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Clarity ClarityLife C900

*Est. $50, no contract
Reviewed
May 2009
by ConsumerSearch
Clarity ClarityLife C900

Senior-friendly slider phone with built-in flashlight

Pros
  • Unlocked
  • Good call quality and loud volume
  • Built-in flashlight and emergency features
  • Can use AA or rechargeable batteries
Cons
  • 2.5 hours talk time (rated)
  • Keys can be hard to press
  • Interface could be simpler

The Clarity ClarityLife C900 is a slider phone designed for seniors, with large, easy-to-press buttons, emergency features, a built-in flashlight and the option to use AA batteries instead of the included rechargeable battery. Clarity is a division of Plantronics, best known for its Bluetooth headsets. The C900 is an unlocked GSM phone, meaning it will work with T-Mobile or AT&T, and no contract is required. The phone is rather large (4.5 inches by 2.3 inches by 0.8 inches and 5.4 ounces), bigger even than the Samsung Jitterbug, but it's meant to be easy for anyone to grip, even those suffering from arthritis. Unlike the Jitterbug, the ClarityLife offers text messaging, although most reviewers are dubious about using this phone for texting.

Matching the handset's large size is its 2.75-inch monochrome screen. While the keypad has large keys, they're flush with the phone surface, making them not-so-easy to press. Other features include a flashlight that can be activated with the press of a button. The phone also has an emergency button -- it doesn't call 911, though; it automatically calls a list of up to five contacts until someone is reached. The ClarityLife has room for 200 contacts (Jitterbug has only 50), and includes call waiting, call forwarding, a calculator and a birthday reminder. Clarity rates the phone's battery life at just 2.5 hours; no professional reviewer has performed independent tests. CNET rates the call quality as good and loud, although reviewer Kent German notes some background noise seeping through.

Reviews of the ClarityLife C900 are rather scarce. CNET offers a full review, and the phone is included in a roundup at U.S. News & World Report; both of these sources compare the ClarityLife with the Jitterbug and now-discontinued Verizon Wireless Coupe (another basic cell phone). Comparisons are feature-based, and no source recommends one phone over the other. PhoneScoop.com provides a number of photos and a walkthrough video of the ClarityLife. Consumer Reports reviews the Jitterbug but not the ClarityLife. We did not find any user reviews, and none of the professional reviews mention customer service quality.

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Jitterbug in Graphite
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ClarityLife Car Charger for Clarity C900

 
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Our Sources

1. CNET

Kent German finds call quality to be good, but he also thinks the ClarityLife could be easier to use. CNET has separate reviews of two other phones designed for seniors, the Samsung Jitterbug and LG Coupe, but it does not compare them with the ClarityLife nor name one as the best.

Review: Clarity ClarityLife C900, Kent German, April 1, 2008

2. U.S. News & World Report

This roundup contrasts four simple cell phones using informal tests. They aren't listed alphabetically, but it's also not clear if they are listed in order of preference. Of the ClarityLife, LaGesse says, "This may be the phone most dramatically customized for seniors, with a simple menu, large screen and amplified speaker."

Review: 4 Cellphones for Seniors, David LaGesse, July 29, 2008

3. PhoneScoop.com

PhoneScoop.com editors haven't fully reviewed the ClarityLife phone, but they do provide a video walkthrough and several photos of the product.

Review: CTIA 2008, Editors of PhoneScoop.com

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