Product Review: The 5 Star Urgent Response from GreatCall

5 Star Urgent ResponseProduct Review: The 5Star Urgent Response Medical Alert

The 5 Star Urgent Response from GreatCall is a great choice when it comes to mobile medical alert systems. These new MOBILE PERS (personal emergency response systems) are redefining the medical alert marketplace (something The Senior List has been advocating for the past few years). The 5 Star urgent response device operates on a cellular network (Verizon), and is very simple to use. As you can see, it has one (1) button! Push it once to connect to the emergency call center… Hold button down to connect directly to 911. This unit is priced right, and there are no contracts that keep you locked in.

Product Info: 5Star Medical Alert System5 Star Urgent Response

  • Name: 5 Star Urgent Response from GreatCall
  • Website Info: 5Star Urgent Response from GreatCall
  • Auto Fall Detection?: No
  • Equipment Cost: $49.99 (retail) plus a $35 (one time) activation fee
  • Monthly Cost: $14.99 per device
  • Features: Lanyard is available (but not posted on website), Belt Clip (available for a nominal charge), Easy to use (1 single) Panic Button, Untethered 24/7 Monitoring on a Cellular Network, GPS Tracking is Available (for family and/or caregiver monitoring), Unlimited Access to GreatCall’s “LiveNurse” program, and an Online Portal to help manage contacts, device features, etc. (called

Review: 5Star Urgent Response Alert From GreatCall

5 Star Urgent Response


The 5 Star Urgent Response Alert System is a great little device, and 5Star definitely makes our “recommended” list. This is another “untethered” mobile alert device that uses Verizon’s cellular network for coverage (you’re not bound by a connection to your land-line connected device). You’re able to walk around the yard, down the street, or down to the shopping mall (anywhere there’s a cell signal). As you can see there is only one large emergency button… and that’s it. Press once to be connected to the GreatCall call center, or hold it down (for 5 seconds) to be connected to 911. GreatCall’s call center monitors 24/7, they’re located in the USA, and GreatCall claims that their personnel is “trained in CPR and 5 Star Urgent Responseother emergency procedures“. There is no limit to the number of times your loved one can depress the emergency call button (says Bonnie- one of GreatCall’s customer representatives). If the user is anxious and needs to be connected to their caregiver, loved one, or nurse… A GreatCall operator will patch them through.

5 Star Urgent ResponseThe 5Star can not be used as a mobile phone. After all, there are no numbers to dial out. You either connect to GreatCall’s call center, OR you connect directly to 911. The pricing plan is also simple (which we like). At $14.99 per month, it’s one of the least expensive options for your loved one. For a device with GPS tracking, and a US based (trained) call center The Senior List thinks there is good value here. We also like the fact that when you pay for this unit, it’s yours. All you do is activate it (there is a $35 activation fee) and pay your monthly service plan. You can terminate when you want… and you don’t have to worry about returning equipment, or cancellation fees.

When we pressed the alert button we were connected to a live operator within 6 rings.  The sound quality on the 5Star was as good any basic cell phone might be (while on speakerphone).  One thing to consider about this unit or others like it:  Aging adults that have hearing loss could have trouble hearing the device (although we had no issues with it at all).  The operator we spoke with was courteous and professional, and when the conversation ended she reminded us how to disconnect from the call center (by depressing the call button again).

On of the other considerations for the 5Star alert system is it’s use for younger kids.  We could see this device being used in lieu of a cell phone for a younger (pre-teen) that doesn’t need a phone quite yet.  The 5Star could be used as a back-up device if they get into trouble, lost, etc. AND you could pin-point where they are using the built-in GPS technology on board.  That piece of mind is easily worth the $14.99 per month to a lot of consumers out there.  Our only concern would be that kids could abuse the call button (showing off for their friends) or they could easily lose the device.  It might be worth it though, if you were looking for a safety-net for your child…

GreatCall 5Star Urgent ResponseThe Bottom Line:

We really like the 5Star medical alert system. This is a “must consider” device if you’re looking for a mobile medical alert system. This is not a device that you’d bring into the shower or bath with you. IF you need a waterproof pendant option, this is not for you. In most cases however, this device would be a great solution both inside and outside the home. If you’re looking for a mobile medical alert option with GPS location tracking (in case of emergencies) The Senior List thinks the 5Star is definitely worth a look, and we would recommend this device for someone that needs a mobile medical alert device.

