Lets be honest, Coolpad is not a name typically associated with quality, high end products. Their phones are cool, but they're inexpensive on purpose and not often the first thing people recommend. Today, the folks at Coolpad are announcing a new family-focused direction for many of the products coming to its portfolio. The first of this new line is a smartwatch for kids, called Dyno.
It's cool to see the folks at Coolpad be so excited about a new direction for the company, and after a brief hands-on with this watch I can already see this is one of the only watches I would ever recommend for any kid.
Dyno is designed to be a kids watch, aiming squarely at ages 5-9 with bright pink and blue watch bands included in the box so you're not stuck to one look. The body of the watch plays into the name a little, with bright green "dino legs" coming off the grey body to hold the straps in place. The core UI has a heavy dinosaur focus as well, with lots of bright colors and cute drawn characters. Every inch of the experience screams "designed for kids" but it's also made to be safe and durable. The straps are "food grade" silicone and the body is IP65 resistant, so no full on water submersion but it'll handle splashes and the occasional puddle with no problem.
This isn't just a WiFi or standalone watch, either. It's a full on cellular smartwatch, complete with a massive 605mAh battery to keep it going for longer than a day. The AOSP-based software is nice and fast, with a focus on being able to send calls and texts to friends and family while also being easily located through GPS if necessary. No Android Wear, no Google Play Store, and no third-party APIs for the onboard pedometer will be available for this watch. It's very much a WYSIWYG experience, but simple and effective are core features for Coolpad, and I'm inclined to agree this approach is better for little heads.
Dyno comes with a companion app for your phone, and though this you have a lot of control over the kind of experience your kid has. You can choose which people they can communicate with, and use the location system to create geofences with alarms on your phone. If your kid leaves an area you think they shouldn't be leaving, you get an alert. If the watch is no longer connected to the network, you get an alert. If the battery is running low on the watch, you get an alert. It's all very straightforward, including the ability to change how frequently the watch checks in with the app in an attempt to extend battery life.
On the kid side, there's a lot of cool stuff going on. The SMS function lets you choose between a pre-set lists of texts, or send a voice-translated text by speaking into the watch. The speaker on the watch is more than loud enough to hold a conversation when using the watch as a phone, but again you'll only be able to call people on the approved list. Should you run into another Coolpad Dyno feature, you can pair up and become friends in the app, as long as the people holding the companion app agree to it of course.
As a cellular smartwatch for kids, the Coolpad Dyno is fairly impressive. But the $150 price tag really completes this package. There is a separate $10/month bill for the cellular service, but that's the same amount you'd pay for a cellular watch add-on to most US carriers today. This watch goes on sale January 28th at Coolpad.com, and will start shipping early February.
Russell 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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