The Coolpad Dyno kids smartwatch must convince a demanding audience. Parents want to make sure kids can’t access the dark corners of the internet or contact strangers, so giving them a smartphone is not always the best bet. At the same time, keeping in touch with children is critical as they grow and become more independent. This is what the Coolpad Dyno is all about, and we are ready to tell you if it’s worth your trust.
My daughter wore the Coolpad Dyno kids smartwatch for 2 weeks, using the GSM carrier Coolpad has partnered with for service in the U.S. and Canada. The device was running software version 7.1.279.V2.190430.CP301A. Coolpad provided the unit to Android Authority.Show More
Coolpad Dyno review: The big picture
The Coolpad Dyno is a smartwatch with a purpose. It aims to bridge the gap between kids and tech in a safe and fun manner. The smartwatch is independent and runs on its own 4G LTE connection, allowing it to make calls, send messages, and transmit location. Step tracking and alarms are also added to its functionality.
The Coolpad Dyno aims to bridge the gap between kids and tech in a safe and fun manner.
The price is set at $149 straight from the manufacturer. The $9.99 monthly service fee covers unlimited calls, data, and all included features in the U.S. and Canada.
What’s in the box?
- Coolpad Dyno smartwatch with SIM
- USB charging cable
- Blue strap
- Pink strap
It’s great to see Coolpad didn’t try to get extra cash by trying to sell you straps separately. Both blue and pink straps are included. Everything comes neatly packed in a small square box. A couple inside boxes store the cable and extra strap. You need nothing more than what comes in the box to get the Coolpad Dyno up and running.
- 47 x 14.99mm, 54g
- 1.22-inch circular display
- Dragontrail X Glass
- Bottom notch
A kids watch needs to survive playgrounds, trips, falls, jumps, dirt, sand, liquids, and all the other dangers that come with a being a kid. The Coolpad Dyno has an IP65 rating, which makes it dust-proof and water resistant. To better understand check out our dedicated IP ratings guide.
While ratings state the Coolpad Dyno is a resilient smartwatch, its build quality doesn’t exactly show it. Buttons are solid, but don’t offer much feedback. The unit is made of cheap-feeling plastic. The straps are rubber. At least it is all held in place firmly. Once in a kid’s wrist, the watch doesn’t feel like it will easily come off.
While ratings state the Coolpad Dyno is a resilient smartwatch, its build quality doesn’t exactly show it.
The bulkiness doesn’t help. At nearly 15mm thick, this watch is thicker than many adult smartwatches. It looks very large in a kid’s wrist, and it didn’t take long before my daughter complained about the size.
We would love some refinements in the design department, but this is a $149.99 device for kids. Maybe nicer materials will do nothing but raise the price and, perhaps, come out worse for wear once it has gone through your child’s torture.
- 1.22 inches
- 240 x 204p, circular display
- IPS LCD
- Dragontrail X Glass
The UI’s vibrant colors are beautiful on the IPS display, and viewing angles are great. Brightness is also superb, and the device can be viewed comfortably in direct sunlight. This is important to kids, who are easily distracted and need something that can keep their attention.
The resolution is low, and you can definitely notice pixels. The “flat tire” notch is annoying, especially considering this is no small device. The company can’t exactly argue they had no space for internals.
- Qualcomm SDW2100 processor
- 512MB of RAM
- WiFi b/g/n
- 4GB of internal storage
- IP65 rating
- Bluetooth 4.1
The Coolpad Dyno kids smartwatch is by no means fast.
The Coolpad Dyno kids smartwatch is by no means fast. There is a slight lag when swiping through the interface, and entering any menu takes about a second. With that said, my kid never complained about speed, likely because the watch wasn’t designed to do much. The UI is well organized, so any task is a few swipes or taps away. There were also no complaints about heat issues. Then again, she wasn’t doing much to overwork the hardware.
I’d argue the Coolpad Dyno is as fast as it needs to be. Regardless, it would be nice to see a faster experience in a 2019 device. Even low-end smartphones perform smoothly under casual usage.
- 605mAh battery
- Micro-USB charging
- Up to 2.5 days of battery life
The Coolpad Dyno kids smartwatch isn’t very resource intensive, thanks to its humble Qualcomm SDW2100 processor, low-resolution display, and 512MB of RAM. The device is purely functional too. It has no games or fancy features for kids to spend hours playing. This result? The battery lasts more than most other smartwatches out there.
My daughter wasn’t able to get the two and a half days of battery life Coolpad promises, but she got very close to two full days most times. She had the device screen at full brightness all the time, which didn’t help. Thankfully, the Coolpad Dyno charges in no more than a couple hours, likely because the small battery.
- Proprietary OS
- Parental app available for Android and iOS
The Coolpad Dyno has a very simple UI (user interface). The home page shows the watch face. You can easily swipe down to display additional watch faces. Swipe left and right to pick your favorite and then tap on it to select.
