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Jitterbug Phone Review

Jitterbug phones are tailor-made for older adults who want an uncomplicated phone. Check out our in-depth look at Jitterbug’s features and pricing.
Written by | Updated August 27, 2020
Best for basics
jitterbug flip kids phoneJitterbug Flip
  • Large screen and loud speaker
  • YES/NO buttons for easier navigation
  • $99.99
  • Large screen and loud speaker
  • YES/NO buttons for easier navigation
  • $99.99
Best simple smartphone
Jitterbug Smart2 cellphone for seniorsJitterbug Smart2
  • Touch screen, video chat, and voice-to-text features
  • GPS and maps
  • $149.99
  • Touch screen, video chat, and voice-to-text features
  • GPS and maps
  • $149.99

The bottom line: Jitterbug was made with seniors in mind

Love them or hate them; smartphones are here to stay. But you don’t need to opt for a confusing, expensive model designed to keep your eyes glued to the screen. 

Jitterbug phones from GreatCall offer user-friendly features tailored to older adults. The Jitterbug Smart2 and Jitterbug Flip come with quality audio, big buttons, and large print to make staying in touch easier.  

Like other cell phone plans, you can cherry-pick your features for a custom monthly price. Some of the bonus features include Urgent Care virtual doctor visits, GreatCall Link, and a Personal Operator feature. 

And every plan comes with 5Star Service that connects you to an emergency operator who can help you in a scary situation like a medical emergency.

Pros

  • Features designed for seniors
  • 5Star emergency service
  • Affordable monthly plans

Cons

  • Limited minutes
  • Only two phones to choose from

Jitterbug pricing and service plans

GreatCall has two Jitterbug phones to choose from: the Jitterbug Flip ($99.99) and the Jitterbug Smart2 ($149.99). Both phones are compatible with any of the three plans below.

Price
5Star Service
Games
Virtual doctor visits
GreatCall Link
Personal operator
Basic
Preferred
Ultimate
$19.99/mo. $24.99/mo. $34.99/mo.
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
X
Yes
Yes
No
X
Yes
Yes
No
X
No
X
Yes
View on GreatCall View on GreatCall View on GreatCall

Info current as of 08/27/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Jitterbug service plans are highly customizable. You can choose a simple pay-as-you-go cell phone plan or opt for a Health and Safety plan with extra features. 

The pay-as-you-go plans start at $14.99 per month with 250 minutes of talking time. If you use your phone sparingly to make appointments or briefly chat with friends and family, this could be all you need. But you can opt for unlimited talking and texting for $39.00 if you have long, frequent conversations. 

GreatCall offers three Health and Safety plans for Jitterbug phones: Basic, Preferred, and Ultimate. These plans offer a discount on pay-as-you-go minutes, and unlimited talk and text are only $20.00 if you sign on with one of them. Plus, all three come with features like the 5Star Service and some fun Brain Games. 

With Health and Safety PlanWithout Health and Safety Plan
Unlimited text and talk$20.00/mo.$39.99/mo.

The Preferred and Ultimate plans come with unlimited minutes, so you won’t have to pay extra to catch up with your friends or order takeout. These plans also come with GreatCall’s Urgent Care feature and GreatCall Link—extras that can help you out in a pinch (more on those features later).

Find Jitterbug in stores

You can check out Jitterbug cell phones in stores like Best Buy or Rite Aid before you buy. Check out GreatCall’s store finder to see if there’s one near you.

Jitterbug minutes, texting, and data

Jitterbug uses Verizon towers, but you don’t need to be a Verizon customer. With a network that big, you’ll have cell service throughout most of the US. 

Unlike Verizon’s usual service, you won’t need to sign a long-term contract to use Jitterbug. The service sticks with you month to month, but you’ll need to pay for talking minutes, texts, and any data you use each month. 

