Android Central Verdict
Bottom line: The imoo Watch Phone Z6 is a well-built smartwatch for kids with unique features that kids and parents will both like. The companion app does have some essential parental controls but also lacks some at the same time.
Great battery life
Decent camera quality
Some good parental controls
Impressive video calling features
Companion app is lacking some features
Cellular connectivity was hit and miss
The design of the watch isn't for everyone
A bit on the expensive side
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Connected smartwatches for kids are starting to pick up some pretty amazing features, and in my time building out this imoo Watch Phone Z6 review, this watch continues that trend. With so many options becoming available, finding best smartwatches for kids can be difficult. The imoo Watch Phone Z6 has excellent hardware packing dual cameras, a flip-up display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, and more — but as we've seen with adult versions of smartwatches, a good experience on a wearable is about more than features.
The TickTalk 4 similarly offers solid hardware and dual cameras. However, it improved the hardware over its predecessor and also improved the companion app. We are starting to see more and more focus on the experience that the parents interact with for a cohesive product for kids. Let's see if the imoo Watch Phone Z6 manages to strike that balance as well.
imoo Watch Phone Z6: Price and availability
The imoo Watch Phone Z6 was released in the fall of 2020 with a sale price of $259 on imoo's website. The watch is available in two colors, purple and green, and is currently selling at the release price of $259 through imoo.
imoo Watch Phone Z6: What's good
When I received the imoo Watch Phone Z6, I was immediately impressed, even by the packaging. It was presented better than even some of the best Android phones, not to mention the best Android smartwatches for adults. Once I got past the packaging and got to the watch inside, I continued to be impressed by the hardware and build quality of the smartwatch.
|Specs||imoo Watch Phone Z6|
|Dimensions||2.28" x 1.76" x 0.63''|
320 x 360 ppi
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100|
|Water and Dust resistance||IPX8|
I experienced one of the Z6's unique traits right away when I tried to find where to charge the watch. It uses a USB-A cable with a magnetic connector to charge the watch via the pogo pins, but where to attach it to the watch was unclear — until I remembered that the entire watch rotates upward.
To get to the charging pins, you press the release button at the top-side of the Z6, just below the front-facing 5MP camera, and lift — the watch pivots on a hinge attached at the bottom side of the watch. Doing this reveals the charge point for the device, the 8MP rear camera, and the SIM door. Yup, this watch has two cameras, and it has some nifty tricks to make use of them.
After popping a T-Mobile compatible nano-SIM into the watch, I charged it up. While the watch was charging, I downloaded the imoo Watch Phone app from the Play Store. Once the watch was charged and I had set up the app, I powered on the Z6 and scanned the QR code to pair the two together.
The first thing I did was add my wife to the app, and then I enabled the Reject Unknown Calls feature. In the imoo companion app, there are a lot of settings options. There is an app section to download apps to the watch, but there are only four of them — Race, Shake, Daily Schedule, and Stopwatch.
You can schedule Class Mode for the watch, which is a great feature to have. When enabled, the only function available is to check the time — all other features are disabled, including calls and messaging. There is the option to allow the Z6 to be able to contact parents, though. Some other helpful features are the Daily Schedule for setting reminders, Loss Reporting to lock down the device and immediately force the watch to report its location, and Security Guard for geofencing — but there's a caveat on this one that I'll discuss later.
You can message, call, and voice chat with your child from the companion app. Initiating a voice call from the app will take your phone's standard phone apps, but the rest of the communication is handled from within the app. From the phone, I can type messages, send emojis (anything other than the few built-into the app will appear as boxes on the watch), pictures, videos, and voice messages. From the watch, it is limited to photos, videos, built-in emojis, and voice messages.
Of all of the kid's smartwatches that I have tested, the imoo Watch Phone Z6 may have the best video calling of them all. This is in part due to the Z6's ability to flip up for easier framing, and the other is the UI that imoo has designed. The watch can initiate the call and will be able to switch between cameras while on the call and also take still photos from the call. On the parent's side of the call is where it's really great.
When on a video call, as the parent, you can switch the camera view from the front-facing to the rear camera to get an idea of your child's surroundings. Say your child is asking you to come to pick them up and is trying to describe to you where they'll be standing. You can switch the camera to see yourself, making finding where your child is much easier. There's also a map shown in the bottom portion of your display!
The watch itself was easy for my son to learn how to navigate — swiping right shows contacts to call, left gets to the apps that are in a vertical scrolling page, swiping down displays your notifications, and pressing the single side button goes to the clock or turns off the screen. The AMOLED display is bright and colorful, with the UI reacting relatively smooth.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 2100s may be an older processor, even if new grown-up watches are still being released with it, but it performs well in this implementation. The 512MB of RAM keeps things moving, while the 8GB of storage is good for all of the photos taken with the two cameras.
The photos are surprisingly good in well-lit areas, considering they are coming from a child's smartwatch. As expected, though, the photos will get grainy quickly as light diminishes. The cameras do autofocus decently and do offer digital zoom. However, subjects become unrecognizable quickly as you do — though my son still knew exactly what was in the photo he took at full zoom.
