Bark Phone Review

We compared the Bark Phone’s features to the Bark app and other kids phones. We’re impressed!
Best kids phone overall
Hands holding phone with Bark app displayed
Bark Phone
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Starts at
$49
/mo
  • pro
    Samsung Galaxy with Bark built-in
  • pro
    Unlimited talk and text
  • pro
    Contact management and spam blocking
Plan name
Price
Device cost
Wi-Fi onlyFree lease
4GB dataFree lease
8GB dataFree lease
Cathy Habas
Staff Writer, Safety & Security
December 17, 2022
SafeWise is an independent review site. We may earn money when you click links on our site. Learn more.

The Bark Phone ticks all the boxes on our wish list for a safe kids phone. The parental controls are even more finely-tuned in the Bark Phone compared to the Bark app—no more restrictive third-party rules getting in the way.

In this review, we’ll explain everything the Bark Phone does, why your kid will (probably) like it, and how it compares to other kids phones.

pro
Pros
pro No contract
pro No hidden fees
pro Remote internet shutdown
pro Built-in web browser
pro Parents approve app downloads
pro Excellent text and message monitoring
pro Location tracking and geofencing
pro Contact management
pro Spam call blocking
pro Workaround prevention
pro Screen time schedules
con
Cons
con No multi-line discount
con Not compatible with carriers other than Bark Wireless
con Relatively short warranty

Bark Phone vs. other kids smartphones

You have to make a couple of decisions when shopping for a kids smartphone, and your choices may knock the Bark Phone out of the running by default:

  • Web browser: The Bark Phone does have a web browser, but there’s no way for kids to get around Bark’s powerful content filter. Pinwheel and Gabb phones have no web browser, and it’s optional on Troomi phones.
  • Text monitoring: Bark keeps your child’s texts private unless it detects a problem. Your kid will appreciate this. Pinwheel and Troomi let you see all of your child’s texts. Text monitoring isn’t available on Gabb phones.
  • App access: Parents get to approve all app downloads before they’re installed on the Bark Phone. Pinwheel, Troomi, and the Gabb Phone Plus include a small number of third-party apps they’ve deemed kid-friendly. Bark’s approach gives your child more options, but it also means you’ll need to do some research about dangerous apps for kids.
  • Storage: The Bark Phone has 32 GB of storage, which is plenty for most kids. Budding photographers and videographers may want the Pinwheel or Troomi phones, which have more storage options.
  • Carrier: You can’t add the Bark Phone to your current cell service, be it Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, or any other carrier. You have to pay for Bark Wireless. Pinwheel is the best option for folks wanting a specific carrier.

Everything else works in Bark’s favor. We especially like that Bark respects kids' privacy regarding their text history and browsing history—unless it goes against the content filters, of course. And Bark has the best parent notifications of any parental control we’ve come across. The app even provides talking points if having a heart-to-heart conversation isn’t your strong suit.

We also like that Bark gives parents the freedom to decide whether their kids should have internet access or what kind of apps they can use. Bark’s flexibility allows it to grow with your child.

Compare Bark Phone to the competition

Product
Best for
Lowest phone price
Lowest service price
Cost to add another line
Money-back period
Warranty
Learn more
Best overall

$49.00/mo.

Full price
Icon No  LightNone
Icon Yes  Light1 year
Best for multiple kids $24.99/mo. $4.99/mo.
Icon Yes  Light30 days
Icon No  LightNone
Best for budgets

$29.99/mo.

$1.75/mo. off starting with 3rd line
Icon Yes  Light15 days
Icon Yes  Light1 year
Best camera

$19.95/mo.

Full price
Icon Yes  Light30 days
Icon No  LightPaid warranty only
Best for preschoolers N/A N/A
Icon Yes  Light30 days
Icon Yes  Light3 months

*Amazon.com price as of publish date. Read full disclaimer.

What's in the box

  • Bark Phone
  • USB-C charging cable
  • Protective case
  • Ejection pin
  • Quick Start Guide

You get a Bark Premium subscription too

Bark Phones automatically come with a Bark Premium subscription (normally $99/yr.), allowing you to put similar controls on your child’s computer or tablet via the Bark app.

