The Opel Mobile SmartKids Phone is an ultra-secure phone that alleviates many concerns parents have when their child wields the power of a cellphone.
After doing some research, Opel found three parenting concerns for kids with phones: sharing personal information online, screen time, and using inappropriate apps. It seems to me that Opel manages to address all these concerns quite well.
We recently wrote about how this phone could actually be a good thing for kids. Especially those who want or need a phone but have parents/guardians a bit apprehensive about buying them a Samsung or iPhone.
If you’re wondering how the phone performs and how it performs, here’s what I thought about it.
Testing the Opel Mobile SmartKids Phone
Opel Mobile SmartKids Phone
WHAT IS IT?
An ultra-safe phone for kids aged 6-12 with remote parental controls.
MSRP $249 with no subscription fees.
Super easy to use, easy to set up parental controls via remote app, light weight.
Battery doesn’t stay charged for too long (compared to iPhones), feels very plasticky, graphics aren’t spectacular, some general lag.
Smart parent app
I think the main selling point of the Opel Mobile SmartKids phone is the app, which parents and guardians can download and control remotely to monitor the phone’s activity.
The app itself is pretty easy to download and configure. You just have to install the Opel Mobile Guardian app on your phone, or on the phone that will be the “guardian” phone.
After setting up an account, you then open the integrated SmartKids app on the Opel mobile phone and scan the QR code to configure parental controls. This whole process took about five to ten minutes and wasn’t too tedious.
You can later change, change or delete settings that you have created, so you don’t have to worry about everything in the first ten minutes of receiving the phone. This also makes it easier to add or remove app blocks as you see fit at the current time, leaving plenty of scope to adapt to the child’s life.
The app also lets you set up geofences, which I’ll go into more detail about in the next section.
After configuring the Guardian app, you will see the current location of the SmartKids Phone, current battery percentage and recent locations/activities on the home screen.
Within the app, you can set time limits, enable or disable access to apps, and block access to specific websites.
There was almost no delay for these controls to take effect on the SmartKids phone once you set them up.
Serious about security
As mentioned earlier, the Opel Mobile SmartKids Phone was designed solely with child safety in mind and strives to address the concerns of parents that their children may have on the internet.
The biggest security measure I think the phone offers is the fact that it doesn’t have any cameras. Without the ability to take photos, it pretty much eliminates many parents’ fear of their children posting pictures of themselves online or sending them to others.
Another great feature is the ability to create and set up geofences. Basically, you can set up location zones in the Guardian app, which will send you notifications if the phone has entered or left the zone by a set time. It also alerts you if the phone hasn’t entered or left the zone at the time of setup.
For example, you can set up a geofence around your child’s school and set times to match school hours. If the phone has not left the geofence by 3:00 p.m., you will receive a notification on your phone. The same applies if you are traveling or working and your child has not yet entered the geofence around your house at the expected time.
The geofence alerts also come through when the phone is dead, which I think is a great feature and increases commitment to security.
This means you can use the app to know your child’s location (should they still have the phone with them) and be confident that they are where they are supposed to be.
For emergencies, there is an SOS button in the SmartKids app that will automatically notify you when activated. The child can cancel the SOS within three seconds or let you know they are safe with a button that appears after they activate the SOS. You can also add specific contacts to the SOS list so that the emergency alert can be sent to multiple phones.
While it may seem like a lot, the controls don’t feel overly protective and aren’t fully noticeable on the SmartKids Phone itself. Of course, you won’t be able to access some blocked websites or apps, but other than that, not too much changes on the phone.
What else could you ask for?
Apart from intelligent parental controls and geo-fencing, the Opel Mobile SmartKids Phone really doesn’t have that much to offer. But that’s the point, isn’t it? I’m not quite sure what else you want from a phone marketed towards kids aged 6-12.
To me, all the downsides of the phone, like the plastic feel or the lack of performance, make perfect sense given the price and the fact that it’s a kid’s phone.
While I haven’t smashed this phone through, I assume it was designed to withstand some lots of power as kids would drop it or throw it around so the plastic feel wasn’t too off-putting.
As for performance levels, the phone runs with a slight lag, which is annoying when typing. I had to slow down my typing so the phone could keep up.
Another comment I have is that the display and overall quality of the graphics are less than desirable. It’s nothing that detracts from the experience of using the phone, but as someone using an iPhone 13 Pro Max it’s a noticeable drop in quality. However, for a kid where this will most likely be their first phone, it’s not that big of a problem.
It’s been a bit of a journey to using a phone that feels more like an Android and is stripped of all the smartphone features I’ve grown accustomed to over the years. That being said, I was quite impressed with how easy it was to set up parental controls on my personal phone via the app.
Overall, I think the Opel Mobile SmartKids Phone does what it says on the tin and offers a high level of protection in a world where it can be difficult to keep tabs on your child’s online activities.
As I said before, I think this phone is a great introduction to the world of smartphones and can teach children the basic responsibilities of owning a phone and how to use it.
Where to buy the Opel Mobile SmartKids Phone
Opel Mobile $249 | The Goodies $249 | JB HiFi $249
You can also download the free Opel Mobile Guardian app from the Apple or Google Play stores.