Another surprising find with the imoo Watch Phone Z6 is the battery life. With Wi-Fi on, spotty cellular coverage, and location-enabled, the watch could get two days of use between charges consistently. Of course, this will vary depending on how many calls, messages, and video chats go through the watch, but it's good to know that if it doesn't get charged at night that there's a good chance it will still be ready to go the next day.
imoo Watch Phone Z6: What's not good
As I said at the start of the review, it takes more than excellent hardware to make a good overall smartwatch experience. Just like with other smartwatches for kids and adults alike, the imoo Watch Phone Z6 struggles in a few key software areas. These shortcomings may not be complete deal-breakers for some, but for others, they could be.
One of the most significant issues I had with the companion app is with geofencing, or as the app refers to it — Security Guard. While I'm glad the watch features this, its implementation is almost useless. This is because the safe zone that the watch is tied to is a Wi-Fi area. So, this may work OK for your home, but you can't create a safe zone unless you have the Wi-Fi name.
If I wanted to set up a geofenced area for my son's school based on the address or the GPS location on the map — it's not possible. I have to know the Wi-Fi for the school to add it to be notified when my son arrives or leaves the area. Adding the school is a more feasible option than a park or a friend's house. Since the app uses Google Maps for its mapping system, it shouldn't be required to have the Wi-Fi name to create a safe zone.
In the same vein as geofencing, while the Z6 has multiple methods that it uses to determine the location of the device, it is still highly inaccurate from time to time. Sometimes the watch will lock on quickly and put it right in the area it should be on the map — then other times, it will be in another state. This can likely be attributed to the watch using Wi-Fi to report its location, as that can sometimes be registered to another area rather than the onboard GPS.
In terms of connectivity, the imoo Watch Phone Z6 does a commendable job of holding onto known Wi-Fi connections, but the cellular connection was a different story. Understandably, the watch struggled to maintain a connection to the T-Mobile towers near my home as I have poor coverage, but the Z6 would regularly show offline when in areas of strong signals. This may be due to the watch shutting down cellular radios to save battery, but it was a concern for me when I wanted to contact my son.
An option that is strangely missing from the companion app is seeing the Z6's step count. The watch can track steps and even has a game that can be played with other friends who have a Z6 or with a digital rabbit. However, there is nowhere in the watch to see how many steps my son has taken. Even more strange is that if I open the app at the end of the day, I'll get a notification that he has hit his step goal — I don't know what the goal is or how it was set.
The other issues are that some could have with the Z6 is in its aesthetic and, from the parent's side, the price. While my son liked the chunky, bold style, other kids may not. I give imoo credit in offering colors that aren't the standard black, blue, or pink for the watch, as the green is more of a teal with lighter turquoise accents, and the other option is purple with pink accents. Aside from style, the other factor that could hold some back from the Z6 is the $259 price point.
imoo Watch Phone Z6: Competition
Few smartwatches offer a similar feature set as the imoo Watch Phone Z6, but the closest is the TickTalk 4. You'll find many of the same options of the Z6 on the TickTalk 4 and more for much less money. Some of the standout options on the TickTalk 4 are the dual cameras, fantastic parental controls, video calling, and even free iHeart Family Radio streaming from the app.
The TickTalk 4 has a similarly chunky style as the Z6, and while it doesn't have the same flip-up style to access the rear-facing camera, the TickTalk 4 does nail it in terms of the companion app for parents. Everything works as expected, except for a feature that I really wish was available, geofencing. While the Z6 does offer this feature, it doesn't work particularly well.
If you want a kids smartwatch that may not have all of the bells and whistles of the imoo Watch Phone Z6 or the TickTalk 4 but nails the basics — the GizmoWatch 2 is for you. This smartwatch is a Verizon exclusive, which could be a make or break situation for you depending on what the carrier's coverage is like where you live.
You won't find any cameras on this watch, but you will find an easy-to-use smartwatch for kids and a companion app that has all a parent could want. The watch has step tracking, voice calling, messaging, and the best geofencing and location tracking of any smartwatches. All of the features can be viewed and controlled in the parental companion app, but be sure the watch is charged daily as the battery life struggles with the GizmoWatch 2.
imoo Watch Phone Z6: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
- You want a durable, well-built smartwatch for your child
- Video calling is going to be a major use case with your child
- You want a smartwatch for your child with two cameras
- You want your child's smartwatch to have more than a single day of use per charge
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You want useable geofencing for the watch
- You need the watch to maintain a strong cellular connection
- You want to ensure accurate location reporting
- You want an inexpensive smartwatch for your child
The imoo Z6 Watch Phone Z6 has some really great things going for it, mainly in hardware. The device itself is one of the best I have seen, aside from the potentially polarizing design. Where it begins to fall off is in terms of the companion app for parents. Not only can the app be a bit confusing in all of the options, but some features offered are missing or don't work as well as they could.
3.5 out of 5
Overall, the imoo Watch Phone Z6 is a well-designed product on its own. The hardware is solid, and the unique flip-up feature for the rear camera has useful features to go along with it. All of that works well with possibly the best display on a kid's smartwatch and the smooth performance paired with solid battery life.
I just wish that all the potential features worked better in the companion app. Most notable is the poor implementation of the geofencing feature. Requiring a Wi-Fi network to designate the safe zone as the sole option is disappointing. Add that to the inconsistent cellular connection and the intermittently poor location reporting, and it's hard to recommend the Z6 as it stands fully.
imoo Watch Phone Z6
Bottom line: The imoo Watch Phone Z6 has great hardware and battery life to go along with some nifty features, like the excellent video calling setup and the flip-up watch to reveal the rear-facing camera. The missing and poorly implemented features in the phone companion app, along with a high price tag, may make this watch a tough buy.