Jitterbug Smart4 Review

A Smartphone Designed by Lively Just for Seniors

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SeniorLiving.org Rating:
4.5 of 5
866-461-7793 Call for details
taylor shuman
Taylor Shuman, Senior Tech Expert & Editor Read About Our Panel of Experts

Lively’s Jitterbug Smart4 is one of the best cell phones for seniors. Not only is it a simple, easy-to-use smartphone, but its plans also come with health and safety features for added protection. Compared to other smartphones on the market, the Jitterbug Smart4 is relatively inexpensive, while Lively’s phone and data plans are customizable and affordable. The Smart4 has evolved from previous models, such as the Jitterbug Smart2 and Smart3, to include new and improved features, like improved voice commands, a larger screen, and longer battery life.

As SeniorLiving.org’s resident tech expert, I’ve tested out dozens of senior-friendly phones over the years, and I was excited to get my hands on Lively’s latest model. My grandma was also interested in trying out Lively’s new smartphone, as she’s helped me review previous iterations, including the Smart2 and Smart3. For this year’s review, my grandma and I tested out the Jitterbug Smart4 to help you decide if it’s the right choice for you.

My grandma trying out the Jitterbug Smart4

My grandma trying out the Jitterbug Smart4

Pros About Jitterbug Smart4

  • Powerful speaker and microphone: The Jitterbug Smart4 speaker is designed for users who may struggle to hear audio from standard phones. With the Jitterbug Smart4, you can easily turn the volume up. You can also use the speakerphone mode to make phone calls or even type with your voice.
  • Built-in user guides: The Jitterbug Smart4 is a great option if you’re not particularly tech-savvy. Not only is it easy to use, it also includes guides to help you learn the basics of using your new phone.
  • Simple interface: This smartphone balances useful services with a simple user interface. When you turn on your phone, you can choose from a large, easy-to-read menu of different options.
  • Access to health services: One of the greatest benefits of the Jitterbug Smart4 is the access to health and safety features. Though you will have to pay extra for the more robust safety features, they give you access to 24/7 emergency response teams, on-call nurses, and an app to help you (and loved ones) keep track of your health.

Cons About Jitterbug Smart4

  • A bit simple for some users: If you’re already accustomed to more complex smartphones from Apple or Samsung, the Jitterbug Smart4 may seem like a step in the wrong direction. Its simple interface is great for first-time smartphone users, but others may find the basic menu options and limited features lacking.
  • Slower than advanced smartphones: Unlike many of the pricier, top-tier smartphones on the market, the Jitterbug Smart4 is noticeably slower, particularly when you’re changing between apps. I often had to tap a button several times before the phone would respond, and the internet connection was fairly laggy.
  • Fees add up quickly: If you go over your data allotment for the month, you’ll pay an overage fee. These fees can add up quickly, which could come as an unpleasant surprise when you receive your monthly bill. If you know you’ll need to use your phone a lot, you may want to choose an unlimited plan.

Overview of the Jitterbug Smart4

The Jitterbug Smart4 home screen

The Jitterbug Smart4 home screen

The Buying Experience

Lively offers two phone options: the Jitterbug Smart4 and the Jitterbug Flip2. The latter is a flip phone that offers an experience that might be more familiar if you’re accustomed to using phones with physical buttons (no touch screen). For this reason, you won’t need to spend much time choosing between phones. Visit our Jitterbug Flip2 review for a hands-on look at our experience with this flip phone.


FYI: Visit our Lively phone review to learn more about both cell phone options.

Once you choose a product, you can make your purchase online, in person, or by phone. If you order online or over the phone and choose the free standard shipping option, you can expect to receive your phone in the mail in three to seven business days. If you want your phone sooner, you can pay $20 for expedited shipping (one to three business days).

Regardless of how you choose to buy the Jitterbug Smart4, you can pick which data, talk, and text plans you want to add to your phone. You can also add extra accessories for an additional fee. For example, you may want headphones, a phone case, or a glass screen protector.

