The 8 Best Phones to Buy in 2017 for Kids

Find the perfect smartphone for your child

The decision to get your kid a smartphone is not to be taken lightly. As we all know, these little gadgets are highly addictive, and there’s the inescapable feeling that something has been lost in our reliance on them. What that thing is I don’t know, but it’s… something.

If you’re okay with your kid falling victim to smartphone addiction like the rest of us, there are a few questions you should ask yourself: One, is your son or daughter likely to break the thing? What purpose do you want it to have? Do you want to limit certain apps or functions? How much money do you want to spend? In this guide, we try to find a solution for each of those questions and more.

Best Beginner Phone for Young Children: Blu Dash Jr.

BLU Dash Jr.
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There aren’t many smartphones that are designed specifically for use by children—mainly because kids represent a rather tiny (and fickle) market. But the BLU Dash Jr. is one of those devices. It’s simple, rugged and very budget-friendly. It has a 2-megapixel camera, a 1.0GHz processor, 512MB of internal storage and 256MB of RAM. Those are some severely limited specs. It’s almost as if its engineers were up all night trying to figure out how they could put a computers from the 1990s into a phone from the 2010s. But the point of the phone is to, in a sense, introduce kids to the world of smartphones (and really computers in general). And the fact that it only costs around $30 means you have hardly any room to regret the purchase. Look at this device as a way to introduce some aspects of owning a phone to your child, in way that almost guarantees they won’t get addicted… almost.

Best Best Beginner Phone for Teens: Motorola Moto E

Motorola Moto E
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The Motorola Moto E is another one of those budget-friendly phones you can buy for your kids and not have to lose sleep over the thought of them breaking or losing it. Just make it their responsibility! With 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of internal storage and a 2,390 mAh battery, the Moto E is a bare bones device for bare bones shoppers. It works well enough for most uses, but it’s not going to drastically improve your life or serve as an extension for your entire digital existence. And when it comes to finding the right phone for a young teen, that’s probably a good thing. It can download apps, browse the Web and play YouTube videos. And (perhaps best of all) it can be found for around $100.

Best Parental Controls: Nokia Lumia 635

Nokia Lumia 635
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One of the coolest things about Windows phones, when it comes to parental controls, is the My Family app. It allows you to control exactly which apps the user is allowed to download, and which websites he or she is allowed to visit. The Nokia Lumia 635 is a super budget-friendly option for fans of Windows—or just parental controls in general. It can be found for less than $150, and it includes a pretty solid array of features for the price range. There’s the 4.5-inch screen, the quad-core 1.2GHz processor, the 8 GB memory, and 1GB RAM, plus the 5-megapixel camera. And if you’re already a heavy Windows user, the whole thing will coordinate seamlessly with your PCs and mobile devices. Once again, it has everything a kid could ask of their first smartphone, as well as the parental controls to limit their use of it.

Best Value: BLU Life One X

BLU Life One X
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The BLU Life One X certainly isn’t the cheapest smartphone on this list, but it’s got the best bang for your buck. Parental controls, durability, and price aside, it affords the most impressive specs for the price point. For around $150, the Life One X gives you a 5.2-inch Full HD display, a hefty 2900mAh battery, 16 GB of internal memory, 2GB RAM, a 13-megapixel main camera with phase detection autofocus and a very fast 1.3 GHz Octa-Core Mediatek processor. These are specs you tend to find in the $300 range. And it’s got a solid design to boot. If you’re less concerned with being able to oversee every aspect of your child’s phone usage, and merely hoping to supply them with the specs and hardware they’re personally on the hunt for (maybe you have a whiz kid), then this is a good option to look into.

Best Apple Model for Teens: iPhone SE

iPhone SE
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Maybe you want to impress the neighbors. Maybe you’re an Apple fanboy and want to pass down your loyalties to the next generation. Or maybe you and your family just prefer the intuitive simplicity of Apple products. Whatever the case, the iPhone SE is about as basic as it gets for the iPhone family. But, let’s be clear, this is still a high-end product, something that’s still likely to shatter in the hands of the clumsy. That said, any child mature enough to handle an iPhone will be endlessly appreciative (and maybe even a little protective) of their new SE. With the 1.85 GHz dual-core processor, 2 GB memory, 16 or 64 GB storage and 12-megapixel main camera, it has everything you could want or expect from an iPhone—especially if you’re a kid. Just be sure to get them a rugged hardshell case as well!

Best for Music: Alcatel One Touch Idol

Alcatel One Touch Idol
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“These kids these days with their music! In my day we listened to real music, not this computer noise!” But that’s the thing: the more you hate it, the more the kids love it. And the Alcatel One Touch Idol is as much a listening device as it is a fashion statement. It’s got two front facing JBL stereo speakers—ideal for showing off tunes to a small group of listeners. In addition to having some solid speakers and a low cost of just around $150, the One Touch Idol has a full range of impressive specs: a 5.5-inch Full HD (1080p) display, a 1.5 GHz Snapdragon 615 processor, 2 GB RAM, 16/32 GB on-board storage, a large 2910mAh battery and a solid 13-megapixel main camera. And all of this comes in a package that includes Alcatel’s innovative symmetrical design. There’s essentially no up or down on this phone, so you can handle it from any direction and the display will rotate to match your perspective – neat! 

Runner-Up, Best Value: LG K7

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LG’s entry-level phone is a great option for kids because it is a value without being cheap. The 1.1 Ghz Quad-core Snapdragon 210 Processor isn’t the latest or greatest, but it is capable enough to run apps without causing your kid to complain about lag. Likewise, the five-megapixel camera isn’t going to appease photographers, but it is perfect for selfies and Instagram uploads. The 5-inch display is bright and colorful, perfect for games and movies. The phone comes with 8GB of memory, which won’t last long, but a MicroSD card slot makes room for more photos. The phone is no-contract, but it must be used on the T-Mobile network. 

Runner-Up, Best Parental Controls: Sony Xperia XA

Sony Xperia XA
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Keep your kids safe online with the Sony Xperia XA, which supports a host of top parental control apps from the Android app store. For example, Net Nanny Social keeps an eye on social media websites and lets you filter out the apps outright or gives the option for nuanced social media monitoring, depending on how much access you want your kids to have. Net Nanny and HTTPS filtering give advanced options for browsing control as well, blocking apps and websites that might get your kids in trouble.

The Xperia XA is also a respectable phone in its own right, with a powerful 13-megapixel camera for HD pics, a sleek metal design and a quality five-inch display.


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