The best phones for kids

Whether you’re looking for the best first phone for a 12-year-old in Australia or a handset for younger or older kids, this guide has you covered.

Best phone for kids overall
Best first phone for kids
Best phone for younger kids
Best phone for tweens
Best phone for teens
February 15, 2022
5 min read


When it comes to buying a phone for yourself, it’s worth having a gander at the best Android phones available or saving dollars upfront and paying off a shiny new iPhone 13 via a Postpaid plan from Telstra, Optus or Vodafone.

But when it comes to getting a phone for young’uns, there’s money to be saved by buying a cheaper handset upfront, then combining it with the best phone plan for kids (depending on their age bracket). Check out that article if you want a focus on the best phone plans for kids and teens, otherwise scroll on for a breakdown of the best handsets for tykes.

Best phones for kids compared

Phone
RRP
Display size
Resolution
Processor
RAM / ROM
Battery size
Rear camera
Front-facing camera
Moto G8 Power Lite
6.5-inchesHD+MediaTek Helio P354GB / 64GB5000mAh16-MP + 2MP + 2MP 8MP
Nokia 225 4G
2.4-inchesQVGAUnisoc T11764MB / 128MB1150mAh0.3MPN/A
Optus X Lite 4G
2.4-inchesQVGAA764MB / 128MB1530mAhVGAN/A
Realme C21
6.5-inchesHDMediaTek Helio G354GB / 64GB5000mAh13MP + 2MP + 2MP5MP
Oppo A53s
6.5-inchesHDSnapdragon 4604GB / 128GB5000mAh13MP + 2MP + 2MP8MP

Best phone for kids considerations

The first phone consideration is whether the price is right: there’s no point spending a tonne of cash on a handset that may be damaged or lost. Because of this, the phones on this page are recommended based on their overall affordability. Refurbished phones from Kogan, Dick Smith, EB Games and Apple, as well as telcos like Boost Mobile and Numobile are also great ways to save money.

Battery life is another key consideration. While adults may be used to carrying around a charging cable or lugging a power bank to keep battery life in the green, you don’t want to have to worry about this with your kid’s phone. To help avoid this, the phones we’ve recommended on this page tend to have great battery life.

Parental controls are a handy addition, but you can always use services like Family Zone to help manage screen time, limit social media access and/or block inappropriate content. Alternatively, there are handsets on this page that deliberately don’t have a whole lot of internet-connected smarts. Durability is also an important consideration, which is why a new phone is best paired with a phone case even if it’s already dust or waterproof.

Finally, we recommend using Prepaid plans instead of SIM Only alternatives for your kid’s phone, so you don’t have to freak out at any end-of-billing-cycle surprises and your child is also locked into a fixed amount of talk time, text limits and mobile data. Below is a list of the 10 cheapest Prepaid plans with at least 1GB of data.

Smartphone vs feature phone

These days it’s tricky to find a handset that doesn’t at least have some sort of smart features (aka a “dumbphone”). What you’ll find, instead, is what’s called a ‘feature’ phone, which have limited smart functionality. Smartphones are basically computers in your pocket, which means they need data to operate effectively. Feature phones benefit from data, but because they’re restricted in terms of the apps they can use, they should require less monthly data to use.

Best phone for kids overall

Motorola Moto G8 Power Lite
Motorola Moto G8 Power Lite
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    5000mAh battery
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    Affordable triple lens camera
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    From $249

The Motorola Moto G8 Power Lite is a great mix of everything you want for a kid-friendly smartphone, regardless of whether they’re younger or a teenager. It’s okay on the performance front, able to admirably take care of managing everyday apps, videos, and even games. More importantly, the Moto G8 Power Lite boasts a 5,000mAh battery, which translates to up to three days of use on a single charge.

Moto G8 Ppwer Lite

The generous 6.5-inch FHD+ display is a great size for practical use across a range of applications, and the water-repellent design helps protect it from accidental splashes (plus there’s a screen protector included). While not amazing, the camera is still good enough to take decent pics and it can also handle 1080p video. At under $250, the price is right, too.

