FallCall Lite + Apple Watch : Review
By: Editorial Team | Posted: October 30, 2018 | Updated: May 17, 2023
- Product: FallCall Lite
- Company: FallCall Solutions
- Review Date: Q4 2018. Updated Q1 2021.
Where to buy it or learn more*:
Discount for Tech-enhanced Life readers:
- Discount code:
- Discount amount:
Analyst Summary: FallCall Solutions | FallCall Lite
The FallCall Lite App (+ Apple Watch) is one of several products we compared in a piece of research called “Smartwatch as Medical Alert“. If you are interested in this category of product, we recommend you look at this comparative review.
To use this product you start with an Apple watch, and then download an App called FallCall Lite. The App adds the medical alert functionality. Because all the functionality of the Apple watch is still there too, you get the full capability of a smartwatch, plus medical alert capability. Compared to other products in this category, this has the most smartwatch features.
As a medical alert it functions quite well, but has some limitations.
If you want a medical alert that keeps you as safe as possible, don’t mind wearing a conventional medical alert even if it looks ugly, and don’t really care about having extra smartwatch features like step counting, heart rate, or the weather in your medical alert, then one of the more conventional products we compared in “Mobile Medical Alerts: Comparative Evaluation” might be more to your liking.
But beware. Even though it is easy to say “I want to be as safe as possible”, the truth is many people purchase a medical alert but then don’t wear it, because they don’t like the way it looks and feels. If you think that might be you, this may be just what you need. Because even though it has some limitations (see below), because it is really “a watch”, we think you are more likely to wear this than more conventional medical alerts.
It looks great.
You get the full functionality of the Apple watch, so as far as smartwatch capability goes, you can’t beat it.
The FallCall Lite App is really there to add the capability to send an alert to a professional monitoring service (rather than just call your friends, or 911). We discuss why this matters, and contrast it with a regular Apple watch without the FallCall Lite App in Smartwatch as Medical Alert.
The FallCall Lite product does not have an automatic fall detection capability. It relies on you to press the button to summon help. For some, this is a major weakness. We discuss this more in the comparative article “Smartwatch as Medical Alerts” linked to above.
UPDATE 2021: In early 2021, FallCall introduced “FallCall Detect“. This does include a fall detection algorithm. We suspect it is substantially similar to the FallCall Lite reviewed here, but with the important addition of fall detection. This is an exciting improvement, although we have not tested how “perfect” the algorithm is.
In our original testing, we found a bug that seemed to result in alerts not being sent to the responder in some specific circumstances. We think this bug may have been fixed. But we would be happier if we had not found bugs quite so easily.
I found this product a bit complicated to set up. And then I found actually using it required quite a lot more steps and button presses than the competitors in this class. See below.
How to use FallCall Lite
Once you install and set up the FallCall Lite App, a “complication” appears on your Apple watch face. In the picture at the top of the page, this is the small + symbol you see at the bottom left of the watch face.
When you want to summon help, you press this + to activate the App.
You then get a screen with a big red “Help” button to press.
Then another screen which asks you whether you want to just alert your “Care Group” or to alert your “Care Group + Monitor”.
After you choose one (I choose the monitor option so it calls my professional responder service), it sends an alert.
Then you wait a short time (in my tests it varied between 10 seconds and 90 seconds) and you get an incoming call.
You need to answer that call, which I worry might get overlooked.
When you answer, you are talking with a responder who then triages whether you need 911 or something else.
For lots more details about this product, including the topics below, we suggest you read “Smartwatch as Medical Device?“.
In “Smartwatch as Medical Device?” we discuss topics including:
- can you wear it in the shower?
- ease of use;
- where it does and does not work;
- response time;
- how well it can locate you;
- any “failures to call for help” in our testing;
- how this category of medical alert smartwatch compares with more conventional medical devices; and
- features for caregivers (like knowing where the wearer is).
Here are some additional items not fully addressed in our comparative evaluation: Smartwatch as Medical Alerts.
The FallCall Lite App is designed to include others in a “Care Group”. It seems a bit more powerful than the other caregiving apps, but we did not spend much time exploring its capabilities. We did however notice a few things worth noting.
- In setting things up, you can’t really set up your “elder” tracking capability until you have first set up and paired with a member of your care group. This reflects a sort of “patient / caregiver” paradigm that is sometimes quite appropriate but not always. For example, I wanted to use the professional monitoring service and not really bother with a “care group”. But that did not seem to be an option.
