The Monqi smartphone is £149 and features in black and white, available exclusively at Carphone Warehouse
The Monqi smartphone is a repurposed STK Sync 5e, a device nestled in the low end with the price tag of £84.99 pre-paid at the time of writing.
Essentially, the Sync 5e has been repackaged with a new box sleeve and pre-loaded with Monqi’s unique child safety-focused Android skin, Monqi OS.
The software is catered to parents who want to supervise the smartphone experience and protect their young from anonymous nefarious characters on the Internet.
Almost everything can be monitored remotely from another smartphone using the Monqi app. Using our daily drivers we could see on the Monqi smartphone who had been contacted, what apps have been downloaded and how long the phone has been used for.
Scratching the surface
That only scratches the surface of this smartphone. A parent’s worst nightmare would be a child’s sudden disappearance. The Monqi phone alleviates this fear somewhat with geo-fencing, with notifications popping up on a registered parent’s device when a child is leaving or entering a location.
Contacts have to be approved by parents, again a notification is sent to the synced device when a child is trying to add a new contact. Parents can also remotely lock the Monqi phone, useful for dinner time.
Better yet, screen on time can be restricted through scheduling to ensure a child does not spend too much time on their smartphone.
The Monqi is a restrictive Android experience, one that adults and older teenagers would find infuriating to use.
Design and camera
Taking away the unique software the Monqi is essentially a smartphone you typically get in the under £100 bracket. The plastic on the back feels like a brand new piece of A4 paper, but the overall design of the smartphone isn’t bad.
It’s reminiscent of the Galaxy S6 and S7 due to its chassis and curved back. Pictures snapped on the Monqi are far from impressive. They tend to be grainy in poor light or oversaturated in rich conditions.
Saying that, it’s not meant to impress the judges on the Pulitzer Prize panel, it’s clear enough to send pictures of location spots to over-worried parents.
Monqi is an incredibly unique device with monitoring features that will no doubt come in handy.
Hardware-wise the Monqi is an £84.99 smartphone, but what consumers are paying an extra £64 for is the curated Monqi OS that seems to have all bases covered, for over-worried parents letting their offsprings loose into the real/technological world. Included with the Monqi is three years of warranty, that’s one less worry for the eventual teenage tantrum down the line.
Monqi is a fully-featured Android handset with high-end features and a sleek design that will appeal to kids.
But, thanks to the unique Monqi operating system and remote app, it is also designed to appeal to parents who are looking to stay in control while helping their child develop their independence.
And unlike other phones on the market, it’s easier to get started with Monqi as parental controls are part of the phone’s operating system and cannot be deleted or turned off.
Monqi’s Frederik Albrechtsen said: “Monqi was founded on the belief that we need clever mobile solutions for children. It’s inevitable that children will want to use technology, with Monqi parents can help their kids to navigate the digital waters safely and set boundaries to promote healthy phone habits from the start.
“Receiving the Mumsnet Rated accreditation means that parents don’t just have to take our word for it, they can be confident that the phone has been tested by real parents and children with positive results.”