by Lyn Lomasi, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
I recently bought a Samsung Galaxy S5 and turned my old Samsung S3 into an amazing tablet for my son. I know what you're thinking. The Samsung Galaxy S3 was not a cheap phone when I bought it. That's the point. I paid good money for my S3. But my current prepaid cell phone carrier isn't supporting it any longer and I'm not willing to switch to a contract carrier. Besides, the S5 is obviously an upgrade that I'm enjoying.
How the Idea Came About
My three girls all have smart phones with the same carrier I do. But my son is the youngest and hasn't yet earned that privilege. All of the cheap tablets and portable game devices we've purchased over time have gotten broken. But the kids have always been good about the phone when they've used it to play games or make calls.
So I had this genius idea to make my son an awesome tablet from my S3, so that he would be able to play the same games with the other kids. That's way better than recycling it and getting back pennies compared to what I paid for it. It still has many miles of use left. Trashing or recycling it would be wasteful right now.
How I Made a Tablet Using the Samsung Galaxy S3
The first thing I did was download the Smart Switch Mobile app, allowing me to transfer the files, texts, call log, etc from the S3 over to my new S5. Then, I restored the S3 to factory condition so that it would be renewed. I then disabled and/or password-protected all factory apps my son wouldn't need or shouldn't have.
Next, I set up his phone and created new Google and Samsung accounts for my son's tablet that do not have credit cards attached. This way, anything he downloads has to be free. I then downloaded Avast mobile and also added a few more parental - type safety measures, so that my son's new tablet would be protected.
Once that maintenance work was done, it was time to download apps my son would find useful. I downloaded a healthy variety of both educational games, as well as other types. Built-in apps already included things like drawing/painting, taking notes, office software, and the like. Because many tablets run on the same Android technology as the Samsung Galaxy S3, it was easy to find plenty of games for kids.
How I Made My Son's "New" Samsung Galaxy S3 Tablet Durable
Any experienced parent knows that devices kids use need to be both safe and durable. As mentioned above, I took care of the safety part. As for durability, I searched Amazon for the sturdiest case I could find that was suitable for kids. The case had to be tough enough to help the tablet withstand occasional dropping. But it also had to be kid-friendly in appearance.
After searching a bit, I came across many different character cases. They were all pretty thick. But I especially liked the dark color combination (less likely to show kid dirt) of the Zooky Black Cow silicone case. The thickness of this case, as well as the amount of protection around the camera, speaker, and microphone were perfect. I also liked that it came with a free screen protection sheet, as the Samsung Galaxy S3 needed a new one. I had since removed the one that I purchased with it, as the person who installed it did it incorrectly and I never got around to replacing it. So this solved that issue.
The Convenience of a Phone-Sized Tablet for Kids
As it turns out, using my old phone as a tablet is actually better than getting my son a regular tablet. My son can easily carry it in his pocket, making it even more portable than a regular tablet. I researched many tablets and the camera in my old Samsung S3 is better than those in tablets within a comfortable price range. It also has a great deal of space, even without an SD card.
Adding an SD card will come later, especially when he starts taking more pictures and video. But even after downloading 40 game apps for him, I hadn't even come close to using up the available internal space. Now my son can play his own games, as well as compete with his sisters in the games they love together.
*These changes and modifications are not necessarily recommended by the manufacturer. The author has made these modifications of her own volition. If you try this, please be responsible and do your own research regarding safety and other matters in relation to this choice. The author is not responsible for any actions that occur as a result of these changes.