Jitterbug Phone Review: the Flip2 and Smart3
- The Jitterbug, made by Lively, comes in two models: the Flip2 and Smart3.
- Users can customize their Jitterbug plan, from pay-by-the-text options to all-inclusive packages.
- The premium package includes access to Jitterbug operators who help with personal tasks like making phone calls and scheduling transportation.
- The phone design keeps seniors in mind, from simplified navigation to brain games that prevent memory loss.
- An urgent care feature allows users to get counsel from a doctor or RN, and even have basic prescriptions refilled without an appointment or insurance.
- By opting for the Health and Safety package with urgent response, users can also use their phone like a medical alert device in emergencies.
- Jitterbug phones are designed with vision-impaired users in mind, with supportive features like large text, a backlit keypad, a magnifying glass, a reading light, and voice texting.
- The newly enlarged Smart3 screen is 6.2 inches.
- Jitterbug cell phones include a one-year warranty and a 30-day free trial.
What Is a Jitterbug Phone for Seniors? Overview
Jitterbug phones are in a category of their own. A hybrid of a simple phone and a medical alert system, the phone offers supportive technology for those who want to safely age in place. The cell phone’s intuitive interface makes it uncomplicated to connect with family summon help in an emergency.
There are two Jitterbug phone options: the Flip2 (flip phone) and Smart3 (smart phone). Both the flip phone and smartphone are simplified versions of typical cell phones on the market, so users are able to get the most from all the phone’s features whether or not they are tech-savvy.
Jitterbug phones are senior-friendly in that they have a number of features to accommodate an aging adult’s health, safety, and comfort. First, the home screen is reliably simple for easy interfacing with the main menu. Features like the backlit keypad and large numerals, voice-typing, and amplified speakers accommodate those with vision and hearing impairments.
Dr. Lynn Anderson, who holds a PhD in Natural Health, bought a Jitterbug phone for her elderly father. “He was having a hard time seeing the buttons on his cell phone,” she said. “When he changed to Jitterbug, suddenly he had buttons he could see and an easy way to use a cell phone.” She added that the Jitterbug flip phone for seniors accommodates those with dexterity issues: “Not only are the numbers bigger, but it is easier for arthritic hands to use.”
Lively’s Health and Safety packages make Jitterbug devices more useful than the average cell phone—these plans push Lively phones into the category of medical alert device. Lively products are continually ranked among the best medical alert systems, and their phones also offer 24/7 emergency monitoring. Of course, a Lively phone isn’t your classic Bluetooth medical alert systems with fall detection medical alert systems with fall detection, and that technology can’t be added to a Jitterbug. For fall detection, you may want to consider the Lively Wearable2 pendant.
How Are Jitterbug Phones Different From Regular Phones?
The Jitterbug Flip2 and Jitterbug Smart3 are similar to many flip phones and smartphones. The big difference is that Lively cuts out complicated, unnecessary features—then it adds health features to keep users safe.
Traditional cell phones are not the safest personal emergency response systems, since they rely on users having the ability to dial 911. With Lively’s health and safety package, Jitterbug phones become a medical alert device. If a user experiences a fall or other medical emergency, they can hit the Urgent Response button to reach a trained professional any time of the day or night. The system tracks users through GPS so Lively can send a medical team, locksmith, or roadside assistance to the user’s exact location.
A regular phone and a Jitterbug phone differ in health features. Top-tier Jitterbug packages include access to 24/7 medical advice and offer caregiver support. These Jitterbug users enjoy a personal operator who can be contacted for customer support or technical questions, as well as an urgent care service. Lively users can also reach an RN or doctor any time of the day or night. These board-certified medical professionals offer Jitterbug users medical counsel, and some even write prescriptions.
How Do Jitterbug Phones for Seniors Work?
Jitterbug phones are designed to aid seniors as both a straightforward cell phone and a health device. A customer’s user experience will largely depend on which phone they choose: Will you keep things simple with the Flip2, or do you want the Smart3’s large screen, email access, video chatting, and navigation features?
