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Color: Graphite|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
We've all seen the ads for Jitterbug phones, and maybe some scoffed at them. While I am a "senior", I'm not the target market for Jitterbug as I am technical and know my way around smartphones. I recognize, however, that not everyone is and I've seen first-hand how utterly unusable many modern phones are for people with limited vision, hearing or who have trouble with tiny buttons and complex menus. The Jitterbug phones are brilliantly designed for these users and it was fascinating to explore the new Jitterbug Flip to see what Greatcall had done to make this phone so usable. This is going to be a long review, as some of mine are, but the length is necessary.

Let's start with the phone itself. It's larger and heavier than most current flip phones, but it is easy to pick up and open. On one side of the closed phone is a small black-and-white LCD screen that, when illuminated, gives the current time, date, and whether the "5Star" emergency service is enabled. The text of this is large and clear. If the display is off (it goes dim after 5 seconds and off after 10), it can be turned on by pushing any of the three side buttons. This side of the phone also has a camera lens, LED flash and a smaller notification LED. The other side of the closed phone has a speaker grille, with a small raised dot in the middle that lifts it up just enough for sound to not be muffled if the phone is set down on the table.

The right side of the phone has large up and down volume buttons plus a smaller button whose only function is to turn on the camera's LED as a flashlight when the phone is open. (But this button, as I noted above, will turn on the outside display.) The left side has a MicroUSB jack that can be used for charging or data transfer, and a headset jack.

The phone is supplied with a charging cradle which takes its power from a MicroUSB cable (supplied) and power adapter (also supplied). You don't have to use their cable or charger. Just drop the closed phone into the cradle and it charges via contacts on the bottom - very easy to use. When charging the display indicates either Charging or Charge Completed (and the notification LED turns on). It also makes a small sound when you start charging and when you remove the phone from charging. The phone will also charge from the side MicroUSB jack.

Now let's open the phone. The top half has the color LCD display and when you open it (assuming it's powered on - press and hold On/Off for that), it always goes right to the Phone Book main menu entry and you hear a dial tone (!) from the speaker. Yes, I did say a dial tone. This lets the user know that the phone is working and that there is a signal.

The bottom half has large buttons with large-type labels. These buttons have a reassuring click-feel and the legends are raised. They're also backlit when the display is on. In addition to the number pad, there are buttons for Speakerphone, On/Off, Yes, No and up and down arrows. The only other button is at the bottom, the red "5*" button for emergency calls. If you have purchased one of the packages that include "5Star", then pushing this connects you to trained operators who have quite a bit of information about you (entered on the Greatcall web site in advance) plus GPS coordinates. If you don't have the 5Star service, this button calls 911. It announces in a voice it is doing this and you can press the No button to cancel.

The main menu has a single list of options which you select from using the up and down buttons, then press Yes to activate that function. As I wrote earlier, Phone Book is the default. Press Yes on that and you're shown your first phone book entry. The up and down buttons scroll through the entries, and two preset entries are for "Urgent Care" and "Health and Wellness Alert". While you can manage the phone book on the phone, it's much easier to do it on the web site where you can also reorder entries. Each entry has the name and number displayed in large, clear text, with a "CALL?" action at the bottom. Pressing Yes will call that number. Pressing No backs out to the main entry. Most screens have a colored bar at top and bottom with information such as which menu entry you're in (or your phone number if at the main menu), and the action you can take by pressing Yes or No.

I will note here that you can dial numbers from almost any screen using the keypad. As you enter the numbers they are displayed in VERY large text. There is also a "Voice Dial" feature - this is free but you have to call to have it activated. It was not enabled on my test phone so I could not try it. If enabled, Voice Dial will be an option on the main menu - select it and then speak the name from the phone book to dial. I was told that you could request that this be the default when you open the phone - great for visually impaired users.

The sound quality of phone calls was excellent on both ends. The speaker volume is adjustable to Low/Medium/High. Pressing the "Spkr" button turns on the speakerphone which is also loud and clear.

