After mobile alert buttons on a neck strap and for you to keep in your pocket, the latest senior-friendly mobile alert item is the smart wristwatch that can track your location, and call emergency services and your emergency contact on your behalf, if you’re not able to do so yourself.
These hit the news more recently when a man fell off his bike and lost consciousness while biking in Washington State. Mr. Burdett’s Apple smartwatch detected a hard fall, so it called 911 and transmitted the man’s GPS location, and also texted Burdett’s son to alert him to the incident. It’s very likely that Burdett’s watch saved his life. Apple watches aren’t designed to serve as mobile alert devices, but the GPS tracker and Hard Fall detection features did the job anyway.
Burdett's lucky escape brought renewed interest in Apple watches from seniors, but also in the only 2 mobile alert smartwatches currently on the market: Medical Guardian's Freedom Guardian, and MobileHelp's MobileHelp Smart. If you're considering buying a smartwatch with a built-in medical alert system, these are the 2 main options.
We put the Freedom Guardian and the MobileHelp Smart head-to-head, to help you decide which is the best choice for your needs.
Both Medical Guardian and MobileHelp charge a single, one-off payment for the smartwatch itself, plus an ongoing subscription charge for the service and the carrier. Freedom Guardian has a lower one-off cost for the device itself, but the monthly service payments are higher than those for MobileHelp Smart. After a year, you'll have paid almost the same amount for both watches: $638.40 for the Freedom Guardian vs. $649.35 for the MobileHelp Smart.
Ease of Use
Both MobileHelp Smart and Freedom Guardian are easy to set up and simple to charge, but Freedom Guardian comes out slightly ahead. It has oversized icons, simple navigation by swiping left and right across the screen, and a hi-res color screen to improve visibility. You can switch between features by pressing the large button on the side of the watch.
It takes a little bit more work to set up MobileHelp Smart, mainly because it has more features than the Freedom Guardian, so you need to pre-program them before you are ready to go. Once you've completed the setup process, though, it's easy to find the features you want through the icons on the large touch screen.
MobileHelp uses AT&T, one of the largest 4G cellular carriers, to integrate with your cell phone, so you can make and receive calls and texts through your watch. One point to remember is that you need a separate cell phone in order to maintain connectivity, although the phone doesn't need to be with you for you to use your watch for texts and calls.
Freedom Guardian has a pre-installed SIM that also uses cellular services to provide standalone phone services, even if you don't have a cell phone. Neither device relies on Bluetooth or wireless technology.
The main reason for buying a smart mobile alert watch is to keep you or your loved one safe, so it’s important to check which safety features the item offers.
First and foremost, both devices have a simple HELP feature. On Freedom Guardian, you'll just need to hold the side button for 3 seconds or press the HELP icon on the touch screen. With MobileHelp Smart, you can either hold down the HELP/BACK button or navigate to the home screen and then touch the large red HELP icon in the center.
Both Freedom Guardian and MobileHelp Smart provide advanced location tracking that uses GPS, WiFi positioning, and triangulation to pinpoint your position even if you aren’t sure where you are, so that help can reach you as quickly as possible when needed.
Freedom Guardian adds useful reminders and alerts for medication, appointments, and social engagements too. It also comes with a companion mobile app that keeps your chosen loved ones and/or carers up to date with your situation by automatically sharing your location and any alerts from your phone.
When it comes to additional features, MobileHelp Smart easily outshines Freedom Guardian. As well as the safety functions mentioned above, Freedom Guardian delivers an accurate three-day localized weather forecast and has text-to-speech messaging that reads your SMS messages, calendar alerts, and the date and time out loud. You can also respond to texts by speaking to the watch's built-in microphone.
But MobileHelp Smart takes it all one step further. As well as localized weather forecasting and a built-in microphone and speaker for text-to-speech SMS messaging and spoken alerts, this smartwatch also contains a full raft of health apps.
MobileHelp joined with Samsung to build their smartwatch, so the device includes an integrated Samsung health app that monitors your physical activity, encourages you to reach your fitness and diet goals, and measures your vital signs like heart rate. Once you enter your goal, like walking 2,000 steps per day or drinking seven glasses of water, the watch will track your progress, and regularly remind you if you're falling behind your day's target.
You don’t want your mobile alert watch to suddenly stop working in the middle of a busy day, which is why battery life is so important. Freedom Guardian will last for up to 48 hours, depending on how much you use it, although the company recommends that you charge it every night. MobileHelp Smart can keep going for a similar amount of time, up to two days, on a single charge.
If you’re looking for a reliable smart mobile alert watch, you’ll be in safe hands with both MobileHelp Smart and Freedom Guardian. When it comes to key functions like emergency alerts, location tracking, fall detection, battery life, connectivity, and price, there’s not much to choose between them.
Freedom Guardian is best for users who want a device that’s as simple as possible. It’s a little easier to set up and use than MobileHelp Smart, and the built-in SIM makes it the best choice for people who don’t want a separate cell phone.
MobileHelp Smart wins for users who want to combine health tracking and activity monitoring with the safety features. The extra Samsung health apps mean that you can use your MobileHelp Smart as a full fitness tracker as well as a smartwatch and mobile alert device.
WINNER: IT’S A DRAW