How we reviewed Jitterbug 

We’ve reviewed Jitterbug’s parent company GreatCall before, so we already knew the ins and outs of the company’s medical alert devices. To build on this knowledge, we scoured reviews from Jitterbug users to get the inside scoop on these phones for seniors. 

Learn more about how we conduct reviews like this one from our SafeWise methodology page.

Jitterbug Flip: Best for basics

Best for basics
jitterbug flip kids phone

Jitterbug Flip

The Jitterbug Flip is a simple flip phone designed to help older adults stay in touch with their loved ones.

Its big buttons, simplified menu, and powerful speaker makes it easy to see, hear, and use.

Pros

  • Simple keypad
  • Loud speaker and hearing aid compatibility
  • Large print text and magnifying tool
  • 5Star Service button

Cons

  • Poor battery life
  • No voice-to-text feature

Features for people with hearing and vision impairments

It’s compatible with hearing aids for users who have trouble understanding conversations on other cell phones (so you won’t have to shout at the pizza guy when ordering dinner). And if that’s not enough, switch it to speakerphone for more powerful audio. 

If you have vision impairment, its large backlit screen shows large print and a magnifying tool to make reading texts and numbers easier too.

Jitterbug keypad and buttons 

The Jitterbug Flip has physical buttons on its keypad (something we’ve missed in the age of the touchscreen), including YES and NO buttons for commands. There’s also an ON/OFF button to remove any mystery of how to activate your phone.

But the best button on the Jitterbug Flip is the 5Star Service button. If you opt for one of the Health and Safety plans, this large red button connects you to a GreatCall operator who can reach emergency services like paramedics or the fire department.

Jitterbug battery life

But for all its simplicity, we saw several customer reviews claiming they needed to charge their Jitterbug Flip daily. It has a short battery life, so you’ll need to remember to put it in its charging cradle every night.

Not just for seniors

The Jitterbug Flip’s simple controls, loud speaker, and bright screen fit seniors’ needs, but it’s not just for older adults. It’s also earned a spot in our review of the Best Phones for Kids because it doesn’t connect to the internet and comes with very few distractions.

Jitterbug Smart2: Best simple smartphone

Best simple smartphone
Jitterbug Smart2 cellphone for seniors

Jitterbug Smart2

The Jitterbug Smart2 looks like the iPhones or Androids your grandkids are always on, but without the distractions of social media, app updates, or confusing menus. 

The Smart2 also has a 5Star Service button at the bottom of the screen, a feature that accesses emergency services through a helpful operator. 

Pros

  • Large backlit screen
  • Simple touch-screen menu
  • Talk-to-text feature
  • Video chatting

Cons

  • Weaker audio than Jitterbug Flip phone
  • Touch screen may be tricky for those with dexterity issues

Accessibility and controls

This Jitterbug smartphone sports a simple main menu with large, clear print and backlit screen to make reading easier for older adults.

Like the Jitterbug Flip, it has a reliable speaker for those whose hearing isn’t what it used to be. From the customer reviews we read, the speaker isn’t as powerful on its own, but switch it to speakerphone, and you’ll be able to hear everything.

Messaging and features

The Jitterbug Smart2 can call, text, and even video chat with your contacts. We also like the talk-to-text feature that lets you send messages hands-free. 

And its 13 MP camera is on par with name-brand smartphones like those from Samsung and Apple. So you can snap pictures of your next vacation and receive photos from your friends and family.

Like any smartphone, the Jitterbug Smart2 can access the internet. So you can read your email messages, access directions and phone numbers, and read the latest news online. It also has a built-in GPS for directions through the map function.

Jitterbug Health and Safety features 

The optional Health and Safety Plans include additional features that keep you connected to your loved ones and emergency services. The Basic, Preferred, and Ultimate plans all come with 5Star Service and brain games.

5Star Service

Jitterbug comes with its own monitoring professionals who can help you in an emergency. The Flip and Smart2 cell phones both have this feature. 

If you fall in the kitchen or have any other emergency, press the red 5Star button on your phone. Jitterbug operators will help you through the situation and send first responders to your location.

