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As medical alert systems become more advanced, we’ve noticed the growing popularity of discreet devices. Medical alert systems like the Kanega Watch put urgent-response features in digital smartwatches, and many people prefer to wear a device that doesn’t look like it belongs in a hospital. Enter the MGMini Lite.
Made by Medical Guardian, the MGMini Lite is a new mobile medical alert system worn around the wrist. Discreet, small, and with a built-in GPS, the MGMini Lite is made for active users who need protection on the go. But how well does it perform?
In this MGMini Lite review, we’ll take a closer look at this new model from Medical Guardian, and test its performance at home, on the go, and even in the shower. We’ll also compare the system to other devices from Medical Guardian.
Pro Tip: Medical Guardian may be one of our favorite companies, but it’s far from the most affordable. To learn more, read our guide to the best medical alert systems.
Pros and Cons of MGMini Lite
MGMini Lite Pros
Simple controls: Unlike medical alert watches, which often contain many features, the MGMini Lite does not have touch screens, menus, or various controls. That makes it easy to use.
Accurate fall detection: It’s rare for a medical alert bracelet to have fall detection, and the MGMini Lite’s fall detection worked exceptionally well.
Quick response times: As with other Medical Guardian devices, the MGMini Lite gave us quick access to response agents. On average, we waited 10 seconds for someone to answer our calls.
Caregiver portal: With the purchase of the MGMini Lite, you’ll get free access to the MyGuardian app, which allows loved ones to track the device’s location and receive notifications when the user calls for help.
IP67 water-resistance: The MGMini Lite can be worn in the shower without getting damaged.
MGMini Lite Cons
Relatively short battery life: In our tests, the MGMini Lite lasted 36 hours on a single charge, which is shorter than Medical Guardian’s prior device, the Mini Guardian.
Higher price: Systems like the Lively Mobile Plus cost only $25 per month, but the MGMini Lite will run you $44.95. Fall detection also costs an extra $10 per month.
What Is the MGMini Lite?
The MGMini Lite is a mobile medical alert system. Unlike other mobile medical alert systems, however, the MGMini Lite is worn as a bracelet rather than a necklace. That said, it works nearly identically to other mobile medical alert systems.
The MGMini Lite features a speakerphone and a call button. When you press the call button, the MGMini Lite calls the Medical Guardian monitoring center. A trained response agent will coordinate a response, whether it’s contacting first responders or your loved ones.
The MGMini Lite also features a built-in GPS, which allows response agents to pinpoint your exact location and send help to the right place. Through the MyGuardian app, your loved ones can also keep track of your location.
In most ways, the MGMini Lite works exactly like the Mini Guardian (another model from Medical Guardian). The main difference is how it is worn; the MGMini Lite is worn as a medical alert bracelet.
Upon receiving my MGMini Lite system, I opened the box and found the following:
One MGMini Lite device, with an attached wristband
One charging cradle
One instruction manual
The first step to using my MGMini Lite was to charge it by placing it in the charging cradle. Once placed in the cradle, the device said, “charging,” and glowed red. After roughly two hours, the red light turned to blue, indicating my device was fully charged.
Once it was charged, I logged in to the MyGuardian app to activate my account. I also added a list of emergency contacts. That step is important, since it allows the Medical Guardian operators — should you press your help button — to contact family members instead of EMTs in a nonemergency event.
I chose to activate my MGMini Lite online, but the entire process can also be completed over the phone.
Testing My MGMini Lite
Once the MGMini Lite was live and charged, I began running tests. My first test involved pressing the device’s help button in my home. When I pressed the button, I received an immediate response from a virtual operator who confirmed that I intended to place a call. After confirming, the virtual operator connected my call to a live operator. The whole process took roughly 15 seconds.
FYI: Medical Guardian systems first connect you to a virtual operator, which helps cut down on false alarms from erroneously pressing the button.
My next test was to leave my apartment and run a similar test. My call was again answered in a matter of seconds, but this time I asked the operator to confirm my location. She was able to do so through both coordinates and cross streets, demonstrating the accuracy of my MGMini Lite’s GPS.
There’s no need for location tracking with a home medical alert system, since you’ll likely be making the emergency call from your home. When using a medical alert system with GPS, however, it’s essential for the GPS to be accurate so first responders can pinpoint your location and provide help if you place a distress call outside your home. Because the MGMini Lite runs on Verizon’s 4G LTE network, it can go with you almost anywhere in the United States and function normally.
