When I was younger, my parents bought me my first watch. It was an analogue Timex piece with a fabric strap. Its only superpower was its ability to tick away for four whole years before the battery needed replacing. I loved that watch. I was amazed that I could tell the time just by looking at my wrist. I was in love with something that was, to me, high-tech.
Today’s kids have it a whole lot better though. Merely telling the time is the least that smartwatches can do. Kids can play games on their watch now, or sync their watch with their smartphone so they never miss that text from mum or dad telling them to come home because their tea is nearly ready. You can even set alarms and create to-do lists.
It goes without saying then that kids these days have it good. If you are thinking about buying your kid a smartwatch, be it for their birthday or as a special treat, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 kids smartwatches in 2018 for you to consider.
So without further ado, let’s begin.
Best for: Children under 10, parents that want to track their child.
FiLIP claims to be the world’s first smart locator and phone for kids. It is in fact a smartwatch offering all the features of the Apple Watch but with the ruggedness of a children’s toy. It can make and receive voice calls from up to 5 pre-set contacts and it can send one-way text messages. It also packs in GPS, GSM and Wi-Fi – this is actually the best feature set of all, because it allows parents to track their children indoors and outdoors.
As a phone watch, the FiLIP is an excellent choice. It offers voice calling through the FiLIP app, allowing your child to call you whenever they like. You can also call your child through your smartphone. You can setup five phone numbers on the FiLIP, so should your child not be able to reach you, they’ll have four other people to call in an emergency. The FiLIP phone watch has a red SOS button on its side, which when pressed triggers a call to the primary account holder. If there’s no answer, the FiLIP calls each of the five contacts in sequence.
Compatible with iPhone and Android devices, the FiLIP has an ‘Intelligent Emergency’ feature that lets your child press a red button located on the side of the watch to call the primary account holder (the parent). If that call fails, then the watch will cycle through its emergency contacts until somebody does answer. Pressing the red button also immediately activates tracking features, letting the parent know exactly where their child is. You can also set ‘safe zones’ through GPS – if your child strays beyond a safe zone, you will be alerted.
Overall, this is a fantastic smartwatch for safety-conscious parents.
Caref GPS Tracking Watch
Best for: A direct alternative to the FiLIP listed above, US users only.
If you have a hard time getting your hands on a FiLIP, or it’s too expensive, then the Caref GPS Tracking Watch is the next best thing. This is a waterproof and shockproof smartwatch with accurate GPS and voice and text functionality. The only downside is it’s a US-only device, because you need to also take out one of Caref’s monthly data plans to benefit from the text and voice functionality. But still, this is a very neat device.
Providing you are in the US, then, the Caref GPS smartwatch can hooked up with an iPhone or Android smartphone. You can set up priority contacts so that your child can call you directly from their watch. Your child will be able to send and receive calls and there’s a physical SOS button on the side that sends a text message to the priority contact. In addition, you can set up GPS safe zones and you will receive a text message alert if your child strays beyond a set boundary.
In addition, the Caref watch records location history every 10 minutes. So if your child - heaven forbid - goes missing, you can see exactly where they have been.
VTech Kidizoom SmartWatch Plus
Best for: Children aged 5 to 9 years.
The VTech Kidizoom Plus is a smartwatch for younger children. Some may question the need for a child as young as five to have a smartwatch, however the Kidizoom is a fun device that will keep younger children occupied. This smartwatch does not connect to a phone so it’s a standalone device. VTech recommend it for children aged 5-12 years, however we can’t really see any child over the age of 9 (or beyond primary school) rocking one of these.
The Kidizoom Plus can take photos and videos and there are lots of digital and analogue watch faces to choose from. Like the best toys, this one offers a neat learning experience with a feature called ‘Fun Time Master’ which helps children learn to tell the time. Your child can also record their own voice and use alarm clock, timer and stop watch functions.
