There are multiple types of kids smartwatches. Do you want a mini-smartphone? A fitness tracker? A fun smartwatch?
I remembered back in the ’90s, I got my first digital camera.
It was a crappy 0.3 megapixel camera where you could barely make out the content of the images.
But I loved it.
And that was alongside all the other gadgets that I wanted… a Gameboy, a Nintendo 64 and broadband internet.
I still remember how much time I spent on Snake, Freeski and Minesweeper on Windows 95.
Now, it’s my turn to lament about how good those kids have it.
Kids smartwatches have come to encompass everything that I loved, except packaged in something that’s wrist-sized.
Some kids smartwatches have a camera, games, activity tracker and a bunch of other features that are just outright amazing.
And reminiscing of the past and what made me happy as a child made me realize that kids have less established expectations. If you buy the right smartwatch for them, they’d instantly be wowed and amazed even if adults would scoff.
And as an adult, you’d want something that suits your “unplanned obsolescence” timelines that your kid will impose on everything as they get bored of it or inevitably wreck the watch that you painstakingly went to buy.
So I propose this: the best smartwatch for kids is one that won’t break the bank, will entertain the kids and will be able to take the roughshod treatment that younger kids subject to all their possessions.
Now, a kids smartwatch will almost never be as expensive as an adult smartwatch, nor will it equal in features or quality as an adult’s smartwatch. The good thing here is that you won’t need to spend the same amount of money as you would on an adult smartwatch.
Types of kids smartwatches
Kids smartwatches are a difficult thing to categorize.
They’re not like adult smartwatches in that they almost always have some form of messaging handing system, a voice assistant and maybe some typical health features like heart rate sensors and a pedometer.
Some kids smartwatches tend more towards bringing the Gameboy experience to your child’s wrist.
For example, some smartwatches like the Vtech Kidizoom smartwatch really puts a lot of fun games, a camera and other novelties into their watches. They really aren’t a smart watch.
On the other hand, a watch like Garmin vivofit jr and a Fitbit Ace is much more favorable to you if you want to encourage your kids to get their steps in, then those watches are better buys.
Vtech Kidizoom Smartwatch DX2
This is a watch with a dual camera system, a great battery life, a voice recorder and
Which parent hasn’t integrated an iPad or smartphone into their child’s life?
From my observation, they’re the minority.
Now, what if you can give your kids something that they can wear and play?
Let’s talk about the wearable that has the best games, affordability and camera system.
I’ve reviewed a few and have to say that the truth is that a lot of them follow the same formula, with little twists here and there.
I’ve tested the Vtech Kidizoom and it’s great because it has fun games, a lot of nice watch faces and a dual camera system.
I like the Vtech Kidizoom’s dual camera system a lot. Seriously, it reminds me of my first camera.
The pictures are crap for any child who has access to a cell phone.
Even the cheapest cell phone will completely beat the Vtech Kidizoom’s camera.
To be frank, the best age range for this smartwatch is really for kids that haven’t received their first smartphone, because once you go beyond this line, the Vtech Kidizoom just becomes obsolete.
What I also really liked about the Vtech Kidizoom is that you can find fun games as well as educational games. It the widest range of app choices among the kids smartwatches that I have worn.
But let’s talk about the Vtech Kidizoom versus its competition…
Most of its competition falters when compared to the Vtech Kidizoom because they generally only have one camera.
For example, its closest competitor, the iTOUCH Playzoom has one camera that is on a swivel.
You might think “that’s great” but the truth is that having two cameras is much better than having just one.
The swivel camera is also much lower in quality and has a bug whereby its picture is upside down when you point the camera forward, so I think that really eliminates that smartwatch from any real consideration.
iTIME Kids Smartwatch aka LOL Surprise Kids Interactive Smart Watch
I had the iTIME Kids Smartwatch reviewed as the LOL Surprise Kids Interactive Smart Watch and unsurprisingly, it features a lot of LOL Surprise characters.
