Android Central Verdict
The Angel Watch Series R is a kids' smartwatch with lots of parental control options and a host of health sensors and features. App and firmware updates have finally given this watch its full potential.
Loads of health sensors
Good safety features
Handy built-in dedicated flashlight
Supports Line and WhatsApp
App is a bit clunky
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Editor's note: This review is based on an old version of the Angel Watch and is not representative of the latest model offered by the company in 2023. We're currently in the process of testing the latest model and will revamp this review once the process is done. For now, here's the original review of the first-generation model in its entirety.
When the idea of getting a young child a smartphone may seem a bit unnerving, with all the potential safety issues out there — that's where a kids smartwatch can be very handy. Angel Watch is a U.S.-based company with a passion for kids tech, and its latest Angel Watch Series R aims to help kids and parents stay connected.
My oldest son, who is nine, and I have spent the better part of three months testing this smartwatch. I was very interested in the possibilities of the watch thanks to not only the parental controls, but also the health features.
Not only does the Angel Watch Series R offer heart rate monitoring, but also blood oxygen, temperature, and blood pressure. So did all of the promises pans out? Not really. But it's not all bad — let me explain.
Angel Watch Series R: Pricing and availability
As was noted above, this review is based on the original Angel Watch model offered in 2021. Pricing and availability do not reflect what's currently available in 2023.
The Angel Watch Series R launched in February 2021. The company released it in three color options — Royal Cadet Blue, Ruby Rose Pink, and Lunar Jet Black. The kids smartwatch still sells for the launch price of $179.99 through Amazon and the Angel Watch website. However, it has seen a few discounts since its launch, and is currently on sale for $159.99 on the Angel Watch website.
Angel Watch Series R: What's good
For context, my son and I have tested many of the best kids smartwatches, and this is the tenth kids smartwatch to get the review treatment. So, we come into this review with a pretty good handle on what should be expected from these devices.
The Angel Watch Series R — to make things easy, I'll interchangeably refer to it as simply the Angel Watch throughout the review — is a relatively generic-looking smartwatch. But the company has made some differentiating choices on some of the sensors it put in the device.
However, before testing could begin, I had to get it charged up and my Angel Watch account set up in the companion app. Charging is done using a USB-A cable with a magnetic POGO pin connector on the other. Powering the watch is an 800mAh battery that gives around 8-10 hours of use, depending on network coverage and use.
With the Angel Watch charged and the app ready, I paired the two together. Once complete, the app allows you to remotely manage many of the smartwatch's settings. Including remote shutdown and restart, Wi-Fi, restricting the dial pad, contacts, alarms, DND mode, and so much more.
After getting those settings where I was comfortable, I turned to ensure the cellular connection was established. When purchasing the watch, a Red Pocket SIM is included. Red Pocket is an MVNO that offers networks from all major U.S. carriers at affordable rates.
Now, with the watch connected and the basic settings enabled, my son strapped on the watch, and away he went. In our testing, I could set up a geofence around his school. Doing this allows me to get alerts when he arrives and when he leaves school. I can check his GPS location in the app to ensure he didn't get distracted on the way home.
App screenshots here for home page, settings, ?
If there were only one thing I could say about the app, it would be that Angel Watch gives a lot of options in its settings. The app is also where you can manage all the extra features. Being able to view steps, sleep quality, heart rate, blood oxygen, and blood pressure all in one menu is helpful and reduces clutter in the app.
One of the more unique options is the Sound Guardian. With this feature, you'll make a one-way call to the watch where you can listen. This is a feature that could quickly be a privacy nightmare, but as a parent, if you are worried your child is in a bad situation and can't call, this could be a essential option to have.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Angel Watch Series R|
|Dimensions||1.91 x 1.70 x .70 inches|
|Display||1.4-inch, 2400x2400, Hardened Clear Plastic|
|Colors||Royal Cadet Blue, Ruby Rose Pink, Lunar Jet Black|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth, GSM 4G LTE, 3G, 2G|
|Sensors||Heart rate monitor, temperature, GPS, Blood Oxygen|
|Protection||IP65 water and dust resistance|
Another safety feature the Angel Watch Series R offers is controlling who can and cannot communicate with your child. You can choose to only allow the watch to communicate with contacts that you approve and add. There is also a spam filter called "Angel Watch Protected" that will automatically reject unknown callers when enabled.
There are various notification options in the app to help keep you in the loop as to what your child is up to; things like getting notified that the battery is running low on the watch, or that your child has fallen. Although, with active kids, the fall detection can get a bit annoying with all false pings due to the running, jumping, and other things kids get into.
When it comes to using the Angel Watch to stay in touch with your child, it can be done with messaging, voice calls, and also video calls. The quality of both calling options was just OK. But it was good enough to make out what my son needed and, in the video, what he wanted to show me.
As for messages, the watch can send voice and video messages, images, and emojis. But to make it confusing, these options are handled in the Chat app. But if your child wants to send you a text, or you send them one, it will be the SMS app that takes it.
Speaking of apps, there are no third-party apps, games, or social media options to be found here. While there is an app store menu in the companion app, it only offers Calculator, Calendar, Google Translate, Line, and WhatsApp.
Aside from the blood oxygen sensor and temperature sensor, I was surprised to find a dedicated flashlight on the watch. On the side, next to the power button, is an LED that your child can turn on from their watch to help them in dark spaces. It may seem like a trivial thing, but for a child that gets a bit nervous being in the dark, it's a very welcomed option.
