Most children today have cell phones. If your child doesn’t already have one, they’re probably chomping at the bit to get one. When you feel like your youngster is ready for a cell phone, you probably don’t want to buy them a flagship phone that costs a small fortune. In an environment that is dominated by phones that costs hundreds of dollars, few can be considered “kid-friendly.”
Luckily, you don’t have to hand them a pricey gadget and cross your fingers. Instead, you can get them a phone that features all of the functionality you have come to expect from a modern cell phone without breaking the bank.
There are a number of devices under the E5 banner, which means that you have a few options at different price points. The most affordable model is dubbed the E5 Play that can be found for less than $150. Unfortunately, at that price you’ll take a bit of a hit when it comes to performance. The E5 Play packs a modest Snapdragon 425 processor and only 2GB of RAM. This will result in a bit of sluggishness, but it is more than capable of keeping up with the demands of a tech-savvy kid.
Alternatively, if you’re afraid that your child may forget to charge the phone, leaving them with a pricey paperweight, opt for the E5 Plus, which boasts a massive 5000 mAh battery. The E5 Plus also has a giant 6-inch screen and 3GB of RAM. Regardless of which model you choose, all are fully-featured smartphones with attractive price tags.
Most smartphones today can cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. The prospect of handing a child a pricey piece of hardware can cause panic attacks. Unfortunately, trying to find a relatively cheap handset that still offers a fully-fledged smartphone experience can be an exercise in frustration. So-called budget devices are often under-powered, missing features and using outdated software.
At $159, the Nokia 3.1 is an attractive phone that gets the basics done right. The screen is sharp and vibrant, and the 13 MP shooter is good for the price tag. Furthermore, the Nokia 3.1 is an Android One device. This means that there is no bloatware to hamper performance and chew up storage space. In addition, all Android One devices receive timely updates and security patches direct from Google. At $159 you won’t get flagship performance; however, most younger users will find a lot to like.
Folks of a certain age will surely remember this legendary handset. The Nokia 3310 is so famous that it became the official emoji of the country of Finland (where Nokia was founded). With reboots, remakes, and nostalgia at a cultural fever pitch, it’s only natural that this titan of cell phones makes a comeback.
This blast from the past has gotten more than a few modern upgrades. That being said, the 3310 has retained everything that made the phone so popular when it originally came on the scene all the way back in 2000. The 3310 still has a near indestructible design and an incredibly long-lasting battery (up to a month on standby). It even has the super addictive Snake, the grand-daddy of mobile gaming.
The Nokia 3310 has limited Internet connectivity and mostly eschews what we’ve come to expect from modern phones. That being said, it is an affordable, rugged pick with excellent battery life.
Blu Tank Xtreme 2.4
Cell phones can be expensive pieces of hardware. Unfortunately, they’re also pretty fragile. One drop and your screen can resemble an intricate spider web. As any parent can attest to, kids can be careless, not to mention a little clumsy. Add a phone to the mix, and you have a recipe for a costly disaster.
Luckily, parents can avoid smashed screens and costly repairs with the Blu Tank Xtreme 2.4. This super cheap handset is built like, well, a tank. The Blu Tank Xtreme 2.4 features a rubber frame to protect against bumps and drops. Additionally, it has an IP65 water resistance rating to help protect against spills.
Unfortunately, the Blu Tank Xtreme 2.4 is not a “smart” phone. It only operates on 2G networks, but it does have basic talk and text capabilities. This makes the Blu Tank Xtreme 2.4 perfect for active kids who aren’t yet active on social media.
Unihertz Jelly Pro
The Unihertz Jelly Pro smartphone is the smallest 4G LTE phone on the market. The $125 device measures a minuscule 3.6 x 1.7 x o.5 inches. Naturally, the screen is super small by today’s standards at only 2.45 inches. This makes the Jelly Pro too small for most adult hands, but perfect for young ones. Despite the Unihertz Jelly Pro’s tiny size, it is a full-fledged cell phone with all the functionality of the big boys.
Believe it or not, the Jelly Pro manages to pack in two nano SIM card slots and a microSD card slot for expanded storage. Unfortunately, the Jelly Pro’s diminutive size means there is limited space for a battery. This means the 950 mAh battery will struggle to get you through a full day.
The Jelly Pro runs a fairly bare-bones version of Android 7.0. Under the hood, it packs a Mediatek 6737 chipset with 2GB of RAM. This means the Jelly Pro is comparable to other budget Android devices. Users won’t be playing high-end mobile games, but the Jelly Pro should be able to run most apps.
Honorable Mention: LG Gizmopal
The LG GizmoPal isn’t really a phone in the traditional sense of the word. Instead, it is a wrist communicator resembling a prop out of a spy movie from the 1960s. As a wearable device, the LG GizmoPal is designed for very young children. Think of it as a super-simple smart watch. The GizmoPal features easy-to-use controls and a simple, kid-friendly interface. In addition, the GizmoPal in a rugged device that has an IPX7 water-resistance rating.
Parents can program up to four phone numbers into the GizmoPal and even set it to answer calls automatically. This is a feature that could be useful for younger children who may not notice incoming calls. Unfortunately, the GizmoPal is only available on Verizon in the United States.
Which phones would you buy your child? Let us know in the comments!