You can connect an unlimited number of devices and customize an unlimited number of child profiles with Bark Premium, so you can protect younger kids who may not be ready for a phone but who still like to play on the computer.

Bark Phone goes above and beyond the Bark app

We’d be happy even if the Bark Phone was nothing more than the Bark app permanently installed on a smartphone. Uninstall protection is a major sticking point for parental control apps—including Bark.

On a normal smartphone, kids can end up uninstalling the controls or downloading VPNs to browse the internet without any filters. But the Bark Phone is tamperproof. There isn’t a “grown-up” iOS underneath the Bark controls. It’s all Bark, all day long.

And it gets even better—the Bark Phone does things the Bark app can’t:

  • App download approvals
  • App time limits
  • Contact management
  • Spam call blocking
  • Improved location tracking

Plus, linking your child’s social media accounts to Bark is way easier on the Bark Phone than on the Bark app—you don’t have to ask your child to manually sign in to all of them during setup. Monitoring begins as soon as they log into an app that Bark monitors.

To learn more about the core Bark features—listed below—hop over to our Bark app review. They work the same in the Bark Phone.

  • Social media monitoring
  • Screen time usage reports
  • Content filters
  • Push, text, and email alerts for parents
  • Remote internet shutdown

Bark Phone tech specs

The Bark Phone looks like a grown-up smartphone because, well, it is. It’s a Samsung Galaxy A13. There’s no Bark branding on the outside—your kid can truthfully say they got a Samsung Galaxy.

  • Display size: 6 inches
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Rear camera: 50MP with auto focus and flash
  • Video resolution: 1920 x 1080 FHD, 30fps
  • Screen resolution: 2400 x 1080
  • Fingerprint scanner: Yes
  • Headphone jack: Yes
  • Bluetooth: Yes
  • Voice Assistant: Google Assistant
  • Waterproof: No
  • Carrier compatibility: Bark Wireless
  • Battery life: About 36 hours
  • Storage: 32GB

Is there anything bad about the Bark Phone?

If we could wave a magic wand, we’d change these things about the Bark Phone:

  • Multi-line discount: If you have more than one kiddo who’s ready for a phone, you pay full price every month for each Bark Phone.
  • Money-back period: There isn’t one.
  • Longer Warranty: The phone is covered for just one year.

Final word

We think the Bark Phone is easily the best kids phone on the market today thanks to its unparalleled focus on message monitoring. We also love that parents can adjust the settings to be as restrictive or laid back as necessary, and that Bark provides instant alerts when there’s an issue.

Bark Phone FAQ

How much does a Bark Phone cost?

The Bark Phone is leased to you for free as long as you continue to pay your monthly service fees. If you decide to cancel the service, you need to return the Bark Phone.

Monthly fees start at $49 a month.

Can kids delete text messages on the Bark Phone?

No, texts can’t be deleted from the Bark Phone.

Can I monitor the Bark Phone from an iPhone?

Yes, the Bark Phone parent portal works on any smartphone.

Can I get an upgraded phone in the future?

Yes, you’re eligible for an upgraded phone after 30 months of use.

How we reviewed the Bark Phone

To review the Bark Phone, we examined its features compared to the original Bark app and other kids phones. We have tested the Bark app hands-on multiple times, spoken to real users, and read hundreds of online reviews. To learn more, visit our methodology page.

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Disclaimer

*Product prices and availability are accurate as of post date and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

Cathy Habas
Written by
Cathy Habas
With over eight years of experience as a content writer, Cathy has a knack for untangling complex information. Her natural curiosity and ability to empathize help Cathy offer insightful, friendly advice. She believes in empowering readers who may not feel confident about a purchase, project, or topic. Cathy earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Indiana University Southeast and began her professional writing career immediately after graduation. She is a certified Safe Sleep Ambassador and has contributed to sites like Safety.com, Reviews.com, Hunker, and Thumbtack. Cathy’s pride and joy is her Appaloosa “Chacos.” She also likes to crochet while watching stand-up comedy specials on Netflix.

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