Best Kids Watch Phone 2017 – Responsible Parent’s Secret Weapon
Kids want to be independent, but parents, well, parents worry. A kids watch phone, though, can make keeping track of your child simple and easy. It’s a combo device that just makes a lot of sense for the youngest of the digital natives. Sure, you could get your kid a mobile phone as a way to stay in touch, but most kids aren’t responsible enough to not break it, lose it, or use it for purposes other than which it was intended. A kids wristphone, a kids watch phone (or a kids phone watch, depending on where you see the emphasis) is a much more viable solution.
Calls From the Wristphone
Essentially, you get all the functionality you want, with nothing extraneous, in a package that literally attaches itself to your child’s wrist. All of these devices can take and make phone calls. They also have GPS for exact location information, and most have an emergency contact feature so you’ll know if your baby is in trouble. Some have additional capabilities, like games and fitness tracking features. But really, the mobile phone is the raison d’etre for all of these products.
There are quite a few kids phone watches on the market, for different ages and at different price points, and they’re all good for your child’s safety and Dick Tracy cosplay. (Who’s Dick Tracy? You know what, it’s not important.) There are some really good products out now, and almost as many that have been announced and will be on the market in the coming months.
Here’s our pick for the ten best kids watch phones, available now and soon.
1. LG GizmoPal 2 Kids Watch Phone
LG’s entry level kids watch phone is designed for very small children; think ages three to six. As such, it’s fairly limited in its wrist-based functionality, but that’s a good thing. Besides, parents have total control over this durable, rugged, and water-resistant wearable using the iOS or Android app.
Calls can be made to or from the GizmoPal 2, and while the device is limited to just four pre-programmed numbers, that should be enough for little kids. (Mom, dad, and grandparents or trustworthy neighbours should round out the list nicely.) There’s also an auto-answer function, so if your child doesn’t answer your call, you can force it to go through. The sound quality on both ends is good as well.
The GizmoPal 2 can also locate your child via GPS. You can set up geofences and notifications, but the watch doesn’t do live tracking. And really, that’s about it for features. The device will speak the time when it’s prompted, and it can make some fun sounds that kids seem to think are funny, but there’s nothing on the screen besides the call icons. Many parents see this as a good thing, though, as there’s really nothing on the GizmoPal 2 to distract your child and nothing to run down the battery.
Battery and Limitations
Speaking of battery life, you should get about nine days of standby and two and a half hours of talk time with this kids watch phone. The design is simple but functional, it comes in pink or blue, and kids should get used to wearing it in a day or two. The retail price of the GizmoPal 2 is $79.99 USD, plus an activation fee of $40 and a few bucks per month for service on Verizon. The big downside of this one is that it works in the US only, so it’s simply not an option for European customers.
2. LG GizmoGadget
The LG GizmoGadget kids watch phone is more of a smartwatch than the GizmoPal 2, but it’s aimed at older kids. It shares a lot in common with its younger brother, like quality construction, parental control, and (unfortunately) the fact that it works only in the US. The big difference with the GizmoGadget is that the screen is actually functional: it’s full colour, it’s a touch screen, and kids seven to maybe 12 are going to like it a lot.
Up to ten numbers can be programmed into the GizmoGadget, and parents can force calls to auto-answer if their child is ignoring them. There is also a text messaging feature, but the messages are pre-programmed by you, and they can be sent to only the numbers in the contact list. GPS and geofencing with notifications are also on the list of features.
The big differences between the GizmoGadget and the GizmoPal are the former’s more advanced capabilities. For starters, it works as a fitness tracker, so your child is motivated to move and you can see how much exercise he or she is getting.
There’s a to do list with alarms to remind your son or daughter to take care of certain chores or make sure they’re at a certain location. There’s a voice recorder that does fun voice alterations and filters.
Your child can set ringtones and other notification sounds, as well as visual themes, all of which help to make the device feel more customized. And finally, through the corresponding iOS or Android app, you can turn the device off during school hours so your child isn’t distracted by the neat little toy on his or her wrist.
The battery life on the GizmoGadget is about eight days of standby and about two hours of talk time. It’s nearly twice the price of the GizmoPal 2, at $149.99 USD (plus the Verizon activation and monthly fees), but it can do nearly twice as much. It comes in the more grown up colours of red or navy blue.
A successful Kickstarter campaign about two years ago made Tinitell a reality. It’s billed as the world’s smallest mobile phone, but really, it’s a kids watch phone, and it’s super easy to use. The design of the thing is minimalist and sleek: there are just a few small buttons and a speaker, and it’s low profile so it fits comfortably on a child’s wrist. And while it’s also minimalist in its functionality, it can do all the essentials very well.
