The Doro 409s uses the same basic interface as previous Doro mobiles. It’s very simple – like the phone itself it’s designed for those who have never owned a smartphone, or even used a touchscreen phone for that matter.
A home screen displays the time and date, along with icons for the signal strength and remaining battery at the top. The two top-most keys on the keypad change function depending on what’s on screen (soft keys, as they’re called) with them defaulting to the phone book (called “Name” for the sake of the technologically uninitiated) and the main menu on the home screen.
The menu offers the remaining smattering of features, scrolled through one-by-one – each filling the screen. You do this with the two-button navigational rocker that naturally falls under your thumb when holding the phone. While those looking for an extremely basic option may not use this much, the placement of this rocker is wonderfully convenient and comfortable.
At default, the main menu houses the Calendar, Alarm, Games, Phonebook, Messages, Call Log, Calculator and Settings. However, these can be cut down further within the settings menu. Don’t want Games? Just remove that option, to make the 409s’s menu system even simpler. The only features you have to keep in the menu are Phonebook, Call Log and Settings. If you have an elderly relative who still doesn’t get texting (or thinks it’s the work of the devil), this could be a useful feature.
For all its simplicity, there is a quick setup process to go through to get the Doro 409s set up perfectly. This won’t matter if the prospective owner is simply someone who says “bah humbug” to touchscreen phones, but if it’s intended for an elderly person with arthritis, for example, it’s worth considering getting someone else to fine-tune the phone beforehand.
The emergency button is a far more important part of this initial setup than the menu customisation. This button on the back makes the phone call and text up-to five pre-selected numbers, when it is held down for several seconds. The body of the text, and the numbers, are stored in the Settings menu.
It is of course easy to accidentally depress the large emergency button when it’s in a pocket, but there are several settings to avoid such embarrassing – and worrying for the friends and relatives – incidents. It can be turned off, or require three presses of the button rather than one. It’s hardly fool-proof, but you are able to cancel the feature before it kicks-in fully.
Once the emergency button has been pressed in the requisite way, an ear-piercing alarm sounds. It can then be cancelled with a press of a soft key. Let this emergency function do its thing though and it’ll sequentially call the pre-defined numbers until it connects to one, although the phone will still believe it has connected if it reaches an answer phone. It will also send each of the numbers an SMS message. The Doro 409s may be a niche device, but its features make a lot of sense within that niche.