The Kidizoom SmartWatch Plus is available in three main colours - Cerise, Green and Blue. The device itself is chunky so there is little risk of it being a choking hazard and the strap has been designed to be childproof. Overall, this is a great smartwatch for younger children.
Best for: Children aged 4 to 9.
If you are looking for a smartwatch that’s a little more fun than the FiLIP and Caref options listed above but with the same GPS tracking features, the AmbyGear Smartwatch should be a serious contender for your money. This is arguably the most rugged watch on this list with a soft silicone shell covering the whole watch case.
Features including messaging, a smart calendar, safe zones, and parental controls including a unique system where you can enable new apps as your child gets older, accurate location tracking through GPS and 3G connectivity and smart activity and fitness tracking. Like all GPS watches for kids, you can set up geo-fences and get alerts whenever your child enters a geo-fence or leaves it. It tracks your child through GPS and 3G, the former enabled by embedded technology within the watch. So, there is a monthly service fee. In the US, that fee is $9 per month for a year, or $16.90 for a 2-year contract plan.
Overall, this is one of the best kid’s smartwatches on the market – and certainly one of the most rugged. If your child is very active, then we recommend this watch.
Best for: Kids who love technology aged 6 to 12 years old.
The dokiWatch claims to be the first-ever smartwatch for kids to feature video calling; we know that not to be the case, with several kids smartwatches having this feature, however there’s no denying that this smartwatch offers it all. It’s only available for pre-order for now, however the Kickstarter campaign driving it to market was a resounding success.
Feature include voice calling, location tracking, SOS alerts, parental control, fitness tracking, electronic pet functionality (remember Tamagotchi’s?) and lots of customisation options for kids to get stuck in to. First and foremost, this smartwatch has been designed to keep your child safer and for this reason the key selling points are GPS tracking and SOS alerts, in a similar vein to the FiLIP and Caref smartwatches listed above. The dokiWatch is nicer looking than these watches though and the screen and operating system seem to be slicker.
It uses a combination of GPS, GSM and Wi-Fi technology to ensure that you can track your kid indoors and outdoors. The doki app also lets you set AlertAreas, which are effectively safe zones. Parents will get an alert every time their child enters or leaves a set area.
Orbo Kids Smartwatch
Best for: Kids aged 3 to 8 years old.
The Orbo Kids Smartwatch introduces your child to the basics of timekeeping, and the wonderful world of touch. Through a touchscreen interface, the Orbo displays both digital and analogue clock faces with alarm and stopwatch functions. The in-built apps help teach your children how to tell the time, and there are a variety of interactive activities and built-in games to provide hours of endless fun.
Available in blue and pink, the Orbo is made from durable plastic with a soft, silicone band and in-between charges it should last for around 8 hours. Perhaps the coolest feature of this kid’s smartwatch is the camera, which rotates and lets kid’s take photographs and edit them with neat effects.
Best for: Kids aged 3 to 12 years old who would like a slimline watch.
The hereO markets itself as the “world’s smallest real-time cellular-connected GPS tracking device.” It boasts GSM, GPS and WiFi connectivity, and measures 112-136mm, while weighing a paltry 40g. What does this mean? Simply that the heroO is an extremely sleek kid’s smartwatch. It’s also splash proof and dustproof, with a durable plastic casing and one of the softest silicone bands on the market. So, it looks great.
It’s packed with features too, although the hereO is more for parent’s than the children themselves. It lets you track the whereabouts of your child through GPS on your smartphone, and you can set Safe-Zones so that you are alerted when your child leaves the area.
LG GizmoPal 2
Best for: Children aged 4 and over wanting easy controls.
The LG GizmoPal 2 is, in our opinion, one of the best-looking kid’s smartwatches on the market today. Its sleek black screen, soft silicone band and silver case look the part, and it also gets LED status indicators which clearly display battery status, call status and signal strength.