Urgent Care

When you have medical questions or want to see a doctor without the hassle of visiting the hospital, you can use Jitterbug’s Urgent Care feature. With the press of a button, you can connect with a nurse or doctor virtually or over the phone. They can even prescribe you with medication using this feature. 

You’ll need the Preferred or Ultimate plan to get Urgent Care on your Jitterbug phone. But if you visit the doctor often or have frequent health questions, it’s a helpful feature to have on hand.

Brain games

Mental health matters too. Stay sharp (and entertained) with fun brain games built into your Jitterbug phone. Test your memory and spatial skills to keep your mind moving and active. Plus, they’re fun. 

These brain games are available on both phones and all three plans.

GreatCall Link

GreatCall Link is a service that will keep your closest contacts up to date on your phone usage. If you misplace your phone, forget to charge it, or press the emergency button, Jitterbug will notify them so they can help you out. 

This feature is only available with the Preferred and Ultimate plan.

Personal operator

If you need help finding information like addresses or phone numbers, the Personal Operator feature will put you in touch with a professional who can help you.

The Personal Operator feature only comes with the Ultimate plan.

Also from GreatCall 

Jitterbug’s parent company GreatCall has wearable medical alert devices that can help you stay safe while you run errands, go on vacation, or hang out at home. 

The Lively Mobile Plus and Lively Wearable 2 are simple wearable devices with GPS capabilities that make it easier for emergency responders to find you in a dangerous situation.

Lively Mobile Plus

The Lively Mobile Plus clips onto your belt or attaches to a lanyard to be worn as a necklace. It has an optional fall detection feature that calls operators who can help you. We featured it as one of our top picks for Best Medical Alert Necklaces.

Lively Wearable 2 

The Lively Wearable 2 looks like a smart wristwatch but connects to your existing smartphone via Bluetooth. 

If you fall or need help from emergency responders, press the button, and it will connect through your phone to help you. Learn more about the Lively Wearable 2 in our Best Medical Alert Watches review.

Final word 

Cell phones don’t have to be complicated or distracting to keep you in touch with your loved ones. Jitterbug phones come in two flavors: simple and simpler. You can choose from a touch-screen smartphone or a classic flip phone that can call for help, receive text messages, and take pictures.

The Jitterbug Smart2 and Jitterbug Flip come with simple menus, bright backlit screens, and powerful speakers to make them easier to use for older adults. And while they both also come with games, you won’t have to deal with distracting apps and updates hounding you.

Jitterbug FAQ

Can I keep my phone number when I get a Jitterbug?

Yes. Just be sure to contact GreatCall customer service before you activate your new phone. They can transfer your existing phone number to your new cell phone. 

You can reach customer service over the phone and find product information on the GreatCall customer support page.  

Are Jitterbug phones compatible with hearing aids?

The FCC requires all wireless phone manufacturers to make their products compatible with hearing aids.1 But phones like Jitterbug are made specifically for people with hearing loss in mind. 

They can pick up the sound from your phone and transmit them into your hearing aid. You may get some background noise in the mix, but it will be easier to hear the person on the line. 

You can find setup info in the Jitterbug Smart2 manual and Jitterbug Flip manual.

Do I need to sign a contract for a Jitterbug phone?

No. Jitterbug doesn’t require a contract. Services work on a month-to-month basis, and you can cancel any time. 

Sources

  1. Federal Communications Commission, “Hearing Aid Compatibility for Wireline and Wireless Telephones,” January 2020. Accessed August 18, 2020.

Written by Katie McEntire

Katie McEntire has tested home security systems in her own apartment, installed GPS trackers in her own car, and watched her cat, Toki, nap all day through a live nanny cam feed. As an expert reviewer, she believes that firsthand experience is the best way to learn about new products (even if it requires being the guinea pig). She specializes in pet safety and DIY security and has contributed to publications like DigitalCare.org and TechGuySmartBuy. Learn more

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