The smartwatches watches connectivity and children are a product category enjoying some success among parents of children from an early age. These types of advanced watches include connectivity and integrated GPS to know at all times where a child is and to be able to communicate with him.
Although the different models that exist in the market seem similar, we have been testing four watches / mobile for children to know their differences and know which models are the most recommended.
Here you have our comparative guide with the best GPS watches for children.
Our recommended: Alcatel Move Time
From the moment we laid hands on the Alcatel model, the feeling of quality and good finish was evident. The watch is comfortable but of considerable size, striking and its strong and well identified buttons. The learning curve for the child is considerable, so it requires us to spend some time telling him how the control buttons work, how to exit the menus and how to activate options because they are not intuitive at all.
It has the best finish and precision of the GPS but the Alcatel Move Time requires some explanation to the children about the operation of the buttons, not very intuitive
It is the most expensive ( 55 euros , depends on specific offers) but includes details such as the easy but secure nanoSIM slot. The quality of the sound from the built-in speaker as well as the sound from the speaker is the highest of them all but not something to brag about. It is convenient that we have the volume rather low because it is very easy to distort.
The security and communication functions it includes are essential and well implemented. We have emergency calls (to phonebook numbers or to 112 if we confirm before), to selected contacts, voice messages, GPS tracking with different degrees of precision and location on a map, in addition to safe areas .
It also has a pedometer function, indicating the steps achieved continuously on the device screen.
Something to keep in mind is that, despite the fact that its configuration does not present any difficulties, the instruction manual comes only in English from the box, but it is not difficult to find the Spanish version on the Internet.
Alternative: Ksix Kidsafe Watch
The Ksix KidSafe Watch , priced at 40 euros , is a valid alternative as a watch for children.
The Ksix watch is the only one that offers an autonomy of just over a day of use, do not trust the data of the manufacturers
With a very attractive design for the little ones, it has a good finish, the exact functions for the main use of communication and location that we want to give to these watches, and the autonomy is the most outstanding , being the only one of the comparison that with the location in operation, it gives us more than a day of use. The SIM card has direct access via a side slot.
In the physical controls there is an emergency button and two others to make direct calls to two contacts. We also like that the management of users who have access to information and contact with the child is simple but at the same time very configurable, with two levels of security / privacy, for example to give the possibility to communicate with the child to monitors on trips. or camps without knowing the location of the minor.
How to choose a children’s watch / mobile
When choosing a smartwatch-locator for children , keep in mind that we are not dealing with a smartwatch in use whose main function is the installation of applications or notification management.
We are not talking about smartwatches to play or wear all day. They are models for concrete situations in which we need communication and location.
The watches we have tested are safety devices for occasional use in case you need or want to know the location of a child or communicate with them in a basic way, for example on trips or excursions.
If you have decided to buy a watch-locator for children , these are the key aspects and characteristics to take into account to be able to make the right choice.
Dimensions and display
Being a device that will be used by young children, the watch should not be too large. If it were uncomfortable or heavy, it would lose part of its utility when having more difficulties to place it. The appearance of children’s watches is usually striking, with rather childish and colorful designs .
As for the screen, it is not necessary either to have a very large diagonal or to have a panel with high resolution since the interaction will be carried out basically with the physical buttons, to facilitate the task and not depend on messy interfaces for the little ones . Therefore, it does not need to be a touch panel. The physical buttons should be easy to activate and their functionality is clear even in the design.
A feature that is essential on the screen is brightness and contrast. If in both cases we are facing a screen with high values, we will gain visibility outdoors, something highly recommended since it will be the main environment in which we want children to use the smartwatch.
Materials and water resistance
In a children’s watch, the use of resistant materials is recommended. Keep in mind that the straps, better if they are made of silicone, usually have only one size. If the closure is simple but safe, it is preferable to the buckle closure in case we want them to be the ones who manage the placement of the watch. If we prefer security, there are models that detect when children remove their watch and send notice to the application we are using to manage the child’s watch.
Although in some cases we are not talking about models with a very high price, since they are focused on children, it is advisable that in addition to good quality and robust materials, the watch has resistance to water or at least to splashes, so that washing hands or a bath / shower does not end with the watch being useless.
GPS and connectivity
The basic element of children’s watches is connectivity. If the main function is to enable communication in an emergency or on demand, as well as to know the child’s location at all times, it is essential that the smartwatch has at least 2G connectivity and of course GPS .