One part of the MGMini Lite that underwhelmed me, however, was its battery life. In my tests, the device charged completely in only two hours, but it lasted for only 36 hours on a single charge. It’s long enough to make it through the day, but other medical alert systems from Medical Guardian — such as the Mini Guardian — have much longer battery lives.
Another impressive feature of the MGMini Lite is its fall detection. Many other medical alerts require additional pendants for fall detection, but the MGMini Lite has the feature built in.
In my tests of simulated falls, the MGMini Lite accurately detected 80 percent of falls and automatically placed calls to the Medical Guardian monitoring center. That’s slightly less accurate than the 90 percent accuracy of the Mini Guardian, but it’s still reliable.
If the device detects a fall and you don’t need to contact the monitoring center — which happened several times when I dropped my unit on the ground — you can prevent a call from being placed by holding down the call button.
Fall detection with the MGMini Lite costs an additional $10 per month, but I think it’s a worthwhile feature.
As with other Medical Guardian devices, the MGMini Lite comes with access to the MyGuardian portal. Accessible through either a computer or smartphone app, MyGuardian allows loved ones to keep track of an MGMini Lite device.
Viewing a device’s location, battery life, and step counts.
“Ringing” the device — that is, triggering a sound that helps you find a misplaced device.
Managing payments and extra features, such as fall detection, protection plans, and mobile alerts.
MGMini Lite Pricing
Medical Guardian costs tend to be middle of the road compared to other medical alert devices. The company’s systems start at $29.99 per month, but the MGMini Lite comes at a higher cost. My MGMini Lite cost $54.95 per month, including fall detection. Without the extra feature, the system would have cost $44.95 per month.
Medical Guardian leases its systems as opposed to making you purchase them, so the price includes the device and monitoring. When I finished using my MGMini Lite, I canceled my service, returned my device, and stopped making the monthly payments.
Medical Guardian also offers discounts for quarterly or annual payments. A yearly MGMini Lite subscription, for example, costs $494.45, which comes out to $41.20 per month.
In addition to Medical Guardian’s website, MGMini Lite can also be purchased at Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart.
MGMini Lite vs. Life Alert
When it comes to mobile medical alerts, both the MGMini Lite and Life Alert are popular options. Both provide quick access to help at home or on the go, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end.
The MGMini Lite is slightly more affordable at $44.95 per month ($54.95 with fall detection) and with no long-term contract required. Life Alert’s mobile system costs $69.95 per month. You’ll also be locked into a three-year contract.
Life Alert also doesn’t offer fall detection or a caregiver portal that allows loved ones to keep track of the device. The GPS on Life Alert’s mobile unit works, but only the monitoring agents can access a device’s location.
The one advantage of Life Alert’s mobile unit is its disposable battery, which can last for years. (Thus far in my tests, it has lasted one year and seven months without needing to be changed.) The MGMini Lite battery, however, lasts for roughly 36 hours, after which you’ll need to recharge it.
The MGMini Lite is one of the best mobile medical alert systems. Despite its light weight and small size, it packs in caregiver tracking, GPS, and fall detection. Backed by Medical Guardian professional monitoring, the watch connected us with reliable help in each of our test calls.
I’d recommend MGMini Lite if you’re looking for:
Simple controls: Unlike smartwatches, the MGMini Lite has minimal controls, a design choice that makes it easy for anyone to use.
Small size: The MGMini Lite is 1.5 inches in length and it weighs 0.7 ounces, making it incredibly compact and easy to carry.
GPS tracking: GPS location tracking is essential with a mobile medical alert device, and the MGMini Lite delivers accurate location reporting to both monitoring agents and people using the MyGuardian app.
Reliable monitoring: Medical Guardian monitoring personnel responded to each of my calls within an average of eight seconds, one of the quickest response times I’ve seen from any medical alert company.
I wouldn’t recommend MGMini Lite if you want:
Low monthly costs: MGMini Lite starts at $44.95 per month, and the price increases to $54.95 per month if you get fall detection. For more affordable options, check out my favorite cheap medical alert systems.
In our tests, the MGMini Lite lasted 36 hours on a single charge. Charging the device took roughly two hours.
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.