Philips Lifeline is one of the longest-running and biggest medical alert companies on the market. It's probably the most recognizable brand, next to Life Alert.
Like with other services, you can choose from three packages: HomeSafe, GoSafe and HomeSafe with AutoAlert. With the HomeSafe options, you can choose between a landline system and a cellular system, though the latter costs about $12 more per month. The HomeSafe with AutoAlert package adds a fall-detection pendant. The GoSafe package features a device that combines an in-home cellular system with a GPS mobile system.
For our review, we purchased and tested the GoSafe medical alert system, which features Philips Lifeline's AutoAlert fall-detection pendant and a unique base unit. This base's modern design makes it look more like a smart speaker than a medical alert system. The pendant is also supposed to feature GPS tracking and two-way voice communication, but either the pendant we received didn't have two-way communication or that function didn't work.
Cost Comparison: D-
Philips Lifeline is one of the most expensive medical alert services in our review, which is why this service receive a D- grade in our cost comparison. While the in-home landline package costs about $30 per month, which is average, the midrange and premium packages are considerably more expensive than the market average for similar packages, starting at $44.95 and $54.95 per month, respectively. By comparison, the average midrange package costs about $36 per month and the average premium package costs about $43 per month.
Bulk payments won't save you any money, either. You can pay annually, semiannually and quarterly, but the monthly cost remains the same. Other services usually use bulk payments to lower the monthly cost, by an average of $3.90 per month.
Of course, it's important to note that prices change all the time, so you should confirm and compare prices before purchasing.
The Results of Our Hands-On Testing
The best feature of the GoSafe was the pendant range, which reached an average of 149 feet. This was the longest range of any device we tested, and the average was 88.5 feet.
That said, this system shouldn't technically have a range. The pendant is supposed to be a mobile alert device that automatically connects to the AT&T network when you're out of the base station's wireless range. In this way, you can wear the device at the community pool, miles from home, and it would still work. However, the pendant we received didn't have two-way capabilities. It looked like the pendant on the company's website but lacked the speaker holes for two-way communication.
The fall detection was average. To test it, we simulated various falls while wearing the pendant. We also dropped the pendant from various heights. The AutoAlert worked only 50 percent of the time on the simulated falls. And strangely enough, it worked 100 percent of the time when dropped from a height of 12 inches. In this way, it seemed both too sensitive and not sensitive enough.
For the most part, we liked the speakerphone of the GoSafe unit. It's loud and clear, but not nearly as loud as other systems. We love that it looks modern. It easily fits in with smart speakers like Google Voice and Amazon Echo.
Philips Lifeline claims that its average call response time is about 22 seconds. In our tests, the average response time was 53.71 seconds, which was good for seventh fastest in our reviews. The fastest response time this company had was 49 seconds. For comparison, GreatCall was the only one that came close to a 22-second response time, with an average speed of 20.67 seconds.
In addition, Philips' call quality was simply average, receiving a C in our tests. While every operator we spoke to was professional, several were difficult to understand and some seemed disinterested and eager to complete the call.
The only aspect of Philips LifeLine's service that stood out was the pendant range of the GoSafe system, but that comes with expensive pricing, subpar fall detection and overall average service. The GoSafe system might be the most stylish medical alert system we reviewed, but it's certainly not the best option available.