A Safe Smartphone for Kids: A Full Review of Troomi Wireless
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Troomi Review: Is it a good fit for your kids?
Smartphones have changed the way we communicate. Picking one out for your child is an important task and not one that parents should take lightly. Fortunately, there are companies like Troomi Wireless that understand what parents are looking for in a smartphone for kids.
I’ve had a Troomi phone for a few months and I like it. Troomi was kind enough to offer me one to test drive. I am a Troomi Ambassador which means you can use code THESECUREDAD at checkout to get $50 off your order.
Being a father in the family safety field, I know that we can’t just hand our children a phone and give them unfettered access to the internet, social media, and allow people to contact them. We need to set bounders and the KidSmart OS helps us do that.
As parents we need to prepare our kids to be safe, smart digital citizens who make good choices and Troomi empowers us to do that.
What Does Troomi Do?
Troomi prevents access to porn, harmful games, and social media apps. They also only allow contacts that parents manually add to the phone from the Parent Portal. So only people you approve can reach your kids through the phone with their SafeListing control. In addition to that, they have real-time GPS technology and allow parents to monitor text messages and calls.
Troomi Wireless came onto the market in 2021 with the goal of giving parents control of the content and contacts children see on smartphones. They use Android phones and load their own software called KidSmart OS to create a safe smartphone for kids. These are real Android phones that your kids will not be embarrassed to have.
Another great feature is that you have the flexibility to control the apps that are downloaded from the approved app store. For example, as the parent, you can decide to not have a web browser on the phone, have the KidSmart Safe Browser, or the full version of Google Chrome. And kids can’t download the apps themselves, parents must do it from the Parent Portal.
Who is Troomi For?
In my experience, Troomi can be for any family that wants to use a smartphone they can trust. I feel that Troomi best serves families looking for their child’s first phone. Given the flexibility of contacts, apps, and web browsing parents can work with their kids to allow more and more features as their behavior warrants. Troomi is a great learning tool for kids to make good decisions about the overwhelming digital world.
My Experience with a Troomi Phone
I found ordering the Troomi phone to be easy. In all honestly, Verizon and AT&T need to learn something from Troomi. We opted to get a new phone number for this phone. You can bring in an existing number if you want, but I liked everything being contained at Troomi with all my controls and billing in one place. If feel like that makes it easier.
How to Order a Troomi Phone
Troomi has made ordering their phones very easy. It’s nothing like what you get at the big retailers. Simply go to their site and click on shop. From there you will pick the phone that you want. The main phone Troomi offers is the Samsung A14 5G. When they are not sold out, they have the Samsung Xcover Pro. This is the phone I have.
After selecting the model phone, you are prompted to enter who the device is for. This is the kid's nickname, age, and the month of their birthday. You don’t have to enter the real name of your child if you don’t want to. In fact, my phone is named “Murphy”.
Troomi Service Plans
Next is the service plan. The base plan is called Do and it is $19.95 per month and covers the basic services of unlimited talk and text, GPS location, and the parent portal. Next is the Dream plan at $24.95. Finally, the Discover Plan is the most popular and has all of the Do and Dream plan offerings but also adds the KidSmart Safe Browser and KidSmart Apps. All the plans will work with all smartphones.
In my opinion, you don’t need to worry too much about the plan you select. There is always the chance to upgrade later. And even if you choose the Discover Plan, you still have the option of leaving the KidSmart Browser off the phone until you feel your child is ready. It’s very flexible for each of your children and the level of trust they have earned.
After selecting your plan, you are prompted to purchase a 3-year warranty at $6.95 per month. Given that these phones are big for kids’ hands, that might be worth it for you. Next up you can import an existing phone number if you want. Personally, I didn’t do this as I wanted the Troomi phone to be stand-alone.
Once at the cart, you’ll be able to input promo code THESECUREDAD to save $50 off your bill. The cart will show you what you own now, and then what your monthly charges will be. They are very upfront with billing which I appreciate. From there you set up a new account and purchase it just like you would at any other site. Troomi makes it easy to get started
Using a Troomi Phone
Looking at the KidSafe OS, it’s not much different than a typical Android phone. When I powered it up for the first time, all the apps and contacts that I preloaded through the Parent Portal were installed and ready to go. The only notable difference is that the phone app goes directly to a contact list. There is no numeric dialer on the phone.
At first, I was worried about my son not being able to dial the phone to contact someone. That’s like the basic function of a phone, right? But if there were a dialer, then he could contact anyone he wanted which would circumvent the parental controls. You’d be happy to know that 911 comes as a standard contact on the phone. While the lack of a dialer was odd, we accepted it, and it hasn’t hurt the function of the phone so far.
If your child makes a friend at school or needs to add a number, they can text that number to you, and you can add it to though the parent portal quickly. They can also make a contact request through the phone. Just make sure all your child’s contacts are added in case of emergency.
Here is a list of contacts you’ll want to add to the phone at first:
- Doctor’s office
- School threat reporting line
- School office
- Approved friends
- Local poison control
- Anyone who your child may need to contact in an emergency
How We Use the Troomi Phone
My son is in the 6th grade and fortunately, not every kid has a phone. With my son’s friends, it does not seem to be a big deal yet. That being the case, he gets to use the phone when he is away from us, hanging out with friends. Other than that, the phone sits on my desk and we can use it as an extra phone.
