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With each year, it feels as though cell phones get more and more advanced, packing in features like touch screens, facial recognition, and cameras that can put a DSLR to shame. While I appreciate having the power of a computer in my pocket, I recognize that not everyone needs this. That’s where Lively comes in.
Since 2005, Lively has been bridging the gap between cell phones and older adults. In this review, I’ll be taking a closer look at one of its basic models, the Jitterbug Flip2. This phone, while simplistic in design, packs in some advanced care features that make it perfect for the older set.
In this Jitterbug Flip2 review, we’ll walk through the purchase and setup process as well as review each of the phone’s features.
Made for older adults: From its streamlined design to the addition of medical alert features, the Jitterbug Flip2 is an ideal phone for those seeking simplicity.
Affordable plans: The Jitterbug Flip2 costs $99.99, and cellular plans with unlimited talk and text start at $19.99 per month.
Verizon-powered network: Lively, the provider of the Jitterbug Flip2, is powered by Verizon’s wireless network, which gave us exceptional call quality. Anywhere I traveled, I received flawless service with my calls and messages.
Medical alert features: For an extra $20 per month, I got access to Lively’s Urgent Response feature, which turned my Jitterbug Flip2 into a medical alert system, complete with 24/7 professional monitoring.
Voice commands: With its built-in Alexa functionality, my Jitterbug Flip2 could make calls, write texts, and look up information solely using my voice.
Jitterbug Flip2 Cons
No family plans: Currently, Lively does not offer shared plans for its cell service, meaning that if I wanted to purchase additional devices, I would have to also purchase a separate plan, something that could be a drawback for families and couples.
No fall detection: While the Flip2 supported urgent response features, it did not have any type of automatic fall detection.
No internet browsing: While simple phones like the Iris Flip support web browsing and apps, the Flip2 does not.
The Jitterbug Flip can be purchased over the phone, online, or in physical stores, such as Best Buy or Target. I bought my device directly from Lively’s website.
My Jitterbug Flip2 ended up costing me $99.99 for the device, plus the monthly costs of my plan. There was also a one-time fee of $25 for activating the device online. Activating the device over the phone costs $35.
Jitterbug Flip2 Plans
Unlike most phones, the Jitterbug Flip2 must be used on a plan from Lively. Luckily, since Lively uses Verizon’s cellular network, the majority of Americans will fall into its service area.
For the Jitterbug Flip2, Lively offers three plans, ranging from $19.99 to $49.99 per month. While all of these plans include unlimited talk and text, they differ in terms of safety features.
Luckily, even with its Alexa voice commands, the Flip2 did not require any type of data plan.
Here is an overview of each feature of Lively’s plans.
In the event of any emergency — medical or otherwise — the Urgent Response feature can come in handy. By pressing the dedicated button on the top of my Flip2’s screen, I was immediately connected to an agent certified by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED) who could trace my location and send help if necessary.
Essentially, this gave my phone the capabilities of a medical alert system.
While younger generations have long been familiar with the ride-sharing app Lyft, many older adults have yet to catch on. With Lively Rides, Jitterbug Flip2 users can bypass the app altogether by calling an operator who will arrange a ride. The cost of these Lyft rides will be added to your monthly bill from Lively.
The Lively Link app is a great way for caregivers to keep tabs on their loved ones. Using this app on his smartphone, my partner received notifications each time I pressed my Urgent Response button. He could also check on my location and the battery level of my Flip2.
With the Care Advocate service, Jitterbug Flip2 users can be connected with what Lively calls Care Advocates. Personally, from my experience, I’d call them “senior care coaches.”
These professionals will conduct an initial screening and help the user create a care plan encompassing health, financial planning, and personal care.
One of my favorite wellness features, Nurse On-Call allowed me to speak directly with registered nurses and doctors who provided me with medical advice and could even prescribe common medications over the phone. I found this feature to be much more useful than the Care Advocates, and it’s available 24/7.
I think that Nurse On-Call is a great way for seniors to answer non-emergency medical questions in a prompt manner. It definitely beats waiting in line for Urgent Care or waiting several weeks for a primary care visit.
Using My Jitterbug Flip2
When I powered up my Jitterbug Flip2, I almost felt like I’d gone through a time warp. Unlike my smartphone, which constantly barrages me with email and social media notifications, the Jitterbug Flip2 is comparably modest. The home screen presented me with the time, date, and a colorful background — nothing more. Gradually, however, I came to see the beauty of this simplicity. Especially for those of us looking for a phone rather than a pocket-sized computer, the Jitterbug Flip2 is just what the doctor ordered.
Jitterbug Flip2 Call Quality
In the many test calls I made, I was impressed by the clarity and volume of the audio, which could be made even louder by using the speakerphone option. Considering how many older adults suffer from hearing loss, a phone’s audio quality should be top-notch, and the Jitterbug Flip2 does not disappoint. The Flip2 is also rated M4/T4 in terms of hearing aid compatibility.
Jitterbug Flip2 Messaging
When it came to sending text messages, I was pleased with both the size of the buttons and their spacing, which made it a breeze to accurately type out letters. Additionally, everything on my Flip2’s screen was rendered in a large, 32-point font, making it easy to read. The phone’s buttons are also backlit, making it possible to type in a setting with either low or no light.
Jitterbug Flip2 Rear Camera
The Jitterbug Flip2’s rear camera is nothing to write home about. While it’s rated at 8 MP, the photos I took were not of a high enough resolution to warrant printing or sharing online. Still, the camera does the job, and for practical purposes, such as photographing a recipe, it certainly comes in handy.
Final Thoughts on the Jitterbug Flip2
Overall, I really came to appreciate my Jitterbug Flip2. While simple, each of its features worked flawlessly, and it even had some unexpected safety features not seen on more advanced phones. Sure, if you’re looking for a phone with which to stream movies and take high-definition photos, then the Jitterbug Flip2 is likely not for you, although one of Lively’s other models, the Jitterbug Smart4 might be what you’re looking for. But if you need a simple phone that’s easy to use, then look no further than the Jitterbug Flip2.
To learn more about our favorite phones and plans for seniors, be sure to check out our helpful guides:
The Jitterbug Flip2 does not have an internet browser or app store; however, its Alexa functionality allows you to ask questions and receive answers from the internet. For example, you can ask it to tell you the weather, and you’ll receive an accurate response.
Lively’s plans cost as little as $19.99 per month for unlimited talk and text.
Ryan has years of experience researching and testing products that help people successfully age in place. After years of working for various publications such as Boston Magazine and The Believer, he has found his home at The Senior List, writing about all things related to caregiving and senior healthcare.