Our daughter is 10 years old and finishing fifth grade next week. She’s one of the few, if not the only one in her class that does not have a phone yet. Of course she’s been asking for one for the past three years, but we have not seen a real need for her to have a phone. And when I say phone, I mean smartphone. No kid today wants a flip phone. And when they say phone, they mean iPhone.
Her school is three blocks away from our place, and at her age she really does not need her own phone to call or text her friends. As parents, we are pro-technology, but if a kid does not need a gadget, especially one that could get them in trouble, we don’t see the need for it just because it’s cool or because some other kid has it.
But now the story is changing. She’s entering middle school in a few months and her new school is 10 miles away, in a busy metropolitan area with no transportation. We might have to carpool or pay for private transportation so now, she definitely needs a phone.
We have set a budget of $200 or under. We would also be purchasing a pre-paid plan from Straight Talk or ATT, not signing a contract, which means we’ll be buying an unlocked phone.
The 5 smartphones under $200 we are considering:
- Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini (Unlocked): My mom has a Galaxy and it seems like a cool little phone. Some people swear by these Samsungs. It’s small and has stellar reviews on Amazon. It’s a little over $200 but still made the list. There is also the S3 Mini Version, which goes for $120.
- Motorola Moto G 8GB (Unlocked): This is an Android phone with a lot of great reviews. 5-inch 720p HD display, Corning Gorilla Glass 3 (I suppose this means it’s durable). It’s around $180 but Amazon Warehousedeals has them for $150 (open box).
- LG G2 Mini 8GB (Unlocked). This is an Android phone. Expandable up to 32GB by micro SD card. It’s also small, perfect for small hands. Apparently it has good battery life.
- Used iPhone 5C 8GB (Unlocked): As freelancers, we live on a budget and have gotten used to buying used gear. There are some really great deals on Craigslist, eBay, or Amazon Warehouse Deals if you are patient and look for them. I’ve seen the iPhone 5C on Craigslist for as low as $150 and on Amazon for under $200. And what’s there to say about an iPhone that hasn’t been mentioned before? Plus, she already has an iPad so she would already be used to the way it works.
- Amazon Fire Phone 32GB (Unlocked): This is a $450 phone but currently on sale for $179. It includes a one year subscription to Amazon Prime which we have and love. We could buy a new smartphone at a low price ($79) while renewing our Prime subscription ($100). It’s a pretty good deal. However, we went to a local cellphone store to check the Fire Phone out, and we thought it was a little too big. If you see the original price of $449, you’ll have to check back again in a few days as this phone is put on sale frequently.
The summer is approaching and our deadline looming, so we need to get her something soon. The only smartphones we’ve owned have been iPhones, so we don’t have much experience with other brands. She should only need the phone to call or text us, and perhaps a friend or two…right? I guess we can’t ignore the pre-teen madness and desire for independence that awaits us.
So which phone should we get her? We’ll start our phone hunt soon and we’ll keep you updated. We’d also like to hear your suggestions. One thing’s for sure, if she looses this one, we’re getting her a flip phone.