When a call is received, the ringtone plays, the phone vibrates, and the caller's number (and name if in your phonebook) is displayed. If the phone is closed you answer by just opening the phone. (There is a choice of seven preset ringtones - you can't add your own, but you can specify a particular ringtone for callers in your phone book.) You can stop the ringing by pressing one of the volume buttons when closed. If open, press Yes to accept or No to decline - a large message on the screen tells you this. The ringer volume is adjustable in three steps as well as off using the volume buttons when not on a call. If you miss a call, the outer display shows "Missed Call", the LED flashes, and an alert sound is given every five minutes for 30 minutes. If you then open the phone it tells you the missed call(s) and lets you review them (or press No to go back to the main menu).

The phone supports Bluetooth headsets and cars - the instructions for pairing are easy to understand and the phone leads you through the process nicely.

Voicemail (an optional service) also gets the "easy to use" touch. It's the entry in the main menu just above Phone Book. The first time you select that, it connects you to the voicemail service and gives a detailed introduction to how to use it. You control voicemail with either the Yes/No buttons when it asks a question, or you can say the words. You can also say Skip, Delete or Exit at any time. You're first given new messages with an option to save each one. Then you can review saved messages, and lastly you can review or record your personal greeting. This can be a full greeting of your choice or just your name - in the latter case callers hear "This is the Jitterbug voicemail system for ...". When voicemails are played you get the date/time but not the number - for that you have to go to the Missed Calls list (and as you see each one, press Yes to call back.)

Text messaging is also available (various plans include different numbers of messages). You can select among a "library" of preselected messages ("How are you", "Call me", "I'm busy", "I miss you", "Where are you?", and many more), or enter your own using the standard keypad method. An assist is that it can automatically capitalize the first letter of each sentence or word, or do all caps. When you receive a text, again a message shows on the outside display, it makes a sound and the LED flashes.

The phone has a camera and can take reasonably decent pictures (1200x1600 or 2MP) with flash used if the phone thinks it is necessary. Photos can be sent as MMS messages (not emailed) or, and this will strike terror into the hearts of grandchildren everywhere, posted to Facebook. In order to use Facebook you have to first connect your accounts at the Greatcall web site, where you can specify who will be able to see the posts (Friends, etc.). There is no ability to add text to the post. I tried this and it worked well. Your location is NOT saved with the photo or included in a FB post. (When I tried this indoors, it told me "No Service" even though I could make a call. When I took it outside it worked.) Photos can be reviewed on the phone, of course.

The camera is also used for a magnifier feature, great for reading menus in dimly-lit restaurants. The flashlight can be used in this mode and you can adjust magnification with the up/down buttons.

Other phone features... There are two "brain games" built in that can be fun, at least at first. Settings are limited - you can turn the power on/off jingle on or off, enable or disable the 5* button, select a default ringtone, and change the color scheme used. The "Phone Info" screen has minimal information such as battery level and signal strength. There is no alarm feature nor a music player.

The phone appears to run a heavily customized version of Android, and operates on the Verizon network. Battery life is maybe 2-3 days on standby, less if actively used or Bluetooth is on. There is no user-visible data connection, though it is evident to me that it relies on one behind the scenes to synch with the web site settings.

I'm not going to discuss all the various plans and services Greatcall offers, but I was impressed with the breadth of services ranging from minutes-only calling to full-blown "we'll call you on a schedule to make sure you're ok" features. Everything has a price, of course, but I thought the prices were reasonable for what you got.

Customer service is not only US-based but is available in multiple languages. The support agent I spoke with was clearly a native English speaker with an "American" accent and was easy to understand. I did have to wait about 15 minutes when I called the regular support line on a Friday afternoon - the recorded message suggested times to call that had shorter waits and also directed users to the web where, it is true, a lot of typical questions are answered. The web site is also easy to use with large text, easy to recognize navigation and lots of whitespace. A large printed manual is included that is also easy to read without a microscope.

