Last week we were excited to be chosen as part of the #KurioFamilyBloggers to test and review some of Kurio's new lines. Kurio are predominantly known for their range of kids tablets but have recently expanded and launched a smartphone built for kids.
Big K is a typical 12 year old. She spends all evening glued to her phone, texting her friends, listening to music videos on youtube, watching films on netflix and playing games. Her dad and I are very strict on the amount of time they spend in front of the computer and go to great lengths to keep them safe while they are online. When big K was given a mobile just before she started secondary school it hit me that i am unable to stop her accessing certain things on the internet as it is her mobile she is using to connect. I have spent the best part of 4 months nagging her about how fast her credit was going, telling her no to buying apps and worrying what things she can innocently access while browsing the net. She is 12 years old and wants to feel independent and grown up. I want that for her too but she is still just 12 years old and up until now i have found no way of allowing her safe use of a mobile phone. I chose to review the Kurio phone for this reason. I do not want to be nagging my child for something she does not yet fully understand.
About the Kurio Kids Phone
Here is some more specs:
- Display: 4” capacitive touch screen
- Resolution: 800 x 480 pixels
- Chipset: Dual Core MT6572A-W
- Operating System: Android 4.2
- Storage Memory: 4GB
- Ram: DDRIII 1GB
- Camera: Front: 2Mpx, Rear: 5Mpx autofocus
- Connectivity: GSM, Wi-Fi 802-11 b/g/n, Bluetooth v3.0, GPS, FM Radio
- Speakers: 1 x 1.5W
- USB Connection: Micro USB
- Micro SDHC Card Slot: Up to 32GB
Preloaded onto the phone is
- 25 games which includes cut the rope 2 and Subway Surfers
- Kid Safe Entertaining Programs for music, videos and movies
- Kid Safe Activity Apps allowing kids to safely connect with their friends.
Looking at the Kurio Phone Feature Page the words Safe Smartphone For Kids immediately jumped out at me. There is lots of parental control options which i can either lessen as they get older or add to if they need more restrictions.
Some of the key features include:
In short Kurio Genius is the parental control aspect of the phone. It can be controlled remotely by logging into the site via other means and records all aspects of your childs useage. Kurio Genius is the heart of the phone from a parents point of view and is what enables parents to give their child, safe and monitored responsibility without the worry or persistent rules over what the child is doing on their phone. Kurio Genius comes with the added bonus that parents are emailed notifications regarding their child's phone use randomly throughout the day. (This can be changed to how often you want)
Here is a video explaining how Kurio Genius works
Kurio Genius is accessible only via the parents login and password and can not be removed from the phone. Upon starting up the phone the parent will be prompted to set up a parental account. Internet or Wi Fi is required in order to do this. The parent is then prompted to set restrictions or allowances for all of the below features.
Internet Filtering System
I have to admit, for me this is the most important feature of the phone and is what makes it stand out from the other phones claiming to be kid safe. Parents can either use the pre defined filters or choose their own and block or restrict use to specific websites, keeping our children safe while online.
Kurio Xtreme’s App Management System gives parents the ability to control what apps your child accesses. Parents can approve or block apps easily via Kurio Genius and these apps appear automatically on the childs phone.
Set phone limits
Another concern of mine when big K was given a mobile is that her credit would just get wasted! She has unlimited text messages and quite a good amount of call time yet she was still coming to me a week later and telling me her credit had gone. Parents can allow or block contacts easily, check phone and text usage and set times when their child can use their phone.
This in fact proved to be an amazing tool when i received an email from Kurio Genius at 3am to let me know big K had turned her phone on and was happily playing away on her phone talking to another 12 year old who should have been in bed too! That explains why she is so tired when i wake her up at 6am and where her credit has been going!
It is important to note that no matter what restrictions you have in place the child using the phone is always able to call or text one of their 5 primary contacts.
Geotracking and Geofencing
Whilst i initially did not like the idea of following big K's every move this tool proved to be invaluable about 2 days into her using the Kurio Phone. Like all kids her age, she wants to play out with her friends, she is however not very street wise and easily led by others. She successfully managed to go down the wrong road and got herself lost. This is not the first time it has happened and usually involves a very long evening of hubby driving around looking for her and me running around the streets like a loon!
The Kurio Phone has a built in GPS system which tracks the phones exact location. Using Kurio Genius i was able to find big K when she went walkies! The Kurio Phone also uses Geofencing which in short allows parents to set safe and danger areas onto the phones GPS system. Parents are notified immediately when their child ventures in or out of these areas.
Other features include emergency features giving the ability to press the power button 3 times in order to alert emergency services and a I.C.E (In Case of Emergency) form which can store up to 5 primary contacts and vital information about your child, like blood type, doctors details, medication etc, if the worst was to happen. The person who creates the account is automatically a primary contact.
Also included is an anti theft feature allowing parents to remotely contact emergency services and remotely wipe the phones date and lock the phone.
My thoughts so far
As far as the phone goes i have only explored the parental control aspect of the phone which for me was the most important part. I am no longer nagging big K about the things i was as i am no longer worried about them. She seems to be confident in believing that she has lots of grown up responsibility and i can stand back knowing that it is safe and any problems i am notified right away not a week later.
The phone itself is not badly priced at £130. I think considering the safety options and the fact that it is an Android smartphone, it is quite a reasonable price. If you have made it to this point in my review you will have grasped that i am pretty amazed by the phone. I do genuinely wish i had saved some arguments and purchased this in the first place. The only small niggle that both me and big K have at this point is that i have not been able to source a case for it. While it is a sturdy phone it is still a screen and while big K just wants something pretty to put her phone in, i would like the added bonus of knowing the phone is somewhat safe in a case.
Ill update this review in the new year with big K's thoughts about the Kurio Phone. Hopefully she will have more to say than "its awesome!" :)
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