Jitterbug Flip2 and Jitterbug Smart3 Cell Phone Review
Intuitive cell phones specifically designed to protect and empower seniors.
Intuitive cell phones specifically designed to protect and empower seniors.
Lively phones launched in 2006 as one of the very first cell phones designed just for seniors. The company’s mission is to create simple phones with older adults’ needs in mind. More recently, Lively launched the Jitterbug smartphone, along with an integrated set of health and safety 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.
In this review, I’ll take you through my experience of buying, setting up, and testing Lively’s latest phones, the Jitterbug Smart3 and Jitterbug Flip2. 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. Read on to learn more about my experience with Lively.
FYI: Need help finding the perfect phone for you? Read our tips on choosing the right cell phone for seniors.
Both Jitterbug phones are sold on the Lively website, over the phone, in various 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 whether you want access to high-tech features and capabilities. Plus, both phones made our best cell phones for older adults list, so you really can’t go wrong either way.
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 at $19.99 a month for unlimited talk and text. Health and safety features are also available with each plan. Despite a $35 activation fee, shipping is free, and no long-term contracts are required. Everything is very clear: You simply go online, select your phone, and then add a service plan and accessories to see how much it will cost.
As for my customer service experience, I learned why Lively received the North America Frost & Sullivan Award for Customer Service Leadership.2 I spoke with a representative named Martin from the Carlsbad call center, and he was exceptionally kind, patient, and forthcoming. Here’s what I learned during my chat with Martin:
Jitterbug cell phones provide simplicity, allowing seniors to stay connected and protected without extra fuss.
Lively keeps everything simple for older adults. Instead of a long list of phones to choose from, you just have two: the Jitterbug Flip2 and the Jitterbug Smart3. You’ll have to choose one of them if you go with Lively, because you can’t bring your own phone to Lively like you can with some other providers, including Snapfon. If you’d like to compare these two senior-friendly phone carriers, read our Lively vs. Snapfon guide to see how the two stack up.
Compatible with most Bluetooth devices and hearing aids, this comprehensive smartphone 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. The Jitterbug Smart3 costs $149.99, plus the cost of the monthly plan and an activation fee, which is very reasonable for a smartphone.
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, a powerful speaker, a simplified menu, and hearing-aid compatibility, the Jitterbug Flip2 really does have it all, except for internet access. It also has a lower-quality camera, but makes up for it by including a magnifier with a flashlight.
Plus, the Jitterbug Flip2 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 for help during an emergency, or Lively Rides, which connects you to a personal operator who can schedule a Lyft ride for you. The Jitterbug Flip2 costs $99.99, and with the ability to add these vital features, we think it’s well worth the price tag. Visit our Jitterbug Flip2 review for a look at our hands-on experience with this senior-friendly flip phone.
Lively is powered by Verizon, the nation’s most reliable wireless network. It offers coverage across the country, including most rural areas. To check coverage in your area, you can visit Lively’s coverage page on its website and type in your ZIP code.
With Lively, you aren’t roped into a long-term contract or charged any cancellation fees — aside from a $10 restocking fee if you send back equipment. Other plans, like AT&T's senior-friendly plans, require a two-year contract, so this gives Lively an edge.
Lively offers a fairly standard warranty. When I spoke with Martin from Lively’s customer service team, he informed me that Lively offers an automatic “standard limited warranty.” This means you get a one-year equipment warranty for cell phones, including batteries and accessories. Lively will repair or replace the product without charge.
Since the warranty only covers manufacturer defects, accidents like dropping your phone in a puddle aren’t covered. However, you can enhance and extend the standard limited warranty by purchasing a Lively Protection Plan for $3.50 per month. It covers accidents, battery replacement, normal wear and tear, and all accessories that came with your original phone purchase. You will still be charged a replacement fee, though. Costs vary, but it’s $50 for a replacement Jitterbug Smart3 and $25 for a replacement Jitterbug Flip2. That’s still cheaper than the full cost of buying a new phone, so it might be worth it if you’re hard on your devices.