Lively’s Health and Safety packages are what make Jitterbug phones a medical device, as well. In case of a fall, the phone can act as a medical alert device with monitoring by trained professionals. Depending on the customer’s chosen subscription, Jitterbug plans add an emergency button, access to urgent care, help from a Jitterbug operator, and even the ability to arrange for rides and medication refills.
Jitterbug offers two “Talk and Text” plans. Your cell phone plan decides how much you can do with your phone. Users who want a phone for the basics—calls and a little texting—can stick with the simple Talk and Text plan for $14.99 per month. Those who intend on making lots of calls and want to text freely should go with the Unlimited Talk and Text Plan for $19.99 per month.
From there, Smart3 users should tack on a data plan to use internet-based activities like checking email, surfing the internet, or using navigation. You can buy these plans at 100MB, 500MB, 3GB, 5GB, or unlimited data options, depending on how much you expect to use the internet.
Pros and Cons of Jitterbug Phones for Seniors
- Comes equipped with challenging brain games that are geared toward keeping seniors sharp and are designed to support brain health
- Extra large, backlit buttons on flip phone keypad eases typing for vision-impaired users
- Smartphone’s 6.2 inch screen makes the main menu, video chats, maps, and texting easier to read and see
- Pared-down, back-to-basics interface lets users more easily browse the web, check email, or use voice commands to call or text
24/7 access to urgent care doctors and nurses
- Budget-friendly, especially when comparing the $149.99 Smart3 to other smartphones
- Customizable data plans and health packages for varying user needs
- Health and Safety package option turns phone into a medical-alert device with an emergency button that connects users to a 24/7 monitoring center
- Options are limited to just two styles: the Flip2 and Smart3.
- Some users report slower internet processing speeds.
- Flip phone’s camera is not very advanced.
- The phone does not have automatic fall detection technology, like some medical alert devices.
- Activation fee is $35.
- Data over your allowance costs 10 cents per megabyte (MB).
How to Purchase a Jitterbug Phone for Seniors
Signing up for your Jitterbug is as easy as purchasing your desired model from the Lively website. To get started with the Jitterbug Flip2 or Smart3, you won’t need to sign any long-term contracts. In fact, you have a 30-day trial to test out the device before you commit. If you don’t like the phone, you’re only out the $10 restocking fee.
Installation and Setup
Jitterbug phones do require a $35 activation fee. Once your phone arrives, head to the Lively site and click “activate now.” The website will guide you through the activation process, including transferring your existing number to your new phone.
Ease of Use
Both Jitterbug phone models are made to be intuitive. Browse customer reviews and you’ll see the phrase “user-friendly” over and over. Between the large text, list menu, voice control, and large buttons, Lively phones are designed to win over users who might be intimidated by conventional smartphones.
Jitterbug’s customer support is built right into the phone’s design. The Personal Operator service calls on traditional operators, but this feature includes troubleshooting issues with the device, making calls, and even arranging Lyft rides.
Outside of this extra feature, the regular Lively customer support team delivers strong service. Customers rate the Smart with 4 stars and the Flip with 4.1 stars on Consumer Affairs, where users often reference reliable support when troubleshooting issues with the device.
In an emergency, users just push the Star button to connect to the 24/7 emergency monitoring center. After confirming your location and assessing the situation, the Jitterbug operator can summon the exact help you need, whether that’s a loved one to check in, professional medical help, roadside assistance, or even a locksmith.
Choosing the Right Jitterbug Phone for Seniors
Both of the Jitterbug phones, the Flip2 and Smart3, are crafted with an eye to health, safety, and ease of use. The phones include large text and simple interfaces, along with health features like 24/7 access to Urgent Care advice from board-certified doctors and nurses.
Also, each phone doubles as a medical alert device, in that the user needs only to push the help button to be connected with the Lively’s round-the-clock emergency monitoring center. Trained operators assess your situation and decide whether to send emergency assistance to your location. Both devices also offer Lively Link, a way of looping in selected contacts so that they are also notified in an emergency.