Tinitell is a 2G phone with onboard GPS. You can preset up to 12 contacts, and your child can call anyone on the list by holding down the large button and speaking a name. Tinitells can communicate with one another, too, so if your child has a friend with a Tinitell, they’ve got the equivalent of wrist walkie talkies. Answering the phone is just as easy: push the big button and start talking. Parents can also locate their child on a map using the device’s GPS.
No Watch Face
There’s no actual watch face; Tinitell is simply a phone designed to wear as a watch. It’s durable and water resistant, and it comes in four fun colours. The battery lasts for about a day with the GPS on and up to three days with it off, and it charges via the included magnetic cable.
The first batch of Tinitells was such a big success that it sold out quickly, and the next round will be available in the coming months for $149 USD (About £113). You’ll also need to buy your own prepaid 2G SIM card to use with it, but that’s a small expense, and the advantage is that Tinitell works all over the world. It’s a cool and unassuming kids watch phone, and it’s one of the more utilitarian products of this nature on the market.
4. Tencents QQ Kids Phone Watch
If you’ve got a tech-savvy five year old who can’t wait to get his hands on an Apple Watch, the Tencents QQ might be a good pick. It’s a kids watch phone that looks like a smartwatch, with its bubble-like full-colour touchscreen and chunky aesthetic. The QQ can also be popped out of its wristband and worn as a pendant, though that seems like a less secure, more accident-prone option. Besides, the wristband’s pink-yellow-blue design is cool, and some variations have kid-friendly anime characters on them.
You can program phone numbers for up to five families and 16 friends in the QQ, and it can send and receive both calls and text messages. There’s a one button SOS feature, too, to alert you if your child is in trouble. The onboard GPS can give you live location updates, and you can set up geofences with notifications as well.
Unique features on the QQ include a search for friends function, which shows your child which of his or her QQ wearing friends are nearby. There’s a pedometer for some activity tracking, and wifi is built in as well. The QQ does have a camera on it; it’s just 0.3 megapixels, but in some situations, it may be helpful for kids to be able to send their parents a photo of what’s happening around them.
The QQ retails for £73.99 — a good price for all of its features and kid-friendly design. You’ll need a pre-activated SIM card to use it, but you won’t need to sign any contracts, and you can pretty much use it anywhere. The corresponding app is available for both iOS and Android.
5. FiLIP 2 Wearable Phone and Locator
The FiLIP 2 is another option that looks like a kid-friendly smartwatch but is mainly designed for the peace of mind of parents. It can make and take phone calls from up to five numbers, and those numbers can also send text messages to the device. (The FiLIP 2 can’t send texts out, though.) You can locate your child on a map through the watch’s combination of GPS, GSM, and wifi, and you can set up geofences with notifications as well.
The FiLIP 2’s emergency button is more comprehensive than similar features on other devices. When your child holds down the red button on the side of the kids watch phone, you’ll automatically be called and provided with live audio from the watch. You’ll also be given live location updates continually until the emergency is canceled.
There are no fancy features, like activity tracking or games, on the FiLIP 2, but as a kids phone watch, it gets the job done. It offers a kid friendly design that won’t easily come off, and it’s available in a few different colours; the wristbands are easily swappable as well. Battery life is about a day.
Right now, the FiLIP 2 works in the US and Spain only. However, the manufacturer has been hinting at more worldwide coverage in the future. The device retails for $149.99 USD (about £114) plus $10 per month for unlimited talk and data on AT&T (US) or Movistar (Spain).
6. Omate Wherecom K3
A 3G smartwatch aimed at kids in the upper single digits and lower double digits, the Wherecom K3 actually runs Android Wear. Granted, it’s a simplified, kid friendly version of it, but there’s a dual core processor under the hood. This isn’t just a kids phone watch — it’s a bona fide smartwatch.
Like many of the other products on our list, the K3 can take and make calls from a pre-set contact list, it has an SOS button, and it can pinpoint your child’s location thanks to onboard GPS. Beyond that, though, there’s a pedometer for activity tracking, as well as a bunch of pre-installed apps, including games. It connects via wifi and BlueTooth, and its battery should last about two days on a full charge.
Many other kids phone watches have a rubberised wristband, but the K3 has a heavy duty fabric one, which may be more comfortable to some kids. The colour touchscreen is impressively large at 320×320, too. The K3 sells for $129 USD, or about £99, and it works around the world as long as you’ve got a prepaid voice and data 3G SIM card to slip inside the slot. Omate announced the Wherecom K3 a few months back, and while it’s not available yet, you should be able to purchase one soon.