You can buy it from Optus directly for $249 if you want to use one of the Optus Prepaid plans below (with at least 1GB of data).

Best first phone for kids

Nokia 225 4G
Nokia 225 4G
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    Super long battery life
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    Physical buttons
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    From $59

For many of us, the Nokia 3310 was our first phone, and the new Nokia 225 is a more than worthy throwback. The brand's iconic silhouette may be the same, but Nokia has sagely updated the all-important hardware, while keeping the price below $100. Physical buttons are great for first-time phone users, while the 2.4-inch polarised screen is both the right size and designed to be easy to read in sunlight.

Nokia 225 4G

Unlike the smartphones on this page, the Nokia 225 is close to a dumbphone, though it can still use apps like Twitter and Facebook. Still, there’s entertainment in the form of reimagined Snake, FM radio and MP3 player (up the storage via MicroSD card to store tunes), and a 0.3MP camera for taking basic snaps. The best feature, though, is the epic battery life (up to 19 hours of talk time).

Best phone for younger kids

Optus X Lite 4G
Optus X Lite 4G
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    All day battery life
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    Durable design
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    From $49

Like the Nokia 225, the Optus X Lite 4G is a feature phone that’s a great fit for younger phone users. For starters, you can buy one outright for under $50, though you will have to pair it with an Optus Prepaid plan. Considering Optus plans are great value – check out the list of Optus Prepaid plans here – this helps to add to the overall value.

Optus 4G X Lite handset

The 2.4-inch colour display is a great starting point for younger eyes, which helps keep the handset light enough to carry around and makes single-hand usage possible, even in smaller mitts. The battery is built to last all day, there’s a basic camera for budding photographers, and Bluetooth offers some connectivity versatility.

For $49 upfront, you can own the Optus X Lite 4G handset outright and pair it with one of the Optus Prepaid plans below (all of which have at least 1GB of data).

Best phone for tweens

Realme C21
Realme C21
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    6.5-inch screen
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    Big battery
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    From $199

Step away from telco-locked handsets and feature phones with the Realme C21, which is our pick of the best first phone for 12-year-olds in Australia (or slightly younger). For under $200, you don’t have to break the bank to get your tween started on their smartphone journey. That all starts with the generously sized 6.5-inch HD+ display, which is powered by an eight-core processor, 4GB memory for decent performance, and 64GB of internal storage.

RealMe C21

If that’s not enough to store the apps, downloads, and photographic results of decent front and rear cameras, pop in an equally affordable MicroSD card for a straightforward storage upgrade. With an impressive 5,000mAh battery, the Realme C21 boasts 40 days of standby, which also translates to more than a day of active use.

Best phone for teens

Oppo A53s
Oppo A53s
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    90Hz refresh rate
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    AI-enhanced camera
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    From $271

The Oppo A53s has incredible value for a handset you’ll pay under $300 to own outright. That value starts with a 6.5-inch HD display, which boasts a 90Hz refresh rate for smoother onscreen interactions, while everything feels more responsive care of up to 120Hz touch sampling. On the battery front, you’re looking at a sizeable 5,000mAh battery which, combined with in-the-box 18W fast charger, means speedier charging and more than a day of practical use.

Oppo A53s

The A53s’s innards are beefy enough to keep up with teenage multitasking needs, too: an eight-core processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage (which can be expanded by up to 256GB via MicroSD). There’s a triple-lens camera on the back and an AI-improved selfie camera, too, both of which offer impressive results for the price.

After Huawei's untimely exit from the Australian market, Oppo phones have become the benchmark for quality budget handsets in Australia. 

For $279 upfront, you can own the Oppo A53s outright and pair it with one of the Optus Prepaid plans below (all of which have at least 1GB of data).

Nathan Lawrence
Written by
Nathan Lawrence
Nathan Lawrence has been banging out passionate tech and gaming words for more than 11 years. These days, you can find his work on outlets like IGN, STACK, Fandom, Red Bull and AusGamers. Nathan adores PC gaming and the proof of his first-person-shooter prowess is at the top of a Battlefield V scoreboard.

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