Many seniors today require devices that cater to their needs in a practical way. Currently, companies continue to test out products that balance functionality with advances in features. The Jitterbug phone is one such case.
Introduced in 2005, the Jitterbug was marketed for its supposed simplicity. It won the 2009 Mobile Consumer Application Award for its LiveNurse application. LiveNurse focused on providing customers with 24-hour access to registered nurses.
Fast forward to the present, the Jitterbug smartphone for seniors is one of the latest iterations for the Great Call product. Simplicity is still its focus although it is now marketed primarily for senior use.
Referred to as the Smart 2, its marketing has called it “the best jitterbug phone for seniors”. The reason for the tagline is mainly due to the way it uses its functionality to cater to seniors.
Its features take advantage of recent phone developments to provide urgent care via an easy-to-use interface.
While older adults may not exactly be tech savvy, the Jitterbug Smart2 is marketed as a device for seniors. There are several benefits that make this device stand apart from the rest. Older adults and users may not have been exposed to these cell phones or gadgets in their heyday, but it is never too late to start.
Here are some benefits of a Smart2 cell phone for anyone who is considering the device:
The Jitterbug Smart2 is packed with a ton of pre-downloaded Brain Games to improve seniors' cognitive or mental functions. Digital puzzles may mitigate memory loss, improve attention, and keep seniors mentally active. As an Android smartphone, users can download more games on the Google Play app store as it has up to 32GB of storage.
Seniors can still reap the benefits of a traditional smartphone and take pictures of certain moments and memories with a 13MP camera. They can keep in touch with their loved ones as the Jitterbug Smart2 has a 5MP camera for video chat. Also, they will have Internet access and can stay up-to-date on the latest news and information with a little bit of guidance.
The Smart2's built-in medical alert system allows users to signal for help during emergencies with a simple click of a button. Its Urgent Care lets users get in touch with an on-call medical professional, nurse, doctor, or NAED-certified agent immediately, whether to refill a prescription or to seek medical advice even without an appointment.
Through the 5Star service, people contacted can track the user's location if needed. Caregivers can help users download the GreatCall Link app to stay updated on their patient's whereabouts and needs. They will also be notified when the 5Star button is used and then dial 911 if necessary.
Given its target demographic, the Smart2 has features that are precisely senior friendly and thus, easy to use. Its loud speakers are ideal for adults who have hearing aids. In fact, it comes with the highest rated hearing aid compatibility of M4/T4 to minimize static altogether. Users can dial and text by voice as well.
The cell phone has particularly large buttons with backlights to make dialing easier. Similarly, its large display screen and font are ideal for those who are visually impaired, especially with its simplified list-like menu. One of its pre-loaded apps is the Medication Reminder for those who need specific alerts.
Great Call advertises several types of plans for Jitterbug phone service for seniors that are open to customization.
Jitterbug phone plans for the Jitterbug Smart2include the Lively Healthy & Safety Package. This package focuses on user safety and comes in three tiers, Basic(19.99$), Preferred(24.99$) and Ultimate(34.99$). It also comes with the following:
Customers can craft their plans according to their preferred monthly minutes, text, and data. The price of a Jitterbug plan can also be affected by membership discounts.
The AARP Jitterbug phone for seniors is one such discount given to members of AARP (American Association of Retired Persons). In effect, it removes at least 60$ from the price of a yearly subscription.
The three traits are emphasized within the different features of the Jitterbug phone. We’ve already mentioned how the five features of its Lively Healthy & Safety Package have been integrated into the Smart 2’s functionality.
So let’s talk about some of the other built-in options.
The Jitterbug phone was created in collaboration with the worldwide mobile giant Samsung. GreatCall acts as its exclusive MVN (Mobile Virtual Network) operator which utilizes the Verizon network.
Verizon, in turn, supports CDMA (code-division multiple access) and LTE bands 4/13. Verizon’s coverage extends to the majority of the US area. To get a better idea of its coverage area, click here.
After dissecting the Jitterbug Smart 2’s capabilities in detail, the Jitterbug Flip Phone needs to be mentioned. The Flip Phone, also known as a Lively Flip, does not offer the advanced features of its smart counterpart — but is reminiscent of the flip phones of the earlier years.
Instead, it takes an even more simplified approach. With its pared-down basic elements and overall focus on talk and text, the Jitterbug Flip Phone is a more basic alternative for seniors.