Where we live or main carrier has terrible coverage. So, when I powered up the Troomi phone using AT&T coverage I was surprised to see a very strong signal. If we lose power or Wi-Fi, the Troomi phone becomes the best option for communication. I wasn’t expecting that added bonus.
Using the Parent Portal
I feel the Troomi Parent Portal is very intuitive. On the dashboard, you can quickly see the real-time GPS position of the phone, vital stats like signal and battery strength, and an overview of the number of calls and texts.
From here you can view calls and texts. This is where you can read the text messages that have been sent and received on the phone including pictures and gifs. This will help you monitor for any unapproved or dangerous activity.
Make sure you check the blocked texts. I found that people were still trying to contact the previous owner of the phone number. This was nothing scandalous, but I did find at power up that blocked text messages made it to the inbox and would then disappear after about a minute. I contacted Troomi support, and they were very fast and helpful.
Of course, you can access all the settings from the parent portal including adding and removing contacts and apps. KidSmart apps include Google Maps, Amazon Music, and Disney+. There are also school apps like Class Dojo, Schoology, PowerSchool, Parent Square, and Google Classroom.
As of now, the parent portal is only accessible through a web browser. There is not a Troomi app currently. So far, I have not found this to be an issue. I have a bookmark on my iPhone screen that looks like a normal app, and it opens up quickly. In fact, it looks and functions like an app. If you didn’t know it was a web bookmark, you’d never know.
Here is a list of a few notable apps that Troomi allows in their app store currently.
- Amazon Music
- YouTube Kids
- Madden NFL 24
- Google Calendar
- Google Classroom
- ABC Mouse
- Angry Birds Journey
- Class Dojo
- My Disney Experience
- PBS Kids Games
- Retro Bowl (My personal favorite)
- Retro Goal
- The Weather Channel
- YouVersion Bible
Troomi does review and adds apps regularly. You can even suggest an app to be added to the store. Look for a link next to the app search bar.
What I like About Troomi
Overall, I am very positive about my Troomi phone experience. Here are a few things that I think Troomi gets right:
- Customizable parental controls
- Vetted app store
- Quality smartphones
- Contact control
- App control
- New apps added regularly
- No social media apps allowed
- GPS monitoring
- Budget-friendly pricing
- Expandable storage with Micro SD card
- Safe or no internet browsing
- No phone dialer
- Easy to use parent portal
- Easy to order and with simple activation
- Great camera resolution
- Unlimited texting
- Group texting
- Unlimited calling
- Uses AT&T towers for voice and data
- Wi-Fi useability
- Use an existing number or get a new one
- Easy to find accessories for the device
- Fast tech support response
What Troomi Can do Better
I realize that no company is going to be perfect. Here are a few things I’d like to see Troomi improve:
- Can be slow to power up
- Unapproved messages can appear briefly at start up but disappear quickly
- Many apps require Wi-Fi to work
- There is no phone dialer
- Approved app list is small
- Parent portal is only accessible through a web browser
- Can’t take Troomi phone to your current carrier
- App store may not have the latest, coolest apps at first
What you Get with Troomi Wireless
Troomi offers the Samsung A14 5G which is an Android phone. Right now, it retails for only $199 and if you use code THESECUREDAD at checkout, you can get a $50 discount. I have the Samsung X Cover Pro which has sold out twice. Troomi will offer different phones in the future, but the A14 is a solid device from Samsung.
Choosing the Best Troomi Service Plan
Troomi offers three tiers of plans: Do, Dream, and Discover. Prices range from $19.95 to $29.95 per month which is not bad. All plans come with unlimited talk and text, GPS locating app, the parent portal, and remote text monitoring.
The great thing is that parents can upgrade tiers as their children grow. If starting out at the Do tier is what you need, then you can move up as you see fit. Also, you can start at the Discover level and still not allow access to apps and the KidSmart Safe Browser so your children can grow into using the phone.
When you order from Troomi you’ll get instant access to the parent portal. From there you can set up the initial contacts and apps you want on the phone. Then when it arrives, it’s ready to go right out of the orange box. Activation was fast and easy.
What Parents Need to Know About Smartphones
Even though Troomi provides parents with a great smartphone aimed at protecting kids, we still must monitor them. We can’t hand our children any device and expect that they won’t make mistakes or get into trouble. As parents we must help them make good decisions, no phone is going to replace that.
One way we help our son understand how to use the Troomi phone is by explaining that it is not “his” phone. Since I am a Troomi affiliate, the phone belongs to The Secure Dad. He just gets to use it. In your family, I suggest you set the same statute. Don’t call it their phone, because it actually belongs to you and there are boundaries and expectations for the privilege of using it.
As I said before, I think Troomi is a great first phone for parents and kids. You can both learn how to navigate this ever-expanding digital world, together with help from Troomi Wireless. For $50 off a phone, use code THESECUREDAD at checkout.