Speaking of prices, the Jitterbug Smart4 is one of the most affordable smartphones available. While the standard purchase price is $149.99, Lively runs frequent promotions that bring the price down even further, so be on the lookout!

Contracts and Warranty

You’ll pay monthly fees with a Lively phone plan, and no contracts are required. This means you can cancel your phone plan and try out another cellular provider at any time. The Jitterbug Smart4 is specifically designed to work with Lively’s phone plans, so you can only use this senior-friendly phone with a Lively plan. This is a downside to consider when compared to other phone providers for seniors, like RAZ Mobility, whose phones can be used with plans from a variety of carriers.

Pro Tip:

Pro Tip: Visit our list of the best cell phone plans for seniors to see why Lively made the cut!

The Lively warranty covers your phone, phone battery, and most accessories for one year from the date of purchase. It is important to note that the warranty does not cover accidental damage. For example, if you drop your phone in water or accidentally crack the screen, the warranty will not pay to repair or replace it. It will only cover preexisting hardware issues, electrical failures, or other problems not caused by misuse of the device.

Jitterbug Smart4: Pricing and Features

Feature Specs
Price $149.95
Battery life Up to 37 hours (talk time); up to 4 days (standby time)
Screen size 6.75 inches
Hearing aid compatibility M3/T4
Camera quality Rear triple cameras: 13 MP/2 MP/2 MP; front camera: 8 MP
Bluetooth Yes
Internet access Yes
Internal storage 32 GB

Lively Talk and Text Packages at a Glance

Lively offers three phone plans that all come with unlimited talk and text, plus health and safety features. The more expensive the plan, the more features you’ll get. The Jitterbug Smart4 also requires a data plan, so you’ll need to choose one of each plan type.

Talk and Text Plans

Name Talk and text Price Additional features
Basic Unlimited $19.99 per month
  • Ask Lively
  • Lively Rides
Preferred Unlimited $39.99 per month
  • Ask Lively
  • Lively Rides
  • Urgent Response
  • Lively Link
Premium Unlimited $49.99 per month
  • Ask Lively
  • Lively Rides
  • Urgent Response
  • Lively Link
  • Care Advocate
  • On-Call Nurse

Data Plans

Data Price
1 GB $5 per month
5 GB $10 per month
Unlimited $30 per month

Setting Up My Jitterbug Smart4

Once my grandma and I received the Smart4 in the mail, it was time to set everything up!


Unboxing the Jitterbug Smart4

Unboxing the Jitterbug Smart4

My Jitterbug Smart4 package came with the smartphone, a USB-C charging cable, a wall plug, and a user guide.

Activation and Setup

Before turning on the phone, I needed to activate it, either online or over the phone. Online activation costs $25, while phone activation costs $35. I’m not a big fan of activation fees, so this was a minor drawback with Lively. I chose the cheaper online activation process. The website walked me through activation instructions, and my grandma and I chose the phone plan that we wanted.

Once activation was completed, I turned the phone on and plugged it in to charge (though it was already charged to 45 percent). One of the first things I noticed was that my phone number was clearly displayed on the lock screen. I thought this was helpful, especially if you get a new number and need some time to memorize it!

The Jitterbug Smart4 lockscreen

The Jitterbug Smart4 lockscreen

After that, the Jitterbug Smart4 was ready to go. My grandma commented on how simple the setup process was, and I agreed!

Testing Out My Jitterbug Smart4

Below, I’ll walk you through our experience with the Jitterbug Smart4 and using the phone’s various features.

The Home Screen

The Jitterbug Smart4 home screen

The Jitterbug Smart4 home screen

My grandma and I both noticed that the Jitterbug Smart4’s home screen and menu look nearly identical to the Smart3’s. The phone’s list-based menu is significantly easier to navigate than other smartphones on the market, including iPhones, as you can easily scroll up and down to find what you want. This was one of my grandma’s favorite features when testing out the phone. Everything was clearly displayed in one central menu, so she didn’t have to hunt for what she needed.

