GreatCall, Lively Mobile: Review
Product name: Lively Mobile
Manufacturer / Distributor: GreatCall
Compilation: October 2017. Updated Q4 2018.
This page contains our GreatCall Lively Mobile review.
Analyst Summary: GreatCall Lively Mobile
The Lively Mobile is the next generation replacement for the GreatCall Splash which featured heavily in many of our prior detailed comparative analyses. The Lively Mobile is a good mobile medical alert, and includes fall detection and GPS location capability.
UPDATE: Q2 2019: This product has been discontinued and is now replaced by the Lively Mobile Plus.
We have acquired and tested the Lively Mobile, and confirm it is a worthy successor to the Splash, which did very well in our prior tests. You can read our review of the GreatCall Splash for more detail.
This newer version of GreatCall's mobile medical alert is a lot more compact than the Splash. And a bit lighter (at 1.4 oz vs 2.0 oz for the Splash). But generally quite similar in concept.
Overall we expect similarly good response time from the GreatCall call center, as we saw with the Splash. And its GPS locating capability seems similar to that of the Splash (ie good, but not perfect).
In the picture below you can see the relative size of the Lively Mobile vs its predecessor the Splash.
It's small, lightweight, and best of all comes with the GreatCall 5 star responder service which has an extremely good response time. In addition, this monitoring service encourages you to reach out to them in a range of "emergencies", not just life threatening ones (see Splash review and company discussion below).
In addition, the purchasing and on-boarding can all be done online, and is very easy. And the cost of this product compares favorably with many of the competitors.
It's also waterproof (IPX7: 1 m depth for 30 minutes).
From our tests, we didn't think there were really any minuses about this product, other than those that come with the mobile alert category as a whole. So it's not very attractive, although less ugly than most. And you do need to charge it (see below). And the "wearable" is larger than the "traditional" type of medical alert that works only in your home.
One potential negative we have heard is that the volume of the speaker (ie when the responder is trying to talk to you) might be a bit less than the Splash. However, to us it seems quite similar to other medical alerts we have been testing recently, and not a cause for concern.
We have also seen "comments" on various review sites that the battery life is a bit short on this product. In our testing, a full charge on the battery lasted well over 36 hours but a bit less than 48 hours before the warning beep told us that charge was running low. This is pretty similar to many other mobile alert products (see comparative analysis below, and smartwatch as medical alerts.)
So, battery life was not a problem in our tests for this product compared to most of its "mobile alert" competitors.
Note added March 2019: Comments continue to show up on other websites, claiming that users experienced very short battery life with the GreatCall Lively Mobile. The user reviews talk of a product holding a charge for only 7 or 8 hours. We frankly don't know what to say about this. It did not happen in our tests. Could it happen for "some" of GreatCall's products? Maybe it could. It's hard to "prove" a negative.
Unfortunately the bottom line here is we are no longer sure about this issue. In our tests, battery life was over 36 hours, and was comparable with competing products. The respected review site "Wirecutter" also observed battery life of well over a day. But we are now worried that some users may see problems with battery life, and we have downgraded our enthusiasm about this product as a result.
GreatCall has now released a newer version of this product, called the Lively Mobile Plus, which is supposed to have much better battery life. If you are considering this product, we recommend getting the Lively Mobile Plus instead.
Some other categories of medical alerts (eg those for home use only) do have much longer battery life, if this is a critical parameter for you. And a couple of mobile medical alert systems have longer battery life, but also have some tradeoffs. You can see more about tradeoffs with respect to battery life in our course on Selecting the Right Medical Alert System (see the Learning Module).
If you are interested in this type of medical alert, you should also read our rather extensive comparative analysis of mobile alert systems in which we test all sorts of aspects of different products in this category. We try and keep our "recommendations" up to date in our section "Just Tell Me What to Buy".
Note: If you want to support our work, please use these links when you buy any of the products we write about, as we sometimes get a small percentage of the sale from the manufacturer, which we use to support our research. (This does not affect the price you pay). See How we Fund our Work.
Product Line & Company: GreatCall
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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