Arming your child with a phone can be a delicate balancing act. It has to be durable, easy to use and offer good security – especially for the younger ones. However, teens might want some reasonable tech specs for a bit of gaming and happy snaps. Here are the things to keep in mind when shopping for a school ready phone.

A phone that locks is essential. If your child is prone to easily guessable pins like their birthday, or 1-2-3-4, than you could look for a smartphone with an effective fingerprint or face recognition sensor as an alternative lock.

Beyond that first layer of protection, some smartphones also have their own proprietary security implementation, such as Samsung Knox. Some smartphones also have automatic software updates enabled, for the latest security patches.

If you’re using an Android device, you can also use the Google Family Link app to put parental control in place.

Whether it’s camera, processor or screen size, you don’t have to spend big for decent hardware specs. Which offers some peace of mind if there’s a possibility the device could get left behind on the bus.

It’s a special kind of frustration when you can’t get in touch with your child because their phone ran out of juice. To negate this outcome, look for a phone with a 5000mAh battery, or more. A fast charge feature is also handy for that last minute boost before school.

Here are some smartphones that fit the bill for back to school:

Samsung Galaxy A21s 32GB
The Galaxy A21s offers phone locking via pin and fingerprint reader, as well as facial recognition. Extra security is built into the A21s hardware and software via Samsung Knox, which provides multi-layered protection against malware and malicious threats.

It also packs a 5000mAh battery with 15W fast charging to ensure plenty of juice for the 6.5” HD+ display.

If your teen values capturing their everyday moments, the A21s boasts a Quad Cam to handle all sorts of conditions.

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Oppo A53 64GB
The A53 has a 5000mAh battery packed with quick 18W fast charge. It also has a rear fingerprint sensor so you can still enjoy a full 6.5” screen. Most of the offerings in this equivalent price range have a 60Hz refresh rate, however the Oppo A53 has a 90Hz refresh rate, making this smartphone a handy second screen for games and streaming. This feature is nicely complemented by Dual Stereo Speakers. It has an AI Triple Camera system.

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Motorola G9 Play 64GB
Like all the smartphones mentioned so far, the Motorola G9 is a value proposition for the feature set at its price point. Moreover, the G9 also comes with bonus Moto Buds Charge in-ear Bluetooth – a nice bit of kit for the journey to school and back.

For extra durability, the Motorola G9 also has a water-repellent design that helps protect against moderate exposure like accidental spills, splashes or light rain.

Battery life lasts up to two days thanks to 5000mAh capacity, plus TurboPower quick charge in minutes. And phone unlocking can be by fingerprint reader.

The G9 also has a responsive Qualcomm Snapdragon 2.0GHz processor, triple camera system and 6.5” screen.

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Nokia 3.4 64GB
It has up to two days of battery life courtesy of an efficient Qualcomm Snapdragon processor working in tandem with their Adaptive Battery technology. The phone also comes with a pure Android experience and no bloatware – superfluous apps that hog storage and battery life.

For extra peace of mind, Nokia phones with Android One receive three years of monthly security updates and two years of Android upgrades. This means your Nokia 3.4 not only stays protected, but you’ll also be amongst the first to experience the latest features from Google.

It has an AI-powered triple camera and 6.39” HD+ screen, but there’s also the bragging right of a fully recyclable metal chassis that’s good for the environment. And you also get extra durability thanks to a tough 3D nano-textured cover.

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