After I did the initial setup, everything worked very well and I never saw anything that would be frustrating. It is clear that Greatcall has done a lot of research plus built on their experience to date with Jitterbug phones to produce a phone and service that is ideally tailored to a group left out by traditional phone manufacturers. One doesn't have to be a "senior" to love the Jitterbug Flip - if you have hearing, visual or motor impairments you'll find the phone and service easy to use. There is also a Jitterbug smartphone if you want, and even simpler phones, but I think the Flip hits its target square-on and I can recommend it highly. Yes, it deserves "5 Stars".
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on January 13, 2018
Some things you should know:

1) You have to use the GreatCall service. You cannot choose your own carrier.

2) You can port your number, but that requires waiting on the phone for 1 hour while listening to canned music to activate the phone. No, you can't do that online or any other way. Now that I've waited the whole hour, I have to call them back tomorrow to have them port the number. They couldn't do it all in one shot. I have to prepare to wait again for 1 hour. I know this because I've called them numerous times in the past for another device and the minimum wait time is about 30 minutes. On weekends, it's murder.

3) We all know there are fees, but there is an activation fee of $35 in addition to everything else. If you set it up online, it's $25, so even if you have to call to port your number, get everything else filled in online (don't press the final submit button before calling). They can see that you've filled out the form and will activate for $25 (which is still a crock, IMO).

The phone is easy to use. The buttons are big and the sound is loud and clear. I would have bought any other dumb phone for my mom (don't like that extra-long wait time with customer service or technical support when there are problems) except I need the GPS capability for when she gets lost or when she loses her phone. For that service, I have to pay $25/month. I had to buy 1000 minutes per month to make sure she doesn't go over (she likes hour-long phone calls) because it's $0.35/min if she exceeds the limit. That's $15/month for the minutes (the minutes are cheaper because I pay for the GPS service).

I haven't tried the GreatCall emergency service with Jitterbug, but I did with another device in the recent past and they've always picked up promptly. If you need this service, the monthly bill is worth it. I'm not sure if my mom will even remember to push the well-placed red button in an emergency. Oh well. They do have reminder services for her medications and and check-in service to make sure things are okay. Those come with her $25/month service plan, but she won't be using them.

___________________

UPDATE 1/26/18: I was mistaken. Mom finds the GreatCall button just fine -- too fine. She pushes the button because she can't remember which button to push to call (it's supposed to be YES). Anyway, she calls and then hangs up and doesn't pick up the call when they call back to check on her, so then they call everyone on the emergency list until they find someone who can tell them Mom's okay. I'm thinking I need to tape that GreatCall button so she stops pushing it. She does manage to make some calls to me, so it's still better than her iPhone.

I'm not using the medication reminder and check-in services because they are automated calls. I don't think she will understand that it's a computer talking to her. For her to have to answer an automated voice (I think she would have to push buttons), that's not going to work. Besides, each call eats up the minutes on her plan. Every GreatCall call eats up minutes from her plan.

The only good thing about the minutes is they roll over. I happened to enroll near the date when it rolls over so right away, I got 1000 minutes rolled and the total number of minutes we started with was 2000 minutes, even though our plan is 1000 minutes per month. That's the secret. FWIW, the invoice was billed until the 16th. I activated the phone a few days before that.
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on June 19, 2016
I like this little phone much more than anticipated, here's a run down of why you might, too:

Pros:
No frills
A dial-tone, a real dial-tone!
Large, really large keys
Cool Jazz ringtone available
Compact
Inexpensive plans through GreatCall, with paperless and paper billing out of Texas and a customer service center available
You get that satisfying flip- close to end a call
Yes and No keys guide you through every function
Camera
No internet
Texting

