I attempted the Bark Telephone, a rebranded Samsung Galaxy constructed for youths and their anxious dad and mom

Compromise is an effective factor. If we’re discovering a center floor, particularly on necessary points, isn’t that one thing to try for? The Bark Telephone appears to suppose so.

Bark, a software program firm, has chosen to make use of the funds Samsung Galaxy A14 5G as their present {hardware} for the Bark Telephone — and which means the cameras aren’t significantly superb; you possibly can really feel some hiccups within the software program, and connectivity velocity appears to be restricted. However, the thought behind Bark is that folks want a technique to preserve their youngsters protected in an more and more digital world, which then can scale primarily based on youngsters’ ages. Bark does it cost-effectively, too, which each and every father or mother I do know will be pleased about.

However the query is: will their youngsters really feel the identical?

Bark Telephone

The Bark Telephone takes a Samsung A14 5G and guarantees to guard your youngsters’ and youths’ digital lives by way of personalized software program assist — and it does simply that. With security choices galore, respectable cameras, and a quick sufficient processor, your younger ones will not have a lot to complain about except you have restricted each inch of the telephone’s choices and capabilities.


  • Reasonably priced
  • Main model telephone
  • Good digital camera
  • Included VPN
  • Nice digital safety

  • Choices may be overwhelming
  • No always-on show
  • VPN interferes with community speeds

Worth, availability, and specs

On this case, “funds” is an effective factor

A Bark phone box standing upright on a wood table.

Bark did one thing actually good right here. They know that folks are budget-conscious, particularly when getting their youngsters their first model of one thing, like a child’s pill. However Bark additionally is aware of that children will take one take a look at what their associates have and surprise why they will’t have the identical. So, by utilizing a serious telephone model recognized for high quality and reliability, Bark has mitigated plenty of the flak dad and mom may get. The Samsung Galaxy A14 5G is a really succesful funds telephone from early 2023.

Because the title implies, it has 5G assist, but it surely additionally has quick charging, a excessive refresh charge FHD+ display screen, and 64 GB of inside storage that may be expanded with microSD. Bark additionally did one thing much more attention-grabbing — it tied the machine’s value to the Bark community’s service plan and rolled in the price of the Bark monitoring software program for it. Take into account, although, that the Bark Telephone runs on T-Cell’s community, so make it possible for your space will get good service in response to T-Cell’s maps.

The Bark Telephone is on the market by way of the Bark web site and on-line shops, together with Amazon.


Samsung Galaxy A14 5G

Show decision
2408 x 1080


64GB, MicroSD (as much as 1TB)

5000 mAh

USB-C, 3.5MM

Working System
Android 14.0, One UI model 6.0

Entrance digital camera
13.0 MP

Rear digital camera
50.0 MP + 2.0 MP + 2.0 MP

802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 2.4G + 5GHz

167.7 x 78.0 x 9.1mm


Design and show

Plastic, however make it trend

Your child doesn’t want a telephone wrapped in titanium and sandwiched in glass.

At its core, the Bark Telephone is the Samsung Galaxy A14 5G, rocking a personalized model of software program. Its construct is nearly fully black plastic, however its 6.6-inch Full HD+ display screen is extra spectacular than you may anticipate. It’s a really unassuming telephone, however the triple-lens placement on the again has been part of Samsung’s design language for some time, so it’s recognizable as a Samsung. And for a teen, appearances matter.


Samsung Galaxy A14 5G evaluate: An entire lot of telephone for $200

An upgraded 90Hz show, two-day battery life, and a price ticket you possibly can afford

Talking of plastic, the again of the telephone is textured with ridged concentric curves. I like the way it feels, and making it textured hides plenty of fingerprints that different telephones may present. It additionally helps with sturdiness. Relating to sturdiness, in some way, my entrance pocket managed to supply an extended however faint scratch on the display screen. So, it’d be value it to no less than get some low cost glass display screen protectors for the entrance.

The top portion of a Bark phone showing the notch and screen resolution.

When getting your child a tool, the very last thing you need is complaints. There received’t be any right here. The display screen is shiny, colourful, and easy. It’s unassuming in a great way — it’s not power-hungry sufficient for successful to battery life, but it surely additionally isn’t overkill for what a teen will likely be doing with it. The teardrop notch on the prime is unassuming and might even be hidden with software program settings. If you may make the viewing expertise as frustration-free as attainable, you’ll be completely satisfied figuring out you received’t hear about it each 5 minutes out of your child.