The two Jitterbug phones both offer some of the same essential services that are offered by the Lively Health and Safety Package. They also have boosted powerful speakers to help seniors understand each other.
Pricing is where they begin to differ. There’s about a 50$ difference between buying a Jitterbug Flip Phone and the price of a Jitterbug smartphone, the former costing 99.99$.
Monthly Flip Phone plans begin at 14.99$ while ones for Smart 2 begin at 17.48$.
The Flip Phone has a large screen accompanied by big buttons in contrast to the Smart 2’s 5.5 size touchscreen surface. The Jitterbug Flip has a simple analog Yes/No Menu while the Smart 2 has a simple list-based menu. The Smart 2 has access to voice-typing, mobile internet, and mobile apps while the Jitterbug Flip does not.
Yes, absolutely. We’ve mentioned that the Jitterbug today is a highly-modified product to make function easier for seniors. At its core, it is still an android-based device that you can load various apps from your Google Play Store.
Since it is an android device, it is subject to the same limitations as other similar android-based software. So, apps that are exclusive to the Apple playstore will not yet be applicable.
Yes. Jitterbug’s MVN (Mobile Network provider) GreatCall has a Jitterbug smartphone tutorial ready and prepared. You can find it on their website.
They mostly take the form of informative how-to-cards that cover the different aspects of your Smart 2’s features.
Yes. Both the Jitterbug Flip Phone and the Jitterbug smartphone have GPS tracking. It is an essential tool provided as part of the Lively Healthy and Safety Package.
The feature is accessible via the GreatCall Link function. There you can even designate family members to keep track of your status and whereabouts.
This includes alerts made to your family members whenever you call 5Star as well as other functions.
Yes. It comes with a sim card. However, the sim card is built-in to the cell phone, which means you cannot remove or replace it with another card or change your phone number, unlike other phones.
Please note that your Jitterbug phone service for seniors is locked in to GreatCall. Jitterbug does however offer a service wherein you can transfer your old phone number onto the cell phone before its activation.
You can purchase the Jitterbug at physical retailers such as Best Buy. Online purchase is also possible via Rite Aid, Walgreens, and Amazon.
We advise avoiding dealing with unauthorized resellers, especially when the warranty may be a concern. To find a GreatCall store that sells it, click here.
A typical model will cost you $149. GreatCall does however offer discounts depending on where or when you plan to buy.
The retail store you’re planning to purchase it in may also offer promos that greatly lower the price. We’ve noticed at least one review sitethat claims to have purchased a model for only $112.49.
Jitterbug phone plans begin at the price of $17.49. The actual plan is $14.99 with the addition of $2.49 for monthly data plans.
Unused Anytime Minutes get carried over for a maximum of 60 days.
They are: 5.98" long x 3.03" wide x 0.33" deep. The Smart 2 has a 5.5 screen while weighing 5.6 ounces.
No, you only need to sign up on a month-to-month basis. Cancellation is possible at any time.
Both Jitterbug phones have many similar and synonymous features. As we’ve already covered, the two were designed with simplifying their respective interfaces for senior use.
This means that the two share certain collective pros and cons. After significant testing, we determined that the collective upsides revolve around the affordable Lively Healthy and Safety features especially with the Urgent Care function.
Collective downsides on the other hand revolve around 1) the low battery life span for both phones and 2) the lack of shared Jitterbug phone plans between the two. There being no more than two phone choices is another unfortunate downside.
In terms of individual strengths, the Smart 2’s access to the internet and applications hold up as well as any other android device. The voice-typing function and simple list-based menu make it easy to navigate without complications.
The Jitterbug Flip keeps things simple. The analog keypad is very responsive and the Yes/No selection when keying into an option is about as basic as you can get.
On the Smart 2, the 13 MP camera works just as great as other counterparts from other brands. The audio on the Flip is noticeably louder for some reason.
Overall, they provide good value for money if you’re willing to overlook some of the flaws.
For further reading on the Jitterbug phone, here are some helpful references:
Information for AARP Members
Useful for AARP members who are considering Jitterbug phones
Additional Jitterbug Reviews
Supplementary reviews for those who are looking for additional objective advice
If you're wondering whether the Jitterbug Smart 2 is for you or the elderly loved one in your life, but can't quite decide, contact us at Senior Strong today!