Lively offers three phone plans, all of which include unlimited talk and text. You’ll also have extra health and safety features with each plan (more details on those later).
|Phone plan||Cost||Unlimited talk and text||Additional features|
|Basic||$24.99 per month||Unlimited talk and text||Ask Lively
|Preferred||$39.99||Unlimited talk and text||Ask Lively
|Premium||$49.99 per month||Unlimited talk and text||Ask Lively
If you purchase the Jitterbug Smart3, you’ll also need to choose a data package, which adds another monthly fee to your plan. The Jitterbug Flip2 doesn’t come with internet access, so you won’t need to add a data plan.
|1 GB data per month||$5 per month|
|5 GB data per month||$10 per month|
|Unlimited data||$30 per month|
You can enjoy unlimited talking and texting with any of Lively’s plans, starting at just $19.99 per month. If you want to add additional health and safety features, you’ll need to upgrade to the Preferred or Premium packages, which cost $39.99 and $49.99 per month respectively. Compared to other options, like Consumer Cellular’s plans, Lively offers comparable prices. You’ll also owe taxes and fees each month, which is standard with any cell phone carrier.
Did You Know? Lively also makes wearable medical alert devices, in case you’re looking for added protection on the go or automatic fall detection. Visit our review of Lively’s medical alert systems for a closer look.
You can talk and text as much as you want each month without facing overage charges, no matter which plan you choose. That’s why we recommend Lively to seniors who love staying connected with family, and especially for those who don’t own a landline. The plan also includes voicemail, call waiting, caller ID, long distance, and roaming. If you purchase the Jitterbug Smart3, you’ll also need to purchase a data option separately.
Along with talk and text, you’ll also have access to various health and safety features, depending on your chosen plan. The chart above shows you which services are available in which packages, but now we’ll look at what exactly each service entails.
The different health and safety features are all accessible on the Jitterbug Smart3, but some cannot be accessed on the Jitterbug Flip2 itself. If you have the Flip2 and subscribe to any of the services, you can access them on a computer or on a family member’s smart device.
Older adults who purchase the Jitterbug Smart3 must purchase a data plan. Data costs $5 per month for 1 GB, $10 per month for 5 GB, or $30 per month for unlimited data. That brings the total cost for unlimited talk, text, and data to $49.99 per month if you choose the Basic plan, which is priced the same as Consumer Cellular’s unlimited plan, but it is more than T-Mobile’s Essentials 55 plan, which costs $45 per month for one line.
Seniors who are unsure which data plan to purchase should talk to their friends and family. They know you best and can help you choose a good fit. If you’re still stuck, Lively recommends that seniors purchase 5 GB of data per month. You can always switch to a different data plan if you need to.
Your data plan includes the amount of data specified when you purchase. You use data when you’re away from Wi-Fi and use your phone to browse the web, watch online videos, check email, get directions, and more. If you go over your plan allowance, it costs 10 cents per megabyte, which is better than the industry standard.
If you want to access Lively’s health and safety features but aren’t looking for a new phone, you have options! You can purchase a Health & Safety Package, download the Lively app, and access your health and safety features on an iPhone or Apple Watch.
When you combine the quality of the Jitterbug phones with the award-winning customer service and breadth of add-ons, it really doesn’t get much better than Lively. With plan prices starting at just $19.99 per month, there are options for most budgets. However, we’d recommend considering another provider if you have your heart set on a phone that isn’t made by Jitterbug. All in all, the company provides senior-friendly phones that keep older adults entertained, connected, and protected. It’s not only about safety; it’s about fun, too.
The Jitterbug Smart3 is very reasonably priced compared to other similar smartphones. Even without any kind of discount, the model is only around $150; some others on the market go all the way up to $1,000.
The Jitterbug Flip2 has 16 GB of built-in storage, while the Jitterbug Smart3 has 32 GB of built-in storage and up to 256 GB of expandable storage.
No, you can only sign up for automatic fall detection if you have purchased the Lively Mobile+ or the Lively Mobile+.
Yes, there is a clear, designated Urgent Response button on each of the phones, which you can quickly press during an emergency.
Lively’s automatic warranty includes 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 $3.50 per month, you can purchase a Lively Protection Plan that provides coverage for screen damage, even if you caused it.
Lively. (2022). Coverage Map.