Cons:
Occasionally miss having a "smart phone" but the emotion passes instantly
No internet but this is not really a con if you don't miss the distraction
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on June 13, 2017
I had bought the previous model of the Jitterbug Flip phone for my Father in Law and he used it for a couple of years before it bit the dust. He keeps his phone on a lanyard around his neck all day with his house key. I bought this one to replace his phone and I was able to transfer him into the new phone from the old phone fairly easily by calling the Mygreat call Jitterbug customer service. I was concerned that the phone didn't have a lanyard loop hole, but it does on the corner. It's a little challenging getting the lanyard loop through but I was able to do it. I was able to change the ringer to an old fashion "ring ring", that's nice and loud. He has no problem using this as a basic phone. It has a magnifier that really doesn't work very well so don't even bother with that. It has tracking for an extra 5 dollars a month. So, if the phone gets lost, or if he is lost, I can see where the phone is in the Mygreat call account online or by the GreatCall app on my phone. My Father in Law has pushed the 5* by mistake a few times and they have always been there to help and have been very patient. To use the phone, all he has to do is open the phone and scroll to who he wants to call and click "yes" to call. I was able to enter his contacts list from the Greatcall website account, and they appear on his phone. To answer a call, he just opens the phone, nothing else. This is a fine phone for anyone that just wants a basic no frills phone, or for someone that needs some assistance with a phone. It's extra loud and the buttons are big and easy to see. If you're getting this phone for yourself or getting the phone for someone that needs assistance with the phone, I strongly suggest that you open an account on the GreatCall web site for your phone and you can enter information and see the phone stats there. If you're a caretaker, you can also get the phone tracking and download the GreatCall Link app on your smart phone.
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on July 12, 2017
I bought this phone for my uncle with some trepidation because of the negative reviews. They were right. At it's highest setting the ringer volume is too low. Also, signal strength is poor. That's not the worst part. The only service available for the phone is from GreatCall, the company that makes Jitterbug so we subscribed to a plan with GreatCall. He received the first bill about a week after activating the phone and deciding he did not want it. It was for service for June 4-July 4. He did not activate the phone until June 30. When he canceled he was not told to disregard the bill that included a $35 activation fee. I called to get the bill waived. The person I spoke with said the activation fee applies because the phone was activated. Since is there no way to know the quality of the phone or the service until it is activated it is absurd to make that statement. I asked for a supervisor; that didn't help any. I'm not on the account so the supervisor would not discuss the issue with me. I will never buy a Jitterbug again.
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on May 27, 2016
I owned the older version of this newer device. I had a couple of problems with it, called customer service and the rep said I simply needed a new battery which was sent to me and I made the switch to the new battery. I thought I needed a new phone but replacing the battery seemed to resolve the problem....for about ten months or so. Leaving charging overnight sometimes resulted in a zero percent charge or sometimes sixty per cent.
I called and spoke to a young man who said I probably needed a new phone. Ok, so I ordered the new one for 79 dollars plus I paid the 20 dollars charge for an expedited shipping of two days. I believe it was longer than that time but I still had my old one that was functioning. I get the phone, call the customer service for activation help because I was unable to do what was supposed to be a simple task. A rep then turned off or I guess more correctly de-activated the old phone. Then we proceeded to activate the new one. This very nice lady located in Reno said repeatedly, ok. I'll get you where we need you to be. Three times she couldn't get the phone activated, even after I went fro one end of my house to the other, then outside on the patio, then sitting in my car and finally at the end of the driveway.
So, finally she says she's going to move me up to a tech person and she transferred me and I sat Andy waited and waited and waited with the usual we're so sorry but this a particularly busy day, etc. ad nauseum. So now I get the next person and he clearly had no clue who I was and I have to answer all the question all over again, e.g. Name address, account number and password and then I had to explain the problem and repeat the promise that moving he to this tech person would solve the problem...yeah, I'm right. Same business again...tried at least three times with no luck...he tells me that he's going to transfer me to someone else, presumably more expert than he.