- I did not see any easy way to manage privacy of who could see what. However it did not seem the caregiver could ping the device to see where you were and so perhaps there is less need for such a setting.
- When you send out an emergency alert, the caregivers get notified too, along with your location (and heart rate).
Unmonitored Version Also Possible
For completeness we want to mention that if you want, you can use this App without connecting up (and paying for) the professional monitoring service. In that case, any alert just gets sent to the members of the care group.
For some people, who want an unmonitored service, this might be a good option.
We did not really try and evaluate this aspect of the App. We believe there are quite a few Apps that have this sort of functionality in which a care group is set up, and then notified in an emergency. Testing out this use case would involve comparing the App with those other notification Apps.
We think the uniqueness of this App is adding a professional monitoring service to the Apple Watch.
The FallCall marketing material mentions that you can use Siri to call for help. This is an intriguing capability. The command is “Hey Siri, send for help using FallCall Lite“.
I tried this out (in 2018). The first time it called 911. The second time it worked correctly and had FallCall Lite send out a notification. But the notification went to my care group rather than to the professional responder. So this does not seem to be quite right as yet. (Siri often has trouble understanding me correctly so I am not sure whether this is a problem with the FallCall Lite App, or with Siri).
Furthermore, I am pretty sure if I had just fallen and broken my hip I would NOT remember the correct call phrase as above, and suspect that would lead to immense frustration.
My conclusion: As of 2018, I don’t think the voice activation is something to rely on yet. But it has great potential. We did not revisit this in 2021.
- For current pricing, see the vendor’s website (links below).
- For a table comparing pricing of this product and the others in our comparative analysis at the time of our evaluations, see Smartwatch as Medical Alert: Pricing.
Where to buy it or learn more*: (this takes you away from our website)
Discount for Tech-enhanced Life readers:
- Discount code:
- Discount amount:
*Disclosure: The research and opinions in this article are those of the author, and may or may not reflect the official views of Tech-enhanced Life.
If you use the links on this website when you buy products we write about, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases as an Amazon Associate or other affiliate program participant. This does not affect the price you pay. We use the (modest) income to help fund our research.
In some cases, when we evaluate products and services, we ask the vendor to loan us the products we review (so we don’t need to buy them). Beyond the above, Tech-enhanced Life has no financial interest in any products or services discussed here, and this article is not sponsored by the vendor or any third party. See How we Fund our Work.
8 thoughts on “FallCall Lite + Apple Watch”
wby does my FallCall lite
wby does my FallCall lite come on asking if I need help, even though I have not pushed the button for help.
how do I turn it off? So far, I just push the top click button to get back to the watch face.
I’m trying to decide if I
I’m trying to decide if I need a cellular capable watch. I believe I will always have my phone with me or be at home where I have WiFi. I’m buying the wTch for fall protection as my kids feel its extra protection. I don’t like the extra charge by my cellular provider if not really needed.
Thanks for any help you can offer.
Down loaded the Fallcall Lite
Down loaded the Fallcall Lite app but got a message – “Not available in Canada or this region”. Would like to use the app in an unmonitored mode and have only selected relatives receive “emergency” calls. Are there any options available.
I read this very helpful
I read this very helpful article a month or so ago, before buying an Apple watch. After a very responsive email convo with FallCallLite’s founder about some concerns, I decided I would subscribe once the watch arrived. (I find it condescending and off-putting that the site and app refer to contact persons as “caregivers” and have separate help sections for “caregivers” and elders. Nevertheless, I felt this product would meet my needs.)
I’ve now downloaded the app to my iPhone and Apple watch. The app sends a verification email as part of setup–but the link keeps sending me to a 404 error page. While awaiting a response from FallCallLite’s support line, I’ve been wondering if anyone else has had problems setting up the app and whether there are competitor apps I should consider. Do you know of any that are worth looking at?
Have you tested Medical
Have you tested Medical Guardian's Mini medical alert? If not, please do and post the results.
I like the smaller pendant but don't want to compromise on safety.
Is there an app that I can
Is there an app that I can put on my android to monitor a smartphone
Does anyone have experience
Does anyone have experience with FallCall Detect, an advanced version of FallCall Lite for Apple Watches?
It claims to be able to detect both hard and soft falls.
Which “Watch Face” did you
Which "Watch Face" did you use to get the "FCL complication" displayed?