Kids love gadgets as much as adults (maybe even more), so it's no surprise the idea of having their own smartwatch gets them excited. Finding the best kids smartwatch to get for your child can be daunting with so many choices on the market. Aside from wading through all the options, it's also important to consider privacy, durability, and cost when searching for the best kids smartwatch. One watch that does a great job of these core features is the TickTalk 4. Sure, you may think getting one of the best cheap Android smartwatches would work, and it might, but kids smartwatches have a lot of safety features that can make them a better option. There are many choices out there, so let us help you find the best kids smartwatch for your child.
Best Overall: TickTalk 4
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
When the TickTalk 3 was on this list, it was a good watch, but missing some essential features — with the TickTalk 4, many were resolved. The newest version of the kids smartwatch fixed one of the most significant issues I had from the TickTalk 3, which was poor battery life. In the design overhaul, more space was made for a larger battery, additional cellular antennas, and software changes helped extend the battery life to a full-day without issue.
The TickTalk 4 also adds another camera so your child can take photos of things much more accessible than only using the selfie camera. You'll also find dedicated GPS paired with Wi-Fi and cellular data for better location monitoring. Step tracking has been included to make being active more fun, along with free iHeartRadio Family so that your child can stream family-friendly music while playing. The watch works with GSM cellular carriers, so no Verizon, and the company has partnered with the prepaid carrier Red Pocket Mobile for service if you choose.
All of this is kept secure in a very well-designed and easy-to-use parental companion app. The watch can only communicate with contacts that you add. This includes messaging, calling, SOS contacts, and video chats. The watch design is a bit on the bulky side, but it is very durable and customized with Chums. These are rubber icons like rainbows, guitars, skateboards, and more, to the watch strap. The only missing feature that I would like to see on the TickTalk 4 is geofencing.
Runner-up: GizmoWatch 2
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
The GizmoWatch 2 from Verizon is a great watch that gets a lot of things right. Starting with the style, it comes in two color options — blue or pink — and has a durable squarish plastic case. There are two buttons on the side to offer a few actions when pressed. One of them is if either button is pressed, the parent-designated emergency contact is called.
The screen on the watch is vibrant and gets bright enough to be visible in most lighting conditions. Your child can select from seven different colorful themes to give their watch a bit of personality. There's also a fun jumping game and step tracker for the kids to earn rewards from that you can set in the parent's app.
From the parents' side, through the GizmoHub, which acts as the companion app, you can control nearly every aspect of your child's watch. This is also where you get to set up who the watch can call, be called, or message. There's no camera, but your child can make standard phone calls, send preset messages, emojis, or voice messages.
The Gizmowatch 2 has a built-in GPS, which can be used for locating the watch and setting up geofences. Doing so will send you a notification when the watch leaves the designated area. Your child can manually ping you their location from the watch, or you can always check-in from the app.
While a lot is going for the watch, it does have its downfalls. Verizon Wireless has great coverage for a lot of people and will work fine. But if you don't get good Verizon coverage — too bad because you can't use any other carrier. The other main feature lacking from the GizmoWatch 2 is Wi-Fi. The addition of this feature would help in low cellular connectivity.
If you are in an area with good Verizon coverage and don't mind that you can only use that carrier, the GizmoWatch 2 is a great smartwatch for kids that offers fun features for them and safety features you want.
Best Fitness Band: Garmin Vivofit Jr 3
Garmin Vivofit Jr 3
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Garmin makes some of the most impressive fitness smartwatches on the market today, and not to live the kids out of the fun, Garmin has the Vivofit Jr line of fitness bands. The newest in that family is the Vivofit Jr 3, and it has some great features for the little ones.
To encourage kids to be more active, the band can join in with the rest of the family using Garmin fitness products in friendly challenges. There's even the ability to sync with nearby friends for a bit of fun competition as well. By getting at least 60 minutes of activity in a day, your child can earn points that translate into turns in a fun game that's in the companion app on your phone.
The game is themed to match the fitness band itself, which comes in Marvel's Black Panther or Iron Man, Disney Princesses or Little Mermaid, and some Garmin designs of Digi Camo, Lilac Floral, or Blue Stars. The device's battery lasts up to a year and is replaceable, so you never have to charge it. You can also set reminders on the Vivofit Jr 3 for your child to earn digital coins to redeem for rewards that you set within your companion app.
The Vivofit Jr 3 is water-resistant to 5 ATM, tracks steps, and can track sleep automatically. While this device may not have the full gamut of features found in the TickTalk 4 or the GizmoWatch 2, it is still a fun way for your child to get active and be responsible.
Best Toy Smartwatch: VTech Kidizoom DX2
VTech Kidizoom DX2
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Instead of a tool for connecting to a smartphone, VTech created an experience that is mostly toy but partially useful. Amid all the games and onboard camera tricks, you'll find a functional calendar for appointments, a voice memo app, and several other tools that work well with the smartwatch aesthetic. This is a great way to get kids thinking about using technology for more than entertainment without completely pulling them away from the shiny world of fun things.
Smartwatches are already luxury accessories, and for kids, they become little more than toys. VTech's smartwatch for kids has a few games but also lets them take photos from their wrist and have some fun with the photos. It's a fun way for a kid to emulate their smartwatch-wearing parent without needing to be tethered to a smartphone, and it includes some tools that could be useful. Calendar access, for example, gives you a teaching opportunity. Calculator apps let children explore math on their own. There's plenty of fun to be had here. Still, the need to regularly charge the watch to use it and the availability of actually useful apps could become tools for teaching children how to care for their hardware and use it properly.
If you are looking for a watch your child will enjoy using, that will also give you some peace of mind, you can't go wrong with the TickTalk 4. It's a well-built piece of technology with a style of its own and has some wonderful features. Since it has a SIM card in addition to Wi-Fi connectivity, you and your child will be able to communicate as needed. You will also have the added benefit of creating GPS location tracking and location history to monitor your child's location. While the device isn't cheap, it is a great all-in-one communication device for your child that will be much harder to lose than a phone.
There could be some refinements, such as it would be helpful if there was a keyboard on the watch, though tiny, it would be helpful in situations where the canned responses weren't enough, and voice dictation is inappropriate. While it would be nice to see geofencing added in, there are so many other great features like the dual-camera setup and iHeartRadio Family streaming. So, whether you want to ensure your child is where they should be and be able to talk to them, there are options for that. If all you want is to introduce your child to some wearable tech, then there's that too.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Chris Wedel is a fan of all things tech and gadgets. Living in rural Kansas with his wife and two young boys makes finding ways to get and stay online tricky. By utilizing his years of experience with the tech and mobile communications industries — success is assured. When not conquering connectivity challenges and testing new gadgets, Chris enjoys cruising a gravel road in his UTV with some good tunes
Russell Holly is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He's a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1 and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.
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