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Jitterbug Flip2 and Jitterbug Smart4 Cell Phone Review

Lively’s cell phones allow seniors to stay both connected and protected with medical alert features and easy-to-use designs.

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Taylor Shuman
Taylor Shuman, Senior Tech Expert & Editor Read About Our Panel of Experts

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.

The Jitterbug Smart4 home screen

The Jitterbug Smart4 home screen

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.

Chatting With Lively 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 from Lively: Our favorite senior-friendly cell phones with health and safety features

Jitterbug cell phones provide simplicity, allowing seniors to stay connected and protected without extra fuss.

4.5 of 5

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

My grandma trying out the Jitterbug Smart4

My grandma trying out the Jitterbug Smart4

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 $119.99, 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

Navigating the Jitterbug Flip2

Navigating the Jitterbug Flip2

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 $79.99, 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:

Current Deal: Lively is offering unlimited data for only $20 per month when you purchase a Jitterbug Smart4!

Nationwide Coverage

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

Contracts

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.

Warranty

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).

Phone plan Cost* Unlimited talk and text Additional features
Basic $19.99 per month Yes
  • Ask Lively
  • Lively Rides
Preferred $39.99 per month Yes
  • Ask Lively
  • Lively Rides
  • Urgent Response
  • Lively Link
Premium $49.99 per month Yes
  • Ask Lively
  • Lively Rides
  • Urgent Response
  • Lively Link
  • Nurse On-Call
  • Care Advocate

*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.

Data options Cost
1 GB data per month $5 per month
5 GB data per month $10 per month
Unlimited data $30 per month

Lively Plan Details

Talk and Text Plans

My grandma making a call on the Jitterbug Smart4

My grandma making a call on the Jitterbug Smart4

Cost

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?

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 and best medical alert systems guide for a closer look.

Plan Features

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.

Lively's Urgent Response button is clearly displayed on the home and lock screen

Lively’s Urgent Response button is clearly displayed on the home and lock screen.

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.

Tracking my grandma's location using the Lively Link mobile app

Tracking my grandma’s location using the Lively Link mobile app

Data Add-Ons

Cost

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 Choice 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.

>> Compare Costs: Jitterbug vs. Tracfone

Plan Features

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.

Lively App

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

Written By:
Taylor Shuman
Senior Tech Expert & Editor
Read About Our Panel of Experts
As SeniorLiving.org’s tech expert and editor, Taylor has years of experience reviewing products and services for seniors. She is passionate about breaking down stigmas related to seniors and technology. She loves finding innovative ways to teach seniors about products and… Learn More About Taylor Shuman