Our complete hands-on review of the Jitterbug phones and service for older users. Includes video tour.
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The Jitterbug was not designed for the majority of Phone Scoop readers. Its large size, small screen and very limited features are not going to win it much love from the gadget-hungry crowd. However GreatCall and Samsung are hoping it appeals to your grandparents, or at least someone who would like to buy your grams a mobile phone.
Typically the elderly want access to the same technology everyone else has, (like cell phones,) but not having grown up with high-tech toys, they prefer to have a simplified version. They also need technology that addresses how our bodies decay over time. Thus Jitterbug phones provide a loud speaker with an ear pad, large buttons and a large, simple interface.
The Jitterbug phones are a huge step forward in terms of usability for the elderly or technophobes, but they are also a first generation effort. The interface is a bit clunky and not everything about the phone is optimized for ease of use.
Great Calls may be marketing the jitterbug phone for elderly and their kids, but the company has no reliable customer support. They have split the customer service into several departments so that you get the old fashion bureaucratic run around when you have a problem. No one in the company will take any responsibility for any problem. Once you buy the phone you are on your own. In addition, the department that take the credit card info and does the ordering may not be all that honest.
I got this phone for my Dad who is going blind and living in an assisted living facility. Great Calls can not seem to understand that some might buy a phone like this for their parents.
The company has charge my credit card twice and is responding very ... (continues)
In addition to the above listed problems, my phone came with a number which has the wrong area code. In order to change it I need to call customer service. The how-to-guide lists the number as 1-800-733-6632 which is not answered. An insert which c... (continues)
I agree. I don't usually post anything but I had such a problem and disappointment that I feel obligated along with these two posts to add my experience. The positive - I think this phone is a very good idea and perfect for the elderly (my mother 85 ... (continues)
For Instance I have low vision and hearing impaired in one ear but I am no granny. But there are serious drawbacks to this phone. The charges are only the beginning. Many other drawbacks have also been covered and the un-hip-ness of this phone for younger people is a big minus ! But I am glad someone is finally beginning to address the real lack of WELL DESIGNED cell phones that truly meet the needs of the low vision and hearing impaired. Lets hope this idea is improved upon and the trend continues to gain recognition because there really is a need in our society for the elderly and those living with vision, hearing, and motor disabilities.
As a follow up note. I have yet to find the perfect huge internal screen on a flip phone that has nice large easy to read text for low vision. Any suggested models to look for? Especially with any Sprint phones.
I totally agree. i come across many customers who are looking to purchase or exchange their elderly/disabled parent's or children's cell phones for something simple & easy to use. hopefully more manufactuers will make some QUALITY products for this ma... (continues)
I visited their website and could not find any coverage maps. So I emailed the customer service and asked what their coverage was. Here is the response I got.
Which network or cellular carrier do you use?
GreatCall enjoys arrangements with many CDMA carriers across the country to ensure nationwide coverage for Jitterbug customers. This includes three of the largest cellular carriers as well as numerous regional providers. We don’t name or promote our service providers by agreement.
What is the coverage area for the GreatCall service?
GreatCall covers most of the U.S. where cellular service is available from the major CDMA carriers. If you do not have coverage with one of the major carriers in your area, then you may not have... (continues)
I have to admit, I'm fantastically impressed by the idea and the execution. I think it's great that there is a product that takes into account the needs of those who don't need 1.2 million gadgets packed into a phone, and really need it for essential purposes.
That said, it's upsetting to see how the phone and rate plans are priced, so much so that they would probably price someone who is on a fixed income out of consideration. I know that my 80 year old uncle has been very happy with previous services, but has complained about the phones becuase of the difficulty of button pressing and complicated menus. one thing he never complains about, however, is the cost of the rate plan, usually no more than 20/every three months w/ Virgin Mo... (continues)
Phonescoop has not mentioned a carrier even once... but they did test it on something...
But it is CDMA... it's not like someone can just activate it on any carrier. Sprint will not allow foreign ESN's on the network. As a matter of fact, I believe Alltel and Verizon are starting to block foreign ESN's as well. The only carrier I know that activates anything are Cricket and Page Plus (MVNO).