Review: 5Star Urgent Response by GreatCall, Technology That Keeps You Safe

by nessel on May 30, 2012

5Star Responder

We are surrounded by gadgets.  We have gadgets, our kids have gadgets and even our parents now have gadgets.  Too often, it feels like these gadgets can distract us and cause dangerous situations.  Is there any parent who does not cringe when they see teens texting and driving?

Today we finally get to talk about a gadget that can actually keep us safe – the 5Star Responder from GreatCall.   Who is the 5Star Responder for – the kids, parents or grandparents? All three!  The 5Star Responder is one of those rare gadgets that can be helpful to people of all ages and in all different situations.

What is the 5Star Responder and The 5Star Urgent Response Network?

On the hardware side, the 5Star Responder is a small two-way cellular device, with built in mic, speaker and GPS.   The real appeal of 5Star comes from the network you can access with your 5Star Responder.  The 5Star service provides you with 24 hour/365 days access to American based Certified Response Agents.  If you have any problem at all, you simply tap the button on the 5Star Responder and an agent will immediately assist you.

We will get more into the service later in the review, but first let’s take a quick look at our video review of the 5Star Responder…

The Nuts and Bolts of Using the 5Star Responder

I think we can all agree that safety is very important, but for many people the price for 24 hour access to assistance  can be a barrier.  Let’s go over the pricing on the 5Star Responder right from the start.  First, you need to buy the 5Star Responder – which is about $50.   The monthly service fee is $15, with no cancellation fees (but there is a $35 activation fee, drops to $25 if done online).  There are some coupons and discounts for referring additional people, but let’s just go with the full price – $85 to get started and then $15 a month.

Is 5Star Urgent Response Worth the Price?

In order to evaluate the value of the 5Star service, we first need to explain what you get with the service…

  • 5Star™ works nationwide and provides you with access to help anytime, anywhere wireless coverage is available.
  • Two way communications is powered by one of the nation’s largest and most reliable wireless networks.
  • Live, 100% U.S. based agents are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Agents Certified by the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch® and trained in CPR and other emergency protocols.
  • Agents are equipped to handle a wide variety of situations and will remain on the line with you until your situation is resolved.
  • 5Star Agents utilize GPS technology, advanced location training and the “frequent locations” information in your Personal Profile to determine where a user is when they call.
  • Online Locator Service for Responder customers enables authorized users to securely and privately find the device and/or family member at MyGreatCall.com.
  • Agents will identify and locate you, assess your situation and then send the appropriate help.
  • Agents are able to assist in dispatching 9-1-1 emergency services, can conference in family and friends, and will stay on the line with you until your situation is resolved.
  • To connect directly to 9-1-1, Responder users simply press and hold the Responder Call Button down for five seconds
  • After a 9-1-1 call, a 5Star Agent will call to be sure your situation is resolved.
  • Unlimited mobile health advice from registered nurses 24 hours a day via LiveNurse.
  • Nurses available in English or Spanish, with no appointment necessary.

As you can see, you get a great deal with the 5Star service from GreatCall. While there are many different features in the 5Star response system, perhaps the best feature of all is the peace of mind when a loved one has the 5Star Responder.

How the 5Star Responder May Be Used in the Real World

Fancy features are fine, but what we are most interested in is how real people might use the 5Star Responder.  Here are a couple of scenarios that the 5Star Responder could be used in -

If Kids Have the 5Star Responder -

  • Mom was suppose to pick me up, but nobody is here
  • There is a stranger in the front yard and no one else is home
  • I am on a school field trip and I can’t find my teacher
  • One of my friends just got hurt
  • I am walking home from school and I think someone is following me
  • My Dad fell down and I think he is hurt

If an Adult Has the 5Star Responder -

  • I’ve had an accident and need help
  • I am having a strange reaction to something I just ate
  • I am hearing strange noises coming from the basement
  • I have a sharp pain in my leg and don’t know if I should call an ambulance
  • I’m locked out of my car in a strange area
  • I’m lost and feel disoriented

As you can see, there are some incredibly powerful uses for the 5Star network, across all age ranges.  It is important to understand that 5Star can do much more than just connect you with 911.  The real appeal to 5Star is that they can help you, your children or your parents in any situation that is making them uncomfortable.

MyGreatCall.Com Provides You Added Peace of Mind

In addition to the 5Star network, you also have access to your own portal called MyGreatCall.Com .  You can create your own profile with as many notes as you like – to provide the agents with additional information.  This can be incredibly helpful if you are creating an account for a parent who suffers from some memory loss.  You can create notes with your parent’s medical conditions, drugs they are using, emergency contact information, etc – all making it much easier for the agents to assist your parents if something goes wrong.

One of the other neat features of MyGreatCall.Com is the ability to locate a user using the GPS in the 5Star Responder.  If your child has the Responder and did not come home at his scheduled time, you can use the Locate a User feature and see a detailed map of exactly where your child is.   Unfortunately you can not then send a message that says “Get home this instant young man or you are grounded!” but at least you know where he is.  Of course, if there was a real emergency, the 5Star team could call your son via the 5Star Responder.

Yes, But Is Any of This Better Than a Cell Phone?

As many of us currently carry a cellphone, it may seem redundant to also carry and pay for the 5Star Responder.   In truth, 5Star provides a much more advanced safety service than just having a dial tone on your phone,   The reason to get 5Star is to have easy, instant access to trained responders who can handle a large variety of safety related issues.  For some parents, just having unlimited, 24 hour access to live registered nurses will be worth the $15 a month.  What do you do with a burn again  – run it under cold or hot water???

If you do have a cell phone, you can opt for the 5Star App for Smartphones.  This app gives you access to the 5Star Response network without having to use the dedicated 5Star Responder hardware.  Kids and elderly people will probably prefer the ease and simplicity of the all in one 5Star Responder, while tech savvy adults looking for some peace of mind can go with the app on their phone.

Conclusion: 5Star Responder Provides Technology That Simplifies Our Safety

In our testing, the 5Star Responder worked as advertised.  Wireless coverage was excellent, sound quality was good – press the button and in seconds you are talking to a live agent who has been trained in handling emergency situations.   It is refreshing to review a technology gadget that actually makes your life easier and safer.

The only real question remaining is if the 5Star Response network is worth $15 a month.   In our view, $15 a month is a very reasonable price for unlimited access to registered nurses, instant live help 24 hours a day, locate a user via GPS and simple technology that works dependably.

More Information:

Visit GreatCall.Com to Learn More about the 5Star Urgent Responder

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  • Mary

    Some friends of mine are fretting over whether to get their young children mobile phones in case of emergencies.  This warrants taking a look into, not only for kids, but aging parents too. Thanks,

  • Sharon

    The service was good until we found out it had been disconnected for 3 weeks, leaving my 88 year old mother without emergency service from great call. We found out that it had been terminated when we performed our monthly check. We contacted a representative of Great Call and were told the bill had not been paid and therefore they cancelled the service. We never received any notifications that it was going to be terminated or that we had not paid the bill. It was our assumption that the credit card number that was used to initiate the service would be charged for the continuing service. The major concern is that my mother was not protected for 3 weeks without any notification of the cancellation which would be a question that should be asked if you decided to use this service. The representative that we have conversed with have been very rude and disrespectful. A supervisor was supposed to call us back but has not as of the writing of this review.

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