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Jitterbug Phone Review

Last Updated On: February 11, 2019

Jitterbug 5 ReviewsThe Samsung Jitterbug line has been around a long time, and we know this phone well. The Senior List originally reviewed the Samsung Jitterbug J model back in 2010! We're happy to report that this phone has evolved and today it's better than ever. The Jitterbug line has been one of the most popular senior friendly phones on the market. There was a famous slogan penned by an ad agency back in 1968, we think fits pretty well with our Samsung Jitterbug 5 Review… Jitterbug 5 – You've come a long way baby!

Product Info: Jitterbug 5

  • Name: Jitterbug 5 Phone for Seniors
  • Offered by: GreatCall
  • Price: $99 MSRP
  • Monthly Rates: Start at $24.99 (includes 5Star Service)
  • Colors: Red, White or Blue
  • Carrier: Verizon
  • Contracts or Cancellation Fees: None
  • Features: Simple clam shell design, big, easy-to-see buttons, powerful speakerphone, 5Star service button, long lasting battery, Big Red (Verizon Network)

Product Review: GreatCall's Jitterbug 5

Samsung Jitterbug 5 Review

The Samsung Jitterbug 5 from GreatCall is one of the most recognizable senior friendly phones today. Nicole Lee at Cnet said of the Samsung Jitterbug 5's early cousins “The Samsung Jitterbug J is incredibly easy to use. It has a bright display, large font size, a roomy keypad with big buttons, and even a dial tone to make it similar to a landline telephone“. We love the large buttons, and the fact that it's easy to recognize the emergency button (in red) which alerts GreatCall operators to an inquiry or an emergency.

Staff here at The Senior List have personally tested out “5Star” services at GreatCall's call center. These services include dispatching emergency services, connecting the user to a registered nurse, and even conferencing in an emergency contact like a son or daughter. The operators are trained, and they're some of the most professional we've dealt with. Another thing that we love is their contract… You know why? There isn't one! If you've followed our medical alert system reviews, you probably know we don't like the idea of folks entering into long-term service contracts that they are locked into. If you're ever in doubt, make sure you get this assurance in writing. With GreatCall's Jitterbug you don't have to.

How Does 5Star Service Work?

Jitterbug 5 Review - 5 Star Service

The Bottom Line:

If you're looking for a senior friendly cell phone the Samsung Jitterbug 5 from GreatCall is a can't miss. This isn't just a cell phone though, it's a cross between a phone and a medical alert system. For this reason, The Senior List highly recommends this product. The Jitterbug 5 remains our top choice in mobile phones for seniors because of it's versatility, it's value for money, and for top shelf service from GreatCall staff.

Samsung Jitterbug 5 Review

If you've used the Jitterbug 5 or know someone who has, please give us your opinion in the comment section below!

29 Comments

  1. This is assumptive selling at its worst. It’s called taking advantage of your target market – senior citizens. Pricing is a deep secret when you call and try to get a simple answer to pricing and plans. There is a non-refundable set-up fee of $43.48 with tax (didn’t see that in the ads!) . The $14.99 plan plus 300 texts for $3.00 costs $23.61. The phone is not simple and the help is not good. There are forms all over to sign up for 5* health and safety but you can’t just buy it. You have to sign up for a bigger package. the minimum is $24.99 plus all the tax and less minutes than the $14.99 plan.. If you call they can’t give you numbers unless you give them your entire life history and kids. We just needed an emergency phone for my husband – I have an iPhone – and the screen and format seemed like it would be easier for him than a flip phone. He doesn’t use the phone very much at all – uses my iPhone with help if he has to. We own this piece of junk. He cannot use it, I have had a terrible time getting it set up for his needs and I set up a very complicated iPhone for myself. I was going to upgrade my iPhone and give him my old one with a minutes plan. Wish I had done that because now we are stuck with this. Two very unsatisfied senior customers.

