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Best kids' phone 2022: The perfect handsets for your child

Nathan Spendelow Ben Johnston
6 Dec 2022

If you're looking for a phone for your child, you'll want something cheap and robust. These are our top picks for kids in 2022

Choosing the best phone for your child isn’t quite as straightforward as you might expect. With all sorts of different handsets to choose from, all with wildly varying prices, picking out the right phone that suits your kids’ needs can be quite tricky.

However, If you’ve decided that it’s time for your child to have their first phone, we’ve gathered a list of the best handsets for your little ones to help make your decision easier, along with a helpful buying guide to help you make the right decision.

READ NEXT: Best budget smartphone

Below, you’ll find a list of the smartphones that we think reach the perfect balance of value, ease of use and a robust build, so you should find something here that suits you. This page is also being regularly updated with the latest and greatest phones, so check back soon if nothing fits the bill quite yet.

Best kids' phone: At a glance

  • Best overall: Motorola Moto G31 | Buy now
  • Best around £100: Nokia C21 Plus | Buy now
  • Cheapest iPhone: Apple iPhone 8 (renewed) | Buy now
  • Best camera phone for older kids: Google Pixel 6a | Buy now
  • Best you've never heard of: Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 | Buy now
  • Best 5G option: Motorola Moto G62 5G | Buy now
  • Best new iPhone: Apple iPhone SE 3 (2022) | Buy now

How to choose the best kids’ phone

What’s the best tariff for your teenager?

It doesn't really matter how old you are, it's pretty easy to pile up a huge bill without realising. The simplest way to keep track of costs is with a pay-as-you-go tariff, instead of a contract phone.

However, if you’re keen to get your teenager on a contract, then make sure you pick one that caps the amount of data they use. The best ones we found currently on the market are from Tesco Mobile, iD Mobile and BT Mobile. Hopefully, you won't get a shock of a massive bill from your teenager's Snapchat antics.

You don’t need an expensive phone

No matter what your child tells you, you don’t need to spend hundreds of pounds on the latest smartphone. Most budget phones these days do the job quite well, and there are some excellent phone picks that you might not have considered. You’d be surprised at what you can get from the low-end of the spectrum and your bank balance would likely appreciate it, too.

What are your child’s phone requirements?

Of course, much of your buying decision depends on what your child will be using the phone for. Are they hoping to get snap-happy and make their first leap onto social media, or is it only being used as a phone for emergency purposes when walking to/from school? Whatever the requirement, we’ve added the very best in our list below.

READ NEXT: Best phone battery life

The best kids' phones to buy

1. Motorola Moto G31: The best phone for kids

Price: £120 | Buy now from Argos

While it wasn’t the best value at its original price, the Motorola Moto G31 has since been reduced down to a point where it’s pretty much unbeatable. The G31 offers reliable performance, a decent array of cameras and an attractive design, all while barely making a dent in your bank balance. Best of all, the epic battery lasted for nearly a full day in our tests, so should ensure that your child will always be available should you need to contact them.

Read our full Motorola Moto G31 review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 2GHz MediaTek Helio G85; Display: 6.4in 2,400 x 1,080; Storage: 64GB; Camera: 50MP, 8MP (ultrawide), 2MP (macro); Operating system: Android 11

Buy now from Argos

2. Nokia C21 Plus: The best kids’ phone for around £100

Price: £108 | Buy now from Amazon

If you want to keep your buying budget as close to £100 as possible, the best option out there is the Nokia C21 Plus. Unlike some other budget handsets, the C21 Plus features a sleek design that looks more expensive than it is, with slim borders around the screen and wavy ridges on the back panel. The performance is the fastest you can get for this price and the cameras are reasonable enough, too. The battery life is on the shorter side, but otherwise, this is a solid and capable budget smartphone.

