We tested the SPC Jasper, the mobile for the elderly with WhatsApp

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In an industry where advances in cameras, displays and processors are increasingly shining, it is sometimes difficult to stay close to people who require a very simplified use of mobile technology. That is where the device that I am here to talk about today comes in, which is neither more nor less than SPC Jasper . This phone falls within what we consider today a  featured phone , that is, a basic phone, in shell format.

The main audience for this type of device is the elderly. It is at this point where the company of Spanish origin has decided to stand out from the rest of the market proposals, with a device that comes with WhatsApp as standard and with a new intelligent system proposal called KaiOS. Its price? About 100 euros. The question is, will it be enough to convince a niche market that has very specific needs? I have had the opportunity to test the phone for a few days to answer this question.

index of contents

  • Data sheet
  • Shell format with very large keys to facilitate interaction
  • The experience of using WhatsApp on a basic phone
  • Measuring accessibility: buttons, sound, letters ...
  • Simple camera for basic use, very basic
  • The load case base as a differential point
  • SPC Jasper Conclusions

Data sheet

SPC Jasper
screen- Interior: 2.8 inches with TFT technology and QVGA resolution of 320 x 240 pixels

- Exterior: 1.44 inches with TFT technology and resolution of 128 x 128 pixels

Main chamberSingle camera with LED flash (specifications to be specified)
Camera takes selfiesNot available
Internal memory100 MB
ExtensionVia micro SD cards up to 32 GB
Processor and RAMTo be specified
Battery1,600 mAh with up to 260 hours of duration in stand by and charging base
Operating systemKaiOS
ConnectionsWiFi b / g / n /, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, FM radio and micro USB
DesignShell format with polycarbonate construction

Available colors: black

Dimensions108 x 57 x 20 millimeters and 127.5 grams
Featured FeaturesSOS button, flashlight function, large screen letters, favorite contacts button, access to WhatsApp and Google Assistant, charging base ...
Release dateAvailable
Price100 euros

Shell format with very large keys to facilitate interaction

The design of phones that fall into the category of featured phones is often geared towards improving human-machine interaction. In other words, this SPC Jasper is intended for all those who have some kind of disability or vision limitation or who, due to age, do not seek to complicate their lives with latest generation smartphones. The phone is made entirely of polycarbonate in a clamshell format that is really comfortable both in the hand and in the pocket .

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As a basic phone that it is, it has a removable back cover that allows you to play with access to the battery, the micro SD and the SIM. To put something but, the fastening of the back cover is quite hard , which can hinder access to certain types of people, by having to apply a certain pressure on the body. In this sense, I would have liked to see a button to help us operate the lid.

Returning to the upper part of the chassis, the phone uses a 2.8-inch screen on the front and 1.44 inches on the back . Both drink from a TFT panel and a somewhat low resolution for current standards. The experience is more than enough for the intention of this phone, although I may miss a slightly higher level of brightness for outdoor viewing. The second screen, by the way, is limited to displaying the time and icons of incoming notifications.

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It touches to speak of the method of interaction of the phone: the keyboard. As we do not find a touch screen, the keyboard acts as a mediator between human and machine. The size of the keys is sufficient to facilitate viewing during the day and even at night, as it has a backlight. It also has a button that allows us to directly access the camera, as well as the favorite contacts and the voice assistant. At the back we find a distress button that makes a call to emergency services without going through any application.

The experience of using WhatsApp on a basic phone

The reason for this SPC Jasper comes with its compatibility with WhatsApp. The phone has the standard messaging application and the truth is that it does not differ one iota from the original app .

We can send text, photos, audio notes, videos and any multimedia element stored in the phone's memory, a memory that is limited to only 100 MB and that we can expand up to 32 GB by means of a micro SD card. For a basic use we will not need it, but if we want to use WhatsApp periodically we will have to install a memory card . However, the experience with the application has been really good, beyond the hassle of having a T9 keyboard that forces us to press the keys several times to select the character we are looking for.

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Outside of WhatsApp, SPC Jasper has different social media applications, such as Facebook and YouTube. The problem is that they are not native applications, but web versions adapted to KaiOS , the operating system that moves under the chassis of the phone. This forces us to use the central button as a mouse pointer to access the different options on each web page. It is not something dramatic, but we must take it into account if we are going to make this our main phone.

