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Jitterbug Flip and Smart: The Latest Senior-Friendly Cell Phones

Editor's Rating:

5 / 5

Jitterbug flip phone

While cell phones offer the same benefits to older adults as they do to younger users, many models come with barriers to entry for aging eyes, hands and brains. Senior-friendly cell phones can greatly improve the connectivity, communication and safety of those who use them if they are built with seniors in mind.

Launched by GreatCall in 2006, the original Jitterbug flip-phones offered basic call functionality, as well as senior-friendly cell phone features like oversized keys, large displays, loud audio, and an easy-to-hold design. The Jitterbug phone’s main differentiating feature when they first hit the market, for older adults as well as their loved ones, was a dedicated button for emergencies.

Since its debut a decade ago, the Jitterbug line of phones has evolved to offer older users even more of what they’re looking for through the addition of new models. Today, we’re taking a closer look at two of GreatCall’s latest offerings: the updated Jitterbug Flip and the company’s newest smartphone, the Jitterbug Smart.

The Jitterbug Flip

Jitterbug Flip open

A thoughtful update on the original Jitterbug, the Flip includes everything users loved about the first model, along with a sleeker design and convenient new features which make it even easier to use.

Bigger buttons and a backlit keyboard; a bigger brighter screen; intuitive yes/no navigation; a flashlight and reading magnifier; a charging dock; and Wi-Fi compatibility are a few of the Jitterbug Flip’s new and improved offerings.

And of course, there’s its hallmark feature: the dedicated 5Star button offering 24/7 access to a live operator for urgent and emergency situations.

But the all-new Jitterbug Flip is not just designed to be functional. It’s also fun. Because everyone likes to take a selfie every now and then, the Jitterbug Flip features an improved camera with a flash, along with additional storage capacity and memory. It even comes pre-loaded with Brain Games — perfect for keeping aging minds sharp and engaged.

Available in bold red or classic graphite, the Jitterbug Flip requires no annual contract, and there aren’t any cancellation fees. Users can choose from plans ranging from basic “Health & Safety” to more advanced “Talk & Text” packages.

Jitterbug Flip Pricing and Packages

Cost: $99.00+ monthly plan and activation, no contracts, no cancellation fees, free Ground shipping.

Talk and Text Plans: Starts at $14.99 for 200 talk minutes, Text plans start at $3.00 for 300 texts.

Health and Safety Services with Minutes: Basic starts at $19.99- Includes 5Star Urgent Response, Med Coach, weekly Wellness Call, Daily Health Tips, Daily Automated Check-in Calls and Daily Brain Games.

The Jitterbug Smart

Jitterbug Smart senior-friendly smartphone

GreatCall’s response to the fact that more and more seniors are getting in on the mobile movement, the Jitterbug Smart features larger text and icons and is the company’s biggest smartphone. The phone comes with everything users know and love from the Jitterbug name — including the preloaded 5Star emergency app, as well as MedCoach and UrgentCare. And did we mention that the Jitterbug Smart also includes mobile internet access from anywhere at any time?

Voice typing, a built-in camera, a handy usage meter, and a convenient long-lasting battery round out the list of reasons why this Jitterbug is a “smart” choice for today’s connected users.

As with the Jitterbug Flip, users choose between GreatCall plans aimed at meeting their individual needs free of annual contracts, cancellation fees, and other unnecessary expenses.

Jitterbug Smart Pricing and Packages

Cost: $149.00+ monthly plan and activation, no contracts, no cancellation fees, free Ground shipping.

Talk and Text Plans: Starts at $14.99 for 200 talk minutes, Text plans start at $3.00 for 300 texts.

Monthly Data Plans: Starts at $2.49 for 40MB.

Health and Safety Services with Minutes: Basic starts at $19.99- Includes 5Star Urgent Response, Med Coach, weekly Wellness Call, Daily Health Tips, Daily Automated Check in Calls and Daily Brain Games.