Wrapping across the edges of the machine are a quantity rocker and energy button (with fingerprint reader) on the identical facet, reverse a SIM/Micro SD tray, and on the underside, you’ve obtained a speaker grill, a USB-C port that helps quick charging, and — sure! — a headphone jack.

Truthfully, from a design perspective, it has every little thing your child may ask for in a telephone, so there are not any complaints right here. A better, extra sustained refresh charge can be good, together with an OLED panel with an AOD (at all times on show), however it’s positively not essential. With FHD+ and a 90hz refresh charge, it’s adequate.

Software program

Bark’s software program is powerful and nice for folks — however how will your child really feel about it?

A message on a Bark phone showing restricted settings.

Bark is a software program firm that helps dad and mom monitor their youngsters’ on-line and cellular exercise, and it’s extraordinarily good at it (you possibly can even set up their providers in your youngsters’ present gadgets with out proudly owning a Bark Telephone). Constructed on Samsung’s OneUI model of Android 14, the Bark Telephone choices when setting it up are extremely granular, to the purpose the place it may well really feel overwhelming.

Listed here are a number of the issues Bark means that you can management and monitor:

  • App obtain permissions
  • Settings entry
  • Contact lists
  • Swapping out SIM playing cards

In a lot of these classes, you possibly can drill down even additional and set limits and allowances on an app-by-app foundation.

As I stated, it was overwhelming at first (on each the Bark Telephone and the telephone I used to watch the account) due to how usually permissions have been wanted for even the smallest duties, like navigating plenty of the Bark Telephone’s settings. It was annoying to need to ask consistently and likewise annoying to need to approve consistently. As soon as there’s a stability, although, it turns into second nature.

Bark additionally comes with a VPN that’s pre-installed and energetic. I reached out to the Bark crew as a result of, in my testing, I discovered that the telephone’s connectivity by no means went above 90mbps obtain speeds regardless of being in a strong 5G space and even at residence with extremely quick gig web. It was confirmed that the slower speeds are because of the VPN, however Bark provided that these speeds are nonetheless greater than sufficient for most individuals. Whereas barely annoying, I like {that a} VPN is included as an additional safety measure, so the trade-off is OK with me. Your teen ought to’ve remembered to obtain these films earlier than their flight anyway, proper?

The notification panel of a Bark phone showing the active Bark programs.

I additionally discovered that if an unknown quantity texted the Bark telephone, it might not show the textual content — simply the quantity — after which enable the consumer to ask for permission to permit it. That’s nice! It really works as meant. Nonetheless, from the texter’s perspective, the message doesn’t present up as undelivered. It’s in limbo someplace, so I requested the place it was saved.

The response I obtained was not an precise reply of the place it goes, however quite that the individual texting normally has to resend the textual content once more after permission was granted. Talking of granting entry, the Bark performance is so in-depth that there’s even a area to your youngsters to increase on why they wish to add a sure contact you can then learn remotely to assist make your approval resolution.

If a child ages out of needing to be monitored, the telephone can turn into a inventory One UI machine with out limitations and able to utilizing any suitable community. The individual in command of the account has to contact Bark and work with them on it, but it surely doesn’t sound so exhausting. I also needs to be aware that in case your child has an present telephone quantity, they don’t have to make use of Bark’s issued quantity. It’s attainable to port their quantity over from a unique service in the course of the ordering course of.

Is it ever creepy?

A Bark phone nestled next to a green plant.

It may be a bit creepy. Bark can monitor the content material of your child’s messages and make assumptions about them primarily based on algorithms, even going so far as alerting dad and mom to perceived nervousness, physique picture points, bullying, despair, medically regarding content material, and extra. It’s additionally excellent at it.

On the one hand, I assume that’s helpful. Particularly in case your youngster naturally retains issues to themselves and to a fault. I do know I’d wish to know if somebody is bullying my child! However then again, it appears like an invasion of privateness, nearly like having a stranger (albeit a robotic) learn your child’s diary and having them fill you in on it later.

