Jitterbug has a real corner on the market when it comes to making both flip phones and smartphones for seniors. Their phones feature big buttons and big icons that make cell phone use more accessible for an aging population.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the product line, monthly costs, device activation and some actual customer reviews.
Here’s What You Need to Know About Jitterbug Phones
Jitterbug flip phones and smartphones are built with the goal of providing cell phone service to an under-served senior population.
They’re easy to use, easy to see thanks to big display screens and easy to understand. In fact, money expert Clark Howard believes Jitterbug has really identified a sweet spot in the market.
“There’s a real business opportunity out there for entrepreneurs who can develop products that take modern technology and make it easy for elders to use,” he says. “After all, seniors have all the money; why should technology exclusively be geared toward young people?”
Table of Contents:
1. Phone Selection
Jitterbug has two flagship products: the Jitterbug Flip and the Jitterbug Smart2. All Jitterbug phones come with a standard one-year warranty.
Jitterbug Flip – Regularly $99.99
The Jitterbug Flip is a basic flip phone with the following key selling points:
- Large bright screen and buttons
- Simple menu with YES/NO navigation
- Long-lasting battery
- Powerful speaker
- 2.0 megapixel camera
- 5Star button for 24/7 emergency help
The Jitterbug flip phone is available at physical stores like Best Buy or online from Amazon, Rite-Aid and Walgreens. Find a retailer near you here.
Jitterbug Smart2 – Regularly $149.99
The Jitterbug Smart2 is an entry-level smartphone with the following key selling points:
- Large 5.5″ screen and simple menu
- Voice typing for hands-free texting
- Long-lasting battery
- Free customer service and tech support
- Built-in camera with flash
- 5Star button for 24/7 emergency help
The Jitterbug Smart2 is available at physical stores like Best Buy or online from Amazon, Rite-Aid and Walgreens. Find a retailer near you here.
2. Phone Plans
The Jitterbug Flip advertises plans starting as low as $14.99/month, while the Smart2 advertises plans starting at $17.48 a month.
There are basically two ways to get into a Jitterbug phone plan — either by purchasing talk, text and data à la carte or by purchasing a health and safety service package that offers discounted minutes.
All plans are no-contract and include call waiting, caller ID, long distance and roaming. Plus, the service runs on “the nation’s largest and most dependable wireless network.”
Jitterbug Flip Phone and Smart2 – Cost of Minutes
|Unlimited talk & text||$39.99|
|Unlimited talk, text & data||$59.99 (Smart2 only)|
Jitterbug Flip Phone and Smart2 – Cost of Text Messages
|Number of Texts||Monthly Cost|
Smart2 – Cost of Data
|Monthly Data Allowance||Monthly Cost|
Meanwhile, you can get up to double the minutes for the same monthly cost if you add a Health & Safety Package. These packages come in three tiers, and all tiers include 5Star Urgent Response.
More on exactly what 5Star is in a moment, but for now here are the tiers:
- Basic – $19.99/month
- Preferred – $24.99/month
- Ultimate – $34.99/month
3. Device Activation
Once you buy a Jitterbug device, you’ve got to activate it before you can use it. Since Jitterbug doesn’t have physical stores like the big wireless carriers, the website walks you through the process of activating your device online.
Once you enter the ZIP code where the device will be used most often, you’ll be prompted to give the following information:
- Name of the device holder
- Your relationship to device holder
- Serial number of the device (located on the product’s box or on activation card in the package)
You’ll also have to provide your email address and create a password for your account. If you run into any difficulty activating your Jitterbug phone online, you can always give the company a call at 866-482-1424.
If you plan to port an existing number to a Jitterbug phone, you should first contact the Activation team at 866-397-9291 to confirm your number is eligible for transfer.
4. Customer Service
Jitterbug’s parent company, GreatCall, offers U.S.-based customer service when you call 800-733-6632.
Also, Jitterbug phones feature the 5Star Urgent Response function built into the keypad or screen of each handset.
At the press of a button, you can talk with a service representative who will confirm your location, assess the severity of your situation and send the help that you need — including calling 911 on your behalf, if necessary.
The help can be anything from dispatching an EMT in the event of a medical emergency to sending a locksmith if you’re locked out of your house.
There is an additional charge starting at $19.99/month for 5Star Urgent Response Service on your phone.
5. Customer Reviews
GreatCall has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, but only a little more than one star when it comes to customer reviews filed with the BBB.
Many readers of Clark.com have already tried either the Jitterbug Flip phone or the Smart2 and give the service mixed ratings. Below are some excerpts of what our readers are saying.
“I’ve had a Jitterbug for at least eight years, loved the features and enjoyed good customer service. A couple of caveats, though. I don’t pay for a text plan because I don’t text, but I often receive spam texts from others and must pay for each one individually. GreatCall advises me there is no way to block unwanted callers or texts. The camera only faces forward, so I can’t take a selfie. I used to be able to download photos to Facebook, but that function has gone away.” – jvthomp
“My wife and I have owned Jitterbug Flip phones for three years, primarily for on-the-road convenience, and have been quite satisfied; no texting, voice texting or mail box. $14.99 each a month. The cameras are adequate but now we are moving up to one of us carrying the Smart2.” – York Onnen
“I just replaced my old Jitterbug Flip with a new one and am very disappointed. First it is bigger, more bulky. Second, it has to be charged every 2-3 days vs. my old version which required charging once a week.” – Theresa Massey
“I made the mistake of ordering a basic Jitterbug (Alcatel OneTouch) Flip phone…The voice quality and reception are lousy and the thing is way too complicated for my liking. To its credit the camera seems to work OK, but that doesn’t mean anything to someone who still uses 35 mm film and a Polaroid camera. I’m glad I’ve never given up my copper-wired landline phone.” – RetiredHappy
To read the full reviews, be sure to view the comments below. And if you’re a Jitterbug customer, be sure to leave your own comment!
The Jitterbug Flip phone can be a solid entry-level plan for the right user, provided that you heed some of the customer warnings from above.
One of the nice things about both the Jitterbug Flip and the Smart2 is that they offer the convenience and ease of a cell phone without locking you into a long-term contract.
However, if after reading this you decide you need a different option altogether, be sure to check out our list of the Best Cell Phone Plans and Deals. It’s updated monthly!