If the watch has a very affordable price, below 30 euros, it is quite likely that it does not include location by GPS but by triangulation of telephone antennas, of very little precision.
This last point seems trivial but some models announce the location record but do not do it with an integrated GPS chip, but instead resort to the LBS system, which is based on the triangulation of telephone antennas and which is insufficient to accurately track the movements of the child. If you detect an offer below 30 euros, it is most likely a version of the watch that does not include GPS positioning, so stay tuned.
Specific security functions
The locator watches for children include the functions of calling numbers in their phone book, which is usually limited, as well as sending the location to a map of the application installed on the smartphone of the parents / legal guardians of the minor.
Other interesting functions available according to the model are:
- Silent call . One of the functions most demanded by parents but that implies a considerable loss of privacy. It consists of making a call to the watch silently, allowing listening through the phone with the app what the child’s watch is recording.
- SOS button . Available in almost all the models on the market, pressing it for a few seconds makes a call to the predetermined numbers in the application or an audio message with the location.
- Security zone . A safe area can be configured on the map of the application. The watch activates notifications and alarms in case the minor leaves the shower area defined by the parents.
- Taking pictures . Some models include a very low quality camera that is capable of taking remote pictures if necessary.
- Specific notices . These are notifications that we can configure for special cases such as when the watch is turned off due to a lack of battery or voluntarily, as well as if it is removed from the wrist.
Regardless of the specific security functions, if the watch includes a step meter mode , we can give a secondary and useful use to the smartwatch that, with badge or achievement modes, can be an extra motivation for the child to wear it.
What our tests are based on
The recommendations of our trial purchase guides are based on our experience analyzing all kinds of technological devices and use for a time in various situations.
To choose the best watch-locator for children, we have chosen four of the best-known and best-selling models, both of proven quality and especially successful for their low price.
To test the four smartwatches we have chosen real situations and scenarios with children and a use of two weeks
For two weeks we have used them in real situations and situations with children , testing all their security, calling and location functions both in the city and in remote areas. We have also collected impressions and details about the operation, configuration and overall quality of the terminal both from the minors themselves and from the parents who have tried them.
Design, finish and resistance
If we want a child to carry one of the smartwatches on trips or excursions, visual appeal is key. Here the manufacturers are aware of this and the proposals are generally striking for their color.
Once the four watches to be analyzed were placed on the table, the blue and orange of the Alcatel model was the clear winner. Its design is the most similar of all to a toy. Almost as attractive was the Ksix model, with a design based on drawings and characters that occupy almost the entire front of the watch. The other two, except for the color and materials, do not stand out too much.
The SZBXD model is the one that has disappointed the most in terms of finish, materials and focus on children beyond its interface, which is very childish. Outwardly it has a more classic appearance and low quality finishes, while the Q50 (Hangang) is too basic in both appearance and finishes.
An essential element in a watch of this type is connectivity. Access to the SIM card slot should not be easy for the child. In the case of the Ksix Kidsafe Watch, the slot is accessible simply by lifting a rubber tab on the side, next to access to the microUSB port for charging.
The rest of models require a screwdriver to be able to place the SIM. At first it can be annoying but in the long term it is a safer solution. The SZBXD model is again the worst of all in this section by requiring a lever to remove the casing , an action that is carried out by brute force and without instructions of any kind in this regard.
The best thought system is the one found in the Alcatel. The placement of the nanoSIM card should be done with the help of a small screwdriver that comes in the package (also with the good idea of two replacement screws). Opening is the simplest of all, and no internal elements such as batteries need to be removed. Just unscrew, insert the SIM and close it again.
As in the other watches, it is necessary to deactivate the request for the SIM PIN in a mobile phone before placing the card in the smartwatch.
At least splash and dust resistance is recommended in children’s watches. Only the Alcatel and Ksix model meet that condition
As for resistance to water and dust, of the analyzed models, only the Alcatel and the Ksix have splash protection . The Alcatel offers IP65 resistance. In neither case are watches that can be submerged.
Call and SOS functions
The appearance of a children’s smartwatch is of little use if it doesn’t quite work as it should. In our test we have analyzed the call quality , coverage, sound and accuracy of the location function of the four children’s phones.