7. iGPS Watch Phone
Most kids watch phones aren’t for toddlers, but the iGPS watch phone is designed for kids three and up! Now, whether or not you trust your preschooler with an expensive device on his or her wrist is up to you, but if you do decide to equip him or her with an iGPS, you can rest assured that your child will be able to use it with no trouble.
Up to eight numbers can be programmed in for two-way calling, and there’s an SOS button that will ring a predetermined number immediately. As the product’s name implies, the device does have onboard GPS, along with geofencing and alerts, and it’s highly water resistant. Parents can also use the eavesdropping feature to listen in on their little ones, and they can be notified when the device is removed from their child’s wrist.
The design of the iGPS is simple but decent enough, with a bright LCD display and a fairly low profile. It sells for $109.99 USD (about £84), plus $15.95 per month for unlimited talk, text, and data. (Users are not required to sign a contract.) According to the manufacturer, the iGPS is made to work in the US only. While you should be able to swap out their SIM card with another 3G SIM card and have it work anywhere, doing so voids the warranty, and you then surrender any rights to tech support, so do so at your own risk.
8. MyKronoz ZeKid
Available in September of 2016, the ZeKid is part of the sleek and attractive MyKronoz line of smartwatches from Switzerland. It’s the only kids phone watch option on our list with a round face, and in fact, the ZeKid’s design as a whole is lovely. It’s available in several cool themes that kids will actually enjoy wearing.
The ZeKid functions like the other products on our list here. There’s a mic and speaker for two-way calling with pre-set contacts, as well as an SOS button. It can receive texts, there’s built in GPS, and there are even some games included, mostly of the educational variety. However, as mentioned above, the overall aesthetic of the ZeKid is what sets it apart from the other kids watch phones we’ve looked at.
Battery life is up to three days, and the kids watch phone charges via wireless dock. The app works with both iOS and Android. There’s a lot we still don’t know about the ZeKid, but if this kids watch phone is as good as the other offerings from MyKronoz, it will be a great option for parents. It’s expected to retail for €149.90, or about £127.
The dokiWatch is another Android-based 3G smartwatch for kids that was recently funded on Kickstarter. It’s the only kids watch phone on our list to offer video calling, thanks to its built in two megapixel camera. It can also handle voice calling, as well as voice messaging and emoji messaging, and parents can create a pre-set list of contacts.
The built in GPS allows parents to see where their children are located, and they can establish geofences with notifications. If a child holds down the SOS button, the dokiWatch’s primary contact is alerted, and both continuous GPS tracking and live audio are turned on.
The dokiWatch features an onboard fitness tracker plus a Tamagotchi-like game called the dokiPet. (For the sake of this product, let’s hope that keeping a digital pet alive is still cool.) There’s a school mode that parents can turn on to deactivate the kids watch phone when the children are in class, and kids can connect via BlueTooth with other friends who have a dokiWatch of their own (parents are notified of the connection). The battery on the dokiWatch should last about a day and a half.
The design of the dokiWatch is adequate, if not a bit plain, it features a colour touchscreen, and it’s available in one of four colours. The manufacturer claims that this is a device that will work on any worldwide carrier, as long as there’s a prepaid 3G SIM card inserted. You can pre-order the dokiWatch now for $199, or about £151.
10. Moochies Watch Phone for Kids
The name is fun to say, and the device looks like an old school digital watch, but make no mistake: there’s a kids watch phone under the hood. This is a device that’s probably best for younger kids, as it’s one of the more bare bones kids watch phones on our list. For the price, though — £67.50, and that includes a SIM card — the Moochies Phone for Kids can handle all the basics.
This is a fully functioning mobile phone, with good audio quality on both ends of the call; given the tiny size of the speaker, the sound is surprisingly clear. There’s an odd discrepancy on the number of contacts that can be added to the phone: parents can program in just two numbers that kids can call, but up to 20 numbers that can call your child. There’s an SOS button that, when held for five seconds, will ring all the contacts for that particular Moochies phone plus record 15 seconds of audio that will be stored on your Moochies app.
That’s about it: there’s no tracker, no games, no text messaging. Still, Moochies is a highly useful device for the price. It comes in five fun designs, all of which are very kid friendly. Finally, it works all over the world — just insert a prepaid 2G SIM card and you’re good to go.
Connect With Your Kids
The days of wondering where your children are or when they’ll be home are over. What’s more, you don’t have to worry about them being responsible with an expensive smartphone that’s not really designed to withstand all the rough and tumble play that kids get into. With a kids watch phone, you always have a direct voice link with your kids, and they can always get in touch with you.
Does your family use a kids phone watch? What do you like about it? And which model do you use? Tell us about it in the comments!