Smart watches for grown ups have been around for some time, with big ticket items and brands like Apple and Samsung dominating the market.
However, kids don’t have the same requirements, they have smaller wrists, naturally engage in more rough and tumble and you need different features that focus on security, safety and ease of parental contact – as well as durability.
There is also a need to restrict who your child can interact with online, making watches that are designed for grown ups a bad idea for younger children.
The imoo Watch Phone Z1 has been designed for kids under the age of 12 from the ground up – and it’s ideal for younger children, whose parents want the reassurance of being able to call them but would not want them to have the responsibility of carrying a phone. It’s also waterproof to IPX8 standards, meaning that the occasional puddles kids love jumping into won’t cause an issue.
This watch is very chunky and will stick out on tiny wrists, but this is what gives it so much durability.
The phone uses an Android operating system and offers a SIM slot for fully independent calls from the watch itself, and pairs to a companion app on a parent’s smartphone which can be downloaded from Google Play or the App Store.
The watch worked great for us during testing (although we have no test subjects in our grown up household!) and we didn’t encounter any lag or operating issues.
However there is not much RAM so parents may have to encourage kids to delete some of their photos.
What we liked
- We loved how durable the watch is, it is chunky, well put together and feels very robust. The drawback is it will look big on a tiny wrist – but it needs to be kidproof and it is an ideal first device for kids.
The security features
- Unlike phones and some other smart watches, once set up and paired with the parental app, it does not allow children to access open internet, social media and calls from phone numbers that have not been whitelisted by you, giving parents full control.
- Likewise, it also has a class mode that prevents children using the phone in class – but the parent can still contact the child if they need to.
- With the 4G LTE data connection you are able to constantly reach the watch from your phone, the GPS receiver means you know exactly where your kids are physically and the 2 way HD video call feature allows you to check on them quickly. This combination of handy functions means you can give children a little more freedom with confidence that you know exactly where they are at all times.
- You can add contacts who can reach the watch without the imoo app – but they are limited to regular voice calls and SMS messaging.
Usability and practicality
- The watch is equipped with a 2MP camera with f/1.4 aperture and autofocus – and a speaker and microphone.
- Another great feature is that the Z1 uses imoo’s proprietary app for text, voice and video chats which works similarly to a messaging app – meaning that video messaging calls won’t spike your phone bill. This is an excellent feature, especially if cost is an issue
- The unit plugs to an external charger and the nanoSIM slot is easy to reach on the back of the watch – the only downside was that the nearby ‘off/on’ switch was quite small and difficult to press for our chunky grown up fingers!
- The battery life was really good, with 2 full days of use per charge (I never get anything like that with my Apple watch)
- There is no keyboard, so while you can text your little ones, they can’t text back, but video calls and phone calls will keep you in touch at all times.
- There are no physical buttons, and everything is done via screen swipes. It probably won’t bother the screen swipers who are born with more digital ability these days than their parents, but as grown ups we’d have liked them!
- The app was generally good, although we did notice some translation issues – however the app is translated well enough to understand the meaning. It did crash once but with no data loss, a restart solved any issues.
None of these minor downsides were serious enough to deter us from buying an imoo watch, and we are considering buying them for our grandchildren.
Where to Buy
Available in a choice of Bamboo Green and Grapefruit Red, (we had the Grapefruit Red) and priced at just £99, the imoo Watch Phone Z1 is the perfect introduction to wearables and a great alternative to phones for youngsters. The parental controls, security features and GPS all add to child safety to give your child a tech gift that will also give parental peace of mind – which, priced at just £99, is a lot of reassurance for a small price.
You can buy from imoo direct here: https://uk.imoostore.com/products/imoo-watch-phone-z1