Fitbit says that kids aren't as active as they were before. Data from CDC says that one in five children in the US are obese, while according the HHS only one in three children are physically active every day. These stats, claims Fitbit, is due to a rise in screen time.
Fitbit's solution to the problem is the Fitbit Ace, a new fitness tracker for kids aged 8 and above that looks like an Alta HR, minus the heart rate monitor. It comes with five days of battery life and a smaller, but adjustable band designed for kids' wrists.
Hands-on: Fitbit Ace review
But with plenty of kids trackers out on the market for parents to consider, what exactly does Fitbit's entry bring? Well, below we'll guide you through the design, features and price to make sure you have everything you need to know about the Fitbit Ace. Any questions? Drop them in the comments below.
Fitbit Ace: Design
Aside from the lack of heart rate monitor, the Ace mimics the Alta HR design down to the clasp - and that's deliberate. Why not cutesy the rewards up and appeal to, well, kids? For instance, Garmin has teamed up with Disney for the Vivofit Jr 2 to give kids incentives to get up and move around with fitness-based games.
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Fitbit said that when it was conducting its user research into what kids want from a fitness tracker, it discovered that a lot of kids don't actually like things that try to treat them like, well, kids. Instead, they wanted things that look like something a teenager or adult would wear, which is why they made the Ace look more like a regular tracker than something overtly kiddy or lined with Mickey Mouse's face.
That wristband is a little smaller than the Alta for obvious reasons, and comes in either purple or blue. While the Ace isn't fully waterproof, it's enough to withstand showering and spills. Or mild water-fights, we imagine.
Fitbit Ace: Fitness tracking
The Ace will track your kid's active minutes, steps and sleep time, and all that information will be thrown into the parents' companion app for them to view. If your kid has a smartphone and you want them to be able to look at their own data, there's also a Child View for the companion app.
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This will allow you to let them look at their own data, but it won't overburden them with data that's meaningless to them. If they happen to have a phone, they'll be able to get call notifications, too, so you can stay in touch.
Fitbit Ace: Rewards and smartwatch features
There are 10 watch faces to help pimp the home screen, while reminders also nudge your kids to get 250 steps every hour. Reminders can also be setup to give them a nudge when they need to get to bed. When they do get moving, they'll be able to gain all the same reward badges you can on any other Fitbit device.
They can even join family groups, so they can compete for trophies with their parents and siblings. There's also step challenges, the ability to compare stats with friends and exchange messages with other family members in the app.
Fitbit says it wants to create families of devices that allow entire families to take part in the Fitbit ecosystem together. They can then use Fitbit's social features to motivate each other to get more healthy and fit. In Fitbit's own user survey, it found that 75% of its users that were parents wanted an activity tracker for their kids.
Fitbit Ace: Data privacy
You may remember some backlash towards kids trackers late last year, with GPS devices being banned in Germany. Naturally, there's still negative connotations attached the whole concept, which is likely why Fitbit is steering clear of the 'tracker' moniker for the Ace. Instead, this is being tagged as a kids 'wristband'.
So, the company is clearly sensitive to the debate surrounding the concept of kids trackers, and has told us that the Ace is 100% compliant with all child privacy laws including the Children's Online Privacy Act (COPPA). That should mean you don't have to worry about the privacy of the data being collected, or your purchase quickly becoming redundant.
Fitbit Ace: Price and release date
The Fitbit Ace is available in blue and purple for pre-sale now for $99.95, with shipping set to begin in late May. To put that price in a bit of context, Garmin's latest kids tracker, the Vivofit Jr. 2, costs the same for those in the UK, while sitting at $30 cheaper ($69.99) for US.
Like the new Fitbit Versa smartwatch, expect the Ace to also be available from major retailers, such as Amazon, Best Buy and Target.
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