With my daughter entering middle school this year, my wife and I thought it was time to her to have a cell phone. My daughter thought this should have happened eons ago but now there was a legitimate need with after school activities and pick-ups. Before we went forward with the purchase, I had my daughter sign our own family cell phone contract since I would be covering the monthly cost (more on that in a future post). Of course, my daughter’s preference was to get an iPhone, specifically the 5c. She informed me that she had saved enough money to cover the equipment cost. Before school started and the iPhone 6 launched, a 32 GB version was on sale for $100 at Best Buy. Since we’re on AT&T Mobile Share plan with 10 GB of data, I thought it would only cost $15 a month to add an additional line. This is what my wife’s iPhone costs per month.
Well, I was wrong. The $15 price does not apply to a subsidized phone. Adding a subsidized smart phone to your plan will cost you $40 a month. I’m suddenly looking at spending $600 that I wasn’t planning on spending. It’s also my daughter’s first phone so there’s a distinct possibility it could be lost or stolen. The only option besides a second mortgage was to see what my daughter could afford to buy outright.
For $100 or less, there are a number of Android and Windows phones available for outright purchase. She chose the Nokia Lumina 365 which had just come out and was available as an unlocked AT&T Go Phone for $99, and you can find it for even less now. At that price, it’s a pretty good value, it has a crisp 4.5 inch touchscreen and most of the apps my daughter cares about such as texting and Instagram. It comes with its own version of Siri called Cortana which is just as willing to be chided by my daughter. A big thumbs up from my daughter on Windows UI and it configurable tiles. Using the phone briefly, the only drawback I noticed was the low speaker volume for voice calls. According to my daughter the other drawbacks include the lack of a front facing camera as well as a flash. We still have to figure out how to sync music to it (there’s an app called “Sync with My Mac” that looks like it can do it). However, the biggest problem in her mind is that it isn’t an iPhone.
If you prefer Android, you can spend a little more and get the Moto G for about $179 outright. The consensus out there is that this is the best low cost Android phone. It’s a pretty good price considering it has a 5″ screen and it’s capable of running KitKat.
So, in conclusion, the Windows phone is a good starter phone for your child. It has the most popular apps and it won’t bankrupt your family. Yes, it’s not an iPhone but your child really doesn’t need a $700 device in their pocket to make calls and use a couple of apps.