While the two phones share overlapping services, they vary widely in options, extra features, and user experience. Consider your own lifestyle and preferences in a device to decide which phone is the best fit for your daily needs.
The Jitterbug Flip2 has the simplicity of a flip phone with more modern features. It’s equipped with a built-in reading light and magnifier for illuminating and enlarging reading materials. Extra large, legible buttons make texting on the keypad easier for vision-impaired users. The flip phone comes in two colors, red and graphite, in a sleek, clamshell exterior.
Fussing with the menu and apps can be tricky for those with vision or dexterity issues, which is why the Flip2 is equipped with Amazon Alexa. Users can use their voice to access many phone features through Alexa, like calling or texting, setting reminders, and checking the weather. Just address your phone “Alexa” to activate your phone’s listening ability.
You hope to never have to push it, but the big red star on the center of your keypad is one of the most supportive Flip2 features. This SOS button is active for those users who’ve opted for Urgent Response, allowing them to easily contact a trained operator to assess the situation, day or night.
Jitterbug Smart 3
The Jitterbug Smart 3 is like a traditional smartphone with some key differences. Where many smartphones have complex features, lots of apps, and features for customization, the Jitterbug smartphone is made with simplicity and safety at the forefront.
First, the interface is hyper-readable, making it easy for users with vision problems, or who just aren’t tech savvy, to navigate the main screen. The text automatically reads as large and highly legible. While the Jitterbug flip phone is the simpler option, the smartphone’s larger screen, at 6.2 inches, could be the better fit for those concerned with legibility. The screen also allows for sharp images during video calls.
For those with hearing impairment, the speakers amplify sound making it easy to hear. Some customer reviews advise switching the phone’s audio to the speakerphone during calls to discern speech with crisper sound. Voice-typing allows users to communicate with loved ones by speaking your message into the chat box rather than tapping out your message on the keypad.
The phone seconds as a safety device for seniors. Users can address medical issues right from the phone; board-certified doctors and nurses are a phone call away. This is one of the main features that makes the Jitterbug a favorite of caregivers; they know that their loved ones have a medical professional in their pocket.
In an emergency, the Jitterbug can also act as a medical alert device. For users who opt for the Health and Safety Packages, their Jitterbug phones are monitored by a 24/7 response team. In a medical event, customers just press the emergency alert button to be in direct touch with a trained emergency operator, who can track the phone’s location through GPS and dispatch assistance.
Health and Safety Packages Overview
Jitterbug phones can be used as a typical flip phone or smartphone. By adding on a Lively Health and Safety Package, these phones double as a medical alert device. Depending on the package, users have access to health support including 24/7 emergency monitoring, 24/7 medical questions, and even ride scheduling services.
The Basic Package can be added onto a data plan for $19.99 per month. At this level, users are able to access Urgent Response services, referring to the 24/7 monitoring from Lively’s medical emergency response center. By pushing the help button on their phone, users are tracked to their location and operators will assess and decide if a medical response is necessary.
The $24.99-per-month Preferred Package includes Urgent Response along with Urgent Care. With this service, Jitterbug offers consults with board-certified nurses and doctors around the clock. A user can call any time with questions about a medication side effect or for health advice. Additionally, this level includes Lively Link, which allows users to select caregiver contacts to loop in in the case of a medical emergency.
For $34.99 monthly, users get all the benefits of the Preferred Package with one luxury addition: the Personal Operator. Imagine this bonus feature as a kind of assistant, where users have quick access to a friendly voice who can assist with scheduling Lyft rides, finding phone numbers and making calls, or giving driving directions.
Pricing Overview and Breakdown
The Jitterbug Flip2 requires a $99.99 equipment fee and has two pricing options for users to choose from, depending on how actively they use their phone for calls and texting. The Value Talk and Text plan is $14.99 per month, but it costs an additional 10 cents per text; this plan is made for those who text very little. The cost of the Unlimited Talk and Text plan is a blanket price of $19.99 a month for, as stated in the name, unlimited calls and texts.