The Smart4’s screen is 6.75 inches diagonally, making it larger than Jitterbug’s last model, the Smart3 (we’ll get into more details on the differences between these two models later). This is beneficial for older eyes.

Making Calls

My grandma making a call on the Jitterbug Smart4

My grandma making a call on the Jitterbug Smart4

The Jitterbug Smart4 has a 4G LTE signal, which isn’t quite as reliable as 5G, but it should still offer a solid connection. My grandma called my aunt to test it out. She found that the phone’s speakers were crisp and loud, and the signal was strong – no dropped calls! The Smart4’s dial pad has large, clearly labeled buttons, perfect for older adults.

Did You Know?

Did You Know? Lively also makes a popular medical alert system for seniors. Learn more by reading our Lively medical alert review!

Google Voice Assistant

Using Jitterbug Smart4's voice typing feature

Using Jitterbug Smart4’s voice typing feature

One of my favorite Smart4 features for those with arthritis or other mobility issues like my grandma is the Google Assistant. You can use this feature to control the phone’s various functions, such as sending texts, setting alarms, and opening apps. I used the Google Assistant to set an alarm, and it worked like a charm!


My grandma trying out the Jitterbug Smart4's camera

My grandma trying out the Jitterbug Smart4’s camera

While photos taken on your Jitterbug Smart4 won’t win any awards, the company has upped its camera game over the years. The Jitterbug Smart4 features a tri-rear system camera (13 MP/2 MP/2 MP) and an 8 MP front camera.

Photo taken on the Jitterbug Smart4

Photo taken on the Jitterbug Smart4

I took some photos on my grandma’s back patio to test the phone’s camera, and I even caught a hummingbird in action! Compared to my iPhone 14 Pro, the camera quality is nothing to write home about, and I found that the lighting really impacted the photo quality. Still, it gets the job done. I also tried out the front-facing selfie camera and had similar results.

Photo taken on the Jitterbug Smart4

Photo taken on the Jitterbug Smart4

Internet Access

Reading headlines on the Jitterbug Smart4's built-in News app

Reading headlines on the Jitterbug Smart4’s built-in News app

The Jitterbug Smart4 has plenty of features for accessing the internet. You can browse the web, send emails, get directions, and check the built-in News app. The phone also comes with some social media apps, like Instagram and Facebook, pre-installed, and you can download any additional apps that you want. I will say, the internet loaded pretty slowly compared to other smartphones I’ve tried. You’ll still be able to browse the web; it just requires some extra patience!

How-To Guides

Using the Jitterbug Smart4's how-to guides

Using the Jitterbug Smart4’s how-to guides

Let’s face it. Learning to use new technology can be frustrating, even on a phone as simple as the Smart4. That’s why I love the Jitterbug Smart4’s built-in How-To Guides app. This app is accessible from the home screen, and it features how-to guides on everything from setup to sending text messages to using the internet.

Lively Health and Safety Features

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

Lively’s health and safety features really set the Jitterbug Smart4 apart from its competitors. These features offer access to health services at the push of a button with your phone plan. Very few phones on the market offer the features below, which make it an excellent option for older adults. Every Lively phone has an “Urgent Response” button that immediately calls an emergency response team — if you have the Preferred or Premium plan. If you live alone, have mobility issues, or simply want easy access to health care professionals, one of Lively’s plans could be a great choice for you.

To better understand if one of Lively’s plans is right for you, here is a more detailed breakdown of each service:

  • Urgent Response: Just push the Urgent Response button at any time of day or night to get the help of a trained agent. The agent can send help to you, no matter where you are, whether you experience a fall or other emergency. When I tried out this feature, a Lively operator was there to help in under a minute.
  • Lively Link: Lively Link allows you and your loved ones to track your health, location, and daily activity.
  • Nurse On-Call: You can quickly talk to a nurse or doctor from the comfort of your own home.
  • Care Advocate: Care advocates are trained to help you with a wide range of issues, from financial planning to more general well-being.
  • Ask Lively: Lively offers helpful operators 24/7. You can connect with an agent who can help you look up phone numbers and make calls, provide directions, and more.
  • Lively Rides: Lively’s personal operators can call a Lyft ride for you, which is an affordable transportation service.
Tracking my grandma's location using the Lively Link mobile app

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

Add-On Features and Accessories

If you want to get even more out of your Jitterbug Smart4, you can choose from several different add-ons and accessories.