While teens may use them primarily for texting friends and posting selfies, cell phones can serve a very different and vital safety purpose for older adults. While previous Jitterbug products may have focused primarily on the latter, the newest models offer best-of-both world functionality and fun to older adults looking for simplified-yet-sophisticated communication and safety from their devices.

Like this? Check out our other reviews and recommended lists of medical alert systems.

15 Comments

  1. Have been thinking about trying a Jitterbug Smart phone, but after these reviews I’m not so sure. Your advertisement says U. S. based customer service and tech support, but several reviewers have said the customer service speaker is foreign. Can’t be both ways.
  2. went to purchase a smart jitterbug this past weekend the price was too too too high plus you could not activate the phome where purchased. is Best Buy the only place to purchase it. What about sales price on the phone plus too many bad comments about the phone far has customer service and other complaints. Maybe if u improve these problems we can talk
  3. My father in law has a jitterbug flip phone . It does not seem to be working. On the front of the phone there is a small blinking light that will not stop, and the phone is not turning on even after it has been charged all night . Is there a store or someone that can look at the phone. Thank you
  4. Thank you for all these reviews. I take care of a senior who is starting to have problems using her normal Android smart phone. She is unable to find her contacts or dial her important contacts. Confusion is one of the first problems of a phone. I think the necessity of four or five people on a contact list (selected by importance first), where they are able to make a call just by seeing their name and pushing that button. By reading these reviews, having my own 30-35 hour(s) of time spent dealing with another major cell phone provider, it has come to my attention that these companies are not looking at the needs of the seniors and the importance of what they need out of an emergency phone. if I can think of a phone that is simple enough to use for a senior, big keys, ten people on a speed dial list that the customer can initiate either by number or name, easy hang up, back lit key pad and screen. Ring tones that are simple, understandable and easy to hear. Volume that can be turned up when necessary and a light that shows when there is low or no volume selected. It’s pretty simple to figure out what is important. Why can’t a company ask regular people what they need, not ask the newer generation to be involved because they are looking for the “Bigger and Bad Ass Best” to be the envy of the crowd. I will keep looking, I won’t be choosing a Jitter Bug because I too have serious issues with taking to foreign people on the phone regarding problems I am having. (Especially when I should not have had to be calling them in the first place!) Good Luck and Best Wishes
  5. I was excited about GreatCall’s new Jitterbug smartphone and this wonderful article made want to sign up right away. But after reading many user comments elsewhere on trying to activate the phone and their awful technical support, I’ll keep looking. The typical scenario is a 55+ year old child buying the Jitterbug for their 80+ year old parent. The child, who is tech savvy and an experienced smartphone user, tries to activate the phone and setup for their parent. Many can never get it to activate and if they do it took days to do so because of the abysmal tech support. If the child was able to get the phone activated using it is too complicated for an older person to comprehend. Apparently it takes 5 different buttons to send a call. Also cellphone coverage is abysmal too. Many children with excellent Verizon coverage say their parents get zero to one bar signal in the same city sitting side by side with their parents. I can attest to Verizon’s excellent coverage as I have been a Verizon Customer for the past 13 years and have gotten coverage in many remote areas in the US including Alaska It has to be the phone not Verizon’s cell towers. I’ll note that many of these same commenters say their parents got excellent service with the Jitterbug Flip phone. I have a love hate relationship with Verizon. Excellent coverage but very expensive service
  6. I like your flip phone very much. I would like to recommend (for future phones) that you add a calendar feature. I would certainly like and expect other “seniors” would like it too. A calendar feature would be very helpful for everyone. Seems every time a group is trying to schedule future events, they pull out their smart phones. I do not have a smart phone so I would really love a calendar feature on my flip phone.
