The LOL Surprise Kids Interactive Smart Watch must be an eye-catching smartwatch because when I was video calling my mother, she noticed it.
I think she noticed it even more because the colours and design were not something that would be marketed to boys, but I was wearing it anyway.
The cartoon “LOL Surprise” is new to me. I mean, the phrase “LOL” only came out in the early days of mass adoption of the internet, so I think it’s quite a new thing.
Are they perhaps like the Barbie Doll of the 21st century? Do girls play with Barbies these days? Gee, not only am I not a kid, but I am also not a girl, but luckily, I have a good overview of what to expect from kids smartwatches.
A primer on LOL Surprise
If you’re in the same position as me, and don’t really get the what LOL Surprise is all about, here’s the long and short of it (as I understand it).
LOL Surprise are a bunch of dolls that are like collectors’ items. I see a parallel between these dolls and Funko Pop figurines in terms of design.
The LOL Surprise dolls are like Kinder Surprises. For Americans where this is banned: Kinder Surprises have toys encased in a chocolate egg that you’ll have to eat through to get to the toy.
Apparently, they are multiple-layered surprises with each layer revealing new accessories and stickers.
This kind of reminds me of Pokemon booster packs which I’d constantly ask my parents to buy in my youth.
I certainly sought the element of surprise and the element of being admired by my peers of having the coolest collections.
Man, history really repeats itself.
The design is overwhelmingly pink. The watch case is fully pink and the printed rubber strap comes with light green and pink stripes covered in a pattern of stars with a white underside. It’s a bit like Neapolitan ice cream.
It is REALLY bright. It’ll catch the eye of everyone.
On the sides, you get a single button, a USB outlet for charging and transferring files, speakers and a microphone.
The screen on the LOL Surprise smartwatch is really good.
I have reviewed two other smartwatches — the iTOUCH Playzoom and the Vtech Kidizoom — in this price range and I can say that the difference is noticeable.
I got my first smartphone, a HTC Desire in 2011. The iTOUCH Playzoom and Vtech Kidizoom reminded me of the HTC Desire with its low-pixel-density screen. Of course, if you go up in price range to the Garmin vivofit jr. 3 and the Fitbit Ace series, you’ll get a completely different type of screen that wouldn’t be a fair comparison.
The screen on the LOL Surprise smartwatch is really sharp. It’s like Retina-screen sharp (or, in Apple-marketing-free language, a modern smartphone screen) and that’s important because the watch faces are a very important part of the LOL Surprise smartwatch.
I guess the big appeal of this smartwatch is that your child will get to choose between different LOL Surprise dolls.
If you use the digital clock, you will see a doll featured prominently. If you use the analog clock, you’ll see two dolls featured.
There’s an element of surprise embedded in the watch faces too. Unlike most smartwatches, you can’t choose your watch face from a list nor can you swipe to get one that you like.
Instead, if your child decides to change the watch face, they will have to press and hold and then they will switch between digital and analog clocks, but the characters will not be the same ones.
There’s a lot of variety in the LOL Surprise watch faces you can pick from so there will probably be something that suits your child’s mood.
You can also pick among three backgrounds for your menu.
The touchscreen isn’t very good and that’s a problem.
You’d expect to be able to swipe on all touchscreens these days but this isn’t the case with the LOL Surprise Smartwatch.
You can only tap. So, if you needed to change the date or time, you’ll need to tap several times.
To add to the pain, sometimes, you don’t know which area of the screen is the part you need to tap in order to change the dates or time.
When setting up the smartwatch, I was frantically swiping but didn’t see any change of date or time.
Don’t take this water into the pool or the shower. Don’t submerge it. Don’t put it under running water.
That’s clearly spelled out in the LOL Surprise smartwatch’s manual.
I did go test whether this is “splash resistance” by taking it to the beach. It survived and therefore I conclude that it really is splash proof.
I can’t guarantee what will happen if I fell into the ocean, though.
That’s a bit of a problem because I sometimes take it for granted that my smartwatches are all waterproof. There are really few adult smartwatches that aren’t waterproof these days and because of this habit, I have to remind myself to take the LOL Surprise smartwatch off when I head into the shower.
It seems like budget kids smartwatches are all not waterproof, which is too bad. You’ll have to remind your children to take the watch off every time they see water.
