The Most Reliable Parental Control App
FamiSafe lets parents control screen time, track real-time location and detect inappropriate content on kids' devices.
One thing is sure; lots of screentime isn’t healthy for your kind. But even with that, your kid will keep asking you for a smartphone even before you think they are ready. Fortunately, the Pinwheel phone is a smartphone specifically designed for your child. With this phone, your child will learn the ins and outs of using a smartphone without you worrying about their safety. So, this Pinwheel phone review will help you understand what this phone is and why getting one for your kid is the smartest move ever.
Part 1. What is a Pinwheel phone? Is it worth buying?
First and foremost, Pinwheel is an Android phone. Therefore, you won’t have any trouble figuring your way inside this phone. That said, a Pinwheel phone is a child-friendly smartphone that only houses safe and secure apps for kids to use. What’s best? It doesn’t feature an app store or social media. So basically, it comes ready with several kid-friendly apps.
Quickly moving forward, a Pinwheel phone comes in two different models – Pinwheel Slim and Pinwheel Rugged. The Pinwheel Slim is a pretty standard Android phone in terms of looks. In other words, it’s sleek and smooth, tailor-made for cool kids. On the other hand, the Pinwheel Rugged model is beefier, sturdier, and waterproof. This makes it perfect for toddlers who are likely to drop their phones from time to time.
But the differences don’t end there. Whereas the Pinwheel Slim offers a 5.7” display, the slim model houses 5.5” and 6.5” screens. Also, the slim models have 13MP and 48MP main cameras, while the rugged model boasts a triple camera setup of 13MP+2MP+2MP. In addition, both phones support TouchID, with the bigger slim model supporting 5G connectivity. However, the Pinwheel Slim 5.5” and Pinwheel Rugged are only compatible with GSM carriers.
As for the pricing, the smaller slim version goes for $149, whereas the bigger version costs $329. Also, you’ll pay $14.99/month for the Pinwheel Software and at least $15/month for cell service. Note, however, that Pinwheel themselves don’t provide this service. Instead, they partner with Mint Mobile.
Meanwhile, setting up your pinwheel phone is a pretty straightforward process. Out of the box, you’ll get standard phone accessories like a Type-C charger for faster charging and data transfer and the phone itself. The box also has a screen protector and a SIM extractor.
To start enjoying the phone’s service, head to the Pinwheel website and set up a parent account under the Caregiver Portal. After this, click “Add Child” to add a kid account. Now exploit the wealth of parental control features in the Caregiver Portal. Overall, Pinwheel is the perfect phone for your kid to schedule contacts, apps, create routines, monitor movements, and so on.
Pinwheel phones key features:
Pinwheel Rugged - Verizon
|5.5” panel||5.7” panel||6.5” panel|
|8MP selfie, 13MP main||13MP+2MP+2MP triple main, 8MP selfie||48MP main, 13MP selfie|
|GSM network||GSM network||5G network|
|N/A||Waterproof and dust resistant||N/A|
Part 2. Pros and cons of a Pinwheel phone
Pinwheel phone didn’t just shoot to stardom by chance. It offers excellent remote management to help limit your child’s digital lifestyle. But despite the many upsides, there are also a few drawbacks of using this phone. Let’s take a look!
Enable and schedule app permissions
Safe contacts, texts, and voicemails only
Modes and routines
Real-time GPS location
Excellent customer service
No web browsing capability
No app store
A bit pricy
1. Enable and schedule app permissions
No app store? Very good! Although disappointing, this means you have all the control over your child’s Pinwheel phone. In plain words, you choose what apps your kid can use. This smartphone boasts a curated app library, making it seamless to choose safe, healthy, and helpful apps for your kid’s development. So, your child won’t become a social media or gaming addict.
In addition, the Pinwheel phone lets caregivers or parents choose the type of apps or contacts their kids can access and at what times. This means no texting or calling friends during important assignments, lessons, or staying up late while playing games or browsing Instagram. All in all, this feature does all the heavy lifting as you take a backseat.