  7. I was told when I ordered the Jitterbug flip a week ago that my SIM card could be transferred to the Flip. Phone came today; I called to activate. Found out SIM card not transferable (Tracfone). So, phone can’t be activated and I have paid bill for the phone and ad-ones. Service people of no help and difficult to understand with their foreign accents.
  8. I purchased and activate a jitterbug smart on 2/10/2018. On 2/12/2018, I received my first monthly bill dated from 1/10/2018 to 2/10/2018. I am being charged for a month that I didn’t even have the service. I called customer Service (CS) and asked to speak to a manager. I was hung up on. A manager did call me back about 20 minutes later. They claim they bill a month in advance. However their billing indicates they bill in arrears. Before the manager called me back I made a second and third call to CS. They claim it is the billing and they couldn’t do anything about it. I asked if they could put through my complaint. They said they would. But I expect nothing from low level CS. Maybe a manager will do something. If this is your billing practice, then you are incorrectly charging all of your customers. It appears you’re preying on the elderly, thinking they will accept whatever you tell them. I don’t. Also you website will not let me see my full bill. I get the following error message whenever I click on View Statement. “We’re sorry, but there seems to be a problem displaying you bill. Please come back and try again later.” If you are billing a month in advance, like many other companies do, then your statements should have the dates in advance, not in arrears. Many other companies have the correct dates in advance, you should too.
  9. for my 83 yr old father who lives with us. I know there have been mixed reviews about the customer service, but we had an issues this month with the bill being $99 instead of the normal $32. I called GC and spoke with Nicole in Customer Service. In reviewing the bill, we realized that the charges were from an international number that had been reported to FTC for scam phone calls. My dad had answered a call from a number he did not know (a BIG no-no) and it was someone claiming that he had won $750 million from Publishers Clearing House. The charges for all the phone calls back and forth (until I found out what was happening and put an end to it) totaled $56. Nicole was able to confirm the scam phone number and requested from her supervisor that my dad’s account be credited with the full $56. In just a few minutes, she was able to get the credit, which showed up immediately on his account. She was so nice and helpful and we were so appreciative since my dad is on a fixed income. We had reported the scam phone number (876-508-9250) to the FTC and we had a case number which Nicole documented in my dad’s account. She also said that they have regular meetings to talk about things like this and her supervisor said it would definitely be on the next meeting agenda. Beware of that phone number – according to the FTC, they are targeting Veterans (my dad served in Korea). What a shame that there are evil people in the world trying to rip the elderly and vets off! Thank you to Nicole and GreatCall for helping through this!
    1. Thank you for sharing your story JD, I agree, it is absolutely shameful that there are scammers out there taking advantage of older adults and veterans. And kudos to GreatCall for making it right for your dad. Best,
      Amie

  10. I really loved my old Jitterbug flip phone and am disappointed that it is no longer supported The new Jitterbug flip phone is a total disaster. Aside from annoying noises all the time, it doesn’t pick up calls half the time, and at times, the phone takes five to ten seconds to respond to a key touch and won’t accept the next key touch until then. It is useless to me.
  11. The new Flip Phone is a step backward, the Jitterbug 5 had the perfect size and user friendly functions, dialing could be easily done with one hand AND the speaker stayed off until you told it to turn on. The Flip has the annoying feature of having the speaker on for frequently used functions, including the annoying dial tone when you open it up. Even more annoying are the “beeps” you get when sending text messages, there’s no way of turning that off except dialing the volume all the way down, an extra unnecessary step. After that you have to remember to turn the volume back up so that you can hear calls. What you are doing can clearly be seen on the screen so why are the beeps necessary? Here’s a radical idea: Engineer the phone so that you only have the speaker on when you want it on. Fixing the beeps and dial tone issues would make the phone better, but one would still be stuck with an unnecessarily big bulky phone. My fantasy is that a Jitterbug 5 type phone would make a comeback with new features like more symbol choices such as $, &, %, ” and be able to send a text message with a phone number that you have in hand and not have to go online and enter it into your phone book list to send.

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