The Opel Mobile SmartKids Phone is an ultra-safe phone that eases a lot of concerns that parents have about their child wielding the power of a mobile.
After conducting some research, Opel found three parental concerns for kids with phones: sharing personal information online, screen time and use of unsuitable apps. To me, it seems like Opel manages to address all these concerns quite well.
We’ve recently written about how this phone might actually be a good thing for kids. Especially those who want or need a phone but have parents/guardians who are slightly apprehensive about buying them a Samsung or iPhone.
If you’re wondering how the phone works and how it fares, here’s what I thought about it.
Opel Mobile SmartKids Phone review
Opel Mobile SmartKids Phone
WHAT IS IT?
An ultra-safe phone for children aged 6-12 with remote parental controls.
RRP $249 with zero subscription fees.
Super simple to use, easy to set up parental controls through remote app, light-weight.
Battery doesn’t stay charged for too long (compared to iPhones), feels very plastic, graphics aren’t spectacular, bit of general lag.
Smart parental app
I think the main selling point with the Opel Mobile SmartKids phone is the app that parents and guardians can download and set up controls remotely to monitor the activity of the phone.
The app itself is pretty easy to download and configure. You just have to install the Opel Mobile Guardian app on your phone, or whichever one is going to be the ‘guardian’ phone.
After setting up an account you then open the built-in SmartKids app on the Opel Mobile phone and scan the QR code to configure the parental controls. This whole process took me about five to ten minutes and wasn’t too much of a hassle.
You can alter, change or delete settings you’ve created later so you don’t have to figure everything out in the first ten minutes of getting the phone. This also makes it easier to either add or take away app blockages as you see best fit at that current time so there is a lot of room to adapt to the child’s life.
Through the app you’re also able to set up geo-fences which I’ll get more into in the next section.
After you’re done configuring the Guardian App, you’ll see that on the home screen is the current location of the SmartKids Phone, the current battery percentage and recent locations/activities.
Within the app, you’re able to set up time limits, enable or disable access to apps and block access to certain websites.
There was almost no delay at all in seeing these controls take effect on the SmartKids phone after you set them up.
Serious about safety
As mentioned, the Opel Mobile SmartKids Phone was created solely with child safety in mind and makes a good effort at addressing the concerns parents may have about their kids being online.
The biggest safety measure the phone boasts, in my opinion, is the fact that it doesn’t have any cameras. Without the ability to take photos, it pretty much eliminates the fear many parents have about their children posting pictures of themselves online or sending them to others.
Another big feature is the ability to create and set up geo-fences. Basically, on the Guardian App, you can establish location zones which will send you alerts on whether the phone has entered or left the zone by a set time. It also alerts you when the phone hasn’t entered or left the zone by the time you set it up.
For instance, you can set up a geo-fence around your child’s school and set up times that match their school hours. If the phone hasn’t left the geo-fence by 3 pm, then you will get an alert on your phone. Same goes with if you’re out or working and your child hasn’t entered the geo-fence around your home by the time they are expected.
The geo-fence alerts also come through when the phone is dead, which I think is a great feature and enhances the dedication to safety.
This means that through the app, you can know the location of your child (should they still have the phone with them) and have peace of mind that they are where they’re supposed to be.
In case of emergencies, there is an SOS button on the SmartKids app which will automatically alert you when it is activated. The child can cancel the SOS within three seconds or they can let you know they are safe with a button that comes up after they activate the SOS. You can also add specific contacts to the SOS list so the emergency alert can go to multiple phones.
Although it might seem like a lot, the controls don’t feel too over-protective and aren’t totally noticeable on the SmartKids Phone itself. Obviously, you won’t be able to access some blocked websites or apps but other than that, there isn’t too much change to the phone.
What else could you ask for?
Besides intelligent parental controls and geo-fencing, there really isn’t too much to the Opel Mobile SmartKids Phone. But that’s the point, right? I’m not quite sure what else you want out of a phone marketed for children aged 6-12.
To me, all the downfalls of the phone, like the plastic feeling or lacking performance, make total sense because of the price and, again, the fact that it’s a kid’s phone.
Although I didn’t smash test this phone, I imagine it’s been designed to withstand some amount of force given that kids would drop it or throw it around, so the plastic feeling wasn’t too offputting.
As for the performance levels, the phone does run with a slight lag which is annoying when you’re trying to type. I had to slow down my typing so the phone could keep up.
Another note I have is that the display and overall quality of the graphics is less than desirable. It’s nothing that takes away from the experience of using the phone but as someone who uses an iPhone 13 Pro Max, it’s a noticeable decrease in quality. However, for a child where this will most likely be their first phone, it’s not that big of an issue.
It was a bit of a trip to use a phone that feels more like an Android and is stripped of all the smartphone features I’ve become accustomed to over the years. That being said, I was pretty impressed with the ease of setting up parental controls on my personal phone via the app.
Overall, I think the Opel Mobile SmartKids Phone does exactly what it says it does and achieves a great deal of protection in a world where it can be hard to keep an eye on your child’s online activity.
As I’ve said previously, I think this phone is a great introduction to the world of smartphones and can teach kids the basic responsibility of having a phone and how to use it.
Where to buy the Opel Mobile SmartKids Phone
Opel Mobile $249 | The Good Guys $249 | JB Hi-Fi $249
You can also download the free Opel Mobile Guardian App from the Apple or Google Play stores.