2. Safe contacts, texts, and voicemails only
Pinwheel Caregiver Portal comes with sections for voicemail, contacts, and texts. These features ensure that your child can only text or call approved contacts. In fact, you’ll immediately see texts and calls from unknown numbers on the caregiver account. Also, group texting is permitted, as long as the group members are part of your child’s approved contacts lists.
Now, what does this mean for a caregiver or parent? It means that unwanted calls and texts won’t make it to your kid’s phone. Your child won’t receive spam calls or participate in odd conversations on this phone. But on the flip side, unknown contacts can leave a voice message. I’m sure Pinwheel is working on this feature already.
3. Modes and routines
Another area where Pinwheel phone shines through is helping your child create a healthy schedule. This phone houses a fully customizable checklist to make your kid more responsible and independent. Of course, parenting your kids without constantly sneaking around the house or calling them all the time is a significant plus.
For example, you can set a bedtime schedule for a healthy evening nap. And you know what deep night sleep does to your child’s development, don’t you? You can also use a Pinwheel phone to set a morning routine that ensures your child is up on time and ready for school. All said, you can set a schedule for practically anything else and nature good habits.
4. Real-time GPS location
Nothing can be more reassuring to a parent than knowing where their child. Luckily, the Pinwheel phone allows you to enjoy some peace of mind with the real-time GPS location of your child. This feature constantly updates as long as your kid is connected to Wi-Fi or their cell service.
That’s not all; the location feature comes with a “history” section, where you can view all the previous movements of your kid. There is also a “device” section with a quick overview of your child’s phone battery, storage, and Wi-Fi name. In short, you will never worry about your kid using a public Wi-Fi network again.
5. Excellent customer service
The customer support at Pinwheel is excellent, to say the least. Their live chat service in the Caregiver Portal is intuitive enough with instant replies. However, contacting them during busy sessions might be sluggish. But fret not because email replies are instant. You can ask about any issue, ranging from reloading Pinwheel to setting up your device.
Cons of Pinwheel phone:
1. No web browsing capability
The lack of web browsing capabilities is a severe letdown here. Although the web is home to all harmful kid content, it’s still a vital piece of smartphone technology. It’s here that your kid can research their homework, albeit on a small screen.
2. No app store
Another letdown is the lack of an app store. Play Store or App Store contents are carefully selected, although some games can be harmful or highly addictive. So, we hope to see Pinwheel introduce its own app store soon.
3. A bit pricy
Although the functionality of the Pinwheel phone is impressive, the larger cohort of parents can find it slightly expensive. The price is almost the same, if not more than what you’ll pay for most Amazon Kindle Fire models, which are more fun and interactive. And that’s without mentioning the $14.99/month fee for the Pinwheel Software.
Part 3. What’s the best parental control app for Android and iOS?
As said before, the Pinwheel phone can be a bit expensive for most parents. But what is sure is that most can afford a standard smartphone for their kins. But if you don’t want your child to only view inappropriate content, use Wondershare FamiSafe. It’s an intelligent parental control app for Mac, Windows, Android, iPhone, and Fire OS with essential management features.
First, FamiSafe allows you to view all recent activities on your child’s smartphone and remotely take the appropriate measures. For example, you can set a screen schedule to enable your child to complete their homework or other tasks. Also, you can see your child’s web history and filter content based on categories like adult, gambling, violence, and so on.
FamiSafe also has an app blocking feature to restrict apps by age ratings. You can block apps for age groups like 4+, 12+, 17+, and so on. You can even set scheduled blocks based on specific hours and days. And most importantly, the $10.99/month and $60.99/year plans are a great steal, considering what you’ll pay on a Pinwheel phone.
Getting a Pinwheel phone is one of the best ways to protect your child from the dangerous and immoral online world. But why not just install FamiSafe on your kid’s phone and enjoy even more sophisticated parental control features? That notwithstanding, communication and parental participation are the best ways to cultivate a healthy digital habit in your kid. And lest I forget, be a role model!