If you need a smartwatch that’s high on the design score, then you need the LOL Surprise Kids Interactive Smart watch.
Now, the most important thing here is to know that this manufacturer makes many designs.
For example, you can get a Sonic The Hedgehog design which means that the watch face, the strap and the colour scheme will feature Sonic The Hedgehog designs.
You could also get a “neutral” smartwatch with no branded characters and stuff.
There are also many colors that you can choose from.
So, you won’t need to subject your child to a pink or blue smartwatch… since they probably really care about how those will look to their peers.
The LOL Surprise Kids Interactive Smart Watch has a really good screen that beats out all its competitors.
It has great pixel density that’s equivalent to a higher end modern smartphone, whereas most other kids smart watch are really more comparable to a Nokia phone.
And having a nice screen is pretty important since it really is where your child will see the many pretty watch faces of LOL Surprise dolls, or Sonic The Hedgehog or unicorns.
It unfortunately has a pretty bad screen that’s difficult to use. It’s like a really old touch screen where sometimes you’d have to use a lot of force and even if you aimed right, you will seemingly activate the wrong thing.
The watch has a rear-facing selfie cam that can take videos, has a voice recorder and a pedometer, though the manual says the pedometer is “just for fun and is not 100% accurate”
Finally, your kids can use this smartwatch as an alarm clock because it is LOUD.
Garmin vivofit jr. 3
I kinda like the Garmin vivofit jr. 3 because of its super long battery life.
I was pretty surprised when the vivofit jr. 3 didn’t come with a USB cable. I thought… is this like how smartphone manufacturers are now excluding the charger from their smartphones because of “environmental” reasons?
Unlike most other kids smartwatches, the vivofit jr does not require you to charge it at all… until its single-use battery dies eventually, then you’d have to whip out the screwdrivers to replace it.
That said, I don’t know how conscientious your child is, but if you find that your can’t get your child to recharge something often, then you might have a strong preference for the Garmin vivofit jr. 3.
I’d think the main draw of the Garmin vivofit jr. 3 is for the designs.
They’re exciting because you can find designs of superheroes like Iron Man, The Hulk and more.
There’s also the Disney Princess edition and also a “neutral” edition. All in all, you can get seven colors with different patterns on the strap.
The watch is a little difficult to use because all of the interactions center around a button and so your interactions with it require some training.
If you like to incentivize your child’s behavior, the Garmin vivofit jr 3 is a pretty good watch for that because you can gamify your child’s life.
In the Garmin Jr app, you can pair assign a number of coins to each chore such as bathroom cleaning and if your child completes it, they will be able to claim those coins.
It has a basic workout tracker that’s just OK. The figures are unreliable because it’s not a GPS watch and really just relies on its motion sensor to make up its distance figures.
The one good thing about this fitness tracker is that it has a sleep tracker which I find very useful because it allows you to find out when your kids are sleeping.
Also, does your child have a smartphone of their own?
The thing is, young kids don’t and therefore you’ll be lending them your iPhone a lot because there’s something called the Adventure Map and a mini-game that is part of the gamification.
An Apple Watch is the ultimate watch that you can give your kids, but perhaps not one that you would given its price.
Maybe it’s something for older kids with the discipline to charge their watches and also the ability to take care of a very fragile screen.
The good thing is that if you get the LTE watch, you can use it as a phone watch. That means your children will be able to call you and stuff.
It’s pretty much the ultimate smartwatch because it compacts all sorts of smartphone-like features into a small package.
It has GPS tracking, an SOS button that you can swipe easily and you can use the watch to track their activity, sleep, steps among other metrics.
The best part is that as of watchOS 7, you can set up the Apple Watch for your kids without letting them have their own iPhone.
Using Family Setup, you can use the Emergency SOS, Maps, Siri, alarms and other features of the Apple Watch. You can also use it to find your child’s whereabouts using the Find People app. And no, it won’t help you find your child in a massive mall.
The Apple Watch also has a schooltime and downtime mode which allows you to restrict the distractions that the Apple Watch might have.