So, you’ve given in to the requests and decided to get your child a phone. Now what?
Choosing the best phone for kids can be tricky. There are so many options and things to think about: What features do they need? How much should you spend? What phone plan should you go for?
Amaysim has a range of prepaid phone plans that are perfect for children. If you’re looking for the best phone for kids to go with a SIM-only plan, we’ve created this handy guide to help you narrow it down.
What to consider when choosing the best phone for kids?
Phones are useful tools and, whether we like it or not, they’ve become an integral part of modern life. But there are also many well-publicised drawbacks. Phones are addictive, distracting and can expose the user to harmful content or people online. This is something to consider when deciding to buy your child a phone.
If your kid is still at primary school, you’ll probably want to restrict their access to the internet. A simple phone with limited smart features that they can use to call and text you should suffice. Meanwhile, older kids and teenagers are likely to want a smartphone. It will be up to you to decide if they’re mature enough for this.
Consider how your child will be using their phone and what features are a must-have. If it’s for FaceTiming friends and watching YouTube videos, they’ll want a high-quality screen and long battery life. If they’re a keen photographer, prioritise a good camera and more storage. Durability features such as the phone being waterproof are also desirable, especially for younger kids.
To keep your kid safe, additional parental controls such as social media monitoring, location tracking and age limits may be desirable – particularly if you are purchasing a smartphone. You will probably also want the option to block purchases, as it’s all too easy to make these accidentally in many apps. It is possible to do this on both iOS and Android phones.
As well as finding an option within your budget, keep in mind that kids are generally less responsible than adults (and adults are more than capable of losing or breaking a phone!) Is it worth splashing out on an expensive phone for a child? There are many budget and mid-range options under $400 that make more sense and can still do everything your child wants. A second-hand or refurbished phone can also save you $$$.
Deciding on the best mobile phone for kidsis only half the work; you’ll also need to choose and set up a phone plan for them. For children, we recommend a pre-paid option, so you know exactly how much they are spending each month. Check out our article on choosing kids phone plans for more information.
Top 10 best phones for kids
1. Overall best phone for kids
The Realme C21 is one of the best phones for kids of all ages. This affordable, entry-level smartphone comes in at around $169 and combines practical features with many of those in demand by young people.
The impressive 5000mAh battery means it can run for days on a single charge, and the power-saving mode offers 2.23 hours of calling time on a 5% charge – ideal for kids who might forget to plug in regularly. It also has a decent screen size, a 13MP camera, and can run games easily, thanks to the Helio G35 Gaming Processor.
2. Best budget phone for young kids
Younger kids will most likely only need a cheap phone for calling and texting. You probably don’t want your child spending too much time on TikTok while they’re still at primary school! Costing just $89, the Nokia 225 4G is a highly affordable and durable first phone for children under 10.
3. Best phone for 11 and 12-year-olds
At just $140, the Motorola G Pure is a great phone for pre-teen kids that won’t break the bank. It’s hard-wearing and practical, with a long 2-day battery life and water-repellent shell. It also offers tweens many of the features they want, such as a fast-focusing 13 MP camera and a 6.5" Max Vision HD+ display, perfect for games and movies.
4. Best phone for teenagers
The Oppo A16s is a smartphone with a powerful 5000mAh battery that means you can stream YouTube for 21 hours straight. The large, high-quality screen is ideal for games, videos and social media. There’s an AI triple camera with 15 filters for selfies and dual stereo speakers for powerful 3D audio. The iridescent design should also impress style-conscious teenagers. All this for around $269.
5. Best top-tier phone for young adults
Starting from $1199, this is one of the most expensive phones we’re recommending. It certainly isn’t necessary to spend this much on a kid’s phone - however, if your teenager is approaching adulthood and wants an iPhone with top-of-the-range features, the iPhone 13 Mini offers the best balance of price, function and style.
6. Best simple phone for kids
The Sunbeam F1 is a simple flip phone that takes mobile phones back to basics. It offers your child the ability to keep in touch with you, without the distractions and dangers of the modern-day internet. There are 3 models of the Sunbeam F1, each with slightly different features. They all come with an alarm clock and calendar, but not all of them offer SMS messaging or a camera – and none of them come with a web browser, email or app store.
7. Best iPhone for kids
If your child is desperate for an iPhone or you want them to be on iOS, the iPhone SE is a solid choice. Starting from $719 for the 64GB option, it’s not cheap, but it is the most reasonably priced new iPhone available. The SE will enable your kid to use all the same iOS features as a more expensive iPhone, including the ‘Find My’ app and iMessage.
8. Best android phone for kids
The Samsung Galaxy A32 comes in at around $449, which is not the cheapest, but is extremely reasonable for what’s on offer – and much more affordable than an iPhone. It has a 6.5” infinity display, a quad camera, an impressive gaming performance and a battery life that lasts up to 2 days. This is one of the best android phones for kids in Australia.
9. Best kids’ phone for photography
For teenagers who want to hone their photography skills (and make TikTok videos) the newly released Google Pixel 6 offers a competitive 50MP primary camera with a 12MP ultrawide option, starting at $999.
Whilst this is expensive for a kid’s phone, it is one of the more affordable smartphones with a camera of this calibre. Helpfully for kids, it also has a long battery life, optimised security, and it’s water-resistant. The Google Sensor chip keeps it running fast, which is great for gaming too.
10. Best phone for creative kids
The Galaxy Note 20 is another top-tier, expensive option that we would only recommend for teenagers and above. If you’re looking to splash some cash, the Note series is some of the best mobile technology available.
Note 20 is incredible for gaming, photography and editing, and the pen means you can use the phone as a sketchbook to take notes, jot down ideas or doodle on the go. This makes it one of the best phones for kids and adults on the market.
Should a 7-year-old have a phone?
There is no easy answer to this question. It all depends on whether you think the benefits (such as your child being able to contact you and you keeping track of their location) outweigh the potential dangers. To make it safer, we recommend choosing a simple phone with no internet access for very young children.
What is the best kid phone?
There are many kid-friendly phones in Australia in 2022. The best mobile phone for kids will depend on several factors, including their age, maturity and needs – and of course, your budget.
One of the best kids’ phones for all ages is the Realme C21. We also recommend the affordable Nokia 225 4G and Motorola G Pure, both of which offer great function for the price. If you want to splash out on a cutting-edge smartphone for an older child, the iPhone SE is one of the best options.
What is the safest phone for a kid?
The safest phones for kids are simple feature phones (not smartphones). This is because they offer limited or no access to the internet and social media. These are the main culprits for exposing your child to online threats, such as grooming and bullying. A simple phone such as the Sunbeam F1 is one of the safest choices.
What is the best phone for location tracking?
Most smartphones make location tracking pretty easy for the account holder eg. Apple users can use Find My iPhone to locate any of their devices. If you don’t want to get your kid a smartphone yet, but still want to keep track of their location, we recommend choosing a simple phone and attaching a Bluetooth tracker such as a Tile to their bag or clothing instead.
Should I get a smartphone or feature phone for my kid?
This all depends on their age and how they’re going to be using the phone. Generally speaking, we would not recommend a smartphone for children under 10 – instead, start with a simple feature phone on which they can call and text, and save the smartphone for their teenage years.