Product Price
Extra Wall Charger $19.99
Car Charger $24.99
Glass Screen Protector $14.99
Wallet Case $24.99
Soft Case $19.99
Hard Case $19.99
Bluetooth Headset $29.99
Stereo Headphones $24.99
Smartphone Stand/Grip $7.99
Home Key Lockbox $19.99

Jitterbug Smart4 vs. Jitterbug Smart3

As mentioned, the Smart4 and Smart3 look almost exactly the same at first glance. However, there are some slight differences and upgrades we’ll cover below.

Features Jitterbug Smart3 Jitterbug Smart4
Price $74.99 $149.99
Battery life Up to 22 hours (talk time) Up to 37 hours (talk time)
Screen size 6.22 inches 6.75 inches
Hearing aid compatibility M4/T4 M3/T4
Camera quality Dual rear: 13 MP/5 MP; front: 5 MP Triple rear: 13 MP/2 MP/2 MP; front: 8 MP
Connection 4G LTE 4G LTE
Manufacturer Alcatel TCL

Here is an overview of the main differences between the two models:

  • Screen size: The Smart4’s screen is roughly 0.5 inches larger than the Smart3’s screen. However, the two phones have the same screen resolution (1520 x 720), so the quality is the same.
  • Battery life: The Smart4 boasts 15 extra hours of talk time when compared to the Smart3. My grandma and I noticed this longer battery life during our tests.
  • Camera quality: The Smart4 has three rear cameras, while the Smart3 has only two. The Smart4 also has a higher-quality selfie camera. I do appreciate the camera upgrades; however, I didn’t notice a major difference in photo quality when testing both phones.
  • Price: The Jitterbug Smart3 is half the price of the Smart4. Lively plans to discontinue the Smart3 once it has fully sold out, so if you want a cheaper model and don’t mind the slight differences in features, snag one while you can!
  • Hearing aid compatibility ratings: The Smart4 has a lower “M” hearing aid rating than the Smart3, which means it will be slightly worse at reducing interference with hearing aids in acoustic mode. I was surprised to see this decrease in the Smart4, but it still meets industry standards.

Aside from these differences, the look and feel of the two phones is very similar.

The Bottom Line on the Jitterbug Smart4

The Jitterbug Smart4 is an affordable smartphone for seniors. My grandma and I found that it comes with all of the essential features you would expect from a smartphone, with a few extra services designed specifically for older adults, which makes it unique for the industry. If you’re a senior in need of a basic smartphone or you want to take advantage of Lively’s health and safety features, the Jitterbug Smart4 is probably a great phone for you. On the other hand, if you want the latest features, a 5G connection, or a very smooth navigation experience, you may want to consider other smartphones. Just keep in mind that you will be limited to Lively’s phone plans, and the different plans and fees could cause your affordable smartphone to become more expensive than you might have expected. Still, if it fits in your budget, Lively is worth considering.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Jitterbug Smart4

  • Who makes the Jitterbug Smart4?

    Lively makes and sells its own phone models, including the Jitterbug Smart4 and Jitterbug Flip2.

  • Does Jitterbug Smart4 have a SIM card?

    The Jitterbug Smart4 uses a SIM card that comes installed with the phone upon purchase.

  • Does Jitterbug Smart4 have GPS?

    Yes, the Jitterbug Smart4 comes with built-in GPS capabilities. These can be used for map navigation, as well as unique services like Lively Link. Lively Link gives family and loved ones the ability to check your location and health status via the Lively mobile app.

  • Do you need Wi-Fi for Jitterbug phones?

    You do not need Wi-Fi to use a Jitterbug phone, but the Jitterbug Smart4 can connect to Wi-Fi networks.

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