Alert1, Kelsi: Review

Alert1, Kelsi: Review

The Basics

Product name: Kelsi 

Manufacturer / Distributor: Alert1

Compilation: Q4. 2015

This page contains our Alert1 Kelsi review.

 

 

Analyst Summary: Alert1 Kelsi

The Kelsi is a mobile medical alert designed to work wherever there is (T mobile) cell coverage. It looks nice and small, and smaller than other go-anywhere pendants we tested so far. We decided to try it out.

Ordering it

We looked at this product as well as the seemingly identical products offered by LifeCall and ResponseLink. On further investigation this product comes originally from Freus (a wholesaler), and is called by them the "eResponder". We believe Alert1, LifeCall and ResponseLink buy it from Freeus and rebrand it, so presumably the product offered in each case is identical.

Pricing seemed similar among these offerings, but Alert1 had a "2 month free" sale, and the company had popped up frequently on various "best medical alert" lists so we decided to test this one. We strongly suspect that the actual hardware (ie the pendant) is made by a third party and sold to each of these alert system companies.

The online ordering process was fairly straightforward and painless on the company's website. It claimed that you would get the 2 mth free special deal by ordering online or by phone, but so far the papwerwork I got did not reflect that.

Pricing on this product is steep. The fee is $46/mth with an additional $99 to activate the system, and a shipping charge ($16).

 

Unboxing

Written By: Richard Caro.  Last Updated: Thu, 11/17/2016 - 14:29.

The Kelsi arrived on time without complications in a typical brown shipping box but inside the packaging is a pleasing although unexciting package such as one expects for consumer electronics. Not dissimilar to the way the Splash is packaged.

The contents

Kelsi unboxed

 

Wearable: First impression

The first impression is that it is nice and small, and (being a black rectangle) less obtrusive than many of the other wearables we have tried.

Kelsi unboxed

 

First impressions: Positives & Negatives

Several things struck us on examining this product.

  1. It claims a battery life of 2 months which is way superior to any other of the "out and about" products we have been testing, which typically need recharging every few days at best.
     
  2. The accompanying "terms and conditions" have a LOT of very small fine print which is a bit offputting. However, unlike many of the other products, you are not required to sign it and send it back, so that is one less chore.
     
  3. There is no "off button". The device is on all the time. Not sure yet if that is an issue. Some of the other products claim you need to turn them off on an airplane, but that would not be possible with a Kelsi.
     
  4. It uses T mobile, whereas as many of the competitors use AT&T. This is neither a plus or a minus in itself. But the places where it will work best and worst are where the T mobile network has best and worst coverage.
     
  5. The charger is not a cradle like some of the competitors. It is simply a plug that you insert into the wearable pendant to charge. This is less convenient but since you only need it every few months perhaps that is not a problem.
     

Initial few days testing

Written By: Richard Caro.  Last Updated: Sat, 01/02/2016 - 15:27.

We tried this product out in real world usage for an initial few days, while I wore it around in San Francisco. This product is part of our "out and about" testing program, so we tested the alert capability periodically in different locations over about a week.

No GPS capability

While not totally obvious prior to purchase, we now realize that this product is quite different to some of the other "out and about" products we are testing, because it does NOT know where it is at any given time. In other words the Kelsi does not contain any GPS locating capability.

How it "locates you"

When you press the alert button, the system calls its call center and a friendly responder comes on the line. A bit like a cell phone, the voice comes out of the pendant and you can talk to the person through the pendant.

If you ask "do you know where I am?", you are told that no they do not. "However, if we dial 911 for you, the 911 service will be able to tell us and you where you are"

Profound difference

For two reasons, this is a profound difference to systems like the Splash or the Premium Guardian which we are testing.

First, with those products the call center knows where you are because the wearable pendant sends a location signal back to them without you needing to do anything and without needing to call 911. This means that if you need some type of help that falls short of needing to call 911, they will know where to send that help even if you do not.

Second, for the Kelsi, in case of a real emergency the ability to locate you will depend on the ability of the 911 system to pin down your location. It is the same as would be the case if you dialled 911 on your cell phone. But there has been a lot of press recently about how unreliable cell-based 911 location services are. So we think this is a much less robust approach to location than having the GPS built into the pendant.

Sound a bit tinny

The sound quality of the calls is rather poor, and much poorer than the other out and about systems we are testing and poorer than my cell phone. The sound is tinny and static-y. The voice from the device is understandable, but I think if you had any hearing impairment this would be a negative.

Small

As noted during unboxing, this pendant is smaller than the other out and about pendants. Not sure yet how much of an advantage that is, but it is not a bad thing. It is still a bit bulky for every day wear in my opinion.

Water resistant

Here is what it says on the Freeus website (the manufacturer):

"Unlike some mobile personal emergency response systems, eResponder can be used in the shower. However, it is not designed to be submerged in water."

We mark the product as waterproof in our database, but it is definitely not as waterproof as pendants with no "voice in pendant" capability which you can fully immerse.

The competitors GreatCall Splash and Philips Lifeline GoSafe and Numera Libris are waterproof to a specific standard called  IP67: ("highly water resistant: submerged in water for up to 3 feet and up to 30 minutes"). 

We suspect but have not confirmed that the Kelsi (Freeus eResponder) may be less water resistant than the above three competitors.

Testing completed

Written By: Richard Caro.  Last Updated: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 14:41.

This product was part of our comparative testing of "Go Anywhere" Medical Alerts, and you can read the full analysis of our testing results here.

In brief, we found it less functional than several other products, and NOT less expensive.

The big reasons why you might want this product are:

  • three month battery life, which is much longer than other "Go Anywhere" products.
  • A bit smaller than other such pendants.

BUT, it does not have location capability. And the sound quality is a bit marginal. It also has not auto-detection of falls.

Speed of response

One of the areas we tested was speed of response. In our tests, the average time from pressing the button to hearing a responder for this product was 52 seconds. In 8 trials spread out over a month, the maximum response time was 90 seconds, and the response time was over 60 seconds on 3 occasions (38%). The fastest response was about 30 seconds.

To see how that compares with competitors, read the article on comparative testing linked to above.

 

 

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Product Line & Company: Alert1

Alert 1 gets favorable reviews on various online review sites, and seems like it makes it to the top 10 or 20 vendors by online "buzz". They have a full range of medical alert systems.

  • A conventional "at-home" system, which also comes with an option fall detection pendant;
  • A small "mobile" pendant;
  • A somewhat larger fall detection, go-anywhere pendant that looks identical to the premium Guardian we tested from Medical Guardian.
  • ... .........Read more

 

About this Research

This product review is part of an extensive series of medical alert system reviews of over 50 products, including hands-on evaluation and real-world testing of the most promising ones, in real-world situations.

These reviews and analyses are part of our Research Project designed to help older adults and their families Choose the Right Medical Alert System for THEM — the result of which is our Medical Alert Systems: Selection Guide.

We have tried hard to make this research as independent and objective as possible. It has not been funded or sponsored by any of the vendors of these products, and includes no advertising or "sponsored content". The team that conducted this research has strong scientific, clinical, and aging services backgrounds. You can read more about the team that did this research at the links above. 

 

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