. There is an option to set this so it needs to be pressed 3 time to activate, which really should be the default setting. It is too easy to press by accident and could end up causing some stress for people if they were getting emergency messages inadvertently.

 

 

The keypad is well spaced out with shaped buttons that give a nice positive click once pressed.
Above the standard keypad are three programmable speed dial keys, labeled A,B & C with a messaging App shortcut to the side of them.

The phone boots and shuts down in literally seconds. When you start the phone up for the first time you are greeted by the Setup Wizard. The basic settings of the phone can be set from here such as Language, Date and Time, Ring Tone, Volume, Text Size and Theme.

The phone is equipped with a very loud speaker. It is rated at 83 decibels at 1 meter and after pushing it up to it’s loudest setting to test, I have no reason to doubt that. I certainly found it uncomfortably loud at this level but for someone who is hard of hearing, it will be ideal.

There is a choice of 2 text sizes with the larger one making the text about 8 to 10mm in size on the screen. The one thing I did find disappointing with the larger size though was that it did not change it everywhere. The home screen and main menu all remain the smaller size with only the content of the menus getting the larger text, so you still have to navigate through smaller text to get to the larger text.

 

There are four different themes available which basically just change the way the text colour contrasts the background colour. The options available are White on Black, Black on White, Yellow on Black, Yellow on Blue. The last combination is aimed towards assisting people who may be colour blind.

The UI of the phone has very much the feel of the pre Symbian Nokia days, so most people who may be buying this for a parent will feel right at home using it or setting it up and there will be little or no learning curve.
Within the menu you have the following options/ features: Messages, Call Log, Alarm, Calendar, Calculator, FM Radio, Torch, ICE (In Case of Emergency) and Settings.

 

 

The ICE function allows you to enter personal details about yourself and contact details for people who can be contacted in case of emergency.

As there is no 3G at play here the phone has always had good signal while I’ve been using it. I have had no issues at all with dropped calls and have tried it on a couple of networks to see how it coped.
The stand out feature of the phone for me is the call quality and clarity while in use. Coming in at €100 it far exceeds some phones that are many times it’s value. It is an area Doro have obviously spent some time and attention on.

There is an 800mAh battery under the hood and with the lack of 3G to strain the battery you can easily get several days use from it.

Wrap up

Overall the phone is light on features  but what you lose on one hand you gain in dedicated features such as the incredibly loud speaker and ease of use. The phone is clearly aimed at people who have had little or no exposure to mobile phones previously and the primary function of the phone will be to just keep in touch with people via calls or texts.
If it fits the bill for what you need from a phone, or for someone you may be buying it for, it would be hard to recommend any other similarly spec’d or priced phone for an elderly person. The call quality and loudness of that speaker will not be matched.

The 510 is available now SIM free from GoMo.ie

Keep an eye out for our review of the Doro Experience software in the coming weeks.