Buying their first smartphone: the best phones for kids

Buying their first smartphone: the best phones for kids

Updated on 9 May 2024

Published on 9 May 2024 - Kids grow up so fast. First they’re talking, and next thing you know, they’re ready to start texting. So which smartphone is best for them? We can help.

Are refurbished devices good for kids?

Yes! Refurbished devices are an excellent option for kids, teens, and uni students as long as they’re high quality. Premium refurbished electronics function perfectly and also have at least 85% battery capacity -- just what you need to support everyday use.

If you're buying your kid's first phone, premium refurbished tech is good for kids and good for your wallet without short-changing your kids. 

You also don’t skimp on helping the planet. This is a bonus for kids (of all ages) since, as they say, there’s no Planet B.

Refurbishing a smartphone emits on average 91.6% fewer carbon emissions than making a new one. It also guzzles a lot less water and raw materials than manufacturing a brand-new smartphone.

👉 Reading tip: Proof of how refurbished smartphones help the planet!

Picking the right refurbished device for your kid’s first phone

On Back Market, you’ll find refurbished devices in 1 of 3 conditions: Fair, Good, and Excellent. Each of these conditions explains how the device looks (but not the insides — all the insides are restored to perfect working order on Back Market).

Based on customer reviews, it seems most parents buy their kid's smartphones either in Fair or Good condition. These devices are less expensive than those in Excellent condition, so it's less of a (financial) heartbreak when your kid accidentally drops their refurbished phone into a river.

We’ve created a short list of great phones for kids in case you need a starting point. Each phone has all of the basics (text, 4G, Wi-Fi, and a decent camera) and is sold at a great price point.

🏆 Best overall for iOS families: Apple iPhone SE (2020)

This shouldn't be a surprising pick to anyone. The iPhone SE (2020) was even included at the top of our list of which iPhones were the best value for the money. So it makes a lot of sense to buy it for teens and kids, especially if the whole family is full of iOS users.

Apple's second-generation iPhone SE (2020) is small, easy to carry, takes good photos, and sells at less than A$200. The A13 Bionic processor is still reliable and supported by software updates, and the phone's battery life will get kids through a full day of school.

While you could look at the newer third-generation iPhone SE (2022), it's currently selling for over twice the price. We don't think 5G compatibility and a slight boost in battery and processing power are worth the additional cost. So as of today, the iPhone SE 2 is still preferable -- but we'll keep an eye on when the refurbished iPhone SE 3 drops in price. 😁

What we like:

What we don't like:

Affordable

No Face ID

Strong performance

Older design

Good battery life

Great camera

Easy to repair

Smaller screen for smaller hands and pockets

What do customers say? 80% of customers who bought a refurbished iPhone SE (2020) on Back Market rated it 4 stars or above.

🏆 Best budget phone for iOS families: Apple iPhone 8

If you want to save a little more on an iPhone, a refurbished iPhone 8 is a perfectly viable option too. It has the same design as the iPhone SE (including Touch ID security), however, it has a slightly older A11 Bionic chip.

While some may think a 2017 smartphone is "too old," we'd respectfully disagree!  The iPhone 8 is still one of the best-selling smartphones of all time, and it was still receiving the latest iOS updates until September 2023. 

What we like:

What we don't like:

Affordable

Okay battery life

Strong performance

No 3.55mm headphone jack

Easy to repair

What do customers say? 74% of customers who bought a refurbished iPhone 8 on Back Market rated it 4 stars or above.

🏆 Best overall for Android families: Samsung Galaxy A20

The Samsung A20 is an affordable phone that doesn't compromise on any features. It has a respectable Exynos 7884 processor, a 6.4-inch screen with HD+ resolution, two cameras and a large battery. 

Samsung's A Series Galaxy smartphones are supposed to be entry-level devices so it makes perfect sense to buy one for your kid!

The Samsung Galaxy A20 has some limitations as far as display quality and camera functionality, but it's definitely more than enough to start -- and it can be had for as low as A$165!

What we like:

What we don't like:

Affordable

Weak processor so slower load times for games and apps

Great battery life

Not-so-great display resolution and colour accuracy

3.5mm headphone jack

What do customers say? 73% of customers who bought a refurbished Samsung Galaxy A21s on Back Market rated it 4 stars or above.

🏆 Best mid-range option for Android families: Samsung Galaxy A51

The Samsung Galaxy A51 is the most advanced phone on our list. It boasts a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display with a Full HD+ resolution. It has four cameras with the main sensor being capable of 48MP pictures. The 4000 mAh battery lasts for at least 17 hours, even with the 5G version. 

It's over twice as much as the other phones, yes. But if your child is responsible (or particularly deserving), then this is an option that they won't need to upgrade from any time soon. 

What we like:

What we don't like:

Big 60Hz Super AMOLED screen

All plastic exterior, not very durable

Good battery life

Good camera

3.5mm headphone jack

What do customers say?  72% of customers who bought a refurbished Samsung Galaxy A51 on Back Market rated it 4 stars or above.

👉 More high-value Android phones for kids: what is the best cheap Samsung smartphone?

How does Back Market ensure high quality refurbished devices?

Regardless of which phone you pick, you'll certainly need the thing to work properly! The last thing you want is a phone that conks out just when your child needs to reach you.

At Back Market, each device has undergone rigorous quality checks to make sure that they work just like new. In fact, we track the performance of all our sellers in real-time and use that data to make product selections from all the available inventory.

That means that any listing you’re looking at, for that specific device and set of specs, has already beat the competition in terms of quality and price. 

A note about battery capacity: At 85% battery capacity, the overall charge cycle of the device is considered healthy. We ask all our sellers to test their phones’ batteries to make sure they have at least that much capacity. You can always expect great battery performance from every smartphone on Back Market!

👉 Read more about Back Market and its procedures.

Are refurbished devices good for kids?

Refurbished devices are an excellent option for kids, teens, and uni students as long as they’re high quality. Premium refurbished electronics function perfectly, are good for your wallet, and are great for the planet. Everyone's happy when you shop refurbished!

What makes for a high quality refurbished device?

Every item on Back Market has undergone rigorous quality checks to make sure that they work just like new. In fact, we track the performance of all our sellers in real-time. At 85% battery capacity, the overall charge cycle of the device is considered healthy, which is why we ask our sellers to test their phones’ batteries to make sure they have at least that much capacity.

What are some good smartphones for kids?

Apple iPhone SE (2020), Apple iPhone 8, Samsung Galaxy A20, Samsung Galaxy A51

Back Market

Written by Blanca Marín

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