Technology plays an important role in the life of someone with cerebral palsy (CP). A cellphone is high on the list of items I depend on to maintain my independence.
My husband bought me my first iPhone several years ago despite my objections that I probably wouldn’t be able to operate it due to my CP. But I mastered it. For our ninth wedding anniversary, he bought me the Samsung Galaxy S10 and I just couldn’t navigate it. Here are my thoughts on both powerful devices from a disability perspective.
Better accessibility feature
The Samsung Galaxy S10 is an impressive phone. Before getting mine, I had heard how powerful and customizable it is and that it is less expensive than the iPhone. I figured it would take some time to adjust, but I would learn to like it. It’s lightweight and crystal-clear screen made it easy to hold and see. It’s fast and I had no trouble downloading apps. The battery life is better than Apple’s and it charges more quickly.
The accessibility feature on the Samsung is, in my opinion, better than Apple’s. It is easier to see the buttons that are most needed. I wish Apple would adopt the Android concept. For example, it is easier to pinch the screen in and out, and the volume is much easier to control in the accessibility feature on the Samsung.
I enjoyed how easy it was to move, organize, and delete apps on the Samsung. Those features are difficult on the Apple, especially when you have a mobility disability. It is also fairly simple to arrange apps in any design you want on the screen. Clearing all the pages or apps can be done with one click instead of clearing each one individually.
Too many problems
That said, there were some glaring problems that I had with the Samsung. The issues were actually so annoying to me that I exchanged it for an iPhone XS. One of the major difficulties is that I could not get it to turn on quickly. On the iPhone, all I need to do is tap the screen and it’s on. I tried lifting the phone, and it was hit or miss. My husband researched apps to make it easier to turn on, but no such luck. Toward the end, I just hit the side button, which is a slow process and physically difficult.
Another problem was that I couldn’t easily text or type on the keyboard. It was exhausting to type a simple sentence and I made so many typos. It drove me crazy. I had never had a problem with texting on my iPhone, even from the beginning. My husband found me an Apple keyboard app, and though it was somewhat easier, the predictive text wasn’t close to what Apple can do. I hated texting on it. In addition, the iPhone lets me add macros, so if I type “jdm,” my email pops up automatically. I downloaded a few apps that would do this on the Samsung but none compared to the Apple.
What works for some, doesn’t work for all
I also love on my Apple that whenever I receive a text, notification, or email, it just pops up on the screen. With the Samsung, I would hear it but I’d have to physically turn the phone on to see a notification. When I’m busy, I just want to glance at my phone and see whether it’s important or not.
Meanwhile, when we downloaded certain apps to make it more accessible, it negated other important features. The screen time shut off would always reset itself to five seconds. It was beyond frustrating that every time I finally turned the phone on, it would shut off almost immediately.
As with everything, we all have different needs. If the good features from both phones could mesh, it would be the perfect phone for me! I’d love to hear what works for you.
Note: Cerebral Palsy News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disorder. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cerebral Palsy News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cerebral palsy.