The best phones for kids in 2022

Kids are people too, and often those little people are clamoring for the best smartphone tech money can buy, complete with the latest talk, text, games, apps, photos, and video conferencing features their parents are willing to buy for them. The good news is that you don’t have to mortgage your home to purchase a decent smartphone for your kid. With their (sometimes) smaller hands and more limited needs — and the reality that kids tend to lose or destroy delicate things more frequently than adults — there are plenty of choices for powerful handsets that are ideal for kids.

Whether they’re in the next room studying, yakking with or texting friends, walking the dog at the park, or gearing up to go back to school, their smartphone helps you to monitor their activities and keep them out of trouble. Double down on this by pairing their new phone with one of the best parental control apps or, for Android devices, Google’s Family Link. Here are our top picks for the best smartphones and cell phones for kids ranging in age from about elementary school to teen.

iphone se 2022 review starlight back in hand

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Apple iPhone SE (2022)


  • Compact and light
  • Very powerful
  • Touch ID works really well
  • Wireless charging
  • IP67 water resistance


  • Poor battery life
  • 60Hz screen
  • 64GB won’t be enough

The iPhone SE (2022) is a small, neat phone with a tiny 4.7-inch Liquid Retina display and a 60Hz refresh rate. This may be old hat for adults, but it’s perfect for your adolescent or teen. There’s a lot going on with the new iPhone SE including Apple’s latest A15 Bionic chip, 4GB of RAM, 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB of storage, decent battery life, and a single 12MP rear sensor and 7MP selfie camera. Add 5G connectivity, iOS 15, and several years of OS updates, and it’s easy to see why the iPhone SE (2022) is a great smartphone investment for responsible children.

apple iphone se (2022)
moto g power 2022 review motog back

Erika Rawes/Digital Trends

Moto G Power (2022)


  • Affordable
  • Amazing battery life
  • Accurate biometrics
  • Decent amount of ROM
  • Good camera system and software
  • Water repellent


  • No 5G connectivity
  • Comes with Android 11
  • Plastic backing
  • Slow responses at times

When you’re buying a smartphone for the discerning youngster in your family and don’t want to scrimp on features, check out Motorola, an affordable smartphone brand. While many high-end features are absent and the body is plastic, the newest Moto G Power is ideal for everyday web browsing, emails, calls, and social media. This is for kids who prefer — and can handle — a larger phone. The Moto G Power has a huge 6.5-inch 90Hz display, 4GB of RAM, a MediaTek Helio G37 chip, 64GB or 128GB of storage, and a massive 5,000mAh battery that can last for days. That’s in addition to a decent camera setup of 50MP main, 2MP macro, 2MP depth sensor, and 8MP selfie camera.

motorola - moto g power (2022) 64gb (unlocked) - dark grove
samsung galaxy a53 5g review back

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G


  • Pretty design
  • IP67 water-resistance
  • Camera is great for social media
  • Vibrant screen
  • Two-day battery life


  • Performance can be sluggish
  • Not an upgrade to the A52 and A52S

The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G, with a plastic exterior, sports a two-day battery life, a capable camera, a gorgeous AMOLED display, and a great looking design. The IP67 rating for water resistance means extra durability for whatever mischief your kid gets into. It’s on the large side — so this is for a teen — and it’s got many advanced features. You have the option of 6GB or 8GB of RAM, and 128GB or 256GB of storage — and there’s a microSD card slot. The camera setup features a solid quad-lens on the back and a 64MP main lens, a 12MP wide-angle, and a pair of 5MP lenses for macro and depth. Up front, there’s a 32MP selfie lens. The battery can manage two days of moderate use — without gaming.

samsung galaxy a53 5g
google pixel 6a review

Joe Maring/Digital Trends

Google Pixel 6a


  • Compact, lightweight design
  • IP67 water resistance
  • Flagship-grade performance
  • Excellent cameras
  • Clean software
  • Years of guaranteed updates


  • Display is only 60Hz
  • Tensor chip runs hot
  • Lacking battery life

This is an excellent, up-to-date, stylish, moderately priced phone for young people who seek performance. Google‘s Tensor chip is the same silicon as in the company’s flagship Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro and it’s great for gaming. Although 6GB of RAM is less memory than found in more expensive handsets, it works to keep apps open in the background for school kid multitasking. This is a one-day smartphone for most kids, who can easily charge it up at bedtime.

