If you're an older adult who is a little intimidated by the latest and greatest smartphones, the Lively Flip may be for you. Lively (previously known as GreatCall) is known for making devices full of senior-friendly features without being overly complicated. It's the best of both worlds!
I took the Lively Flip for a spin and found the technology robust enough to keep me connected to my loved ones and emergency services if needed. Lively's monthly service plans were surprisingly affordable, the Flip was easy to set up, and customer service was friendly and helpful. One drawback to the Lively Flip was that I couldn't access the internet on it, but that won't be a problem if going online via cell phone isn't your cup of tea. Below, I'll share more personal insights on the Lively Flip and how it stacks up to similar phones.
If you're interested in purchasing a Lively Flip, you have a few options: online, in-store, or over the phone. I appreciate that Lively offers several purchasing options because, let's face it, sometimes you just want to speak with a human! Especially when buying a valuable item like a cell phone. If you want to get your Lively Flip at a brick-and-mortar store, Best Buy, Rite Aid, and Walgreens all carry the senior-friendly phone. Lively even has a section on its website where you can enter your ZIP code, and it'll show you where the closest store is. Pretty convenient, if you ask me!
I ordered my Lively Flip online. When browsing the Lively website, I noticed the mention of an activation fee, but I had trouble finding out how much it is. To clarify, I reached out to customer service, and they quickly responded, letting me know the activation fee is $35 and would be charged on my first monthly bill. If you're like me, you'll appreciate knowing how much it's going to cost you when all is said and done. I'm not a fan of surprise fees! It ended up costing me $108.49. The phone was $99.99 and $8.50 for tax; shipping was free. The buying process was quick and painless — all I had to do was enter my payment information and address.
FYI: Looking for a smartphone? Lively makes a senior-friendly smartphone as well. Check out our full Lively review to learn more.
When signing up, I had the choice of the Value Talk & Text plan or the Unlimited Talk & Text plan. Value Talk & Text is $14.99 a month, while Unlimited Talk & Text is $19.99 a month. (I'll get into the details of the plans below!)
Some providers we've reviewed, like Consumer Cellular, bump you up to the next tier when you go over your minutes. Lively doesn't do that. It charges 35 cents for each minute over your limit, so you'll want to select the best plan for you to avoid high overage fees.
Lively also offers Health & Safety packages. These are optional and cost $19.99 to $34.99 per month (more on those later).
The little red phone showed up at my door in a box with the following items:
Since many older adults experience a change in vision as they age,1 I was happy to see that the user guide was printed in nice big font. The first step in the instructions was to activate the Lively Flip. The activation guide gave me two options for this: online or by phone. I wanted to activate my phone online, but when I navigated to the activation page on the Lively website, I was given an activation phone number to call. So, I'll save you some time: Activate your Lively Flip by calling the number listed in the activation guide.
I used my iPhone to make the call. You'll need a working phone on hand to place this activation call, since your Lively Flip won't be up and running quite yet. You can borrow a friend's or family member's phone for this! The live agent set up my account and activated the phone.
Pro Tip: If you're transferring your old number to your new Lively Flip, you'll follow special activation instructions. They are clearly outlined in the activation guide.
Next, I flipped open the Lively Flip and pressed the on/off button, which is clearly located in the top right corner of the keypad. The phone vibrated and the screen lit up, so I knew it was running. On the similar Alcatel Go Flip 3 from T-Mobile, which is featured on our list of the best flip phones for seniors, the power button is hidden. Thankfully, the Lively Flip button is not that way. The power button is obviously labeled, ideal for seniors who may be new to cell phone technology.
I read the fine print and learned that if anything were to go wrong with my Lively Flip, I was covered by a one-year limited warranty. If the Lively Flip stops working because of a manufacturing defect, Lively will repair it for free. Keep in mind that this doesn't cover lost phones or damage from an accident. One year may seem short, but this warranty is pretty standard across the cell phone industry.
Unlike Verizon plans we've reviewed, Lively doesn't lock you into a contract. You can cancel your service or change your plan anytime. I'm always in favor of no long-term contracts. They give you flexibility and allow you to avoid dreaded cancellation fees. If you decide to cancel your Lively service, you will be responsible for paying the remainder of the month, as Lively doesn't prorate your bill or charge for partial months of service.
When it comes to talk and text packages, Lively keeps pricing simple. It offers two plans: Value Talk & Text and Unlimited Talk & Text. If you have a landline at home and will only be using the Lively Flip when you're out of the house and don't plan on texting, the Value Talk & Text plan may work just fine. It gives you 300 minutes, and you'll pay 10 cents for every text message you send and receive. If you're planning to use your cell phone as your main phone line, I recommend the Unlimited Talk & Text plan. For just $5 more per month, you won't have to worry about overage charges.
Did You Know: The Lively Flip made our list of the best cell phones for seniors, thanks to its simple design and useful features.