Due to the poor sound quality and battery life, they are not watches to be used for talking on the phone but for sporadic communications or sending short voice messages
With call functions, the results are quite similar. No proven smartwatch is intended to be used as a phone for a long time. The battery is considerably reduced and due to the use of speakers there is no privacy in communications . Furthermore, the sound has a low volume and they are not usable in very noisy environments, neither for audio recording nor for listening.
The only watch that has calling features as such is the SZBXD . In your case there is even a keyboard to dial, as well as game or camera applications, something that we have not recommended that you have an emergency watch and location.
The rest of smartwatches communicate in two ways with the phone of the parents or guardians. On the one hand we have the SOS button , which keeping it pressed makes a direct call to the associated numbers in the application or even 112 by default if we configure it. This is the case of the Alcatel model, although before calling that 112 the smartwatch requires confirmation from the minor.
The Alcatel model allows you to manage an agenda for which there is a call button (the upper left). The sound is only correct for a short call , don’t think you can use it as a phone for long or frequent communication.
The other mode of voice communication is different for each watch. The Q50 records voice messages while holding down the direct access button to the associated numbers. The father / mother receives that voice message in the application, jumping in the smartphone notifications if we have determined it. The same is true of the Alcatel model, which we liked the way it points to unanswered messages. Also in the Alcatel it is more intuitive for the child to listen to those messages.
The Ksix Kidsafe Watch model has an extra in managing permissions to make calls to the child’s watch . The numbers added to the family list can make calls to the watch as well as know their location if we have given permission in the Wherecom application. The alternative number list can only make calls but not know the location.
One of the most demanded functions is that of silent call or spy. No terminal of the tested offered it and it must be remembered that it is extremely invasive in privacy
Of the most controversial functions we have as outstanding the silent call or spy function . The only clock that includes it in theory is the Q50, since in our case it was not present in the associated application. This function is especially intrusive with the privacy of both the child and especially of those who are being listened to when we use it, since they have no record of what is happening at any time.
In the experience with a children’s smartwatch, the associated application is very important. With it, the clock will be configured and it will be used to manage locations, phone numbers in the phonebook and extra options.
The only watch in the comparison that has its own application is the Alcatel. The application, available for both iOS and Android, is called Move time , it is free and does not include advertising. Among its options are the essential ones such as the geolocation of the clock on a map, warnings if you leave a security zone that we mark on a map, or emergency calls to selected contacts.
The apps are very simulate in some parts, like voice messaging. On the left the Alcatel application, on the right the SeTracket application. In between, captures call or exit alerts from the safe area
To use it, it is necessary to register with an Alcatel account, which will send us a confirmation message to the email with which we register. Once inside, to use the application it is necessary to have an Alcatel smartwatch, of which we must indicate the IMEI .
Knowing the IMEI of the watch and the phone number of the SIM is essential to configure the smartwatches in the applications. In all cases we can scan a QR code to automate the registration
The other three smartwatches reviewed do not have a defined manufacturer’s own application. They use third-party solutions like SeTracker (Q50 and SZBXD) or Wherecom (Ksix). In these two cases the configuration is not very fast, it requires prior registration , entering mail and phones and the options management is not as intuitive as in the Alcatel model, the one most similar to a common phone app.
In all cases it is convenient that the SIM card has been activated before inserting it into the watch . To do this, simply insert it into a phone and make a call / surf the Internet.
It is the star function of children’s smartwatches and the most useful. Its operation is quite similar in all watches, and since they all have GPS, the precision and reliability of their data is similar .
The Q50 model was the fastest for us receiving information from satellites, and although it is close to buildings or when the smallest one is inside, it makes quite a few location errors, outdoors its precision is very reliable. It is enough to touch the button of the map so that, at any moment, the child’s watch places us on the map with precision of a few meters.
If we choose the tracking mode we can trace a route followed by the child with the precision that we have determined. In a park or closed site we would need the maximum, which drains the battery in just 4-5 hours.
The Q50 model is the fastest and most accurate outdoors, while the Alcatel makes fewer mistakes inside buildings.
This Hangang Q50 watch allows you to set a safety zone outside of which we would be notified by message that the child has left it. It works exactly but the warning is a simple message in the application. It would be preferable a call or alarm that warns us if you are confused and not within the application and looking at it continuously.
