Kajeet might be an unfamiliar name to most, but the company has been around for the past five years, providing wireless service as a virtual operator in its own niche as a child-friendly alternative to other, more expensive services.
The provider has recently rearranged its lineup to include smartphones, but with the new additions comes added features to protect kids and teenagers from unsavory and potentially unsafe content as well as new features for child tracking and safety. Read more for the complete review.
I was sent a standard LG Optimus S as an example of the smartphones Kajeet is now carrying earlier this month, which include the HTC Shift, Samsung Conquer and Replenish. The smartphones themselves are typical of Sprint’s current lineup and are identical in terms of hardware. Where the phones differ is in the services supported, as Kajeet has taken extra steps to make the phones safe for children and teenagers.
Starting with its most recent feature addition, the provider offers a free content filtering service included in the monthly rate which lets parents control what children can browse and do on the phones and gradually decrease filtering until deemed unnecessary. Not only does Kajeet allow content filtering, but it also allows near complete usage control for voice and messaging by scheduling appropriate time blocks to deter phone use at inappropriate times, such as at night and during school hours.
Another feature which Kajeet is heavily promoting for all of its lineup is its GPS Phone Locator service which can be used on a pay per use basis at 0.99/per use or as part of a monthly add-on for $7.99 that includes access to a web portal that tracks a child’s phone in real-time as well as allowing the addition of landmarks, a monthly overview of a child’s activity and automatic triggering of emails to track a phone if its either lost or if the child is lost.
Having used the LG Optimus for two weeks, the hardware itself is solid and testing the content filter worked as advertised along with the usage control features. Battery life was surprisingly solid despite the phone only running Froyo and not having an update to Gingerbread available.
As far as monthly plans are concerned, all Kajeet plans are monthly plans with no agreement and start at $4.99 a month going all the way up to $50 a month for unlimited voice/text/GPS Locator access, though smartphones are excluded from unlimited picture multimedia messages and rely on an additional monthly data plan for use, while featurephones are allowed to send unlimited picture messages. Data plans start at $4.99 for 50MB of access and go all the way up to $24.99 for 1GB of access which can be combined with the feature manager to block or enable select sites and services.
Using the phone for two weeks and testing out all of the features, I was pleasantly surprised to see that none of the features got in the way of normal phone usage. I did like being able to track the phone and looking back at the history of where the phone went while I did my usual errands as the location service was accurate to within ~20 feet. The content filter did its job, blocking out access to sites depending on filtering level and worked well enough for the purposes of this review.
After all is said and done, Kajeet is a viable alternative for parents looking to get their kids a smartphone without having to worry about what they can do with them that could potentially lead to inappropriate activity or content, with the bonus of being cost-effective and a good way to keep watch over them with the inclusion of pay-per-use GPS location service. Even though I personally don’t have kids, I would highly recommend Kajeet over taking out another line on a postpaid plan or another prepaid service for any parent that does.