Thinking of buying your teen a smartphone for Christmas? Here's how to choose the best one | Living and LovingLiving and Loving

Thinking of buying your teen a smartphone for Christmas? Here’s how to choose the best one

While it’s a good idea to let your teen have a say in what type of phone she wants, we also have these tips if you’re looking for reliability and value for money.

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All kids want a cellphone – they’re cool – and most parents acknowledge that the convenience and peace of mind of a teen with a phone more than balances out the downsides. But which one of the many on the market should you buy?

While it’s a good idea to let your teen have a say, we also offer 5 tips for parents looking for reliability and value for money.

ALSO SEE: Protecting your child from cyberbullying and suicide on social media

Look for a device that’s affordable and good quality

Smartphone penetration has reached an all-time high in South Africa (91%), which means that the market has become quite competitive, with numerous brands offering excellent handsets at an affordable price. Most phones in the R1 500-R4 800 price range are of decent quality, with good specs and cameras, and they look good too. TECNO’s recently launched Spark 5, for example, which sells for R2 999, has four cameras on the back and one on the front, artificial intelligence (AI) lenses, and wireless earphones, among other features.

The camera is everything

For teens, a great camera is a prerequisite for an awesome selfie or that special Instagram moment. You can assess a camera’s quality on the size of the phone’s screen, the camera’s lenses and zoom functionality, and how well it shoots a video. Having five cameras in one handset, for instance, allows for awesome new angles, excellent light (whether it’s night or day), and an all-round better finish with no blurry edges.

ALSO SEE: Why parents need to know what their tweens and teens are up to on social media

Battery life is important

Smartphones are notorious for poor-performing batteries, but a long-lasting battery is vital for taking pics and videos, WhatsApping and using various other apps, and browsing social media. A decent battery should offer at least a day’s use before needing recharging. TECNO’s Spark 5 handset offers 16 hours of calling, 8 hours of camera work or at least 14 hours of continuous video playback.

Size matters

Capetonian dance sensation Matthew Power, one of South Africa’s biggest TikTok stars with 261 300 followers, says, “I’m continually on the go, creating stuff for both my TikTok and Instagram feeds, so the camera, the size of the smartphone’s screen, and then of course its overall style are things that I look out for.” For teens who spend a large portion of their time watching videos on their phones, playing games and browsing social-media feeds, the size of a screen and the phone’s overall appearance matter. A phone that offers a razor-sharp, bright screen display, with a +90% screen-to-body ratio is a winner.

Accessories are the cherry on the top

Dress up your teen’s phone to add to its functionality and aesthetic appeal. Things like a protective case or cover, screen protectors (if you don’t have a case or cover) and a portable charger are the most useful items. And while all phones come with headphones, your teen would love a Bluetooth set: Hipods H2 wireless earphones are water-resistant and can play up to 24 hours of nonstop music.

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