Tech Corner: Looking for a smartwatch for kids? Step right this way
Dare I say, Christmas is around the corner.
Welcome to another edition of Tech Corner where we are not discussing microwaving coffee again.
Except for that one moment right there, but after that we’re done.
We’re here to talk about smartwatches, and in particular, a smartwatch aimed at the children’s market.
The Vodafone Neo is a smartwatch themed for children, in collaboration with Disney. Which is a decent idea in fairness, because what three and over child doesn’t have an entirely healthy fascination with Disney and all it encompasses?
The screen features some interactive Disney characters, which look incredibly crisp and clear on the big bright, colour screen. Basically, depending on the character you’ve chose, you’ll see Darth Vader swooshing (great word) his lightsaber, or even Elsa casting a spell on you every time you take a photo or check the time.
Which brings us to our next feature, there’s a camera in the watch. Admittedly, it’s not a very good one, especially if it’s not in the golden hour for photography, but it is a novelty nonetheless and the watch can store up to 250 photos while the Vodafone Smart App can store 1,000.
Because it contains a SIM card, parents can stay in touch with their kids with calls, chat and fun emoji. Children can make calls or send texts to their parent/guardian or an approved trusted contact with calls limited to five minutes in order to save battery. Contacts are limited to nine, which are approved by a parent/guardian and there's no need to worry about your child browsing the web as this is limited as well.
In terms of location tracking, the watch doesn’t allow parents to track the wearer’s movements historically, but the Vodaphone smart app will show the location of the watch at a specific point in time. You can also request a location update rather than continuously checking.
For fitness, the Neo does what most other kids’ fitness tracker do in that it counts steps and offers a one-hour activity goal for each day.
And in case you want to kill all the fun, there's also the option to remotely engage 'Quiet Mode', to limit functionality.
You will also need to charge it every day as the battery will only last 24 hours on average.
So what about the cost, we hear you whisper?
The Vodafone Neo is available from €199 and the first 12 months subscription is free but you will have to fork out €9.99 per month after this period. You will also be locked into the Vodafone network as it is there product.
While the cost will put some off and the subscription after the initial first year isn't exactly what you want coming up the pipeline, the Neo is an attractive prospect for those who would like their children to have a way of contacting them without necessarily granting them a smartphone.