I have a grandmother who is getting into tech. For the past few years she has continued to grow in her knowledge of utilizing her tablet. But the one issue I have had was in helping her with smartphones. Not sure if it’s the size, operating systems, or what, but we can’t seem to truly connect there. Then I saw the Jitterbug Smart 2 in Best Buy, and I was like “yup, that might be perfect”. So let’s talk about this phone.
The appeal that captured my attention was the configuration of the operating system. It was simple, large, and made simple so that anyone could use it. It abandoned the home screen and app drawer of the Android OS, or the screen full of icons of iOS. And it has a simple interface, as well as a large font. This literally takes the power of a smartphone and simplify it for those who are not able to get around a smartphone, without setting it down out of frustration.
The other added feature I like is the 5 Star button. If you have someone who is elderly, there are concerns, especially when they may be alone. But that 5 star button immediately connect them to a live person, not a robot, series of options or prompts, but an actual individual on the line. I actually tested it out, and was impressed talking to the person on the other end. This alone is worth the extra $20 bucks that is added to the bill, something I will talk about below.
Speaking of price, let’s talk about that price. The big issue I have with this product is that the box shows (clearly) $40.00 per month for unlimited (“when you select a Health & Safety plan”). Problem is that there is no available unlimited plan for $40. That is a false advertisement that when called upon, their response is one of not caring. This offense alone knocks two to three stars off. Thing is, if they posted the real price on the box, $60, it would be something that would be justified because of the 5 Star.
The second knock I have is the device itself. Anyone who knows android, knows this is a phone that at best could compete with the phones on the market 2-3 years ago. The software they are running is 7.0 and the device is a 5.5 inch LCD screen 1280x 720 display, 1.5 GHz processor, 16 GB of on board storage, and running on Verizon’s network. So the specs on this phone wouldn’t even be able to compete with the low tier phones that are out on the market. Do not look for this phone to be a powerhouse. It literally is meant to serve as a simple to use device.
Is this device worth picking up?
At $118 I would say this could be an “OK” purchase if you know what you are getting. This phone is not a powerhouse, and if you are frankly looking for a smartphone with a simplistic interface for grandma/grandpa who may struggle with other smartphones, then this may be for you. It is basically a dumb phone interface with the power and capabilities of a smartphones. Because it has the android operating system, with the Play store, almost any app can be installed. Games, video messaging, Twitter, music, and more. Plus the peace of mind of help at the touch of a button (5 Star button).
Personally I would have loved if instead of using this outdated device, a person could take their own android device and add the interface. Example would be if a person had a Nexus 6P, which blows this device out of the water, they could go to the Play Store and download a “5 Star” official launcher. This would allow more choice options as far as phones. Hopefully this is the case in the future.
At the end of the day, this phone is not going to be for most android users. Had this been any other device, the specs alone would have earned this device the stink eye. This phone is sought after because of its super simplistic user interface, and for the 5 Star service designed to offer aid and assistance. This is basically the phone you get for your grandparents for their first smartphone. It is simplistic enough to not intimidate them, but still have many of the modern apps and features that a smartphone brings.