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Thanks to tech there are decisions that today’s parents must make that are quite unlike any of the decisions confronting the parents of prior generations. One such decision –at what age should I give my child a cellphone, and when I do, what is the best smartphone to get? Sure, you can give a young elementary school aged kid a thousand dollar smartphone like an Apple iPhone 11 (some parents can for sure) and hope for the best, but would you want to? There are so-called “burner phones,” but they usually don’t have any functionality other than phone calls, and even the youngest kids today are so tech savvy that giving them a burner phone probably won’t cut it. Thus, the Unihertz Jelly Pro provides an answer to the second part of the question –what kind of smartphone can I give my child? Determining when your child is ready is the harder question, best answered by each individual parent. Shopping for the perfect smartphone is hard enough (our Best Smartphone buyer’s guide can help), and choosing a phone for your kids presents a unique set of selection criteria. GR’s Best Phone for Kids buyer’s guide compares the Unihertz Jelly Pro against other similar smartphone devices, but the Jelly Pro isn’t just for kids. Many find that the Unihertz Jelly Pro is a perfect second phone they take along running, or riding, or hiking, or camping, or doing any of a million other activities.
The Unihertz Jelly Pro is a super-small inexpensive phone that ships with Android 8.1 (Oreo), has a surprisingly full set of features considering its size, and is a perfect phone for kids or to use as a secondary phone.
The Unihertz Jelly Pro has Android 8.1 (Oreo) onboard, so it comes with Google apps and supports the Google Play store, so most popular Android apps and games run just fine. Web browsing and email operate well. The Jelly Pro is powered by a Mediatek chipset backed with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. The Jelly Pro also has a microSD slot allowing storage to be expanded considerably (up to 256GB on a single SD card, so there’s ample space for a large music library). There’s also a micro USB port (for charging the battery) and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Apps may take a little bit more time to load on a Unihertz Jelly Pro, but once rendered scrolling and operation are plenty smooth. A touch keyboard displayed on the Jelly Pro is pretty small, which is certainly fine for kids. For everyone else there is smart touch management and autocorrect to make things easier for bigger fingers. Plus there’s Google Assistant for voice commands. The Jelly Pro supports LTE cell networking (VoLTE on 4G cell networks) albeit at slower speeds than the fuller networking capabilities of some other Android phones such as an LG Stylo 5. Nevertheless the Jelly Pro does have dual SIM slots, so it’s multi-network and/or internationally capable to support different SIM cards (which a lot of other phones are not). The Wi Fi (dual-band 802.11) on the Jelly supports both 2.4Ghz and 5GHz wireless networking. The Jelly Pro also has GPS capability. And the Jelly Pro also supports Bluetooth 4.1 so headphones and earbuds work great. In fact the Jelly Pro’s tiny size and SD-card expandable storage make it a pretty great Bluetooth music player, PLUS it even has an FM radio built-in –that it’s also a phone is really something.
The Unihertz Jelly Pro has a 950mAh removable battery, which doesn’t give the little Jelly Pro very long battery life (the most often reported downside in customer comments). Unihertz doesn’t set any expectations or assertions regarding battery life. In independent tests the Jelly Pro delivered over 4 hours of streaming video on LTE. Certainly enough battery life to last through a school day or on a day hike, but nightly charging likely required. Power management settings and turning off background apps will likely also help extend the Jelly Pro’s battery life. That it’s removable does imply you might be able to extend longevity if you have two batteries.
The Unihertz Jelly Pro display is pretty small (about 2.5 inches) as one would expect on such a tiny phone. Yet the 432 x 240 pixel screen is actually a joy to watch. Watching even 240p YouTube videos on such a small screen makes them look better than they would on a larger smartphone with a bigger display, such as on the Apple iPhone SE. The display on the Jelly isn’t super bright, but does okay and is fairly responsive to touch gestures. The tiny size of the display actually benefits the relatively poor graphics performance of the Jelly’s chipset. One downside is that really small text rendered on the small screen of the Jelly Pro can be difficult to read. Game playing on the small Jelly Pro display might be harder for adult-sized hands, but kid-sized fingers and thumbs probably won’t notice. Adults that love gaming can use the Apple iPhone XS 64GB, which offers great graphical performance.
According to most available info the Unihertz Jelly Pro is the world’s smallest smartphone at 3.6 x 1.7 x 0.5 inches (HWD) that weighs all of 2 ounces. NOW THAT’S SMALL! Easily fits in the pockets of kid-sized clothing. Its rounded corner case is made of a durable plastic with a silver surround, and there are relatively wide bezels surrounding the screen. All in all seemingly good protection that should thwart screen breaks when the Jelly Pro is dropped on its edge. The Jelly seems fairly playground or skate park tough. The cameras on a Jelly Pro are an 8-megapixel primary on the back, and a 2-megapixel front camera. Picture quality is not so hot –made more grainy and poor in low light. Pictures and videos shot with a Jelly Pro might be disappointing (particularly if viewed on larger displays), yet a Jelly Pro camera is enough for a video call if you can tolerate pixelation.
The Unihertz Jelly Pro isn’t a throwaway burner phone, but it doesn’t cost very much considering the functionality it delivers. For about a hundred bucks you have a device that delivers most (if not all) of the functionality of other phones costing 3x or 4x or 5x as much. Losing a Jelly Pro is certainly easier to absorb than if you (or your son or daughter) lost that Google Pixel 4a phone you just bought recently. And the Jelly Pro provides way more capability than a KidsConnect KC2 at a nominal additional cost.
The Unihertz Jelly Pro is a full function smartphone that’s smaller than many of the candies kids receive going door-to-door on Halloween night. It works and functions sufficiently enough for most purposes, and is tough enough for kids.