When we reviewed GreatCall’s Lively Mobile medical alert device back in 2017, it earned our Editors’ Choice for its portability, speedy response times, and urgent care services. After being purchased by Best Buy in 2018 and working through a quality control issue, GreatCall has released its new Lively Mobile Plus (starting at $24.99 per month) emergency medical alert device. This updated version provides everything that we liked about its predecessor, and offers up a few improvements including a new chipset and longer battery life. It also offers fall detection and GPS tracking options. All this earns it our Editors’ Choice for portable medical alert systems.
Design and Features
Weighing 1.9 ounces and measuring 2.6 by 1.6 by 0.6 inches (HWD), the Lively Mobile Plus is a hair taller and just half an ounce heavier than the original model. That said, it’s still one of the lightest and smallest portable medical alert devices out there.
It has a silver finish, an IPX7 waterproof rating that means it can be worn in the shower, and sports a clip on its top edge for attaching the included lanyard. There’s a square Call button in the middle of the device used to contact the emergency response center, as well as a battery indicator, a speaker, and a microphone for two-way audio with the response center. Included in the box are a charger, a lanyard, a belt clip, and installation and user guides.
The Lively Mobile Plus is powered by an internal rechargeable 930mAh lithium-ion battery rated to provide up to 80 hours of standby time. That’s more than twice as long as the original Lively Mobile (36 hours) and more in line with other mobile systems such as the Bay Alarm Medical Mobile GPS Help Button (72 hours), while the LifeFone At-Home and On-the-Go GPS Voice-in-Necklace offers the longest battery life we’ve seen to date (up to 30 days). Other improvements include a powerful Snapdragon Wear 1100 processor that delivers enhanced GPS and integrated 4G LTE cellular technology.
As with the original Lively Mobile, the Lively Mobile Plus uses the 5Star Urgent Response service to provide 24/7 access to a live agent with the touch of the Call button. It also offers several add-on options including fall detection, urgent care, and access to the GreatCall Link app. Powered by Fonemed and Mdlive, urgent care provides 24/7 access to doctors and nurses for medical advice and prescription refills, and GreatCall Link allows trusted family members and friends to view GPS maps of your current location using a mobile app or a web app.
The app lets caregivers see when the emergency call button was used and where you were when it was pressed. The app also lets you create emergency contact lists and provide essential medical information (ailments, allergies, medications, etc.) that can be used by emergency responders and offers a week in review synopsis of activities and timely educational medical articles.
The Lively Mobile Plus has a one-time device fee of $49.99 and requires a $24.99 per month Basic Plan subscription that gives you access to the 5Star Urgent Response service where you can talk to a live agent who will confirm your present location and contact local authorities if you require medical attention, need roadside assistance, or if you are in any sort of danger. For $29.99 per month, the Preferred Plan gets you the 5Star service as well as access to the Urgent Care service and the GreatCall Link app, and for $39.99 per month, the Ultimate Plan gives you everything in the Preferred Plan as well as fall detection.
By way of comparison, the LifeFone At-Home and On-the-Go GPS Voice-in-Necklace charges $43.95 per month for its Basic service, and it’ll cost you an extra $5 per month for fall detection and another $6 per month to access the Caregiver portal. The Philips GoSafe 2 requires a $49.95 monthly subscription that includes fall detection, but you’ll have to pay a one-time $99.95 device fee.
Installation and Performance
Getting the Lively Mobile Plus ready for first use is easy. Simply plug in the charger and place the device in the charging cradle. You’ll hear a voice welcoming you to the 5Star service and the Call button LED will begin blinking green. The battery LED will also blink green while the battery charges. To activate the device you can call the number on the included activation sheet or go to greatcall.com/activate and fill in the serial number and address information. Once activated, you need to create a MyGreatCall account and a password, download the GreatCall Link app, and you’re ready to go.
As with its predecessor, the Lively Mobile Plus delivered speedy response times in testing, averaging 15 seconds from the time I pressed the button until a live agent came on the line. With every call the two-way audio was loud and clear, and the agent was always professional and friendly. The agent also immediately confirmed my current location during each call.
The GreatCall Link app accurately tracked my movements and Call button activities, sent push alerts when the button was pressed and when the battery level was low, and offered a useful list of COVID-19 resources from websites such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Johns Hopkins University, the World Health Organization (WHO), and more.
Speedy response times and a highly portable waterproof enclosure make the GreatCall Lively Mobile Plus an excellent choice for a medical alert system that you can take wherever you go, even in the shower. It offers several useful add-on services including fall detection, urgent care medical advice, and the GreatCall mobile app and web console gives family and caregivers the ability to monitor your activity and check in on your daily routine. Considering these features and its reasonable price, the Lively Mobile Plus earns our Editors’ Choice for portable medical alert devices.