Lively Flip and Lively Smart Review

Intuitive cell phones specifically designed to protect and empower seniors.

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Overall Rating:
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Lively phones were first launched in 2006 as one of the very first cell phones designed just for seniors. Lively's sole mission is to create simple phones with older adults' needs in mind. More recently, the Lively smartphone was launched, along with an integrated set of health and wellness services. Thanks to the company's focus on senior-friendly features, older adults have the freedom to run errands, travel, and stay active with a cell phone that fits their unique needs and comes equipped with medical alert technology for added safety.

For this review, we'll take you through our experience of buying, setting up, and testing Lively's latest phones, the Lively Flip and the Lively Smart. Both competitively priced and easy to operate, their extensive features—like hearing-aid compatibility and 24/7 emergency response—all cater to older eyes, ears, and minds. And the fact that Lively operates on the Verizon network,1 a carrier with notable dependability, is a big plus. My only complaints are the limited phone selection and overage charges with the Lively service plans. Let's take a closer look at both options to see which one might be the right fit for you.

What We Like About Lively

  • One of the originals: The first Lively phone, invented all the way back in 2006, was one of the first to be designed for seniors. As a pioneer in the industry with a long history, Lively knows exactly what actively aging individuals need and deserve when it comes to a cell phone.
  • Operates on the Verizon network: This is easily one of the greatest things about a Lively cell phone. Verizon is known for having the most dependable service around, and you get a great deal on the plans.
  • Optional Health & Safety Packages: This inclusion means your phone is so much more than just a phone. It can become a mobile medical alert device, armed with some useful apps to help you obtain medical services for a lot less.
  • No long-term contracts: You can cancel your service at any time without a fee, so you won't be locked in long term, and there's no upfront risk for trying out the product.
  • Brain games included: Lively has partnered with Posit Science to bring fun and challenging brain games to the Lively Smart and Lively Flip at no extra cost.

Things to Keep in Mind About Lively

  • Product and activation fees: Even though they can be discounted, Lively's cell phones come with product fees and a $35 activation fee, though this is pretty typical in the industry. The total for their phones, while still reasonable, can add up to be slightly above a competing device, like Consumer Cellular’s prices for the Link II.
  • Restocking fees: There may not be any contracts, but upon returning equipment to Lively directly, you may be charged a $10 restocking fee.

Purchasing Your Jitterbug Phone

Both phones are sold on the Lively website, over the phone, in a variety of big-box stores, and on Amazon. The flip phone and smartphone are very different from one another, so it's easy to compare and contrast the features. Basically, it all comes down to if you want more access to high-tech features and capabilities or not.

Did You Know: The Lively Flip and Lively Smart made our list of the best cell phones for older adults.

I wanted to know more about pricing directly from the source, so I called Lively to chat. I learned that monthly cell phone packages start as low as $14.99 a month for talk and text. Health & Safety Packages are also available for an additional monthly fee (more on those later). Even though there is a $35 activation fee, shipping is free and there are no long-term contracts. Everything is very transparent; simply go online, pick your phone, and add a service plan, accessories, and any Health & Safety Package to see what it would all add up to.

What I Learned from Lively's Customer Service

As for my customer service experience, I learned why Lively received the North America Frost & Sullivan Award for Customer Service Leadership.2 The voice on the other side of the phone, Martin in the Carlsbad call center, was exceptionally kind, patient, and forthcoming. Here's what I learned during my chat with Martin:

  • Lively's call centers: Lively's call centers are only U.S.-based and the company prides itself on being the top senior phone specialist. It's reassuring to know that a knowledgeable representative will be there to answer my call and my questions at any time.
  • Helping seniors navigate technology: Martin explained that while other companies are giving up on flip phones, Lively is embracing them, knowing that this is a vital accessory for active seniors. For smartphone customers, he says the team is also ready to provide additional guidance for those who are new to a touchscreen device. That extra level of support is a must-have in my book when it comes to working with seniors.
  • Getting set up with Lively: When I asked Martin about tips for setting up the Lively phones, he directed me to a page on Lively's website where there are step-by-step setup videos for both phones that include useful diagrams, so you can pause and review as you go. Lively phones come with a handy user guide with a detailed account of every single function and feature.
  • Product warranty: Lively offers an automatic, Standard Limited Warranty. This coverage means you get a one-year equipment warranty for cell phones, including batteries and accessories.

More About Lively's Senior-Friendly Phones

Lively Smart

Lively Smart

Lively Smart

Compatible with most bluetooth devices and hearing aids, this comprehensive smartphone really appeals to older ears and eyes. Lively has put a lot of thought into age-appropriate functions like a larger touchscreen, list-style menu, powerful speaker, and accurate voice typing (perfect for anti-texters). The 22-hour talk time and dual rear cameras complete with video and flash are great features for those who travel often or take countless snaps of their grandchildren. Fast mobile internet access, Google navigation, and a lineup of pre-installed, senior-geared apps round out why this phone is so useful and convenient.

If you go this route, we'd recommend adding on the basic Lively Health & Safety Package, which gives you access to Urgent Response services. Just press the Urgent Response button on your phone and you'll be connected to an emergency operator who's already familiar with your medical history and personal contacts. The Lively Smart costs $149.99 with a $35 activation fee, which is reasonable for a smartphone.