While children may not appreciate it as much as parents do, the ability to set what Angel Watch calls an Activity Schedule is great. You can set up recurring reminders for them to brush teeth, do homework, finish chores, etc. Then you can give them digital rewards in the app that you can pick what your child gets to spend them on. My son liked to use his for screen time, new books, a treat, and other fun things.
Angel Watch Series R: What's not good
I want to preface this section with the fact that I was really rooting for the Angel Watch to be great. It's a small American company with a great mission. But there are just so many inconsistencies with the watch that, much of the time, we struggled in testing some key features.
These issues were mainly due to connectivity problems and not cellular or Wi-Fi issues. While we do have plenty of those problems living in rural Kansas and relying on Starlink to provide internet and sporadic cellular coverage, the connectivity issues persisted even in urban areas with a solid signal.
My son often tried to contact me, and it would act normal on his end. But for me, I'd get nothing. No missed calls or messages with a missed notification. Instead, he would just get the impression I was ignoring him. When I would try to contact him or change the watch's settings, I'd get an error saying that the watch was offline. Except with the watch in my hand and verifying it was indeed online, it still gave the error — often.
The watch becomes useless when it is unable to communicate with anyone. I tried resetting the watch, updating the APN settings for the SIM card, and the issues persisted. This issue alone was a major blow in my opinion of the Angel Watch. Another is its durability.
The watch sports an IP67 water and dust resistance rating. While that is definitely nice to have on a kids smartwatch, it doesn't mean much if the watch cracks. That's exactly what happened to our review unit. Of the other nine watches my son has worn, none have broken.
The crack isn't even where you might guess it is, like the display. No, it is on the back and it's not a small crack. Kids, intentionally or not, are tough on things. Anything that a child will be using needs to be able to withstand some abuse, and the way this watch broke makes me worried that it won't last as long as it should.
Something I mentioned earlier was the app is loaded with options and settings. While this can be a good thing, the app's design leaves it all a bit cluttered. Some options appear under multiple menus, and some options are in intuitive places, making it frustrating to find things.
I'm not saying that Angel Watch's companion app is unusable, but it isn't a very enjoyable experience. Unless you have a really good memory, most likely, you'll be like me and end up getting frustrated poking through menus to find what you want. I have a pretty good grasp on using apps for many of the best smart home devices, different smartwatches for both kids and adults, phones, and more — this companion app is just not great.
Angel Watch Series R: Competition
If you haven't guessed by now, there are quite a few options out there when it comes to connected kids smartwatches. However, just because it says it is for kids and has a cellular connection, doesn't mean you should use it. Many smaller companies are doing great things in the kids tech space, with one being TickTalk.
The TickTalk 4 has been my son's favorite watch since we first reviewed it. While the design may not be for everyone, it is unique and very durable. The watch is packed with features kids and parents love. Use it for messaging, voice calling, tracking steps, and even listening to streaming music with free iHeart Radio Family.
As for parental controls, there are the expected location tracking, managed contacts, reminders, and more. Unfortunately, no geofencing option exists, even though you track the watch's location. The TickTalk 4 has great battery life and does a really good job staying connected and available.
The Gabb Watch is an option to consider if you want a watch that's still going to be a great way to keep your child safe and keep in touch with them, but not have so many features. This kids smartwatch is a straightforward choice with a solid feature set, but is still fun to use.
When I reviewed the Gabb Watch, I found that it managed to be rock solid in keeping connected to the network. However, though the cellular connectivity was great, it does lack any Wi-Fi options. The Gabb Watch has zero cameras compared to the single option on the Angel Watch and dual cameras on the TickTalk 4. While that limits the Gabb Watch's communication options, it reduces clutter in using the device.
Battery life is good with this watch, and the geofencing feature works wonderfully. Depending on your child's age, the Gabb Watch may be a bit bland, but its helpful parental features and ease of use make it worth looking at.
Angel Watch Series R: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if...
- You want a kids smartwatch with multiple health tracking features.
- You want a smartwatch for your child that has video calling as an option.
- Your child is afraid of the dark or likes exploring dark places.
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You need a kids smartwatch that is consistently connected and available.
- The watch needs to be very durable.
- You get easily overwhelmed with settings and options.
The Angel Watch Series R can be a good option in the right situation. Its suite of health sensors is impressive, even if not highly accurate, and the dedicated flashlight is a wonderful addition. However, its inconsistency in being connected and available is concerning. As is the durability, since it cracked after only three months of use. The cluttered app is full of great options and settings, but could be overwhelming for some.
This angel could use some help
The Angel Watch Series R has a lot of potential. It is a fine-looking watch, even if a bit bland — though the color options help. The company has done an excellent job of offering a lot of features, some of which are quite unique. Such as the temperature sensor, dedicated LED flashlight, and blood oxygen monitoring. But it has some downfalls that really undermine it.
The biggest is the poor connectivity. Perhaps it isn't poor, as the watch would say it was connected to Wi-Fi and cellular, but the app and watch didn't see each other. This makes communication impossible, and the primary function of the watch useless.
Maybe this and some other issues I mentioned can be fixed with a software update. But the durability issue is something else. I hope that Angel Watch continues to develop and improve, but the Series R isn't quite up to the same standards as some of its competition.
The Angel Watch Series R is an ambitious kids smartwatch that has tons of potential. While the parental controls and added health sensors do work, much of it is lost due to a confusing companion app, frequent disconnects, coupled with questionable durability.