- Starting monthly cost (with paperless billing): $24.99
- Device type: Smartphone
- Device dimensions: 6.6 inches x 3.01 inches x 0.35 inches (length x width x height)
- Device weight: 6.7 Ounces (oz)
- Connection type: Cellular (4G), Wi-Fi, GPS
- Battery life: 37 talk hours
You can make video calls, take pictures, browse online, use your favorite social media apps, and more with the Jitterbug Smart4. The Smart4 uses an Android operating system, so you can download and use any app available on Google Play. This device also has a back- and front-facing camera lens, so you can snap photos and selfies with your family and friends.
The word “simple” is not usually used to describe a smartphone, but Lively has designed a smartphone with simplicity in mind. The phone has a 6.75-inch screen, which is considered large compared to the average smartphone devices that are usually between 5.8 to 6.2 inches. Our Reviews Team likes the large icons on the list-style menu for easy navigation. We also like that you can enlarge text and images by tapping the screen three times, meaning you won’t need to change your phone’s settings each time you want to zoom in.
Use your voice to make calls, navigate your phone, search the web, or ask questions with the Google Assistant app. Google Assistant is included with your Smart4 and can be used by pressing the button on the left side of your phone or by saying “Hey Google,” followed by a command or question. Want to check the weather before meeting a friend at the park? Simply ask, “Hey Google, what is the weather like today?” and you’ll receive a verbal weather report from your phone.
Keep in mind that all Jitterbug smartphones require a data plan in addition to a minutes and texting plan. The Jitterbug Smart4 replaces the former model, Jitterbug Smart3. You can get the Smart3 for $74.99 from now until December 31, 2023 (or until it is out of stock).
Medical alert functionality
Unlike standard medical alert devices that only have a few functions outside of 24/7 monitoring services, the Smart4 is primarily a smartphone that comes with the Lively Urgent Response service (the medical alert function) as an add-on option.
With Lively Urgent Response, you can access the 24/7 monitoring center in two ways. You can press a button that’s always available at the top or bottom of your screen, or if you’ve fallen and can’t reach your phone, you can say, “Hey Google, call Urgent Response” or “Alexa, call Urgent Response,” which prompts your phone to contact the monitoring center. After initiating the service, a staff member will dispatch emergency responders to your location, alert your emergency contacts, or do both, depending on the severity of the situation.
It’s important to note that Jitterbug phones will not help prevent falls, but even medical alert systems with fall detection do not prevent falls. Medical alert devices with fall detection technology are meant to be worn around your neck and are designed to automatically contact the monitoring center when the built-in sensor detects a fall.
“Fall detection technology in medical alert devices typically relies on sensors that detect sudden changes in position and acceleration such as when the device is rapidly and abruptly displaced during a fall,” said James Walker, MD, a medical advisor at Welzo. “However, when the device is not worn around the neck, it may not be able to detect falls accurately or consistently, as the device may not be in close proximity to the body during a fall.” Lively Jitterbug phones do not support fall detection since they are designed to be placed in your pocket or purse and not around the neck.
The Smart4 is designed for easy use starting with its menu layout which features your apps in a scrollable list labeled with large text, as opposed to the standard smartphone grid layout. This device also has facial recognition technology, which lets you unlock your phone with your face instead of entering a passcode whenever you want to use it.
We also like that the Smart4 comes with Google Assistant, which allows you to use your voice to perform tasks instead of scrolling or swiping. Simply say, “Hey Google, text (contact name).” Google will reply, “OK, what’s your message?” and you’ll dictate the message you’d like to send. Google Assistant then reads back the message and asks you to verbally confirm that it’s correct before sending it.
Our Reviews Team also likes that the Smart4 is hearing aid compatible. This means the phone reduces unwanted noise a hearing aid would receive when the user is talking on the phone, according to the Federal Communications Commission.
The Smart4 has been tested and rated under the American National Standard Institute (ANSI) C63.19-2011 hearing-aid compatibility standard and has an M4/T4 rating. This rating indicates that the phone reduces feedback noise and is compatible with a hearing aid
A telecoil is a small copper wire (similar to a receiver) built into a hearing aid that allows you to connect to a phone or loop system to bring audio directly to you.
When deciding between a smartphone with a touchscreen and a flip phone, you should involve the primary user of the device as much as possible, according to Christopher Norman, a geriatric nurse practitioner based in New York state.
“As we age, our skin changes: The collagen (a protein) under our skin thins out, and we don’t provide as much oil or sweat,” said Norman. “This accounts not only for wrinkles, but it results in skin that is more dry. If you’ve ever tried to use a touchscreen with very dry skin, it doesn’t work as easily.”
He pointed out that fine motor control, dexterity, and visual clarity are other factors you should consider when shopping for a touchscreen smartphone.
With its simple touchscreen layout, two camera lenses, access to Google Play apps, and built-in Google Assistant, the Jitterbug Smart4 can compete with most smartphones on the market (at a much lower price). Optional medical alert services and health and wellness features elevate it to an impressive health and safety device—disguised as a smartphone.