Minutes & Text Plans (Required):

  • Value Talk & Text: $14.99 per month (300 minutes + 10 cents per text)
  • Unlimited Talk & Text: $19.99 per month

Data Plans (Required):

  • 100MB: $2.49 per month
  • 500MB: $5 per month
  • 3GB: $10 per month
  • 5GB: $15 per month
  • Unlimited data: $35 per month

Lively Flip

Lively Flip

Lively Flip

This straightforward cell phone is universally praised for stylishly offering all the best features for seniors who may not be as comfortable with technology. With a bright screen, bigger textured buttons, powerful speaker, simplified menu, and hearing aid compatibility, the Lively Flip really does have it all, minus internet access. It also comes with a lower quality camera, but makes up for it by including a magnifier with a flashlight. Plus, the Lively Flip features built-in Amazon Alexa tech, so you can compose texts, make calls, and perform any other tasks on your phone with just your voice. For those with arthritis or other dexterity issues, this is an excellent feature. This model can also incorporate health and safety features like Urgent Response or Lively Rides, which connects you to a personal operator who can schedule a Lyft ride for you.

Minutes & Text Plans (Required):

  • Value Talk & Text: $14.99 a month (300 minutes + 10 cents per text)
  • Unlimited Talk & Text: $19.99 a month

Health & Safety Packages

Once you've chosen your phone and talk/text/data plan, you also have the option to add a Health & Safety Package. As mentioned earlier, Lively offers a lineup of optional features that elevate the phone's value. Some of these include life-saving necessities, such as 24/7 emergency monitoring and an app that alerts family and friends if you call Urgent Response.

Health & Safety Package Price Features included
Basic $19.99 per month Urgent Response
Preferred $24.99 per month Urgent Response, Urgent Care, Lively Link
Ultimate $34.99 per month Urgent Response, Urgent Care, Lively Link, Personal Operator

Keep in mind that the apps can all be accessed on the Lively Smart but some cannot be accessed on the Flip itself. If you have the Flip and subscribe to any of the services, you can access them on a computer or on a family member's smart device. We'll take a look at what each feature offers below.

  • Urgent Response – This service provides around-the-clock access to a Lively's team of professional Lively Urgent Response agents, who are certified by The International Academy of Emergency Dispatch (IAED—the same company that also certifies 911 operators) and are thoroughly educated on your personal health history.
  • Urgent Care – This app will save you a trip to the doctor's office, as it equips you with immediate access to health care professionals, board-certified doctors, and nurses who can provide medical advice or refill a prescription.
  • Lively Link – This app helps unite parties involved in the active aging process, keeping caretakers and children alike informed at all times. For instance, if the user calls Urgent Response, an instant update will be sent to all related Lively subscribers, providing them with pertinent details. It's nice to see yet another service that strengthens family communication.
  • Personal Operator – Only available with the highest-tier package, this concierge-like service can help ease the stresses of your day-to-day with the ability to contact your caregiver or call a Lyft ride to your next destination. On top of the monthly payment, it's important to note that there's a $0.99 charge for each operator request.
  • Lively Rides – A service offered through the Personal Operator, Lively Rides is a partnership between Lyft (the rideshare service) and Lively. Press “0” on your Lively phone to reach an operator who can schedule a ride for you.

Optional Accessories

In addition to the add-on Health & Safety Packages, Lively offers a variety of accessories to go with your phone. These include a car charger, travel wall charger, bluetooth headset, stereo earphones, phone cases, and more. All are priced below $30 and are easy to operate with the phone. The Lively Smart even has the option of a wallet folio case, that both protects your phone and stores your credit cards and cash, to keep you organized.

Money-Saving Tip: Lively's customer service team let us know that if you activate on the Lively website (instead of doing it over the phone), you will receive a $10 credit on your Lively account. Plus, Lively will send you a free car charger as a gift!

The Bottom Line

When you combine the thoughtful quality of the phones with the award-winning customer service and breadth of add ons, it really doesn't get much better than Lively. The company clearly values and provides senior-friendly phones that keep older adults entertained, connected, and protected. It's not only about safety, it's about fun, too.

Frequently Asked Questions About Lively Phones

  • How fairly priced is the Lively Smart compared to other smartphones?

    For the amount the phone is capable of, and the camera it includes, the Lively Smart is very reasonably priced compared to other smartphones. Even without any kind of a discount, the model is only around $150, while some other models on the market can be priced all the way up to $1,000.

  • How much memory comes with each Lively cell phone model?

    The Lively Flip has 16 GB built-in storage, while the Lively Smart comes with 32 GB of built-in storage and up to 256 GB of expandable storage.

  • Can I get fall detection on either of the phones?

    No, you can only sign up for automatic fall detection if you have purchased the Lively Mobile+ or the Lively Wearable 2.

  • Do the phones have actual Urgent Response buttons if I subscribe to that service?

    Yes, there is a clear, designated Urgent Response button on each of the phones, so you can push it quickly without any problems.

  • What if I crack my screen?

    Lively’s automatic warranty comes with one year of protection if the phone is faulty outside of your control. If you were to crack your screen or drop it in water, you would have to repair it on your own dime. However, for just $3.50 a month, you can purchase a Lively Protection Plan that provides coverage for screen damage, even if you caused it. The Lively Protection Plan covers accidents, battery replacement, normal wear and tear, and the original accessories that came with your phone.