Freedom Guardian Watch Review
COVID-19 Update: Since the medical alert industry is considered to be “essential” during the COVID crisis, monitoring and customer service centers are still open and ready to help. To learn more about how a medical alert device can help keep you or your elderly loved one safe and connected during this pandemic, take a look at our list of essential products for seniors during COVID-19.
Seniors, lone workers and people with disabilities are increasingly turning to technology for solutions to improve their safety and security. Medical alert systems are quickly becoming must-have items among those who want to retain their independence while taking proactive steps to ensure they can get the help they need in an emergency.
Traditional medical alert systems include a wearable help button that’s either mounted on a wrist strap or a pendant. Although these systems are reliable and durable, some users dislike the idea of wearing a medical device, while others don’t want to wear a help button in addition to a wrist watch.
What is the Freedom Guardian Medical Alert Watch?
Freedom Guardian medical alert from Medical Guardian is an innovative personal emergency response device that looks and feels like a high-tech smartwatch. It combines the security of a constantly monitored help button with GPS location tracking, mobile text messaging, weather app, a calendar and a timepiece in a lightweight digital device that’s worn on the wrist like a regular watch.
In this guide you’ll find in-depth information about the Freedom Guardian medical alert watch, including an overview of the services and features of this device. We also break down the costs, monitoring plans and pros and cons to help you decide if this could be the right medical alert device for you or your loved ones.
Best Features of the Freedom Guardian Medical Alert Watch
The Freedom Guardian has been specifically designed for seniors who want a medical smartwatch that’s easy to use and reliable. The device is available in black or white, and it comes with a USB charging cable that connects to charging pins on the side of the watch via magnets.
There’s a built-in cellular SIM card that connects with the AT&T nationwide cellular network, and the watch uses GPS, cell tower triangulation and Wi-Fi signals to pinpoint the exact location of the user in the event of an emergency. The default screen is a traditional numbered watch face that sets the correct time automatically, and a battery meter and cellular signal indicator are also included on the display.
Unlike most smartwatches, users cannot download apps to the Freedom Guardian, however, it comes with an integrated weather app that displays a three-day forecast. There’s also a calendar function that exhibits customized alerts and reminders, which can be set up through a companion app or customer care portal. This feature can be used for reminders of medicine and for notifying users of upcoming appointments.
How Do Freedom Guardian Users Call for Help?
To trigger a call to Medical Guardian’s emergency monitoring center, Freedom Guardian users simply press and hold the on-screen Emergency/SOS button for three seconds. Alternatively, the red button located on the side of the watch can be pressed and held for three seconds.
Once a subscriber activates one of the two help buttons on the Freedom Guardian, an emergency operator answers the call immediately. The operator speaks with the caller through the speakerphone on the medical alert watch, and thanks to the integrated microphone, the operator is able to hear the caller clearly, eliminating the need to use a phone to summon assistance.
Freedom Guardian Companion App
The monthly monitoring fee includes access to the Freedom Guardian Companion App, which includes a web portal and mobile app that’s compatible with Android and Apple smartphones. Up to four authorized caregivers and family members can be added to each subscriber’s Circle of Care, which provides loved ones with access to real-time information, such as the user’s current location and the watch’s battery level.
The app and online portal includes a messaging center that sends subscribers short SMS text messages that can be acknowledged by tapping an ‘OK’ button or answering Yes/No. There’s also an audio response feature that lets subscribers record up to a one-minute audio message that can be sent to any authorized caregiver or loved one with access to the Companion app or Customer Care web portal.
Users can also add appointments, medication reminders and other alerts to the Freedom Guardian calendar through the Companion App. Other information on the app includes a complete listing of all the alerts sent to or from the Freedom Guardian, such as emergency calls, low-battery alerts and lost cellular-signal alerts.
Freedom Guardian Pricing
Unlike Medical Guardian’s other medical alert systems that are leased to subscribers as part of their monthly monitoring plans, Freedom Guardian users need to buy, rather than lease, the device at a cost of $99.
