Jitterbug Flip2 and Jitterbug Smart4 Cell Phone Review
Our hands-on review of Lively’s 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.
I’ve tested out a variety of senior-friendly cell phones over the years as SeniorLiving.org’s tech expert. In this review, I’ll take you through my experience of buying, setting up, and testing Lively’s latest phones, the Jitterbug Smart4 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.
Pros and Cons
Pros About Lively
- Long history: Lively’s a pioneer in the industry, having invented one of the first senior-friendly phones back in 2006. This company knows what actively aging individuals need when it comes to technology.
- Runs on Verizon: Lively phones operate on the Verizon network. Verizon is known for the most dependable service around, and you get a great deal on Verizon plans through Lively.
- Optional health and safety features: You can choose for your phone to double as a medical alert device when you choose Lively’s Preferred or Premium phone plan.
- No long-term contracts: You can cancel your service at any time without a fee, so there’s no upfront risk for trying out the product.
- Brain games: Lively has partnered with Posit Science to bring fun and challenging brain games to their phones at no extra cost.
- Lively Rides: Lively has partnered with Lyft to bring Lively Rides, a service that provides affordable transportation services to Lively customers.
Cons About Lively
- Product and activation fees: Lively’s cell phones come with product fees and a $35 activation fee, but this is pretty typical in the industry.
- Restocking fees: Upon returning equipment to Lively directly, you may be charged a $10 restocking fee.
The Buying Experience With Lively
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.
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 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:
- 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. As for smartphone customers, he said 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.
- 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 are also delivered with a handy user guide that gives a detailed account of every single function and feature. He also let me know I could save $10 on activation fees if I activate my phone online instead of over the phone.
Jitterbug cell phones provide simplicity, allowing seniors to stay connected and protected without extra fuss.
Choosing a Cell Phone
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 Smart4. 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.
Jitterbug Smart4: Best for Those Who Want a Senior-Friendly Smartphone
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 phone’s battery has up to 37 hours of talk time, which is impressive; it’s 15 more hours of talk time than Lively’s previous model, the Jitterbug Smart3. The phone also includes upgraded cameras from the Smart3, including triple rear cameras and a selfie camera. In my experience, the camera quality wasn’t as solid as other smartphones I’ve tested, like the iPhone 14 Pro, but it’s still great for capturing photos of your travels or the grandkids.
Internet access, Google Assistant, and a lineup of pre-installed, senior-geared apps round out why this phone is so useful and convenient. During my testing, I did find that the Smart4 was a bit slow. Sometimes, I had to press a button multiple times before the phone would react, so it can be laggy. Still, it’s an excellent choice for those who want a smartphone without frills or fuss. The Jitterbug Smart4 costs $149.99, plus the cost of the monthly plan and an activation fee, which is very reasonable for a smartphone.
Jitterbug Flip2: Best for Those Who Want a Simple Flip Phone Without Frills
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.
Current Deal: Lively is offering a 70 percent discount on the Jitterbug Smart3 while supplies last!
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.
Contracts and Warranty
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 Smart4 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 Senior Phone Plans at a Glance
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).
|Unlimited talk and text
|$19.99 per month
|$49.99 per month
*Price includes a $5 monthly Paperless Billing discount but excludes taxes and fees.
Data Plans for the Jitterbug Smart4
If you purchase the Jitterbug Smart4, 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
|$30 per month
Lively Plan Details
Talk and Text Plans
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 Smart4, 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.
- Urgent Response: This service provides around-the-clock access to Lively’s team of professional Lively Urgent Response agents, who are certified by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED — the same company that certifies 911 operators) and thoroughly educated on your personal health history.
- Ask Lively: The Lively team can answer any questions about your device, give you directions, help you look up a phone number, and more.
- Lively Rides: An operator can order a Lyft ride for you when you need transportation.
- Nurse On-Call: This app will save you a trip to the doctor’s office, as it gives you 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 family members informed at all times. For instance, if you call Urgent Response, an instant update will go out to all related Lively subscribers, providing them with pertinent details.
- Care Advocate: An expert from Lively’s care team will help you identify areas of your health that you want to focus on. Then, they will give you a personalized Care Plan to help you set goals and resolve issues.
The different health and safety features are all accessible on the Jitterbug Smart4, 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 Smart4 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 $40 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.
The Bottom Line on Lively
From my experience with Lively’s phones and plans, I’ve found that the company offers simple devices designed for older adults. If you’re looking for the latest tech or ultra-fast processing, you’ll want to consider a different carrier. On the other hand, if you’re looking for an easy-to-use phone that can keep you entertained, connected, and protected, Lively is a great choice. 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.
Frequently Asked Questions About Lively’s Phones
How fairly priced is the Jitterbug Smart4 compared to other smartphones?
The Jitterbug Smart4 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.
How much memory comes with each Lively cell phone model?
The Jitterbug Flip2 has 16 GB of built-in storage, while the Jitterbug Smart4 has 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+ system.
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, which you can quickly press during an emergency.
Do Lively phones include damage protection?
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.