Designed specifically as a tool for older adults and those who care for them, the Jitterbug Plus, as AllThingsD.com reviewer Bonnie Cha describes it, will "offer peace of mind to seniors and family members." From large buttons to remarkably loud and clear speakers, nearly every design element is oriented toward one goal: providing a simple, interactive and intuitive communication tool for seniors. Practically a nanny phone, its most unique and useful capability is its access to health-related services and to a live operator who is always available to help in all sorts of ways. By asking the caller yes-and-no questions, the phone itself even interacts with the caller.
Simplicity with power. Few cell phones are simpler to use than the Jitterbug Plus, and fewer still aim for such a specific population. Large buttons light up and beep when pressed, and crisp 1.3-inch external and 2.3-inch internal screens are a great help to aging eyes. It fits snugly in the pocket and is easy to hold. Universally criticized by experts, though, is an inability to monitor battery life on the display. Instead of a simple display meter, the caller has to jump a couple hoops to check power level. Beware the hard-to-remove battery cover; one reviewer had to pry it off with a screwdriver.
Clear voices and reliable network. Some reviewers tested and were impressed with the Jitterbug Plus's call quality, reception and battery life. Hard-of-hearing seniors will appreciate the loud yet clear speaker volume, and the included earpiece even works with most hearing aids. Great Call's access is through Verizon's extensive network, making for reliable and excellent reception. Calls are simple to make and, on both ends of a Jitterbug Plus conversation, sound quality is excellent. PC World's Ginny Mies says the battery has "insanely long battery life," easily lasting through a day of average use and holding a standby charge for up to 25 days.
Basic yet strong construction. Experts are impressed with the handset's simple yet high-quality construction. PCMag.com reviewer Alex Colon says "The build has a quality feel, and the phone's hinge is solid." The Jitterbug's limited purpose and simple design are an asset.
Designed for simplicity and easy access. Bill Kuch from TheGadgeteer.com says the Jitterbug has a "truly foolproof design." Coated in a glossy red or silver plastic that gives what CNET's Lynn La describes as "a more luxurious feel," the sleekly designed Jitterbug is purposely simplistic. Above the external screen is a light that blinks to signal incoming calls. The volume rocker is on the left side, while on the right are a discreet 3.5 mm headphone jack and miniUSB port. A speaker grill dominates the back cover. Some reviewers are annoyed with not being able to disable the audible keypad tones.
Not a multimedia phone, but still loaded. At first glance, it seems there isn't much to the Jitterbug's multimedia capability. True, it has a rudimentary 1.3-megapixel camera capable of uploading pictures to Facebook, but it will not play movies, games or music. There is no screen to swipe, and it looks like a phone from the 1990s. However, those who buy and use it for what it is designed to do are in for a pleasant surprise. A host of helpful applications are also available, including medication alerts. Constant operator assistance is free, and several subscription services enhance the phone's capabilities.
For example, GreatCall's 5-Star service is nearly identical to the popular OnStar assistance program. An advisory service called LiveNurse is free to Premium customers. Among the experts, Lynn La is the least impressed, cautioning, "All these [add-on services] add up to one expensive package that may not be worth it." Mies counters that "for some people, these options may prove essential."
Lynn La says although the Jitterbug's "call quality is strong and it's easy to use," she cautions that added services are costly and "it's overpriced for its low-end features."
Review: Jitterbug Plus Review (Silver, GreatCall), Lynn La, July 2, 2012
2. PC World
Ginny Mies by no means declares the Jitterbug perfect, but she does say, "GreatCall has done an excellent job of creating a phone that is both easy to use and full-featured, packed into a modern design."
Review: Jitterbug Plus Cell Phone Review: Simple Design, Lifesaving Technology, Ginny Mies, July 2, 2012
Alex Colon says that for those wanting a basic but useful phone, "the Jitterbug Plus is the best simple phone there is." PCMag.com selects it as an Editors' Choice for simple phones.
Review: Samsung Jitterbug Plus (GreatCall), Alex Colon, July 2, 2012
4. The Gadgeteer.com
In Bill Kuch's photo-rich review, he says the Jitterbug is especially useful to "a small group of people who could use an alternative to the smartphone."
Review: Jitterbug Plus Review, Bill Kuch, July 3, 2012
Bonnie Cha recommends the Jitterbug only to occasional cell phone users. Still, she finds "the Jitterbug Plus to be a well-designed and solid-performing handset that simplifies the cellphone experience for the older set."
Review: Jitterbug Plus: A Social but Simple Cellphone for Seniors, Bonnie Cha, July 12, 2012