When the Jitterbug Cell Phone was first released to the public in 2006, I and several of my baby boomer friends considered seriously purchasing it. However, due to the enormously exorbitant price on the product line and it’s not too generous phone plan prices, we all opted against it until a later time. It was a brand new company and certain to improve greatly with this greatly needed senior cell phone market. However, now the Just5 Senior Cell Phone has arrived and is on the scene. The equation has changed.
There was not much competition at that time for cell phones geared towards the senior market, the hearing impaired and non-tech savvy baby boomers. However, that has changed within recent years and months. Below is my review of what I consider to be one of the most serious competitors to the Jitterbug J Cell Phone: the Just5 Senior Cell Phone.
The needs for certain features of a senior cell phone geared market are not that complicated. A senior cell phone that is geared for the elderly senior market is not that difficult to understand: it should be user-friendly for the elderly, at least in this writer’s mind. Any cell phone designer can provide it with the following requirements and characteristics.
Some Characteristics Needed:
1. A larger, user-friendly for the elderly big button keyboard for easier handling and dialing
2. A better quality (and louder) speaker
3. Hearing aid compatibility for the hearing impaired
4. Easy to read display functions for the visually impaired
5. A great variety of user plans and all very inexpensive
Not a really big deal. Yet, this is all that is needed in order to qualify as far as senior cell phones, it seems. However, the senior market, the visually impaired and the hearing impaired markets are not the only ones that will be attracted to this phone.
There is another market which has been neglected as well: the baby boomers market which is just not too tech savvy. This phone was designed and also is being promoted with this baby boomer crowd in mind who just want more simplicity in their lives. Baby boomers are headed in the way of their own senior years now buying for their elderly parents and preparing for their time to come. Many of them are already visually impaired, ( as is this writer), and some of them are even hearing impaired, (from those stupid boom boxes, uh!).
The Just5 Cell Phone gives the impression that it was exclusively designed for audiences that require five basic features listed above: ease of use and operation; big buttons; amplified sound; a long-lasting battery for reliability and an emergency SOS button found on the back of the phone. A person just can’t miss it, even in a tense emergency situation.
Because the primary target audience once again includes seniors, people who are visually or hearing impaired or non tech-savaay baby boomers, the designers at Just5 also know to offer variety especially in the eloquent design scheme. The Just5 senior cell phone comes in five colors and costs $89.99 (a little too high just yet in this writer’s opinion.) However, it can be purchased for a little less throughout the web.
Advantages and Disadvantages of It’s Features
One good feature it comes with is it being unlocked. “Unlocked” meaning that it can be carried with any GSM carrier one likes. In the U.S. it would be for example, AT&T or T-mobile. It does have text messaging, a speakerphone, a calculator, a flashlight and FM radio plus an alarm clock. It is a perfect equipment for those wanting simplicity.
The Emergency Back Button with the SOS feature can be a life saver! It can automatically call your emergency contacts (up to five SOS numbers are allowed and this feature is completely free of monthly charges.)
The SOS Feature allows for up to 5 pre-programmed phone number(s) for 911, family, friends, doctors, etc. to be dialed until a connection is made either by voice or voicemail. When users press the emergency SOS button, the phone will text an urgent message (e.g. “I’m having an emergency, please answer”) to these five numbers, and dial them in prioritized order. When dialing, the phone will sound a loud siren to attract the attention of others. Once someone answers a call, the phone automatically switches to loud speaker mode for easier communications. This feature is vital if a user drops the phone after pressing the SOS button.
The Just5 Cell Phone also comes with a flashlight for easy maneuvering in hitting that key hole at night; an FM radio for listening without an earphone and what this writer believes is a large enough big button keypad. It also has a high-volume speaker with amplified sound up to 100dB for the hearing impaired or for those speaking from high volume and noisy areas.
On the Down Side: Its regular phone book holds only 100 contacts, with the rest assigned to the SIM card and one can only have one number per contact, not several. However, this is not a big deal to most seniors and the visually or hearing impaired.
The phone only features 100 minutes of talk time and will stay charged for up to 6 days in standby mode. There is no mention of purchasing more air time minutes on their website. Once again, this is not a major deal for most seniors but maybe considered as one for baby boomers.
Their Customer Service and 1-800 number is listed but they seem to be lacking distributors and dealers at this time and a viable marketing plan just yet. Their base of operations comes out of Las Vegas, Nevada.
This is one phone which truly attracts this writer’s attention but there is no information of any phone plan except those possibly offered by cell phone carriers themselves. However, this company, as Jitterbug, knows where the target market truly is and this writer will be following closely as the time approaches when I will need something just like it.
(1) Beverly Anne Sanchez, Factoidz, 2010. http://factoidz.com/jitterbug-review-and-promo-code/