The computing for that is additionally not executed regionally on the telephone however on Bark’s servers. They implored that safety is paramount and that these servers be safeguarded and stored non-public. Whatever the promise to maintain issues encrypted and untraceable, it simply does not make me really feel fully snug.

Listed here are different methods they promise to maintain your youngsters’ knowledge protected:

  • All knowledge is just saved for 30 days after macro-analysis
  • Whenever you delete your account, your knowledge additionally goes inside 30 days except you request it’s deleted sooner
  • Bark is absolutely positioned in the USA, they usually adjust to extra privateness laws than they’re legally required to
  • Full background checks of staff

It’s the human aspect that offers me pause. A background verify solely goes to this point when it’s your child’s private delicate knowledge, ideas, and content material on the road. Finally, no less than they provide the alternative of whether or not to make use of this a part of their service.

Efficiency, battery life, and charging

It does what it must do

A Bark phone nestled next to a green plant.

The octa-core MediaTek Dimensity 700 processor dealt with every little thing I threw at it, though it didn’t do it as rapidly as different telephones. From Minecraft to searching, there have been solely slight stutters right here and there. In case your youngsters use the Bark Telephone for streaming music and primary video games, it has loads of energy beneath the hood, and Samsung’s One UI retains issues operating easily.

In case your youngsters take this newfound freedom and are consistently on their gadgets, the battery goes to empty consistently. Not solely are you able to set display screen cut-off dates on the telephone itself, but it surely’s not a power-hungry machine when unleashed. That is the perk of getting a serious model telephone just like the Samsung Galaxy A14 5G.

I used to be ready to make use of it for greater than a full day, and charging it was fast when related to a quick charger (solely a USB-C to USB-C cable is included within the field—no brick) I’ve right here at residence.

Digital camera

All that you just want in the long term

The camera setup on the back of a Samsung A14 5G phone.

Yeah, the cameras aren’t a lot of a difficulty right here. Samsung is already fairly nice at images, and the 50MP sensor on the principle shooter does simply high-quality. Alongside which can be a depth digital camera and a macro lens, and on the entrance is a 13MP selfie digital camera.

The shutter velocity is fairly fast; it has an evening mode, and it may well document nice-looking movies besides. If a part of your motive for getting a Bark telephone is to place a cease to social media to your youngsters’ creating minds, then your youngsters received’t want incredible-looking images to publish anyway. The pics they do get will likely be sufficient for texting associates and including to their very own assortment.

Plus, with Apple including RCS to iPhones quickly, your youngsters’ friends with iPhones received’t have a lot to gripe about anyway when receiving pics from an Android for much longer.

The competitors

Let’s Gabb about this for a minute

If it’s good to get your child a smartphone however need to monitor it whereas letting their entry develop with them, look no additional. In order for you a tool with zero web connection that comes with protected pre-loaded apps, no app retailer, and no social media, there’s additionally the Gabb telephone. I haven’t examined the Gabb telephone.

Nonetheless, riddle me this: does your child want a smartphone at that time? The largest competitors to the Bark Telephone is a flip telephone and a digital digital camera. This solves nearly every little thing. That being stated, I get the attract of getting every little thing bundled up properly into one machine — particularly when your child begins driving, as getting access to GPS and Maps can be a serious plus from a security perspective.

Must you purchase it?

The value is true, however provided that it matches your child

A Bark phone next to a vase of flowers.

Each youngster is totally different, and each father or mother is equally so. You want to make the choice that matches your loved ones the very best. The Bark Telephone isn’t for my household, no less than not but. However, as our children grow old, perhaps our views will evolve. The Bark Telephone is a superb technique to wade into these waters with out shedding management, all for a good value and a well-built machine suited to a youthful way of life.

Not breaking the financial institution is nice when in search of funds Android telephones, however not breaking your youngsters’ social, emotional, and bodily growth is even higher. The extra choices dad and mom have to boost their youngsters whereas defending them, the higher. For those who really feel the necessity to get your child a smartphone, the Bark Telephone is a no brainer that permits you to develop their permissions alongside them. Simply don’t neglect to be a father or mother outdoors the digital world, too.

Bark Phone forward and front on white background

Bark Telephone

Bark Telephone delivers nice digital safety for youths, and the Samsung Galaxy A14 5G presents major-brand {hardware} that may preserve tempo with teenagers in velocity, cameras, and extra.


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