Coming in blue and pink, the LG GizmoPal 2 offers real-time location tracking and two-way calling, with the ability for you to add up to four authorised telephone numbers so that your child can call you if they need help. All of this is managed through the GizmoHub App, which is free to download for GizmoPal 2 customers, and the watch itself is incredibly easy to use even for young children, thanks to one-button controls.
The LG GizmoPal 2 is the best Verizon watch for kids, if you are looking for a smartwatch that offers call functionality and GPS functionality. It offers a 9-day battery life and lets you set GPS boundaries and notifications. Through Verizon, the LG GizmoPal 2 is available on a 2-year contract. This includes all the minutes your child needs for 2-way voice calling. If this Verizon watch for kids isn’t what you are looking for, Verizon also have the excellent LG GizmoGadget smartwatch which has a 1.3” touchscreen, making it more suitable for older kids. The GizmoGadget is available in blue and red.
LINE Kid’s Watch
Best for: Children aged 3+, parents accurate tracking.
LINE Kid’s Watch’, is one of the most capable kid’s as far as communication is concerned. It boasts U-blox’ high performance UBX-G7020 multi-GNSS chip, which supports GPS, and U-blox’ SARA-U270 UMTS/HSPA module which offers high-speed mobile connectivity. In the real world (and forgetting all those letters and numbers and chipsets), what this means is that the LINE Kid’s Watch offers incredibly accurate tracking features for parents and allows children to stay in contact with their parents from anywhere.
The watch also runs KIWI Plus’ own IOT platform. This Android-based operating system boasts one-touch calling and easy to access real-time location tracking. One of the neatest features is that two or more of these watches can also be hooked up with each other so that friends can stay in touch and never get lost. In addition to this, you can send text messages from the watch through voice input (as opposed to having to type on a small touchscreen), and an emergency notification can be sent directly to a parent’s smartphone or tablet with a single touch. So should a child find themselves in some form of danger, the parent can be alerted easily, and thanks to accurate location tracking the parent will also know exactly where their child is.
In terms of design and how the LINE smartwatch looks the watch appears to have an aluminium case and a glass screen. The strap appears to be made from silicone and there will be three colours at launch: Blue, white and pink. The watch is actually fairly stylish overall, with its rounded case setting it apart from the crowd.
Best for: Kids aged 3 to 10 years old wanting games and apps with an entertainment centre.
Those preloaded games are the biggest draw of the Kurio Watch. They consist of a variety of single and multiplayer games that include motion, thanks to Kurio’s in-built accelerometer, and they are designed to keep kids occupied. The Kurio also comes preloaded with an alarm, calendar and calculator and it is an activity tracker. So like all the best smartwatches designed for kids, with the Kurio parents can keep tabs on their child’s physical activity and step up their exercise regime if needed.
The Kurio Watch is a wearable device that takes a different tact to the Octopus smartwatch. Whereas the Octopus smartwatch is an educational wearable device, the Kurio Watch is more of an entertainment-based wearable. For example, the Kurio Watch has a customisable interface and a video recorder and a camera, in addition to 20 preinstalled mini-games and apps for kids to sink their teeth into.
The watch also has an I.C.E (In Case of Emergency) application which allows parents to enter their child’s medical information, such as their blood type, in case of emergencies. The thought process behind such a feature is that should a child be injured not in the company of their parent, then a medical crew can treat the child immediately without having to wait for the parent. This feature has the potential to save lives, so it’s nice to see it preinstalled on the Kurio Watch. In addition to this, the Kurio Watch can connect with other devices through Bluetooth, so family members can send messages to each other.
In terms of design, the Kurio Watch is built for longevity. We wouldn’t call it ‘fashion-forward’ (as Kurio have done), although it looks pretty sweet. It has smooth rounded edges and an adjustable soft silicone strap. The front of the watch is dominated by a touchscreen display and the watch has 128MB of on-board storage for storing photos. However, this can be expanded with a microSD card.