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    Pinwheel vs. Gabb

    Pinwheel VS Gabb Wireless

    Where Pinwheel and Gabb Agree:
    Adult Tech is Not for Kids

    Let's get the obvious stuff out of the way: no ads, no social media, no gaming, no entertainment, no Internet browser, no app store. There are also no workarounds because these phones aren't "disabled" adult tech, with more powerful features hidden somewhere on the phone. There's nothing to find.


    That's where similarities end.


    Pinwheel designed a healthy, research-backed smartphone for actually raising free range kids in a digital age,not a shame-avoiding phone that looks smart.


    Here's what one Pinwheeling parent said about it:


    "To me, as a parent, the key difference is this: Pinwheel has built a unique os where the phone can be modified and updated based on your growing child, their daily schedule, and the cream-of-the-crop best apps in the app boutique. Gabb phones can only run their standard configuration of 14(?) apps. Gabb phones block useful apps that parents use and trust, yet they don't block outside callers."– Sara W.

    Contacts Safelist vs. Incoming Spam

    On a Pinwheel


    1. It's Safelist-Only. Nobody can call or text the phone who isn't on the Safelist.


    2. It's Mode-Modified. Most parents limit the phone to emergency contacts at school and at night, but enable friends, family, coaches, or neighbors during other modes.

    On a Gabb


    Just Google "recycled phone numbers" and you'll see the problem here. Kids end up with old numbers these days. One kid ended up with the prior number of a portapotty business!


    Gabb phones don't prevent spam calls or texts from strangers.

    Raw Customer Comments Re: Call Safelist

    Mode-Switching vs. One Mode

    On a Pinwheel


    Modes like "school mode," "everything mode," and "family time mode" change every app, contact, and routine on the phone to match the rhythms of life.


    Oh, and if a child sneaks the phone to bed it's fine because "night mode" turns it into a brick.

    On a Gabb


    What you see is what you get. The only mode on the phone is full access to all 14 apps that you see.


    You can't turn off calls and texts during school, change it to an "emergency contacts only" device, or turn on just the piano practice apps.

    Healthy Apps Should Grow Up with the Child

    On a Pinwheel


    We curated the entire app store with our therapist council to select the best no-ad "tool not a toy" options. You choose when to enable healthy tech like:


    A first digital wallet, Tasks & Rewards, Ninjafocus Meditation, Boy Scouts, Gospel Library, and more. These non-addictive apps help kids as they grow.


    There's no app store on the Pinwheel phone because parents have an app boutique in the portal.

    On a Gabb


    There are no choices. You can't turn apps off at certain times of day. You can't disable the radio. You can't turn off texting for awhile.


    There is no parent dashboard. Certainly you can avoid the hassle of configuring, but you can't choose anything.


    The 14 apps are what you get. All the time. Gabb can't update those apps after you have the phone.

    Yes, You Can (if it's a tool)

    On a Pinwheel


    Video calls with parents and family are possible using Google Duo or FB Kids Messenger (only if you want to!).


    IF you want another app you can submit the idea to Pinwheel and we evaluate its no-ad, no-entertainment, no-browser status and then include it. For example we added FB Kids Messenger, Troopmaster, Vivo Fit Jr., and Canva because parents asked. But you don't have to send any app to the phone.


    On a Gabb



    Choice of Media vs. Tinkering with SD Cards

    On a Pinwheel


    Choose whether your child can attach photos and videos to texts or not, and review that as they grow.


    Choose from Spotify Kids, Spotify, or Amazon Music, if you want a music app on your kid's phone. Or choose none! It's up to you.

    On a Gabb


    Manually plug in the Gabb phone to a computer to download pictures or videos from the phone, because your child can't send them to you.


    Manually load music to an SD card and put it into the phone if you want to give your kid music.

    Get More Out of GPS than Just Location

    On a Pinwheel


    Sure, find your kid. But also let them find their way by learning to use maps and weather (if you want).


    On a Gabb


    GPS data is there, but isn't really powering what a phone can do.


    Gabb's Answer to GPS

    Parent Portal

    On a Pinwheel


    • Choose Apps from Curated List
    • Mode-Switching Timeline
    • Safelist Contacts and Approvals
    • Contact Groups and Mode-Timing
    • Set Routines/Tasks (e.g. chores)

    On a Gabb


    • No parental options besides payment methods

    And Then the Hardware...

    Pinwheel uses Ulefone and Samsung high quality models.

    Gabb uses the ZTE cheaper plastic model.ZTE is 2-star on TrustPilot.

    Canceling is Easy

    You manage your own subscription via the Pinwheel billing portal and can cancel or modify your service at any time.

    Gabb requires contact-based canceling. Plan to call or chat with their support team to cancel your service there.

    Waiting isn't Learning

    To be clear here, we admire Gabb! They helped prove it was possible to start kids on an alternative to disabled adult smartphones.


    Both company's founders faced giving their kids a phone and looked at the same research about smartphones being bad for kids (and adults). Gabb concluded "let's delay a child encountering those problems with a dumb phone that looks smart." Pinwheel concluded "so let's design a phone that solves those problems... for life."

    Pinwheel Reviews

    "Recently acquired a Pinwheel phone for my daughter and I can't say enough good things about it. Loving the fact I'm able to teach my child about how phones are tools not toys."


    –Laralyn Smith

    "After using Pinwheel for a few weeks my daughter is so happy with the digital independence she is developing; and I love that I get to have peace of mind knowing she is doing so in a safe and enriching digital environment."


    –Robert Stroud



    Does Pinwheel have unlimited texting and calling like Gabb?


    Gabb Wireless offers unlimited call and text for $19.99 a month, but you can only get cell service through them.

    Pinwheel allows parents to add the phone to whatever plan they want, making it possible to put a Pinwheel on your family plan or on an affordable prepaid plan of your choice. You can easily put Pinwheel on a plan that has unlimited call and text.


    Does Pinwheel block social media?


    Yes. Pinwheel has no open web browsing, social media, 100 therapist-backed apps, and advanced parental controls. More apps can be added to grow with the child.


    When should I choose Pinwheel?


    When you want to teach kids how technology is a helpful tool in their life, while avoiding all the "bad" stuff on phones. That can be as early as your child learning to read, or as late as your child going to their first summer camp. It's up to you. Pinwheel safely meets you and your child at the stage you choose to teach them tech.