Same story again..on hold, apologizes, music and finally I am connected to a man who surely must have the technical knowledge to do get this done. Wrong! Multiple attempts at activation failed and I'm now up more than 35 minutes to get this fixed.nthis fellow tells me that this issue has been a problem with some phones coming from the manufacturer defective in this regard. His solution is to send me another phone that will have been activated by whomever at Great Call. I agreed but I told him I NEEDED a phone right away and to please do an overnight shipment but he says that can't be done. And so I agreed to the two to three day expedited charge of twenty dollars. Now this was on a Friday afternoon so he said I would have the phone by Tuesday or Wednesday and I knew there was no chance to get it on Tuesday. I hung up the phone and realized I had let myself get suckered into paying the expedited charge twice,..and WHY should I have to to have a defective phone shipped to me and then repeat the charge !
Tuesday comes and goes. Wednesday same thing. So meanwhile I've had no phone and I don't even have access to my phone book. I had been pleasant up to this point and completely accepting of the run around I had with three problem solvers who could not solve and then waiting for a phone that was PROMISED to arrive by no later than Wednesday.
Back on the phone to customer service and finally, after the first person who was totally clueless about the situation and thus transferred me AGAIN to another rep, was allegedly speaking to someone who had the solution. Guess what, he had to make a phone call to someone in shipping and returned after ANOTHER long wait to tell me that not only had the phone not been sent, but that no one had even activated the phone. And now I'm pretty ripped! He said another two to three business days and I'd have it once they programmed the phone and then did the two to three day delivery. I said WRONG ANSWER and that I wanted him to get either his supervisor or the CEO of the company to get this fixed or I would two things. First I said that I would cancel the phone account and eat the cost of unfair expenses and I also would cancel the account I have with them for their Splash device, the medical alert system. Number two was that I promised that I would give a negative review; a detailed report of how horrible the device was and recommend that people go elsewhere for a phone. So here I am writing. And now come this Monday afternoon (this is Friday), if I don't have the phone, on Tuesday morning I am closing both my accounts with the company and demanding the 79 dollars I was charged for the defective phone they sent me AND I wanted the twenty dollar was do edited fee I had to pay.
If you're looking for reliability..go elsewhere. Also I thought that because no one who was "above" the four people with whom I spoke emailed me or called me on my home phone to tell me that he or she was personally going to march down ou up to wherever they had to go to find a solution.
A lousy way to run a business in my opinion!
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on July 9, 2017
No charger or charging deck. Doesn't show minutes.On the Greatcall website it shows your packages but no way to purchase minutes. When you receive a receipt for activation of the phone it doesn't show minutes. Why? Also I get a charger sent after paying a $30.00 activation fee. I may send it back. That should show 1/2 star because the phone looks nice.
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on December 22, 2017
This phone is not worth the money... It worked correctly for about 3 weeks. Nothing but problems since. Jitterbug phone service is fine and affordable but the phone itself was a waste.
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on January 31, 2018
Worst phone ever the phone itself is not bad impossible to activate worst customer service ever ever was transferred six times after 2 hours of being on the phone and they did nothing could not activate the phone going to be returning it soon as possible
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on October 21, 2016
I cannot entirely give a full review on how the phone works and its ease of use because my father never had the coverage I was advised he would have so he assumed the damn thing wasn't working. I called Great Call specifically prior to buying a Jitterbug phone to ensure that my father would be covered in the service area. They asked for his specific address. I gave it and was advised there was ample coverage. There wasn't. My father thought he was losing it (I think the point of this phone/service is to assist older people, not to add to their confusion). When my father called to request assistance he was advised that his area "was a spotty area they get complaints about a lot". Oh really? Interesting. When I called to verify before purchasing the phone/service the coverage was confirmed. Now, I am stuck with a phone that I paid for that I cannot return and must now buy a new phone and plan for my father and, worse than all of it, he has to learn how to use yet another phone which is not easy for older people. I am disgusted and really annoyed that Greatl Call would not be honest with me before I went down this road. I will not recommend the phone or hte service to anyone and, in fact, will warn people against using this service.
109 people found this helpful
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