Due for release at the start of November, the Doro Liberto 820 (available in Black and White) is set to become the most advanced and easiest to use android Smartphone on the market. We were lucky enough to get our hands on one pre-release and put it to the test to find out whether it lives up to the hype.
I think the design is an improvement on its predecessor – the Liberto 810 – boasting a larger display making it more comfortable to hold in your hand and use. It retains the three tactical keys beneath the touchscreen for main menu, home, and back; and also side keys for volume, power and the camera. The edges are rounded and there is a nice weight to the 820, which makes it feel solid and durable (though it’s not ruggedized so whilst it might survive occasional drop on a carpeted surface, a serious crash will probably destroy it).
As this is a Smartphone aimed squarely at senior mobile users (for whom loss of hearing can be a more prevalent) and Doro have a reliable track record of manufacturing mobiles that deliver excellent sound quality, we were not surprised to find that the Liberto 820 fared well for both call clarity and volume (ringer, earpiece and loudspeaker). And as with all Doro Mobiles, the Liberto 820 is hearing aid compatible.
The Doro Liberto 820 runs on the Android KitKat OS, but one of the main advantages of opting for a Doro Smartphone if new to Android (or buying for someone who is) is the overlaid interface, which has been customised by Doro to offer a more straightforward experience for the uninitiated.
Apps and settings are displayed over multiple pages in grids of large (easily tappable) icons, making it more convenient to access key settings and apps. Contacts, email and messaging have all been simplified and Swiftkey (a popular and intelligent keyboard) is integrated to make typing quicker and easier by learning users habits and offering suggestions.
Simplified does not equate to basic as the Liberto 820 boasts all the functionality as more conventional Smartphones; Google Play Store is easily accessible providing access to more apps than anyone could ever need.
My Doro Manager App
Launched in tandem with the Liberto 820, the ‘My Doro Manager’ app is a new feature included in the Liberto 820, which allows the handset to be managed remotely by another Android (or iOS) device. This is an excellent addition for anyone who would be keen to buy a Smartphone for an elderly friend or relative who would need someone to help them work it. Instead of being bombarded by a list of problems every time you visit (or the phone ending up largely unused) owners of the Liberto 820 can send a quick text or message to one of the assigned “managers” (up to 3 can be added) and they can help.
We tested this feature on a Samsung Galaxy S4 and an iPhone 5S, and the app is well-laid out and easy to use. Within the app you can see usage, adjust settings, connect to wireless networks, share photos, and even send recommendations for apps to download. From the Liberto 820 it’s easy to assign or remove managers or change access to ‘read only’.
Screen and camera
As mentioned earlier the Liberto 820 boasts a larger display than its predecessor; a welcome 4.5 inches which delivers images and video more clearly. The 8.0MP is a vast improvement as well, with images not suffering from the noise that was evident in the Liberto 810. Videos can be recorded at 720p, and the inclusion of the physical shutter button certainly aids use (the camera app can be accessed by simply holding it down). There is 8GB of internal storage, which can be expanded to 32GB with a microSD card.
The Doro Liberto 820 is an excellent easy to use Smartphone that would definitelty be a better choice for elderly friends or relatives than any hand me downs or other basic models. The simplified interface and the ‘My Doro Manager’ app make the handset straightforward to use, and it doesn’t compromise on functionality either.