Harder to lose than a smartphone, the new GizmoWatch 2 is a child-tracking smartwatch geared toward kids 3 to 11. It features GPS and LTE connectivity on Verizon’s network so kids can call and text approved contacts, and parents can keep an eye on them in real time. This second-generation model boasts a larger screen than its predecessor, better battery life, and a lower price: $99 plus the cost of LTE connectivity (which starts at $10 per month). It offers lots of tools parents will appreciate, as well as a kid-friendly design and features, earning our Editors’ Choice.
Specs and Setup
If you squint, the GizmoWatch 2 almost looks like an Apple Watch. It has a 1.4-inch square touch screen with rounded corners, and comes with a rubbery blue or pink strap. The display is bright and colorful, with a resolution of 303 pixels per inch. It measures 0.53 inches thick and weighs 1.94 ounces. It feels light on my wrist, and the band is comfortable.
There are two buttons on the side of the GizmoWatch. On top is a back button, and below that is the power button that lets you turn the watch on and off.
As for specs, the GizmoWatch 2 has 4GB of RAM, a Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2500 1.2GHz quad-core processor, and a 500mAh battery that Verizon says can last up to four days with typical use. In testing, the battery still had more than 50 percent after 24 hours.
In terms of water resistance, the GizmoWatch 2 is rated IP67, meaning it can withstand up to 3.2 feet of water for 30 minutes.
The included charger has four small gold pins, which you align with the gold charging contacts on the back of the watch. They magnetically come together, making the charger simple to use.
While it’s charging, you can download the GizmoHub app (available for Android and iOS), through which caregiver’s can set up and control the watch. Once you download the app, just enter your information to create an account, then add your child’s information.
Once it’s fully charged, turn on the watch and wait for it to connect to Verizon’s network. You then use a QR code scanner in the app to scan the code on the watch, then follow the instructions in the app to get connected. Once paired, the app asks if you want to add the number associated with your child’s GizmoWatch 2 to your contacts, which you’ll definitely want to do to make it easy to call them.
From there, you can set up location alerts (more on those below), a to-do list, and a daily step goal for your child. The app also lets you remotely turn off the device when needed, and set up quiet times when the watch will show incoming calls on the screen, but won’t ring.
You can also set a four-digit GizmoHub PIN for security purposes. That way, if a stranger gets a hold of your phone, they won’t be able to access the app and see your child’s location unless they know the PIN.
Navigating the Watch
When you wake the watch by pressing either button on the side or tapping the screen, the main screen shows the date and time. The GizmoWatch 2’s interface is colorful and intuitive. A swipe down from the clock face brings up icons for Volume, Ringtones, Clock Faces, and Check In. When your child presses the Check In button, an alert is sent to your phone with the time and their location. Swiping left and right from the clock face lets you access Contacts, Fun Activities, Gadgets, and Settings.
In the Gadgets section, your child can set alarms as well as access their to-do list, a timer, and a stopwatch. In the app, parents can create and schedule tasks for their child, and they’ll appear in the to-do app. You can create one-time tasks, or schedule them to repeat daily, weekly, or monthly.
In Fun Activities, there’s an app for funny sound effects, and a kangaroo jumping game that gets your kids moving. As the clock counts down, they have to jump a certain amount of times to move to the next level, and each level gets harder.
There’s also a voice changer that lets kids record a message then hear it back as a robot, someone who inhaled helium, a squirrel, or a monster. They can then send the funny recording to a trusted contact.
The Fun Activities section also has a step counter, which parents have to enable in the app. Verizon warns that doing so will reduce battery life, so keep that in mind. You can also add a step goal, set a time to receive a daily notification with your child’s step count, and write a congratulatory message they will see when they reach their goal.
I don’t have kids, but I have a 10 year-old niece and a 6 year-old nephew, and I know what they like when it comes to technology, and that’s games and video. Given the GizmoWatch 2’s limited selection of Fun Activities, I can see it getting a little boring over time.
Tracking Your Child
One of the best features of the GizmoWatch 2 is the ability to track your child’s location. From the app’s dashboard, simply press the arrow icon to check your child’s whereabouts. You’ll see a map with a pinpoint showing your child’s location, and you can optionally view a satellite map for more detail.
There’s also a real-time location feature that lets you track your child’s movements as they happen, but you may want to use this feature sparingly, as it significantly reduces the watch’s battery life. When this feature is enabled, you’ll see an orange dot showing your child’s location on a map, and the dot will move as they do.
You can also set up location-based alerts so you’re notified if your child moves into or out of a specific area during a certain time period on specified days. You can, for instance, set it up to alert you if your child leaves school before they’re supposed to.
Time-based alerts will send a notification with your child’s whereabouts at a certain time on specified days. So, for instance, you can have it send you an alert with your child’s location every weekday at 3:30 p.m., or whenever their school day ends. You can set up to five location-based and 20 time-based notifications. In testing, both the time- and location-based alerts worked perfectly, notifying me of the watch’s location when expected.
Calling and Texting
I especially like the GizmoWatch 2’s calling feature. During setup, your phone number is automatically added to your child’s contact list on the watch. In the app, you can add up to nine additional trusted contacts (for a total of 10) and specify whether they’re a buddy, caregiver, or guardian. A buddy can call and get calls from your child. A caregiver can also receive check-ins, location alerts, and activity alerts. A guardian has the same permissions as the parent who sets up the device.
When you invite someone to be a guardian or caregiver, you have the option to send them a text message with instructions. They will need to download the GizmoHub app, accept your invitation, and create their own account. People assigned as a guardian will automatically receive all alerts set up for your child, unless they disable them via the app.
When your child wants to contact someone, they simply need to swipe to Contacts, select the person they want to reach, then press the call or text button. When you press the call button, it starts dialing right away. When that person picks up, your child can talk to them through the watch itself. When making calls through the watch, I had no problem hearing the person on the other end of the line, and they had no problem hearing me. In the app, you can see a call history of who your kid spoke to and when.
There’s also an auto answer feature available in the app. When enabled, Verizon will automatically put repeat calls through if the child doesn’t answer after 10 seconds. The company says that auto-answered calls are disconnected after one minute to prevent misuse by others and to protect your child’s privacy.
If your child opts to text their trusted contact, they can send an emoji or select from a list of preset messages. They can’t type out their own text, but there’s an option to send a voice message.
Conclusions and Comparisons
The Verizon GizmoWatch 2 is part tracking device, part phone, and a basic fitness tracker. From its excellent companion app, you can track your child’s real-time location and set up alerts to be notified if they leave a certain area. It also offers the functionality of a phone in a form factor that’s harder to lose, with excellent parental controls that let you select trusted contacts your child can call and text. We’d like to see more child-friendly apps and games, but kids will likely appreciate the sound effects app, voice changer, jumping game, and texting functionality. And at $99, it’s cheaper than the $192 Timex FamilyConnect for T-Mobile and the $144 WatchMeGo for Sprint. For its comprehensive feature set and reasonable price, the GizmoWatch 2 earns our Editors’ Choice.
Verizon GizmoWatch 2 Specs
|Display Type||Color LCD|
|Heart Rate Monitor||No|
|Battery Life||4 days|