Our Rating
Your Rating
[Total: 239    Average: 2.8/5]


Read More:

New Mobile Medical Alert Choices Are Great For Consumers

Product Review: The SureResponse Medical Alert from Verizon

Product Review: The LifeTrac Mobile Protector from SecuraTrac

Product Review: The 5 Star Urgent Response from GreatCall written by TimOnTech average rating 2.8/5 - 239 user ratings

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  1. jill says

    I have given up on Great Call. I recently purchased a new phone for both of my parents. This phone is very easy to operate and it has a very large font screen. Both of my parents have vision problems and this phone is great. It is called Snapfon ezTWO 3G, and they both love it. The phone works off T-Mobile towers if you sign up with them as your carrier, but if T-Mobile is not in your area then you can buy an unlocked phone (for $79) and sign with a different carrier. We chose ATT for $30 a month for unlimited calls and texts. It is a much better deal than Great Call which charges a lot for their minutes. (.35 cents a min if you go over your mins) This Snapfon ezTWO 3G also has a panic button which can be pressed in case of emergency and an alarm sounds which will draw attention to the person. It then sends a call/text to up to 5 people that you need help. This feature is free with any plan and will work with any plan. It’s really a great phone. The guy at ATT even liked it. At $30 month for unlimited usage and the simplistic features – it’s a great deal.

  2. Linda Lapichak says

    My mom ordered the service and the device on the 1st of February. It arrived on the 7th, however it could not be activated for some reason. Did I mention mom is 88yrs old? lives alone? is at risk, which is why she gave in and ordered it in the first place?
    Mom spent literally hours with customer service and tech support and it was finally decided they would send her another device. It is no Feb. 18th, I have spent literally hours on the phone on hold, speaking to rude and obnoxious customer service agents as well as lovely customer service agents who tried to be helpful but weren’t able to help. I have spoken to a supervisor who reassured me every day for the past week that the replacement would be here “today or tomorrow”. The supervisor will no longer come to the phone and I was informed yesterday that “a shipment label for priority mail” was “generated today”.

    I am checking into other available services, mom trusted this on because John Walsh advertises for it, I have no confidence in the device or the service at all. As I explained to the people at Great Call I am afraid to leave mom alone and have been mostly staying at her house until it is here and up and running. Now I will be afraid to leave her even then.

    • says

      Linda- I am sorry to hear about your unfortunate experience with GreatCall. Thank you for sharing with our community and please let us know if you come to a resolution with them. Best- A.

      • Linda says

        Thank you. Today, 19 days after we started this process we received the functional call button in the mail. It was fully activated and when I pushed the button to test the response was immediate and appropriate.
        I’m not sure why this whole ordeal was such a mess, but I do have more confidence in the system now that it is in the home and functioning!

  3. Alyce Jones says

    I just received my alert system in the mail. I am 91, the product is to heavy for my neck and to big for my wrist. The company will take back the product but only after charging a restocking fee. This was not disclosed at the time the item was purchased. The supervisor stated “oh we don’t give that information unless it is returned”. Needless to say customer service is everything. There are many competitors. Please ask questions as not everything works for everyone and to be dinged after the fact. The supervisor would not budge. Can’t recommend this company

  4. says

    I just purchased this for my aunt. The greatcall link locator never shows any movement. It never shows activity and always shows charging even when it’s in a pocket or purse. I hope the 5 star help works- I’m a little worried after this letdown.

  5. karen says

    Lousy customer service people, computers down 3 times while trying to set up personal profile. When got someone who was willing to help I told them what my computer said and they said they could enter the info for me guess what his computer is also down. How do you set up a personal profile if you they can’t do it either all they say is try again later its been 4 days and I spoke to csr and felt like they could care less imagine paying people to treat you like that

    • Dianne N says

      Same thing happened to me. I have been with the company for 8 months and have had 5 problems with the account. First person that offered to enter the information, apparently did not save it. I ended up entering it myself. Next month no phone # appeared. Next month my “who to contact in an emergency” was gone. Now I get a notice that my auto pay is not set up. In June they took it out, but not since. Now they want me to pay $65 for “previous” service. What service??? I didn’t even know there was a problem until yesterday 9/3. Inept is the only word that comes to mind. I am very sorry that their office staff is not better equipped. Response seemed like it would work, but office was horrible.

  6. Laura says

    The 1, 2, and 3 star reviews on amazon are alarming, even considering malcontents. To me, sounds like other companies are waiting to get a lower failure rate.

    From one review (the same complaint about customer service was in other reviews, about you must have gotten it wet.):

    Today I called customer service and they confirmed that they will not honor the warranty because the symptoms shown by the device indicate to them (without any type of examination) that she got it wet.

    They admitted that just moist hands or a steamy bathroom would be enough to make the device not work, even if it is not taken directly into a shower or tub. According to them, this voids the warranty. IMAGINE IF SHE LIVED IN FLORIDA OR IF IT WAS THE SUMMER TIME WHEN HUMIDITY IS HIGH AND REAL PEOPLE PERSPIRE!

    PLEASE… DO NOT BUY THIS DEVICE!! Most senior accidents happen in the bathroom. Having a device that cannot be worn into the bathroom and hung on a hook outside the shower without breaking is NOT something you want for your elderly relative or friend!