Lively's Unlimited Talk & Text plan is one of the more affordable unlimited plans we've seen. For example, Snapfon offers an unlimited talk and text plan for $25 per month. Consumer Cellular's price is comparable at $20 per month for unlimited minutes, but it doesn't include unlimited text messages.
|Value Talk & Text||300||$0.10 each||$14.99 per month|
|Unlimited Talk & Text||Unlimited||Unlimited||$19.99 per month|
One of the first things I noticed about the cherry-red flip phone (which also comes in dark gray) was that it's smaller and lighter than my iPhone. So, if you're looking for a phone that's less of a hassle to carry around, the Lively Flip checks that box. It's simple in design, great for older adults who want a no-frills phone, but still has convenient features that I found easy to use.
The buttons on the Lively Flip are easy to see and clearly labeled. No more pressing random buttons and hoping you pick the right one! The list-based menu is pretty straightforward, and the screen is large and bright. Though the text on the screen is already quite big, I found an optional “extra large” setting in case you want to really boost the visibility. Another nifty feature, ideal for those with vision loss, is the “read out” setting, which will read menu options and text messages out loud to you. I tested it and could hear everything loud and clear.
Calling my husband from the Lively Flip was a breeze. I chose to dial his number, but you can save contacts in the Lively Flip if you have trouble remembering everyone's phone number like I do! That way, you'll have all your important names and numbers stored for when you need them.
The Lively Flip has a number of features that stand out when you're making a call:
The 8-megapixel camera is nothing to rave about, but it is sufficient if you just want to take and send photos of things around the house. I took a photo of my flowers and my dog, Bella, so you can get a better idea of the photo quality.
If selfies are your thing, you can take them with the Lively Flip's front-facing camera. The rear camera is also equipped with autofocus and a flash. Though it isn't top-notch, the camera is much better than what you'll find on the Link II from Consumer Cellular, which lacks a flash and front-facing camera.
A new feature of the Lively Flip is Amazon Alexa. With this feature, you can use your voice to place a call and send text messages. I sent a text to my friend Katie using this feature. I flipped the phone open and said, “Alexa, text Katie Reed.” (Make sure you have the contact saved in your phone first!) Then, I spoke the text I wanted to send to her: “Do you want to go to lunch tomorrow?” Alexa typed the message for me. I looked it over to make sure it was correct before pressing “OK” to send it.
Pro Tip: Your phone must be flipped open to use the Alexa feature. I tried activating Alexa with my voice when the phone was closed and quickly realized it wouldn't work.
When I asked, Alexa also told me my phone's battery level, how many minutes and text messages I had left for the month, and what my phone number was (we all forget sometimes). For older adults with dexterity or vision issues, this Alexa feature is quite valuable. Also, for a senior who is dipping their toes in technology for the first time, speaking to the Lively Flip may be easier than navigating the screens and pressing buttons.
Lively not only has senior-friendly phones, but also offers a variety of Health & Safety features to keep users safe. These lifesaving features, like the Urgent Response button, really up the value of the phone. Though they will cost you a bit more per month, they may be worth considering if you live alone or your health is not what it used to be. We take a closer look at these features below.
|Health & Safety package||Included services||Price|
Urgent Response: This feature is similar to a medical alert device. I tested out the red Urgent Response button at the bottom of my Lively Flip, and I was connected to an agent within 12 seconds. Impressive! In a real emergency, the Urgent Response agents can confirm your location and assess your situation. Whether you're in need of medical assistance or locked out of your home, they can send the appropriate help.
Urgent Care: If you could use 24/7 access to a doctor or nurse, Urgent Care offers you exactly that. It's a valuable feature for older adults who want to request medication refills over the phone, get advice on symptoms, and avoid insurance or copays.
Lively Link: Your loved ones can gain peace of mind with Lively Link. They're able to view your emergency alerts, location, and device status using the Lively Link mobile app.
Personal Operator: The Personal Operator feature can search numbers, make calls for you, give you driving directions, and more. When I tested out this feature, I was quickly connected to a friendly operator who was willing to assist me with whatever I needed. Note that each operator request costs 99 cents.
Lively Rides: Lively has partnered with Lyft to provide seniors with convenient and affordable transportation. By calling the Personal Operator, you can request a ride to wherever you want. This can be a game-changer for seniors who don't drive.
Interested in upgrading your Lively Flip? Lively offers a few accessories.
|Product||What it does||Price|
|Car charger||Enables you to charge the Lively Flip in the car||$24.99|
|Bluetooth headset||Wirelessly streams sound from your Lively Flip directly into your ear||$29.99|
|Stereo earphones||Allows you to listen to the radio and take calls from your Lively Flip with the touch of a button||$24.99|
If the phone is used continuously, the battery will last 12 hours. On standby, it can go several days without being charged.
Yes, the Lively Flip has an 8-megapixel rear camera with autofocus and flash. The front-facing camera is 5 megapixels.
The Lively Flip is powered by Verizon.
It costs $35 to activate the Lively Flip. This one-time activation fee will be added to your first monthly bill.