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Jitterbug smartphone reviews

Jitterbug Smart (GreatCall)  June 12, 2017 – 04:36 am

Jitterbug rightThere's a clicky, metallic-looking power button on the right side of the phone and a volume rocker below. The soft-touch back has GreatCall and Jitterbug logos, and a back-facing speaker that's easy to hear, but not as loud as the one you get on the SmartEasy. The back peels off to give you access to the SIM card slot and a microSD card slot that worked fine with a 64GB Leef Pro card . The battery is not removable.

Network Performance and Connectivity
The Jitterbug operates on GreatCall, a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) that uses Verizon's network. It supports CDMA, as well as LTE bands 4/13, which is the same you'll find on entry-level Verizon devices. Verizon has regularly scored well in our Fastest Mobile Networks testing, and we saw average network performance on the Jitterbug in midtown Manhattan.

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Call quality is good. Earpiece volume is loud and easily understandable. Voice calls from quiet environments have a warm, natural tone. Calls from noisier environments have occasional pops, but nothing too distracting. There's a 3.5mm audio jack and Bluetooth 4.0 for wireless headsets. The phone is also M4/T4 hearing aid compatible.

Processor, Battery, and Camera
The Jitterbug is powered by a Snapdragon 210 processor clocked at 1.1GHz and 1GB of RAM. These are entry-level specs, and the phone scored 19, 912 on the AnTuTu benchmark test, which measures overall system performance. That's still on par with the SmartEasy (19, 980) which boasts a faster Snapdragon 410 chipset, so you probably won't notice a big performance difference between the two devices.

In testing, I noticed some latency in launching apps and multitasking, but had no trouble using making calls, sending texts, taking photos, or running apps. The phone suffered an "Out of Memory" error when attempting to run GFXBench, which tests graphic performance, so it isn't a great choice for high-end gaming.

Jitterbug home

Battery life is average. The phone clocked 4 hours and 16 minutes in our battery test, in which we stream full-screen video over LTE at maximum brightness. That's in line with the SmartEasy (4 hours and 24 minutes), though the battery here isn't removable, so you can't carry a spare.

Camera performance for the 5-megapixel rear sensor is poor. The autofocus struggles to lock on even in well-lit settings. Pictures taken outdoors suffered from noise and blur no matter how carefully I focused or how still I held my hand. Indoor shots were grainy. The camera also records muddy 720p video. The 2-megapixel front-facing camera proved no better, capturing soft and blurry images.

Software and Conclusions
The Jitterbug Smart runs Android 5.1 Lollipop. Upon turning it on, you'll be brought to a simple lock screen that requires you to tap the numbers 1, 2, and 3 on the bottom of the screen to unlock the phone. The lock screen also shows the time, date, battery life, your phone number, and a 5Star Urgent Response button. The button activates an emergency call to an agent who will connect you to medical assistance, emergency services, or a designated emergency contact.

Once the phone is unlocked, you'll be brought to the home screen, which features all of your apps arranged in a vertical list. There are two tabs up top, letting you switch between Home and People. In Home, you'll find Phone, Texts, Camera, Photo Album, Email, and Brain Games. People gives you a list of contacts. If you want to get access to your other apps, you can tap the All Apps option at the bottom of the screen, which lets you see other apps you've installed. There's an ever-present 5Star button at the bottom, and a My Account button to the right, which shows your phone usage, account info, and puts you in touch with support representatives.

The Settings menu remains unchanged from standard Android. It's filled with small text and a number of options that are likely to confuse new users. The SmartEasy offers a simpler experience overall. On the plus side, the Jitterbug lets you switch from the simplified interface to the traditional Android layout, which is a nice option for users who quickly grow comfortable with the phone.

With all these customizations, you're left with 4.57GB of available storage out of a total of 8GB. The phone is capable of moving apps to the microSD card, along with photos, video, and music, so space shouldn't be a problem.

The aforementioned service is included with your GreatCall plan. Aside from that, you'll find two GreatCall apps: MedCoach and Urgent Care. The former lets you enter your medical information, including your medical history, prescriptions, doctors, and pharmacies. The app keeps you informed of refills, sets medicine reminders, and provides you with drug info. The Urgent Care app lets you connect with a network of nurses and doctors to get medical advice, but calls cost $3.99 each, which can add up.

Overall, the Jitterbug Smart is a good choice for seniors who want a simple phone with a big screen. The 5Star features are a nice addition, even if some of them cost extra. But the Jitterbug isn't quite as good for seniors as the Doro 824 SmartEasy, which remains our Editors' Choice. It adds a physical Emergency Alert button, and software that's even easier for new users to learn. Plus it has a feature that allows relatives or other caretakers to access the phone and provide support remotely.

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Source: www.pcmag.com

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