A Good First Smartphone for Children - Review of IMO Q4 Pro

(AD Gifted) Are you looking for a first phone for your child or maybe even a low price Smartphone for you? While your Tween or Teen will want a great phone with access to all the ‘must have’ apps you probably wont want to spend a lot of money on it. Children frequently lose or damage their mobile phones making an expensive mobile a poor investment, but are low cost smartphones any good? I received an IMO Q4 Pro Smartphone to review which currently costs only £54.99 on Pay as You Go with Tesco mobile which is an incredible price. Is it any good though?

A cheap smartphone mobile next to a scarf, tween boots and keys
Review of the IMO Q4 Pro Mobile Phone

I write this review as a longtime iPhone user who currently owns one of the latest models. I am making a lot of my comparisons on the quality of the Q4 Pro to my iPhone which is more than 10 times the price.  I have little experience of Android phones like the IMO Q4 Pro and in the past I struggled to get on with a top of the range Samsung when I was loaned one for a few weeks. Honestly? I find Android confusing, but even the cheapest iPhone isn’t an option for my daughter who I am confident will get through multiple phones in the next few years so I need to look elsewhere.

Review of the IMO Q4 Pro

Initial Impressions

The IMO Q4 Pro is a sleek looking mobile with a 5.54 inch HD touchscreen. The front looks very similar to my iPhone XS with no buttons and the screen taking up most of the front other than the speaker and a camera at the top. The are power and volume keys on the side of the phone and you open up the case to put in the battery, SIM card and an (optional) Micro SD card. On the back of the phone there are 2 cameras and a flash. 

When setting it up I found it difficult to open the case to add the battery etc. There is a gap between the screen and the case on the bottom right side corner where you prise the 2 apart. Take care when doing this as it would be easy to scratch the phone in the process.

The screen display is bright (or at least it was when I turned it up from the default) and the images are clear, but not as crisp as my iPhone. There is a notable difference if I look at the screen quality side by side, but you soon stop noticing when just using the IMO phone. It lists it’s screen specifications as: “8:9 widescreen ratio, top quality 540 x 1132 dpi resolution, and edge-to-edge display.”

I’m not used to Android controls so it took me a little while to find the settings (swipe up from bottom) and edit the audio profile (turning off the annoying sounds and vibrations it made when I typed), but overall it was simple to follow the instructions to set up. There is a Quick Start Guide included in the box as well as the phone, battery and a mini USB charging cable (no plug). You can find the full instruction manual for the IMO Q4 Pro online.

The biggest issue I experienced is the processing speed. If you are used to more expensive devices you will probably expect an instant response to actions, but at times there is a small delay. This delay is less than a second, but it’s noticeable at times eg when using the keyboard I can type at a speed I am happy with and switch between capital and little letters, but if I want to delete anything there is a pause before I can continue. Having said that I have experienced slower devices in the past.

Front view with the screen lit up of the review IMO Q4 Pro mobile phone
IMO Q4 Pro is an Android smartphone available on Tesco Pay as You Go

Side and back view of the bargain price smartphone showing the rear cameras
There are dual cameras on the back of the IMO Q4 Pro

Can The Phone Do What You Need?

The key reason most parents probably give their children a mobile phone is for emergencies, but if you want them to actually keep it on them it will need to do more than just make calls and texts. A young person wants: messaging, games, access to apps like YouTube and TikTok and a decent camera for photographs and videos. 

The IMO phone is easily able to run popular apps which can be downloaded from the Google Play Store. The 16 GB memory will probably fill up quickly, but it can be expanded to 64GB using a Micro SD card. The Micro SD is not included but widely available for purchase at around £10. I can’t see information on the recommended size Micro SD card to buy, but I would suggest a 64GB card.

With 4G and wifi options accessing the internet directly or via apps is no problem. I was easily able to install and use my normal social media apps.

Battery Life

So far the battery life seems good. It’s 2500mAh which is only just less than my phone, but it’s what the phone does with it that counts. Phone batteries tend to run down faster the more you have on your phone and the longer you have them. Of course how long the battery lasts for will also depend on the frequency it is used. If playing games on it continuously for instance it will run down quickly, but I would expect a full charge will last all day if used a sensible amount. 

The Cameras on the IMO Q4 Pro

The Q4 Pro has 3 cameras. The front camera (for those all important selfies) is 5mp and the dual rear cameras are 8mp and 0.3mp. I don’t understand what the smaller camera does on this model, but it seems to be the trend for phones to have more than one. Generally the additional cameras provide wider camera angles or improve quality so I’ll assume it benefits the phone in this case, but for comparison of quality to other phones it’s the 8mp figure you’ll be interested in. Not to show my age, but I remember when my camera took images with less megapixels than that. 

If photographs are taken in good lighting with the back cameras they are good quality. This was more obvious when I transferred the images to my iPhone and computer than on the mobile’s screen. The front camera is ok for video calls etc, but selfies wont be amazing. 

Indoors (in low light) the quality isn’t brilliant especially if capturing something that moves. I found there is a frustrating delay between pressing the button and the picture taking which I think was due to it focusing. The camera offers burst mode, panorama, filters and night shot mode.  The flash (back cameras only) is ok for a mobile, but friends will need to be encouraged to pose rather than getting action shots indoors. If your child feel the need to be a TikTok star they might want to invest in a ring light.

Photograph of succulent plants to demonstrate quality of IMO Q4 Pro camera in daylight
Taken with the rear cameras in front of a window

image taken at close range of succulent plants by cheap smartphone
Close up image taken with the rear cameras

Selfie taken with front camera on IMO Q4 Pro
Taken indoors with front camera

What About Video?

I initially thought the audio recording on video wasn’t very good because on a play back of me talking to camera my voice was very quiet, however when I transferred this video to my iPhone it played at more or less the expected volume. There was a bit of crackling when the phone was touched, but this is common when recording on any devices. The volume of videos, music and apps is an ok volume generally, but better quality with headphones (not supplied).  

The quality of the video recorded is ok and again will vary depending on the level of lighting. 

Parental Controls

This model is available from Tesco Mobile Pay As You Go which obviously prevents large bills being run up. Even without money on the account it can be used on WIFI so they wont end up with a useless device if they use all their credit. 

Through Google Family Link you can set up parental control preferences. This allows you to see how long children are spending on different apps and set up so they require approval for downloads of new apps and in app purchases. You can also remotely lock their device if you want them to come off it and locate the phone remotely (and potentially your child if they have it on them).

Nice features

Despite the low price the IMO Q4 Pro has lots of nice features including: facial recognition for unlocking which is faster than entering the passcode, it predicts when the battery will run out so you know when it might need charging, it came with a screen protector and it has FM radio (requiring headphones) so they can listen to music without using data or needing music downloaded.

Summary Review of the IMO Q4 Pro

The Q4 Pro does everything you expect from a smartphone. It would have been nice to be waterproof, but otherwise there weren’t any noticeable features missing and it does everything to an OK quality. Yes there are phones out there which are faster and take better quality images and video, but they cost significantly more money. In decent lighting you can get nice images.

Speed is the biggest issue for me with this bargain smartphone. Compared to my phone it is noticeably slower, but if this is your primary device I think you would get used to it quickly. 

I’m not about to switch my phone to this one, but if my iPhone broke tomorrow I would be happy to use the IMO Q4 until due an upgrade. Of course I would have to persuade my daughter to let me have it back first!

You can buy the IMO Q4 Pro here.

***Disclosure: This phone was received for review. All thoughts are my own***

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