The Samsung Galaxy S5 has a new feature not previously found in the Galaxy range: Kids Mode. The new kid-friendly feature allows you to lock your children out of the important parts of your phone, but still let them have fun with a number of dedicated apps, or if you want, access to specific apps on the device.
How does it work, and will it really make your phone kids friendly? We took a longer deeper look at the new Kids Mode ahead of the global release of the new Galaxy S5 in April.
What age is Kids Mode aimed at?
The Kids Mode on the Samsung Galaxy S5 is aimed at children under 10. The approach is fun and very cartoony with the standard black Android interface replaced with a much more colourful experience.
The interface is clean and easy to use, however the buttons haven't been enlarged, nor have the interfaces been made to be used by a toddler. Your kids will still need to have some intelligence to work it - it isn't just a case of jabbing at the screen in the hope of creating or doing something interesting.
What apps are in Kids Mode?
There are five dedicated apps within the Samsung Kids Mode: a camera app, a drawing app, a karaoke app, a picture gallery app, and a video playback app.
The Kids Mode camera is very much a toned-down version of the main Galaxy S5 camera. Kids will get access to the regular camera (but not any of its features), the front-facing camera, video and the ability to place extras, like moustaches and eyebrows, on to shots as they take them.
The latter feature is great fun. There are dozens of extras to choose from and the face detection technology within the SGS5's camera means they are automatically applied on to people in the right place. A nose on a nose, or a beard on your chin. Once your kids do get hold of your SGS5 when you get it, expect to see plenty of pictures of you with funny accessories on your face.
Kids like colouring and drawing, so Samsung has included a basic drawing app in Kids Mode. You get a pencil, a brush, a rubber to rub it out and a number of stamps. The app is very basic, but easy to use and you can save the end results to then share elsewhere (you can't share it from the phone while in Kids Mode however).
Kids Voice Recorder
Kids love singing, and the Samsung Galaxy S5 loves to listen, and then sing back to you. Of course it's a lot more exciting than that. The idea is you record something into the phone and then select a character to repeat it back in their voice. There is a robot, an alligator, a moose and other critters. It's incredibly stupid, which for an 8-year-old will mean the best thing in the world, ever.
Kids Gallery and Kids Video
The gallery is where all those drawings and other pictures are saved and gives the child using it access to only that picture. Handy if you have a penchant for taking pictures of people you fancy, or boring work stuff.
Kids Video gives you the chance to load up specific videos that you are happy for your kids to watch when using Kids Mode. Easy to use it means they only get access to stuff like Peppa Pig, rather than Aliens.
If you are happy for your kids to use other apps you can go into the settings and select which apps you want them to have access to. You can pick any app or game and it's instantly added to the Kids Mode menu page. Rather cutely it comes wrapped up so you can pretend it's a gift. Aren't you a great parent?
There are a number of further options hidden from your child via parental control settings. As a parent you can see how much your child has used the app, set a daily playtime limit, and select which applications and media to allow them access to. Everything is blocked via a pin code, just don't let them find out what it is, and you can't get to the grown up side of the phone without it.
How does it compare to the competition?
There are already a number of Android Kids Mode apps available in Google Play including Kids Mode from Zoodles, however the benefit here is that Samsung has baked this offering into the out of the box experience which will appeal to people looking for a minimum fuss approach.
You can also draw plenty of comparisons with what has been available on Windows Phone for a long time with it's Kid's Corner, but that's Windows Phone, not Android.
The Kids Mode from Samsung is basic, but if you've got young children at least you'll now be able to keep them entertained without worrying that they are just about to send a selfie of themselves and their favourite teddy bear to the company all-users email address.
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