No educational games
The functionality of the LOL Surprise smartwatch is a bit less impressive than the iTOUCH Playzoom and Vtech Kidizoom. At the heart of it, is because this smartwatch doesn’t have any educational games.
Whereas its two competitors have educational games that teach you mathematics and how to tell the time, this watch doesn’t.
It does have a calculator, though, which might harm their ability to learn mental sums. Or am I just old school where having a calculator was not allowed until a certain year? I remember Casio had a watch with a calculator on it and students weren’t allowed to use it.
But it has… games
If you want to let your children know what it was like growing up in the ’80s and ’90s, then the games the LOL Surprise ships with would give them a real sense of understanding when daddy/mommy gets nostalgic.
That’s because the games are the ones you’d play on a SNES, or your Nokia 3310 or on Newgrounds (remember that?).
There are six games including one called Fighter Pilot which is like Time Pilot. There’s Snake. There’s also Number Grid which is a game where you try to find numbers one to 25 as quickly as possible, a memory game and a game called Car Chaos where you have to manoeuvre cars around to get the red sports car out of the parking lot. Your new-millennium child will have a taste of what life was like in the previous millennium through these games, except they’re much more colourful, sharper and the sound is full-spectrum rather than being just simple beeps coming from a cellphone’s buzzer.
The LOL Surprise smartwatch is a rear-facing selfie cam.
This really sucks, I think.
On all of its competitors (the Vtech Kidizoom and the iTOUCH Playzoom), they have cameras that are forward-facing and rear-facing.
The Kidizoom has two cameras while the iTOUCH Playzoom has one swiveling camera (that takes upside-down photos when forward-facing).
Having only a rear-facing camera is great if your child likes to take photos of themselves, but it’s terrible if you need to take forward-facing pictures. Not only will you be blind shooting because you can’t see the screen, but you’ll also have to blind-press the shutter button.
The camera quality is OK. Any cellphone camera will blow the LOL Surprise smartwatch’s camera to smithereens.
Yes, the LOL Surprise smartwatch has a video camera, but it feels like a they stitched together a bunch of stills to make the video.
In most cameras, you’ll have a burst mode where it shoots multiple photos per second. If you put all of these in a video with, say, eight frames per second, that’s kinda what the video quality feels like.
I don’t like it, but will the little ones find it too lousy for their tastes? They might actually not mind it as much as a full-blown adult would.
Unlike burst photos, though, you do get some audio on your videos.
This smartwatch has a voice recorder in case your child needs to record notes such as passwords, addresses, etc.
The sound quality is OK. I could make out what I said upon playback on the smartwatch itself.
The pedometer is “just for fun and is not 100% accurate” as the manual says.
It tracks your steps and also tells you the miles you have walked and the calories you have burned.
The pedometer does not passively register your movements. What I mean by that is that you must open the pedometer app and activate the pedometer before it will measure your walks.
Plugged into computer, saw nothing
Nothing happened when I plugged the smartwatch into the computer. That’s actually a major annoyance because I really wanted to download the photos and videos that I took.
Looking up the manual, I didn’t see anything as to how I could solve this.
But what I realized is that this watch has a micro-SD card slot. You just have to remove the screws that hold the back plate.
Imperial units, American dates
If you are considering buying this from the USA, then great news — the pedometer measures distance in miles and the dates are written in the month-day-year format.
I haven’t found a way to use this watch with a 24 hour clock either. By default, it’s a 12 hour clock.
There’s no way to change these. So if you come from a place that writes the date some other way, you’ll have some explaining to do.
Under the category of time tools, you get a timer, alarm and stopwatch.
The alarm is actually quite loud and that’s really good. I was able to hear it through my ear plugs.
Verdict: who is this for?
I think this the LOL Surprise smartwatch is great for kids who are very young who haven’t gotten their first smartphone because a smartphone’s features would blow this watch away.
The watch has games from the ’90s. Smartphones have Fortnite. What do you think will happen?
Another consideration is that the LOL Surprise design is very striking. You won’t buy this for a child unless your child likes LOL Surprise.
Compared to the competition, this smartwatch isn’t that great on the feature set that it comes with. Other smartwatches have time-telling games and math games, but not this smartwatch.
And the single, selfie camera is really annoying if you want to take forward pictures.
So in the end, I can only say that this is overwhelming the smartwatch to get if your kid loves LOL Surprise. Otherwise, there are better smartwatches out there that offer better features.