  7. Michele DeFilippo says

    I looked into this product for my 84-year-old mother. We discussed some of the complaints as well as the portability feature, and the low price compared to similar emergency alert devices. When I asked her if she would be willing to carry the device on her person at all times, she said, “Well, I already do that with my cordless phone handset.” Light bulb moment! Invest in a cordless phone with an extra handset that can be carried in a pocket or clipped onto a belt clip. Now Mom or Dad has an emergency alert device that is completely FREE. As for the ability to use the device away from home, unless your loved one spends a lot of time outdoors and alone, chances are good she’ll be in a public place surrounded by others with cell phones who can help in an emergency. :-)

    • Greg Pola says

      Hmm. Michele, you make good points about the water problem. But the problem that I see with the “cordless phone” types of systems is that they are all dependent on a base station (home electrical service) and the landline phone service. So, during a power outage, it’s very likely the device could be useless, and that is a time when seniors could very well experience a fall, due to the darkness.

    • William says

      WOW Really? Seriously??? What you said was actually very selfish. So if she has a heart attack or falls at home you really think she would be able to actually DIAL 911 or even try to focus and look for the Emergency Speed Dial on a Cordless Device? How Stupid can you really be? A Medical Alert Device is a very easy accessible device for them to press and speak with an Emergency Response Operator within Seconds that are Certified EMT’s to Comfort her while Emergency Crews Arrive at the Location. VERY SMART Michele VERY SMART THINKING!!!! (NOT).

  8. Jan Lawson says

    1. does a family member need a special app to track my location?
    2. would the app work on both androids and blackberrys?
    3. I see references to phone apps, but can’t seem to find details, pricing, etc. on your site.
    4. I am 72, walk a lot all over the state, and have been wanting to find a device which could locate me!
    5. Please say it is available in a wrist strap design!

    • says

      Hi Jan: For your first 3 questions, we’d have to refer you to great call, however my understanding is that the GPS enabled location service is web based (accessed via a web page online) and not “app” driven on a mobile device. This service is included at no additional charge.

      From GreatCall “The Online Locator Service is an important safety feature that’s included at no additional charge. Authorized friends or family members can log on to this secure website to locate a 5Star subscriber or even a misplaced device. Using enhanced location tracking technology with GPS, you can view the subscriber’s location on a map 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

      As for the wrist strap idea; This device is too big to be warn on the wrist. You can wear it around your neck via a lanyard, on your hip via a belt-clip, or in your hand bag. Contact me through our website if you’d like to try this device out. Best, Amie

      • Jan Lawson says

        I have the device now and it is definitely NOT too big to be worn on the wrist, so please consider that possibility. it’s annoying to have to pin it to my pocket every time I go for a walk in the woods.
        Other than that, I am pleased with it.

    • Merlyn says

      MobileHelp uses GPS and does have a wristband device. It also has a lanyard and device for your belt. I have used their website to locate Dad…. but luckily it was just to see if it really worked. It does!

  9. Jeff says

    Good review of this product but I am wondering how good it is for a senior with a true medical emergency? No fall protection is understandable, but pressing the button and waiting for their phone to ring and then what if the person is unable to speak (such as after a stroke)? Does 5Star automatically call 911 for you? It sounds like this might be a good general use tool but perhaps not for true medical emergencies, what do you think?

    • says

      You raise some good questions Jeff. Perhaps we’ll check-in with the manufacturer to see if they want to chime in… None of these devices are perfect for every situation. In the case of a severe stroke even a traditional medical alert pendant may not be depressed… but at least it’s readily available. For most medical emergencies this device would probably do the trick.

    • Merlyn says

      Dad uses MobileHelp and if he does not respond to them calling his name after he has pressed the button, they immediately call the appropriate people and also call the contact person and send me a text. Wonderful!

  10. Barry David Giles says

    I am extremely interested in becoming a distributor of your product. Please contact me at your earliest convenience to discuss.

  11. Tiffyann says

    Okay – Called customer service and they said their computers were down – to call back in an hour and they could recheck. He had no explanation why I got that message and this is the second time I’ve had it in a week. I inquired about buying the system and would there be any refund if it didn’t work out here – he said it would work irregardless of what the site told me. I question that. They will refund the price of the $49.95 unit within 30 days but you will be stuck with the $35 activation and shipping fee. So thinking best for me to hold on this for awhile. At the moment have the Freedom Alert but having something that would also work outside also is my goal.

  12. Tiffyann says

    Loved the idea behind this product. However when I decided to purchase it they ask your zip code. I live 35 miles out of a large city and they said no service here. So not the best for a GPS tracker if you aren’t in the center of a city. All other products work out here including Verizon so wasn’t impressed with that aspect. Back to the drawing board – again. Thanks so much for your reviews on these products – it does help.

    • says

      Tiffyann – Our understanding is that the 5Star from GreatCall actually uses the Verizon Network so that is surprising. We recommend that you call their customer service number to discuss coverage in your area. Let us know what you find out! Best, Amie

    • Merlyn says

      Tiffyann – we are also in Verizon territory. Our MobileHelp GPS for dad works like a champ! The system has lights on it that display whether there is a good signal. Some times during an electrical storm, the lights will indicate off/on signal issues, but I expect that. – Merlyn

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