Read our full Nokia C21 Plus review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 1.6GHz Unisoc SC9863A; Display: 6.52in 1,600 x 720; Storage: 32GB; Camera: 13MP, 2MP (depth); Operating system: Android 11 Go

3. Apple iPhone 8 (Renewed): The cheapest Apple phone

Price: £148 | Buy now from Amazon

Let’s face it, your child probably wants an iPhone. Instead of forking out four figures for the latest model, we recommend picking up a Renewed iPhone 8 on Amazon – a pint-sized Apple phone that cost peanuts in comparison. Sure, it's not the cheapest on this list, but if you’re willing to spend a little more for the sake of the Apple logo, you’ll be rewarded with an excellent screen, great battery life, and a superb camera.

Read our full iPhone 8 review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Hexa-core 2.39GHz Apple A11 Bionic; Display: 4.7in 1,334 x 750; Storage: 64GB; Camera: 12MP; Operating system: iOS 14

4. Google Pixel 6a: The best camera phone for older kids

Price: £336 | Buy now from Amazon

You’ll have to put down a bit more for this one, but the Google Pixel 6a is the first and last place you should look if your children are a little older and looking to take some serious photographs. As well as taking flagship-quality photos, the Pixel 6a features Google’s handy Magic Eraser feature, which digitally removes unwanted background objects in the camera app. On top of that, you’ve got excellent performance, a gorgeous colour-accurate display and impressive battery life that competes with plenty more expensive phones.

Read our full Google Pixel 6a review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 2.8GHz Google Tensor; Display: 6.1in 2,400 x 1,080; Storage: 128GB; Camera: 12.2MP, 12MP (ultrawide); Operating system: Android 12

5. Xiaomi Redmi Note 11: The best phone you’ve probably never heard of

Price: £200 | Buy now from Amazon

You might not have heard of Xiaomi before, but its cutthroat Android smartphones have been quietly gaining traction over the last few years. This successful record doesn't carry fully across to the Redmi Note 11 – the inconsistent performance and so-so cameras led us to recommend the more expensive Pro 5G version instead – but the competitive price and excellent screen make this one worth considering. While not class-leading, the battery life is also very good here, and should easily manage a full day of use.

Read our full Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 2.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 680; Display: 6.43in 2,400 x 1,080; Storage: 128GB; Camera: 50MP, 8MP (ultrawide), 2MP (macro), 2MP (depth); Operating system: Android 11

6. Motorola Moto G62: The best 5G phone for kids

Price: £199 | Buy now from Amazon

If you live in an area with decent 5G coverage and you want your child to have the best download speeds possible, Motorola’s Moto G62 is our current favourite budget 5G phone. As well as being one of the most affordable ways to get 5G connectivity, the Moto G62 also benefits from decent performance, a solid camera array and a battery that lasted over 20 hours in testing. The display is only an IPS panel, so doesn’t quite match the vibrancy of OLED technology, but it’s still nicely colour-accurate and gets bright enough for use in direct sunlight.

Read our full Motorola Moto G62 review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 Plus; Display: 6.5in 2,400 x 1,080; Storage: 128GB; Camera: 50MP, 8MP (ultrawide), 2MP (macro); Operating system: Android 12

7. iPhone SE 3 (2022): The best new iPhone for kids

Price: From £449 | Buy now from Argos

While the above renewed iPhone 8 should be good enough for younger children, older kids may prefer something a little newer, which brings us to the iPhone SE 3 (2022). Don’t let the old-school design fool you, beneath the classic exterior, the SE 3 runs on the same flagship A15 Bionic processor used in the more expensive iPhone 13 series, pumping out performance that is pretty much unrivalled at this price point. There’s only one camera on the back, but it’s a decent unit, producing detailed images with a great balance of colour and exposure.

Read our full iPhone SE 3 (2022) review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Hexa-core 3.22GHz Apple A15 Bionic; Display: 4.7in 1,334 x 750; Storage: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB; Camera: 12MP; Operating system: iOS 15.4

Buy now from Argos

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