  2. I live in the caribbean & purchase the jitterbug 3 touch phone via Amazon, i would like to know if i got the phone unlocked if it can be use in my country or if i can call greatcall toll free to assist me in having it activate if it can work. Please help. i really like the phone.

  3. My mother is over 80 years old and is blind. She has trouble with complicated technology such as cell phones requiring that she navigate several menus; she also can neither see nor use the buttons on most cell phones. After considerable research, I bought her a Jitterbug cell phone and added the 5-Star service; this is a private service that responds to an emergency when someone presses the dedicated red button on the phone.

    This phone has been a disaster from the beginning.

    First of all, although I asked that it be activated when I ordered it, it arrived NOT activated. It took me three days on Customer Support to get it activated.

    Second, despite what I was told on the phone, the speakerphone could NOT be made into the default. Since my mother is too blind to see the screen or any message on it, I needed the phone to be in speakerphone mode every time it was opened. As it turned out, the Jitterbug can NOT be put into speakerphone mode by default.

    Third, if the phone is not answered within three or four rings, it rolls over to voicemail. I challenge you to find a single senior who can answer any phone within three rings. I don’t know that I could, and mine is in my pocket. The next time someone opens the Jitterbug phone, it displays an alert: You have a missed call, redial yes or no?” IF YOU DO NOT DISMISS THIS ALERT SCREEN, YOU CANNOT USE THE PHONE. And the only way to dismiss the screen is to punch the No button. Which blind people cannot see. The No button is next to the on/off button, which means that even blind people with sensitive touch might mistakenly turn their phones OFF, instead of dismissing the screen. Needless to say, the fact that a blind person cannot even see the screen, let alone turn it off, renders the phone useless until a sighted person can assist. I contacted Customer Support about this issue, was routed to Tech Support, and was told that if we closed the phone, waited a few minutes, and re-opened the phone, the alert would be automatically dismissed. This did not happen consistently. I tested this solution several times, sometimes waiting as long as five minutes, and only about half the time did it work. Again, for a blind person who cannot see the alert or dismiss it, this is a show-stopper.

    Fourth, and most dangerous, the 5-Star service DOES NOT WORK as it needs to. My mother accidentally pushed the 5-Star service button, which is a dedicated button. I received a robo-call from 5-Star, which rang once and then went IMMEDIATELY to voicemail, making it impossible to answer. The call alerted me to the fact that my mother had hit the emergency button. I called my mother, who never heard the phone ring. 5-Star followed up, per protocol, by returning my mother’s call and asking for confirmation. And this, folks, is where the trouble really begins:

    5-Star could not hear us.

    Several times, the 5-Star service called my mother’s phone. I answered it each time. At no time could the service hear us, although anyone else who called the phone could hear me just fine. Somehow, any response to 5-Star was blocked. The result, per 5-Star’s protocol, was to send an emergency response team when they did not get a cancellation. Despite calling 5-Star personally (they could not hear me), and responding to their direct calls to the phone, we could not prevent FOUR emergency response teams showing up at my mom’s house. While I appreciate their zeal, and I appreciate that 5-Star followed through on their promise, I have to say that this was a collossal and frustrating waste of our time and that of the emergency personnel.

    I called GreatCall to cancel the service and get my money back. I was informed that the 30-day money back guarantee period had passed. I told the service agents, and the tech support agents, that this was not a matter of me changing my mind, THIS WAS DEFECTIVE TECHNOLOGY. The alert message renders it useless to the blind, and the 5-Star button apparently mutes the microphone. This is dangerously flawed technology, and I wanted my money back.

    I didn’t get it. My service was cancelled. I still get to pay the bill for however many calls to and from 5-Star were made.

    Be warned, consumers. If you are buying this phone for a senior, or worse, for a blind person, there are serious and dangerous flaws in its design and function. Unless you are certain that the person who will be using this phone can see the screen and understand the directions, can differentiate by touch between one button and the one next to it, and will never press the 5-Star service button by accident, DO NOT BUY THIS PHONE.

    This phone is not suitable for elderly or blind persons.