google pixel 6a
nokia g50 review blue back

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Nokia G50


  • Long battery life
  • Strong build quality
  • Fuss-free, reliable software
  • Guaranteed software updates
  • 5G for the future


  • 60Hz refresh rate screen
  • Low-resolution screen
  • Big and heavy

The Nokia G50 is a very large phone with a massive 6.82-inch screen, a body that is nearly 9mm thick and 174mm tall, and weighs 220 grams. It’s not a rugged phone, but it’s naturally tough and able to withstand the rough and tumble of school kid activities. The Snapdragon 480 chip is a decent performer for school work and games, with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage space, and a microSD card slot. Call quality is good, accompanied by a 5,000mAh battery offering two to three days without a recharge. The software, battery life, and build quality, decent-but-basic camera, and 5G make this a good choice for a young family member.

nokia g50
moto e6 review 7

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Motorola Moto E6


  • Affordable
  • Clean Android software interface
  • Decent screen


  • Still no USB Type-C charging port, no NFC
  • Price is too close to the better value Moto G7 Play
  • Exclusive to Verizon for now
  • Won’t get Android Q

With a 5.5-inch HD display and an 18:9 aspect ratio, your kid gets a large, clear, responsive touchscreen. The phone features a Qualcomm Snapdragon Octa-Core processor running Android 9 and lets you add up to 256GB of photos, songs, and movies with a dedicated MicroSD card slot. The water repellent body keeps the Moto E6 protected from splashes and spills. A smart camera with Google Lens features text recognition while the built-in camera shoots 13MP photos. You can use your phone on any carrier.

motorola moto e6
nokia 3310 in hand.

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Nokia 3310


  • Colorful plastic exterior
  • Bright screen at all angles
  • Durable

Who wants to play Snake? It’s likely that if your child is of a certain young age, they will readily take to Snake and several other games that the Nokia offers in its updated, retro-styled Nokia 3310. The updated version of the phone is plastic, comes in four friendly colors, and features a fresh custom interface with a 2.4-inch polarized, curved screen that’s clear and bright at all angles and even in sunlight. Light and compact, it will stand up to the rough and tumble of child play and keep on trucking with battery standby for up to a month.

nokia 3310
unihertz atom review

Mark Jansen/Digital Trends

Unihertz Atom


  • Excellent battery
  • Solid performance
  • Simple software, useful tools
  • Compact and portable size
  • Rugged, durable, and water resistant


  • Subpar screen
  • Mediocre camera
  • Difficult to type on small screen

If your kid’s hands are on the diminutive side, check out the Unihertz Atom, a mini 4G cell phone running Android 9.0 Pie. It’s rated at IP68 to protect against vibration, shock, extreme temperatures, dust, and water. The fingerprint scanner and Face ID features provide more security and make it fast and easy to unlock the screen for calls and picture taking. Atom’s NFC features allow for mobile payments at thousands of retailers and online stores, so your little one doesn’t even have to carry a separate wallet. If your child is a wanderer, its GPS+GLONASS ensures that you won’t lose them. Its powerful 2,000mAh battery keeps it going all day long. Atom works on T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon in U.S.

unihertz atom
moto g7 play review feat

Simon Hill/Digital Trends

Moto G7 Play


  • Very affordable
  • Good performance
  • Solid camera
  • Great battery life

For kids with bigger hands who are into sports or gaming, you can get a larger phone at a good price. The Moto G7 Play, a grown-up style phone for an older child or teen, features an advanced Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 processor and a 5.7-inch display with a 19:9 aspect ratio, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of internal storage, up to 512 GB with a MicroSD card. Because it’s water-repellent, with a P2i nano-coating and scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass 3, it can withstand considerable punishment while your kid gets a stable grip. It’s easily unlocked via the fingerprint sensor and facial recognition. It comes unlocked, but is compatible with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Amazon Alexa, Music, Audible, and Shopping come preinstalled.

moto g7 play

Editors’ Recommendations

Related Posts