A few months back when I picked up a Nexus 5 for myself, I decided to go ahead and get our 7-year-old daughter the Sprint WeGo phone. For those that are not familiar with the device, it’s a very basic telephone that comes standard with some great parental features. These selling points were the reason we got the phone but their inability to live up to the promises is why we will be getting rid of it.
Before I get into the features let’s talk about what you get. For a mere 9.99$ a month you get 1,000 minutes and 1,000 texts. You must have one “parent line” with Sprint and they do have overage fees. Since we got the phone as a just in case, we haven’t had any issues with the amount of minutes. The device itself retails for 119.99$ or you could get stuck in a contract for a low monthly fee. I bought the phone outright because I wasn’t entirely sure we’d be sticking with Sprint now that the iPhone is available for T-Mobile without having a jailbreak it. I think we may have paid an activation fee as well.
One thing that was quite off-putting about purchasing this phone is that the staff at the Sprint store were very obnoxious about the fact that someone was buying a WeGo. It seemed as if it was perhaps the first time the phone had been purchased at their store or they were simply enjoying the fact that another sucker just walked in. Either way, I didn’t like it. This was on top of the fact that the guy that was getting me a new SIM for the Nexus 5 grabbed the wrong SIM 3 or 4 times. He also didn’t believe me that he had to use the Google-provided pokey thing to pop the SIM out and attempted to use his generic paperclip before realizing that I was in fact correct about the size of the hole.
In my opinion, the phone itself is actually pretty cool, it reminds me of my old Nokia phone that I had back in the day. Extremely durable, shatterproof up to 12 feet and water resistant up to a meter for half and hour, excellent battery life and a very simple UI. Because it is a child’s device, you manage the phone from another app that you install on your own phone. From that app you can manage the contacts that the device can call out to and that can call in to the device. We limited this to my and my wife’s phone numbers as well as 911 which comes pre-configured. My daughther’s main form of communication is FaceTime from her iPad so there was no reason to have her friend’s numbers on there.
The device also came with some great GPS features and these features are what really sold me on the device. There was GPS tracking to see where the phone is and follow it on a map with periodic updates along with speed detection. My daughter’s at that age where she is riding in other parent’s cars and it would be nice to be able to see which mom’s are training for the Indy 500 with someone elses precious cargo in tow..
Sadly, these features fell really short for me. I set the speed detection to a mere 45 miles per hour knowing damn well that my wife and myself both drive faster than that on a regular basis on the highway. In the last month since I set the speed that low, I have received only two notifications. TWO NOTIFICATIONS. I’ve received more notifications about the battery being low than that.
GPS / following was equally as lackluster. I’ve only used it a few times and it usually takes minutes to update the location of the device. The follow feature has never worked for me. In fact, I’m watching the spinner go right now knowing damn well the phone is right next to me. It’s great that it updates eventually, but I really don’t want to sit around for minutes at a time waiting for it to update. Apple’s Find My iDevice service works very well in comparison, even on the Sprint Network.
At this point, we’re our hands of this phone and cutting our losses on what we spent on it. We’re outside of any sort of short-term return window at this point so I’ll probably just be tossing the device up on eBay instead of harassing Sprint about it. The phone is great for being able to inbound and outbound calls but I could have given my daughter any phone that could do that. I’m planning to give her my old iPhone 4S until I upgrade from the Nexus 5 and then she’ll most likely be getting that. I’m more concerned with empowering my child to have a device she is responsible for while still giving her a means to communicate than I am with parental features at this point.
If you’re looking for a super durable phone that can only call in/out to authorized numbers, the Sprint WeGo is absolutely perfect and I would highly recommend it (hit me up if you’re interested in ours, it’s in great condition and comes with the original box!!~!). That’s about it though, don’t get sucked in by the GPS features because they are absolutely bogus. Yes, I did just use the word “bogus”.