The Jitterbug Smart3 requires a $149.99 equipment fee. Plans for the simplified smartphone start at 100MB per month for $2.49. Users can get 500MB for $5 a month, 3GB for $10 a month, and 5GB for $15 a month. The highest tier plan offers unlimited calls and texting for $30 per month. Note that the Jitterbug flip phone is not internet-equipped.
With both plans, going over your data plan costs 10 cents per MB. Note that both phones also require an activation fee of $35.
Why Should You Choose To Go with a Jitterbug Phone for Seniors?
These phones can be useful for older adults because of the larger buttons that are easier to see and touch. The added benefit of having a Health and Safety plan gives older adults and their loved ones peace of mind.
Why You Can Trust Our Expert Review
Our experts independently research and recommend products we believe provide value in the lives of our readers. To write this story, our experts:
- Engaged in ongoing independent research
- Consulted with geriatricians and adult caregivers
- Mystery shopped the brands
- Read hundreds of verified customer reviews from trusted third parties
We recommend Jitterbug phones for seniors, as the hybrid design of these Lively phones make them useful as both an intuitive cell phone and a medical alert system. At the most basic level, the Jitterbug plan keeps users connected with family and friends. With add-ons and accessories, like Urgent Care and the Personal Operator, they really can improve one’s quality of life.
The Flip2 is well-suited to those who don’t want to fuss with lots of extra apps, but want a reliable and straightforward device that supports texting and phone calls—both accessible with voice-control—and safety features like 24/7 monitoring. The Smart3 is a step up from the flip phone, and users report that it’s less intimidating than your typical smartphone. The intuitive menu is easy to navigate, and the new model’s even larger screen makes it easier to enjoy video calls, maps, and legible text. The range of Jitterbug plans make these lively phones super customizable to every user.
What carrier does jitterbug phone use?
Lively’s Jitterbug phones operate on the Verizon network.
How much is the activation fee for Jitterbug?
Both Jitterbug phones, the Flip2 and Smart3, require a $35 activation fee.
How much does Jitterbug cost a month?
Your Jitterbug phone’s monthly price will vary based on the phone and data plan you choose. The company knows that some users simply won’t need a robust monthly plan. Jitterbug phone plans start at 100MB per month for $2.49, to the Unlimited at $30 per month. The Jitterbug Smart3 is $149.99.
The Jitterbug Flip2 is $99.99 and comes with two pricing plans. The Value Talk and Text plan is $14.99 per month plus 10 cents per text. Unlimited Talk and Text is $19.99 a month.
Can you keep your existing phone number?
Yes, you can keep your same phone number when you switch to a Lively Jitterbug phone.
Do Jitterbug phones come with any kind of warranty or return policy?
Jitterbug phones are guaranteed by a one-year warranty. Jitterbug users are not bound by a long-term contract, and users can pay month-to-month. A customer’s Lively phone purchase is backed with a 30-day trial. If a user initiates a refund, they can expect to miss out on a $10 restocking fee, while the company will refund the $35 activation fee. Expect that you may not be refunded for that month’s data usage.
For an additional $3.50 per month, users can opt for the Lively Protection Plan, which covers accidents, batteries, all original accessories, and normal wear and tear. To replace your phone entirely, this plan reduces the cost of the Jitterbug Smart3 to $50 and the Jitterbug Flip2 to $25.
Do Jitterbug phones have features for those who suffer from visual impairment?
Lively phones are designed with vision impairment in mind. The Jitterbug flip phone’s large buttons make it easier to dial numbers and text using the keypad. The flip phone’s large screen and main menu allow the user to better see the text and images on the screen. The phone can also assist with reading other reading materials, since it is equipped with both a magnifier and flashlight to clarify and enlarge texts.
Vision-impaired users may prefer the Smart3, which has a larger screen to improve readability. Voice-texting can also streamline the communication process for users with vision problems. The phone’s map and navigation features are easier to see on the 6.2-inch smartphone screen.