Smartwatches have become increasingly popular over the past few years. Both the Apple Watch and Android-powered alternatives have hit the market. They've also become popular gifts for children. However, this begs the question, what is the best smartwatch for kids? The LGGizmoGadet, Doki Watch, VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch DX2, Kurio Watch, and TicWatch S&E make our top five.
Before we delve into our list, however, let's discuss the reasons why you'd want to buy a smartwatch for kids. One of the most common reasons to buy a smartwatch for kids is due to safety concerns. Some smartwatches can function as an alternative to smartphones. As anyone who’s spent any time around children knows, they tend to lose things, so the appeal of an object that can be strapped to their wrist is understandable
Android vs Apple: who makes the best smartwatch for kids?
Just like with smartphones, consumers will need to decide which operating system, Android or iOS, they prefer. Both of these operating systems have their merits, but we think Android is the better choice for a few key reasons.
1. Price point
The first, and arguably most important issue, is the price point. Apple has, over the past few decades, positioned itself as a premium company and that means all of their products demand a high price. The most affordable Apple Watch is the series one, which launched in 2016 and retails for $249. By contrast, you can find non-Apple smartwatches for as little as $50 which is a bit more palatable option when you’re shopping for a child.
The Apple Watch is designed with adults in mind, but there are several Android-alternatives which are built for kids. This means that these devices will often come preloaded with educational apps, games, and other software meant to appeal to children. Normally, we’re not fans of bloatware. However, when it comes to curating content for children, we can see the appeal of a walled garden. These devices can give children something to use without you having to worry about them downloading expensive mobile games or stumbling across creepy content on YouTube.
3. No iPhone required
The final reason to avoid the Apple Watch is the simple fact that if you buy a child an Apple Watch then you also have to have an iPhone to pair it with which means you’ll be spending about $600 at the very least.By contrast, there are several Android-powered smartwatches which can work just fine without a smartphone to pair them with. In fact, some of these watches even have a speaker which will allow them to make phone calls. This means that your kids can use the watch as both a smartwatch and a phone. It will allow them to keep in touch with friends and family at a lower price than most budget-grade smartphones. In summary, we believe that Android is the way to go when choosing the best smartwatch for kids because it offers more options at a more affordable price. However, it is worth noting that a few of the watches on this list don’t openly make use of either OS.
The best smartwatch for kids: our top 5
Of course, deciding which OS to use is only half the battle and, in our opinion, the easiest half. The much harder part is choosing which smartwatch to buy for your kids. You’ve got plenty of options so we’re going to list our favorites based on age range, affordability, and features.
1. LG GizmoGadet
The LG GizmoGadet is one of the better options in terms of helping busy parents keep track of younger children who may not be quite old enough for a cellphone. The smartwatch allows kids to make calls and send texts without needing to pair the device with a smartphone.
The LG GizmoGadet is a great smartwatch for helping parents keep track of younger children while they're at school or at a friend's.
That being said, the flaws in the device will become apparent the moment your kids decide they want to browse the web or play games, because they won’t be able to. The LG GizmoGadet isn’t a toy or even a multimedia device. It simply offers an easy way for parents to keep in touch with their children while they're at school or a friend’s house. At $149, plus $5 a month for Verizon’s service plan, the device is a bit more expensive than some budget Android phones, but it comes with the added bonus of there being little risk of a child losing the watch or breaking it.
Beyond that, for parents who simply want a way to keep in touch with their kids without having to worry about them playing games in class or stumbling across inappropriate web content, the device’s limited capabilities are not a bug, but a feature.
As long as you keep the device’s limitations in mind, the LG GizmoGadet is a great smartwatch for kids.
2. Doki Watch
Following a successful Kickstarter campaign, the Doki Watch is currently available for pre-order from the company’s website. The company claims that it is “the first-ever smartwatch for kids to feature video calling” though that particular claim is debatable.
What is not debatable, however, is that this watch offers several safety-focused features that many parents will find useful. The watch features GPS tracking, voice and video calling, messaging, SOS alerts and the ability to create AlertAreas. Those AlertAreas which will send you a notification whenever your kid enters or leaves one of the approved locations.
In terms of appearances, the device features a body made of brightly-colored plastic. The UI is clean and simple enough that most children should have no trouble using it.
Sadly, like the GizmoGadet, the device offers little in the way of entertainment value aside from a Tamagotchi-esque digital pet. So, unfortunately, those looking to give their kids a toy should look elsewhere. The Doki Watch does offer a video chat feature which is something we would have found really cool growing up. However, it may not hold the same appeal in the age of FaceTime and Skype.
3. VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch DX2
The previous smartwatches on this list have been mostly focused on practicalities such as keeping track of children. However, there are plenty of parents who may simply want to give their younger kids a fun toy to spark an early interest in technology. That’s where the VTech Kidizoom comes in.This one offers a wide range of games and various camera options meant to keep younger children entertained. At the same time, it also offers some useful features such as a calculator and calendar. It doesn’t offer any of the safety-focused features of the aforementioned watches, but it doesn't need them. For younger children who won’t be leaving the house too often, it can offer them a fun toy that can help spark an interest in technology which could serve them well for the rest of their life.Another added bonus of this watch is that it’s really cheap. You can find it on Amazon for about $45 which makes a great gift for birthdays or Christmas. The VTech Kidizoom makes a great smartwatch for kids, especially younger ones. Just bear in mind that it is a toy rather than a tracking and communications device.
4. Kurio Watch
In terms of smartwatches solely meant for children, the Kurio Watch may be our favorite due to its robust features, affordable price, and an array of color options. When paired with an Android smartphone, the Kurio Watch can make phone calls and send messages. This will allow it to somewhat serve as a smartphone. However, the device will not be able to make calls without being paired with a smartphone so keep that in mind.As a way to keep children entertained, however, the Kurio Watch is one of the best that we’ve seen. This device does not have access to the Play Store. However, it does offer several pre-installed games such as Tic-Tac-Toe and Snake. Beyond that, the watch features a built-in music player and camera so, in terms of providing entertainment value, the Kurio Watch is a great smartwatch for kids.It’s also one of the more affordable options on this list. The watch can be found at various online retailers for about $50.
5. TicWatch S&E
The vast majority of the entries on this list have focused on watches aimed at young children. However, there are plenty of affordable smartwatches that would make a great gift for a teenager. One of our favorites is the Mobvoi Ticwatch S&E which is powered by Google’s Android Wear program though it is also compatible with iOS devices.In addition to the standard calling and messaging functions, the TicWatch supports several popular messaging apps. Apps such as Shazam and Spotify will provide music-lovers with plenty of options.Overall, this is a great smartwatch for kids, teenagers, and even adults. The design is stylish while the Android OS provides an array of games, apps, and other customization options.This watch starts at $160 which means it is more expensive than some of the others on this list. However as long as your child does not lose it, they should get several years of use out of it. Overall, provided they’re old enough to keep up with it, we think this is the best smartwatch for kids.
There you have it, Updato’s list of the best smartwatches for kids though, of course, there are plenty of other options out there. The success of Android Wear means that we'll likely see even more smartwatches hit the market in 2018. You should have no problem finding a smartwatch for kids, teenagers or adults so let us know which is your favorite.
FEATURED IMAGE SOURCE: Flickr, available under a Creative Commons license.
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