- Great variety of features, allowing the parent to view/control the phone
- OS is installed on a pretty solid phone, with good features
- No parental controls/monitoring of activities on 3rd party apps
- 8GB internal storage is low in todays market
You may have recently read our news article about the release of the Monqi kid smartphone. Well we just got one into the office and we’re excited to let you know, as parents, whether this phone is any good and if it could be the perfect choice this Christmas! Before I get into the box, this smartphone has a unique operating system, giving the ability to remotely track and monitor what your child is doing, via your own smart device. It will track their location, give details on who they are talking to and show how long they have been using their phone.
The phone itself is actually a Sync 5e and it’s packing a 1.5GHz quad core processor, backed up with 1GB RAM. There’s also 8GB internal storage space and up to 32GB microSD storage. It’s running Android 6.0, with the Monqi OS, has a 5″ HD Display, 13mp rear camera, 5mp front camera, WiFi, Bluetooth and its own app store, with access to 120 free apps.
Parent friendly features include:
- Approve, and add/edit contacts
- Set geo-fencing and be notified when the child leaves or enters a zone
- Set a schedule so phone features and apps can be limited at specific times of day i.e after homework!
- Lock and remotely lock the phone- especially useful if the phone is lost!
- Approve and manage all apps and downloads
- Limit app use, calls, texts and data usage
- Connect safely to internet both when out and about or on WiFi
In the box you get the phone, charger, headphones AND a clear rubber case, which is a nice touch. I’ve mentioned the spec of the phone before and I don’t want to go into too much detail with its performance, as this review is more about the software. That being said, I do like the feel and build quality of the phone. It feels robust and fits nicely in my hand. The screen is crystal clear, very responsive and a good overall size. The phone runs quite fast, no lag as such and overall, more than capable of doing everything it needs. One negative for me is the 8GB storage, that will be gone in no time so I recommend putting a microSD card in to expand it.
Setting up the phone was relatively easy. First you’ll need to download the parent app ‘Monqi’ via the App Store or Google Play and sign up for an account. Then turn the Monqi phone on, connect to WiFi, allow any updates to download and then hit ‘get started’. Enter your child’s full name into the phone to register and then on the parent phone, hit the ‘+’ sign within the Monqi app, scan the QR code on the child’s phone and the two will sync up.
Things I like…
- The operating systems look, feel and fluidity is very good. The Monqi chat, similar to WhatsApp, is a built in app that allows you to easily communicate between parent and child, which is great.
- The Monqi app store isnt as bad as I thought it might be. There is a good selection of apps to download, including the current ‘must have’ games etc.
- The built in parental controls on the web browser works as it should.
- When I tried to download twitter on the kids phone, a request was sent to the parent phone for approval.
- You can view and monitor the kids’ activities, locations over a set period of time, contacts, app approvals and usage control, which is one of the better features. It allows you to set certain activities to X amount of hours per day, week or month i.e. you can set Facebook to one hour limit per day.
There is one flaw…
- There is no parental control over what the child does within a 3rd party app and you can’t see what they are doing. I downloaded Instagram, which after approved, allowed me to access some rather explicit content. This would go for Twitter too, which is far worse! If they have Whatsapp, you won’t be able to monitor their conversations. If you don’t let your kid download these apps, are they going to want the phone at all…?
Overall I think the Monqi OS on this phone is great and will be the perfect phone for the younger generation. There is definitely a fine line as to what age this phone becomes too much. Perhaps the mid to older teenage years, when they start to get a bit moody and want their privacy, if you force these restrictions on them, it could be World War 3! Price – £149.99 sim free, monthly contracts from £12.99. For more info, visit the official Monqi website. This phone is exclusively available at Carphone Warehouse, so head over there to purchase.