This "phone" is also a walkie-talkie and GPS tracker - here's why I love it to keep tabs on my 5-year-old
Insider Picks writes about products and services to help you navigate when shopping online. Insider, Inc. receives a commission from our affiliate partners when you buy through our links, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.
- Relay push-to-talk "phones" ($49.99 on Amazon) are like extremely simplified cell phones that work wherever there is signal so parents and kids are connected even when they're miles apart.
- The corresponding app is available on iOS and Android, and allows parents to control chat channels kids can access, set up music playlists, track the child's Relay via GPS, and more.
- Unlimited communication costs only $9.99 per month per unit.
Now that I have my own kids, my first instinct is to keep them within a 10-foot radius of me or my wife at all times and to put a helmet and pads on them if they want to stray to 20 feet. But because I know how much the roaming meant to me, I'm not actually going to keep them that close. (Well, maybe our daughter for now but she's not even one yet.)
If you want to give your kids the freedom to wander beyond the front yard but also want the peace of mind that comes with immediate contact and knowing their location, get a pair of Relays. It's part phone and part walkie-talkie with a nationwide 4GLTE cellular network that transmits audio messages at the push of a button. It's also a GPS tracker when used with the Relay app available on iOS and Android.
Relay is also water- and shock-resistant, compact enough for a kid's pocket because there's no screen, and very easy to set up and use. Setting up just means downloading the app on iOS and Android and following the prompts to pair your phone and the Relay, and using it just requires you to hold the large button in the center of the device and say your message. The message is then sent to other paired devices; you can also connect a Relay to up to five channels to directly communicate with a child or set up family or group chats. Switching channels takes a quick tap on a side button which also acts as the power button if you hold for five seconds; the only other button on the devices is for volume. Nice and simple, right?What required a bit more time was getting my family's Relays to work, but it was an exception. The setup process was simple enough, but one of the units I received had some glitches that wouldn't allow me to connect my device. The good news is that Relay's customer service is one of the finest I've ever experienced so they immediately got on the phone with me (actually, that's not true - I scheduled a call, then pushed it back twice because a meeting ran long, and they were totally cool about it), and a gentleman named Paul spent a half hour working through the issues with me. When we couldn't resolve the connection issue, Paul said he'd just have new units sent. They arrived the next day.
Once I had a pair of working Relays, I could finally appreciate the elegant simplicity of a push-to-talk phone that works anywhere and tracks my kid. And knowing my son will have a Relay in his pocket when we dive into the human jungle that is Disney World later this month? I appreciate that too.
Subscribe to our newsletter.
Find all the best offers at our Coupons page.
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Picks team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at email@example.com.