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3 Great Phones for the Holiday Season

The last three months of the year are a big deal for cell phone companies. In 2013, T-Mobile sold 91 percent of its mobile devices during the year’s fourth quarter (October, November, and December). Many of those sales came from parents trying to satisfy children who love high-tech gadgets like smartphones and tablets.

This year, kids will beg Santa Claus for a selection of phones released during 2014. Before you run out to buy the first phone on your kid’s holiday wish list, learn about other options that could match his or her needs better. You could surprise your kids with nicer phones than they expected. You might even find that you can save some money.

Nokia Lumia 530


Release Date: August 16, 2014

Nokia has been steadily improving its Lumia smartphone since it released its first versions (the 710 and 800) in 2011. Today, the Nokia Lumia 530 stands out as one of the most popular smartphones on the T-Mobile network.

Why it Makes a Great Present

Nokia covered all of its bases when designing the new Lumia smartphone. The Lumia 530 has a sturdy plastic body that looks attractive and can take minor abuse. Since it can survive short falls, it makes a great mobile device for teenagers who often pay attention to things other than caring for the smartphone you give them.

The 530 also has a high-resolution screen measuring 480 by 854 pixels with a 245ppi density. That’s excellent for a screen that’s only four inches tall. The small size also makes it easy to carry in a front pocket. The small screen means that the phone isn’t the best for watching movies, but it’s still a very good smartphone that has proven its merits through constant updates.

Samsung Galaxy S5

samsung s5

Image by Janitors

Release Date: April 11, 2014

Samsung pushes its popular Galaxy smartphone again by upgrading features, improving performance, and adding biometrics.

Why It Makes a Great Present

Samsung has had repeated success with its line of Galaxy smartphones. The new Galaxy S5 offers even more than previous models. Nokia has added a new camera that lets the S5 take clearer pictures more quickly. The new model takes advantage of wearable health technology by offering a heart rate monitor and S Health app. It’s a great option for athletic middle and high school students who need to stay connected to friends and family.

The new phone comes with improved specs, too. The operating system is driven by a 2.5GHz quad-core CPU; it comes with 2GB of RAM; and 16 or 32GB of memory, which you can increase up to 128GB by adding a microSD card.

Thanks to its 1080ppi, 5.1-inch screen has vibrant colors that surpass nearly every other affordable smartphone on the market.

Kyocera Hydro Life

Kyocera Hydro Life


Image by almudenafernandezrios

Release Date: August, 2014

Kyocera is widely known for making inexpensive phones that give owners more than they expect. The new Hydro Life follows that plan while offering extra features rarely seen in other smartphones.

Why It Makes a Great Present

Kyocera may have built the perfect smartphone for maturing kids and young adults. Parents will love that the Kyocera Hydro Life can withstand everything from drops on the concrete to drops in the water. That’s right, this relatively small smartphone is waterproof. That will bring everyone a sigh of relief when your teenager jumps into a pool before emptying his pockets.

The Kyocera Hydro Life is more than just a rough-and-tumble phone, though. It has a 4.5-inch touchscreen, a battery that will survive up to 13.5 hours of talk time, and  two cameras (one facing front and one facing back). The phone measures 5.19 inches high by 2.57 inches wide by .43 inches deep, making it small enough to fit into a pocket, yet large enough to use the screen without squinting.

Have your children already started asking for one of these phones? Which features are most important to them? Are you equally impressed by those features, or do you use different standards when deciding what phones you buy for the holiday season?