Beyond the social applications, the terminal comes loaded with two additional applications, Google Maps and Google Assistant . In this case, development is native, so performance and forms of interaction improve greatly. It should be noted that the phone is accompanied by an application store that allows us to install the odd application or game inside the phone.

I've only been able to find an alternate Twitter client and several Snake-like games to play with the phone keypad. It also includes a web browser that allows us to access any web page with certain ease. It even has a notification screen that allows us to see at a glance all the notifications that we have received on the phone.

Measuring accessibility: buttons, sound, letters ...

As I have been saying throughout the article, this type of device is aimed at the elderly or with accessibility problems. In this regard, the SPC Jasper fulfills everything that can be expected from a phone of this type.

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On the one hand, the maximum volume of the speakers is high , quite high, in fact. To this must be added that the letters on the keys are large enough to be appreciated at a certain distance from the phone. On the other hand, the phone's interface helps to visualize the options displayed on the screen , with unique contextual menus and large, bold fonts.

From the KaiOS options we can change different parameters of the interface, although unfortunately we cannot change the font size . All in all, I think it is sufficient for the screen size. Special mention to the rescue buttons, camera and favorite contacts that we can find both on the button panel and on the back of the chassis.

Simple camera for basic use, very basic

Something that has surprised the SPC Jasper is the inclusion of a dedicated rear camera. It is not something that we can find in this type of device, so it is appreciated in this regard. The quality of the camera, however, leaves a lot to be desired , something to be expected if we talk about basic phones.

The company has not provided data about the sensor, but taking a look at the metadata of the images we can see that we find images of less than 1 megapixel; specifically 640 x 480 pixels . The sensor has a focal aperture f / 2.8 and an ISO level that does not exceed 100. In other words: images of very low quality, both day and night.

I understand that the phone is not dedicated to showing off with the camera, but I would have liked to have found a higher quality camera, either to send photos on WhatsApp or share a specific image on Facebook. To this we must add that it does not have the possibility of recording video or a front camera to make video calls on WhatsApp . But remember that we are facing a featured phone .

The load case base as a differential point

Taking a look at the market for phones that fall within the featured phone range,  I have been able to conclude that most devices use a charging base to place the terminal on a surface. But this does not happen with the majority of shell type mobiles , where the usual thing is to find a traditional charging port.

We tested the SPC Jasper, the mobile for the elderly with WhatsApp 1

In this regard, SPC has mixed the advantages of the first format with the advantages of the second. In fact, it is a phone designed to remain on a base, although it has a USB cable that allows us to charge the phone through the integrated micro USB input . I have not tried to measure the total charge time because, as I have already said, it is a mobile designed to rest on its base.

If we talk about autonomy, the phone comes with a 1,600 mAh battery that promises us up to 260 hours of standby duration , that is, about 10 days without touching the phone . My tests have been limited to a few hours of use with apps like WhatsApp, Facebook, and YouTube. I have not noticed a substantial drop in the battery during the first hours, so in this aspect the phone is more than enough.

SPC Jasper Conclusions

After analyzing all the points of SPC Jasper, it's time to draw conclusions. The telephone comes as a bet quite different from what we can find today in the market, a somewhat risky bet if we take into account the type of audience it is aimed at. And it is precisely for this reason that I believe that the telephone can lead the way for simple telephones.

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This is supported in large part by the format of the terminal and the accessibility options it offers, but above all, by the flat learning curve it offers. The interface, the navigation options and the use of applications such as Google Maps and WhatsApp are extremely simple .

Away from overloaded visual elements, the phone can be the gateway for the elderly or those with accessibility problems to applications such as WhatsApp or Facebook. I have to admit that I would have liked to see Android as a base system. It is also true that adapting the applications to such a small screen and a simplified interface would not be the most appropriate.

In this regard I have to admit that KaiOS is on the right track, although it lacks native development to provide more complete applications . Now it is you who have to assess whether it is worth spending 100 euros for a mobile that loses compared to any smartphone but that is presented as an interesting alternative to our elders .

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