  4. I’m confused about the GPS tracking. Some places state that there is no GPS tracking, however, when explaining how 5* works, it says uses GPS tracking technology. Worried about my father with dementia in a case where he might not know where he is or how to call for help. Not at this point yet, but you never know. He always has the phone in his pocket. In a scary situation would police be able to track this phone?

  5. I have a question:
    This phone works on the telephone system in Brazil?
    Brazilian system is GSM (3D, 4G & LTE)
    Thank you.

  6. I am on my 3rd day of trying to get my Moms Jitterbug phone activated. The technical support team keeps doing the same obviously wrong thing over and over..
    I talked with them again over the lunch hour and he said that if it was not activated to call them at any time. Apparently he is not aware they are not available half of the time. I will try yet again tomorrow at their convenience. I am glad they were able to charge my credit card without any glitches!!!

  7. I live in the Caribbean…. Can I purchase one of these units and will it work on our local networks… At least to receive and make calls? Our local networks run LTE and 3G/4G

  8. I purchased a Jitterbug for my mother today and I haven’t been able to register it or activate it online. I get a sorry that screen is not available message. So I called customer service and hung up after 10 minutes on hold. I’ll try again tomorrow and if i face the same problems with the web site and customer service, I’ll return it assuming the company is going out of business.

  9. I’m looking for a phone with voice activated calling for a blind person. Can this phone do that, say “call Bob”? Does it have voice activated text messaging?

  10. Can this phone block calls? I would like to get my mother a phone that would only receive calls from known contacts so that she does not get confused by slick telemarketers

    1. Hi Lulu! You’d really want to check with Greatcall Support for that. You can reach their Jitterbug page by clicking here. Keep in mind that blocking all numbers could restrict some of her friends from calling her, as well as emergency personnel and/or caregiving helpers. I think I’d see how it goes without restrictions and having frequent reminder discussions before altering the phone’s inbound/outbound capabilities. Just my opinion – Best! A

    2. Hi Lulu – It depends on which Jitterbug phone your mom has.
      – Jitterbug5 flip phones do not have this option available.
      – The Jitterbug Touch3 smartphone has the option be operated using either our “Easy to use Jitterbug home screen theme” or the standard “Advanced Android home screen theme.” The Jitterbug Touch3 smartphone does have this option available, but only through the Advanced Android home screen settings. The easy to use Jitterbug home screen theme will not have access to this setting. The Customer can switch from the Easy to use JB home screen to the Android home screen to access the call blocking feature and then switch back to the easy to use JB home screen theme for everyday use of the phone.
      If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact customer service at: 1-800-733-6632 any day of the week between 5am and 9pm PST.

  11. Jitterbug 5 design flaw. Who would design a phone that places the 5star emergency button directly above the YES button. So any person with a slight shake in had can intend to push YES but accidentally hit 5Star which calls 911. Stupid Stupid design and the person who or team who did the design should certainly not be called professionals.

    1. While it may not be ideal, it does NOT call 911 immediately. It connects you with a 5Star operator who you can simply say – oops I didn’t mean to do that.

  12. I am looking for an android phone that is simple to use and that has gps tracking ability so that I can find this phone no matter where it is by using my Samsung Galaxy with the 360 gps locator app. I have that ability now but the android phone that I need to track and locate is too complicated for my senior family member. I need an android or some other phone that will ping off the same satellite as my 4G phone. Please advise.

    1. I need a cell phone that will store 100 telephone contacts with the contacts telephone number, name and address. Is this possible on the Jitterbug5? THANKS. John

      1. Hi John, We spoke to the folks at GreatCall. The answer is that the GreatCall Touch3 does allow you to have name, address and phone in the contacts area. The Jitterbug 5 only has room for name and phone number. Hope that helps- A

    2. I bought a Smart Bracelet Excelvan to track my steps…how do I charge it and use it with the Jitterbug 5? Or, is it incompatible…I really just want to track my steps (count)

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