In addition to the one-time purchase price of $99, Freedom Guardian users need to subscribe to a Medical Guardian monitoring plan to take advantage of all the features included with the watch. Plans start at $1.35 per day based on an annual prepaid price of $494.45, while the semiannual ($269.70), quarterly ($134.85) and monthly ($44.95) monitoring plans work out to $1.45 per day.
For an extra $2.99 per month users can upgrade to text-to-speech messaging, a feature that lets subscribers have incoming texts read to them via a computerized voice. Enhanced emergency notification is available for $2.99 a month, a service that delivers text and email notifications to the Care Circle of a subscriber.
All of the Medical Guardian Freedom Guardian monitoring plans include unlimited calls to the monitoring center, while the semiannual and annual plans add a free lockbox and free ground shipping.
Pros and Cons of the Freedom Guardian Medical Alert Watch
The right medical alert device can make all the difference in an emergency, so be sure to review the pros and cons of the Freedom Guardian before deciding if this medical smartwatch is the best solution for your particular needs.
Freedom Guardian Pros:
- Available in black or white
- Battery rated for up to 48 hours
- Looks like a regular smartwatch
- Low battery notification on screen
- Works nationwide anywhere AT&T cell service is available
- Safe for pacemaker patients
- IP-67 rated for use in the shower and other damp environments
- Watch vibrates to alert users when notifications are received
- Time displayed in traditional analog style
- Users can tap watch face to hear current time
- Freedom Guardian smartwatch app is compatible with Android and iOS
- Weighs 2.1 oz and face measures 1.5″ x 1.5″
- Free shipping and PIN-protected lockbox with semiannual and annual monitoring plans
- Up to four emergency contacts can be included in Care Circle, and each contact can list up to three phone numbers
- UL certified and TMA Five-Diamond central station certified U.S.-based call monitoring center
- Operators are fluent in English and Spanish, and service in other languages is provided through a third-party translation service
Freedom Guardian Cons:
- Costs $99 plus ongoing monthly monitoring fees
- No fall detection
- Subscribers must choose an annual prepaid plan to get the lowest per-day monitoring price
- Magnetic charging cable must be lined up with charging port on watch, which may be difficult for those with poor dexterity
- Small watch screen may be impracticable for users with limited vision
- Device includes extra features that could be confusing for those with cognitive impairments
- Watch isn’t completely waterproof and could be damaged if submerged in water
Freedom Guardian Watch FAQs
Do I need a smartphone to use the Freedom Guardian watch?
While many smartwatches are connected to mobile networks through a Bluetooth link with a smartphone, Medical Guardian’s Freedom Guardian is a standalone device. It has a preinstalled cellular SIM chip that connects directly with the AT&T mobile phone network nationwide.
Do I have to subscribe to a monitoring plan from Medical Guardian to use the Freedom Guardian?
The Freedom Guardian is a proprietary medical alert device sold and supported through Medical Guardian, an established medical alert company with a U.S.-based call center. The monitoring plans for the Freedom Guardian include unlimited calls to Medical Guardian’s emergency response center that’s staffed by trained operators who are fluent in English and Spanish.
Is the Freedom Guardian watch band made with latex (natural rubber)?
No. The band is latex-free, making this medical alert smartwatch safe for users with a sensitivity to latex and natural rubber products. Users can easily clean the band using a lint-free cloth moistened with water or water mixed with a drop of liquid hand or dish soap.
What happens if the user is unable to speak when they need emergency assistance?
When a user activates the Help/SOS feature on their Freedom Guardian watch a Medical Guardian answers the call through the speakerphone on the watch. If the user is unable to respond to the operator, the users’ location is pinpointed through the integrated GPS tracker, and emergency services are dispatched immediately.
What is the battery life on the Freedom Guardian?
According to Medical Guardian, the battery on the Freedom Guardian is rated to last up to 48 hours between charges, however, the longevity of the watch battery may be reduced if the device is worn in areas with poor cellular signals or when the apps are frequently used. Medical Guardian recommends that users recharge their Freedom Guardian nightly for optimal performance.