There's now a bustling industry of kids smartwatches out there, offering children a little fun and adding peace of mind for parents.
While smartwatches that track location might be music to the ears of parents, won't somebody think of the children? After all, smartwatches for little ones can be fun, too.
Essential reading: Kids GPS trackers tested
With that in mind, below is our pick of the best smartwatches for kids. Some of them also handle activity tracking or instead prioritise GPS, but all of them provide something extra that will keep everyone happy.
Any questions? Drop them in the comment section below.
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VTech Kidizoom DX
At the budget end, we have the Kidizoom DX. It wants to get kids active and tries to do so with a selection of motion-based activities, but there are also extra features, such as maths challenges with a digital owl. Available in a range of colours, the main appeal here is that the smartwatch features a built-in camera with fun photo effects, frames and filters to choose from. This one is aimed at 4–9 year-olds.
For those in the US, there's also the Kidizoom DX2, which features cameras, customisable watch faces and a range of games.
The self proclaimed 'most advanced kids smartwatch' (and joint-most expensive choice here) was a Kickstarter success and is now available to order. It's true that it basically has everything – GPS, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, built-in camera for video calling and Tamagotchi-style activity games via a feature called DokiPet. There's also a colour touchscreen (pretty standard), plus text and emoji messages and an SOS alarm for safety.
Safety first: The best kids trackers
It's IP65 water resistant, available in yellow, pink, blue and dark grey, with cute DokiWatch charms available to customise it and lots of watch face wallpapers, too. This kids smartwatch is suitable for kids aged 6–12.
Omate x Nanoblock
Wearable maker Omate's new kids smartwatch is a collaboration with Japanese toymaker Diablock on design and Tata Communications on the software.
The watch has 3G connectivity, provided through Tata Communications' built-in SIM card, tracking the wearer's location through GPS, Wi-Fi hotspots and cellular networks. Importantly, none of this data can be compromised, Omate and Tata say, thanks to end-to-end encryption.
First look: Hands-on with the Omate x Nanoblock
The Omate x Nanoblock smartwatch is available now starting from $149, offering security features such as SOS alerts, two-way voice and video chatting and location tracking, as well as a three-day battery life, an alarm, pedometer, stopwatch and front-facing camera. The watch is aimed for kids aged 5-10 and is currently only compatible with iOS devices.
Starting from $149, omate.com
This friendly kids smartwatch that puts safety first, but the hereO V2 is also small and light at just 40g, so your kid shouldn't mind wearing it. Plus, thanks to an e-paper screen, the battery lasts for up to 60 hours – much longer than colour touchscreen models. As well as GPS location tracking and a panic feature, hereO watches let children send messages to family members with one click. For ages 3 and up.
No parents allowed
LG GizmoPal 2
A redesign of the smaller predecessor, LG's GizmoPal 2 offers built-in GPS tracking and geofencing capabilities when worn.
Perhaps most importantly, though, is the watch's ability to work as a phone, with wearers able to dial up to four predetermined numbers. As far as the fun for kids goes, the watch offers a voice clock and brings one of the more sophisticated designs in this area, despite being recommended for anybody above age 4.
As this is offered through US carrier Verizon, watch out for the $5 monthly subscription though.
Norwegian startup Xplora were one of the first to launch a smartwatch built for kids and with the 3S, it's set to make its kid-friendly wearable more feature-packed. The Xplora 3S includes a waterproof design so you can take it for a dip and still receive calls underwater with a camera now on board for shooting stills. Child safety remains at the heart of the device with features like phone call support, real-time location tracking and the ability for parents to set up safety zones all still on board.
No details on pricing just yet, but it's set to go on sale in September with an upfront cost and additional pricing for the SIM card support.
Back again after its first generation effort, Lineable is back with a completely new watch form factor and more advanced tracking features.
You'll get up to a week on a single charge, while the likes of SOS alerts, location tracking and geofencing are also available for parents. If the watch is removed from the child's wrist, alerts are also available. For kids themselves, fitness tracking is available in real time, with the time and general smartwatch features are also on board.
There's no word yet on pricing and it's missed its summer launch date, so it's not clear whether it'll land before the end of the year. The fact it's taking advantage of Long Range Network - the IoT standard led by LoRa - and has fencing features means it will almost certainly come with a monthly subscription. Stay tuned.
Naver Labs' Aki
Powered by Samsung's Exynos 720 dual processor, the AKI from Naver Labs is essentially a Gear S3 for kids. But what smart features are on board to specifically target this to the younger crowd?
Well, there's an LTE modem that enables VoLTE calls, a personal assistant named CLOVA, and Papago, a service that helps kids learn second languages. It can even translate speech in English, Korean, Japanese and Chinese.
That's all packed inside a 1.2-inch OLED display, with a variety of strap colours able to pair with the pink or gold casing. It's also IP68 water resistant, so you won't need to worry about your kids taking it off around the pool or sea.
Frustratingly, there's no word on when and where the AKI will be available, or how much it'll cost. But stay tuned, as we imagine more details will drop as the year progresses.
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