Reviews say the Firefly glowPhone is a significant improvement over the original Firefly phone and is an inexpensive option. The glowPhone has very basic features -- no camera or music player, but it does have a built-in flashlight and comes with games, wallpapers and ringtones. There's no keypad -- the child can call only the numbers that you've pre-programmed, and you also can decide to allow incoming calls only from those numbers. Text messaging is supported, but it's one-way: The child can receive texts but can't send them. There are two speed-dial buttons with mom and dad icons, but one review notes that may be a drawback because not every family is structured that way. There's no GPS, and some reviews say the Firefly glowPhone is not especially durable.
One interesting consideration by a reviewer: "If you can find a child willing to use it, the Firefly glowPhone is a decent cell phone for keeping in touch with your brood." Some children may resent having such a juvenile-looking device, while peers have something more sophisticated. For older kids, Kajeet (from $5 monthly) uses regular "adult" handsets. Firefly also offers a tween-friendly phone with more fun features, the flyPhone (*Est. $80, no contract).
We found the best reviews at CNET and PCMag.com, with the latter also offering a video summary. Both organizations do a lot of gadget reviews and have high standards for testing and objectivity. Consumer Reports rates cell phones but not children's cell phones. However, there's a free report that offers general buyers advice. We found similarly helpful general coverage at About.com. User reviews can be found at Buzzillions.com.
CNET tests the glowPhone and finds its lack of features troubling -- it can receive but not send text messages, for instance. Bottom line: "If you can find a child willing to use it, the Firefly GlowPhone is a decent cell phone for keeping in touch with your brood."
Review: Firefly GlowPhone (Pink), Kent German, July 24, 2008
PCMag.com editors say the Firefly glowPhone is best for younger children. Testing reveals that durability might be a problem, however. "While it's not the best voice phone out there, it does provide restricted calling, and it's extremely inexpensive," McLaughlin writes.
Review: Tech for Tots, Molly K. McLaughlin, Oct. 3, 2007
PCMag.com's Sascha Segan recommends the Firefly glowPhone in this video review, but he notes the phone has speed-dial buttons with mommy and daddy icons, which may be a source of discomfort for children whose family is not structured that way.
Review: Firefly glowPhone and flyPhone Video Review, Sascha Segan, Oct. 16, 2007
The Firefly glowPhone (pink) gets a small number of user reviews, most rating it three stars or less out of five. Complaints are about poor customer service and hidden fees. Some recommend it as a good emergency phone.
Review: Firefly Mobile glowPhone -- Pink, Contributors to Amazon.com
Consumer Reports rates cell phones but not cell phones geared specifically for children. This free report addresses things parents should consider when buying any cell phone for kids, and it briefly reviews a previous version of the Firefly cell phone.
Review: Straight Talk on Cell Phones for Children, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Feb. 2006
Dr. Vincent Iannelli, About.com's guide to pediatrics, discusses the pros and cons of buying a cell phone for your child and mentions an unspecified Firefly model. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Kids and Cell Phones, Dr. Vincent Iannelli, Feb. 1, 2009
There are about 10 reviews of the black Firefly glowPhone, and roughly 15 reviews of the pink model. Most are positive, but negative and positive reviews bemoan the lack of text messaging and camera. All the reviews were originally posted on ToysRUs.com, but because the store no longer sells this phone, the reviews have since been taken down.