The Alcatel and Ksix models work in a similar way. Both have location on the map, follow-up of the child, creating a later route that we can select by date and even time, as well as setting secure areas . The Ksix model offered us an accuracy similar to that of the Q50 indoors, with an error of more than 50 meters in some cases.
The GPS accuracy of kids’ smartwatches is enough for outdoor tracking and tracing, but it makes big mistakes when we’re inside buildings
The best when we are indoors is the Alcatel. He is not completely correct, but his margin of error is the smallest of all , on the order of about 10-20 meters from the building in which the child is located.
As for the SZBXD model, location is not its strength, and as with calls, these are aspects that have been neglected or poorly implemented while efforts have been focused, few, on placing a camera, a game that does not It works well and other little usable extras for the safety of a child . Nothing recommendable.
In a watch that we want to use to maintain contact with the child at all times and to have the location activated, autonomy is a critical fact and to which we have paid special attention in our field tests. The results have disappointed us a lot and are far from the figures given by manufacturers, which are never reached.
With OLED screens and small size, the main battery drain is not there but in the location function. All phones include energy saving modes that reduce the taking of positioning data, so they are options to know the situation of minors but not valid for monitoring.
In the event that we want to have a thorough follow-up of a route followed by the minor with precision of a few meters, the battery will hardly last us half a day. In all the cases we have tried.
The best autonomy has been offered by the Ksix Kidsafe , which is the only one that, with GPS tracking, is capable of withstanding more than a day of use. All the others lower the load at a speed that does not ensure us reach the end of the day with the GPS tracking mode at maximum precision. In all cases, the arrival of the battery below 20% causes warnings that reach the application to notify us.
Charging children’s smartwatches
An important section is that of charging watches . Most of them have a charging system with a microUSB port on one side, protected by a rubber tab that is not usually very easy to remove and that in the two most affordable phones (Hangang and SZBXD) seem too flimsy and candidates for that the children end up tearing them or they end up breaking by use.
The exception is the Alcatel model, whose charging system does not use a standard microUSB cable but one with fixing pins. This allows it to be waterproof but we must carry that specific cable in case of travel and if for example the child goes alone, he cannot ask an adult for a microUSB in case he gets lost. It is the model that takes the longest to charge, an average of three hours. For the rest two hours are enough, which in any case seems to me a very high figure for the capacity of its batteries.
Best children’s watch / phone: the candidates
To choose the candidates for the best children’s smartwatch we have opted for models among the most popular in sales and available to buy simply and directly from Spain . We have discarded those smartwatches that are associated with a telephone or service contract with a fixed monthly cost, since the use we understand for this type of device is occasional.
The candidates that we have chosen are bought free but to use them and get the most out of them they need a SIM card . That card, to take advantage of all the functions available in each model, must be unique and not a duplicate of the one we use on the phone.
The associated contract does not need to be very high, as on average this type of device should not need more than 100 or 150 MB of data per month. The rest of the associated expenses such as calls or SMS messages must be taken into account, as it may mean an extra expense depending on the type of rate / contract that we have chosen.
|ALCATEL MOVE TIME||KSIX KIDSAFE||HANGANG Q50||SZBXD S4 WATCH|
|SCREEN||OLED 0.95 inch||OLED 0.64 inch||OLED 0.96 inch||1.44 inch|
|DIMENSIONS||39 x 38 x 15.8 mm // 40 grams||20 x 38 x 13 mm||54 x 34 x 12.5 mm||–|
|DRUMS||370 mAh||600 mAh||400 mAh||400 mAh|
|COMPATIBILITY||iOS / Android||iOS / Android||iOS / Android||iOS / Android|
|LOCATION||GPS / LBS||GPS / LBS||GPS / LBS||LBS|
|PRICE||70 euros||49 euros||30 euros||35 euros|
After this comparison we have verified that the ideal children’s smartwatch does not exist . The SZBXD model may be the most tempting for price and looks, and it’s surely the one kids would pick. But we do not recommend it at all after trying it.
More faithful to the use we want to give it are the rest of the children’s watches. The Hangang Q50 model is the most balanced although the finish and resistance is far from the two recommended models: the Alcatel Move Time first , followed by the KSix Kidsfe. Its use, in both cases, should be limited to particular situations and occasionally because neither battery or utility are intended to be a daily watch, much less commonly used by children.