The iTOUCH Playzoom is an affordable kids' smartwatch that has a camera, educational games, entertaining games and also a themed design.
A few years ago, I went to Yellowstone and Yosemite in one trip.
My biggest mistake was going to Yellowstone first. Yellowstone just made Yosemite look like an amateur national park.
The same has happened here with the iTOUCH Playzoom. I just reviewed the Vtech Kidizoom Smartwatch DX2 and so far, I still prefer that watch over the Playzoom.
But that’s because I am more focused on the user experience and your kid might not feel this way, especially not with the different designs available on the iTOUCH Playzoom.
Really, really affordable
The iTOUCH Playzoom kids smartwatch is one of the most affordable smartwatches I’ve ever seen, and the features that it comes with really set it apart from most smartwatches, even from brand-name kids smartwatch manufacturers like Garmin and Fitbit.
For one, it has entertaining and educational games on it, and it also has a camera that swivels, then there’s a lot of cool designs to choose from.
Garmin’s latest kids smartwatch features designs with Disney princesses and Marvel superheroes, which makes me think that kids really like having a fictional character on their accessories.
The great thing about the iTOUCH Playzoom is that they have a lot of designs to choose from.
There are styles for girls, boys, DC Comics fans, LOL Surprise fans and Hello Kitty fans.
The main difference between the girls’ and boys’ styles are the colours and patterns. Whereas when it comes to cartoon characters, here’s what you can choose:
DC Comics: Batman, Superhero Girls, Superman, Wonder Woman and Justice League.
There are six designs for the Hello Kitty variant, mostly differing in the strap and colour (light pink, pink and red).
I couldn’t load the designs for the LOL Surprise variant.
It’s pretty amusing to have a camera on such a small package.
I remember the bad old times in the late ’90s when digital cameras required floppy disks. To think that we’re at a stage right now that even a wristwatch can have a camera is just mindblowing.
Nonetheless, as an adult, I’d have to say the camera quality is pretty bad. We’re 21 years past Y2K but the camera quality of the iTOUCH Playzoom looks like a pre-Y2K device.
But let’s not kid around here. We’re adults who are spoiled after decades of stuff getting better and better.
The recommended age for this smartwatch is 4+. At that age, I don’t think a child would have such high standards.
The big innovation that iTOUCH has brought to the kids smartwatch market is the swivel camera. Rather than having two cameras — one for selfie and another front-facing camera like the Vtech Kidizoom Smartwatch DX2, this watch has one to conquer all of them.
But as a result of this, your child will probably be asking you, “Why is my camera upside down when it’s forward facing?”
In other words, the camera’s image is upside down when the swivel camera is facing forward. A simple rotate button on the camera app would have fixed this but there isn’t one.
It’s probably so that the image is the right side up when your child is in selfie mode.
The iTOUCH Playzoom also has photo effects that you can apply on your image including a cool and warm tone. It’s not as cool as the Vtech Kidizoom which allows you to place stickers on your images reminiscent of photo booths.
There’s also a voice recorder feature on this smartwatch. You can record your voice and immediately play it back. The voice recording sounds OK; it sounds like I was talking through a pillow, but I don’t think kids will be as picky.
What’s so Superman about this?
If you bought one of the more premium versions with a cartoon character on it, you’ll notice that the strap features the character as do the watch faces and icons. On my Superman edition, there are watch faces with the Superman logo, a cartoonized Superman (alas, not Dean Cain), cool backgrounds with Superman patterns and some other off-tangents like a watch face with the words “P O W E R”.
Compatible with Android and iOS
When I saw this on the smartwatch’s website… I chuckled.
That’s because the iTOUCH Playzoom does not require an Android or iOS smartphone to work, unlike some higher-priced kids smartwatches. So, I guess, we could say that they’re compatible with an Android and iOS.
The iTOUCH Playzoom didn’t come with much documentation but the website says it’s splash resistant. In my interpretation of that, it means that even splashes can cause grievous damage to the iTOUCH Playzoom, so you should avoid having your child take this smartwatch into the shower or pool. They might not listen so it’s good that this is a cheap kids smartwatch.
Games that’ll remind you of Windows 3.1
I assume if you’re of the age where you are having kids, you probably remembered Windows 3.1.
The games on the iTOUCH Playzoom are very nostalgically reminiscent of Windows 3.1 games. There’s a basketball game called Hoops where the basket moves and you’re supposed to time your shot so you can get the ball into the net. There’s also a card match game called Crazy Card Match. Then there’s also a bunch of other games which involve changing the lane in which your character is in so that you can pick up points. You can do this as a seal, a police car or as a spaceship… the games are mostly the same with different underlying themes.
Seriously, the 8-bit music, the 256-colour graphics and the pixel text just give off such strong Windows 3.1 vibes.
Then there’s also fun learning games. Oh boy, remember back then when software developers were trying to develop games that are educational?
Three of the educational games are quizzes — two in mathematics and one in testing your child’s ability to interpret an analog clock. There’s also a flashcard-ish kind of educational game called Zoo. Zoo shows you a cute picture of an animal and then when your child taps on it, it’ll play the sound that’s associated with that animal. Amusing.
They aren’t really games, more like… uh… I don’t know.
There are two modes that you can use: Jump With Me and Run With Bunny.
Jump With Me features a frog who says “Jump with me!!” Really enthusiastic. However, the app is a bit of a let down. It’s a jump counter, but every time your child jumps, they would have to press the red “jump” button so that it counts as a jump. I thought it’ll be automatic based on what the gyroscope sensed (if it had one).
The other feature is Run With Bunny which is a stopwatch with a cute white bunny. Just like a stopwatch, you press start and stop in order to time your run. The only difference between this and a stopwatch is that this keeps a log of your top three run durations.
I don’t think the Active Games would see much use because they are so unintuitive.
Timer, stopwatch, alarm
The iTOUCH Playzoom also has a timer, stopwatch and alarm. The countdown timer is fully customizable and so is the alarm.
The alarm clock comes in a 24-hour time format, though, so you might have to start teaching your child how to read a 24 hour clock, but luckily, the watch will teach your child how to read a 12 hour analog clock.
The watch requires a charge every few days if you don’t use its features much.
It comes with a USB charging cable that you’d use to charge the smartwatch as well as download photos and videos.
The long battery life is helped by the screen being super stingy. It lights up for about two seconds and then shuts off immediately. There’s no always on screen so you’re always having to press the power button in order to get the screen to light up. Again, I am an adult who’s spoiled by the legions of smartwatches I have tested, so this might not be something that annoys your child.
So who is this for?
The smartwatch is for very young kids who just got out of toddlerhood.
They’re ready for an electronic device but not yet ready for a smartphone. If they already have a smartphone, there’s little justification for this smartwatch unless your child needs a device that can tell the time conveniently.
A smartphone just has so much better features in all aspects that this smartwatch excels in — games, camera and time-telling.
The best part about the iTOUCH Playzoom is that it’s really affordable and has interesting features.
Your child could ruin this smartwatch by taking it into the bath or pool but it’s so cheap that there’s little damage done. Either way, it isn’t going to keep your child amused beyond a year or two.
The iTOUCH Playzoom is a great smartwatch for kids, but I feel it’s main saving grace as compared to the Vtech Kidizoom Smartwatch DX2 is its price and design.
The choice of styles is really important for kids and as such, having a choice between superheroes or cartoon characters might be more important than features. In which case, only the Playzoom can offer this to you, as well as the high-end kids smartwatch, the Garmin vivofit jr 3
Otherwise, you’re better off getting the Vtech Kidizoom for a better camera and apps.