Swiping to the left will show the step tracker, alarm, and settings. Swiping to the right will show options for calling, sending messages, and adding friends. The user can tap on any option to access it, then swipe from left to right at any point to exit. Kids can handle it no problem.
Most of the Coolpad Dyno’s functionality is managed through the smartphone app, making it the control center for the whole experience. Kids can’t even set alarms on their own!
The smartphone app’s UI is more traditional. The main screen shows a map with the location of the Coolpad Dyno (or Dynos, if you have multiple kids wearing them). A three-line menu button in the top-left corner gives you access to all features, and you can tune each device by accessing them in the My Family section.
All features explained
- GPS location tracking: The Coolpad Dyno app has a location map on which you can check where your kids are at any given time.
- Safe zones: You can set “safe zones” (geofencing) on the map to make sure your kids are where they should be. The app will notify the parent should the smartwatch leave the safe zone.
- Location history: Missed the safe zone notifications? You can manually check where your kid has gone using the location history.
- Calls and contacts: Kids can only call or receive calls from registered contacts, which are added through the app. There is also a call history section.
- Messages: Likewise, messages are only allowed with permitted contacts, but not through SMS. The smartwatch uses a dedicated messaging service that only works through the smartphone app. To allow messages between your kid and others you will need to add the contact as a “trusted member”. These members will need to download the app if they want to message the kid.
- Preset messages: The smartwatch has no keyboard for typing in messages, which is a bit of an annoyance. You can create preset messages through the app, and these will be pushed to the device. Luckily, the kid can send voice notes when needed.
- Alarms: The alarms option in the app allows you to remotely add or remove alarms for your kid. Kids can’t choose to modify these from the smartwatch directly.
- Step tracker: The smartwatch can show your kid how many steps the Coolpad Dyno has registered the same day.
- Leaderboard: The parent app includes a leaderboard with daily, weekly, and monthly step count reports. If you have multiple kids using Dynos, you will be able to see who has been more active at a glance.
- Adding friends: If your kid is lucky enough to have friends or siblings with Coolpad Dyno watches, they can add them as friends. This is done by going to the Add Friend section, putting the devices close to each other, and tapping a green button.
- Notifications: You will be notified when the Coolpad Dyno is turned on/off, needs a charge, or leaves/enters safe zones.
The microphone works well and I was able to hear my kid loud and clear, but she couldn’t claim the same. The speakerphone isn’t loud enough to be used in a crowded playground or any noisy place. She claims to have had to seek solitude in the bathroom just to hear me well. This is a problem, considering it’s not always easy to find a quiet place when reaching out to parents is critical.
I was disappointed by the fact that, despite having Bluetooth 4.1, there is no way to pair the device with external audio accessories. Kids are forced to use the speakerphone, which is rarely ideal.
Coolpad Dyno Specs
|Display||1.22-inch IPS LCD
240 x 204 circular display
|GPU||Qualcomm Adreno 304|
|Connectivity||WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
|Dimensions and weight||47 x 14.99mm
Straps: Blue or pink
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Value for the money
- $149.99 plus $9.99 monthly service fee
- Available in U.S. and Canada
As parents we can’t put a price on peace of mind.
$149.99 for a smartwatch doesn’t sound like a bad deal, but once you look deeper into what the Coolpad Dyno can do you will realize it isn’t really so inexpensive. It requires an additional $9.99 monthly service fee, for which they have partnered with Airfi Networks. This company lists AT&T and Rogers as a couple of their partners, so it’s safe to assume the Coolpad Dyno will have coverage anywhere these networks do. The device is essentially worthless without this subscription. You won’t be able to get past the setup process without it, as you need to activate the service through the Coolpad Dyno app to get started with the smartwatch.
Financially you might be better off buying a cheap feature phone with a basic plan. This is not to say the Coolpad Dyno doesn’t have a market. Those who want to make sure their kids are safe will love the level of control and safety the Coolpad Dyno offers. As parents we can’t put a price on peace of mind. And though we can also grab any smartphone and throw parental controls at it, the process can be annoying. The Dyno’s security is baked into the product and requires little effort from parents.
Should the Coolpad Dyno join your family?
My daughter was ecstatic when I first showed her the Coolpad Dyno. How exciting it must be for an eight year old to have her very own smartwatch. It can even make calls and send messages! It wasn’t long before she asked where the games are. Failing to find any, she said it would at least be good to order pizza with. She realized I wouldn’t let her just call anyone she wanted. “Then what’s the point?” she said.
The Coolpad Dyno has no party tricks. It failed to give kids any real incentive to use it, so she often forgot to wear it.
This is when I realized the Coolpad Dyno is made for parents, not kids. It has no party tricks and Coolpad failed to give kids any real incentive to use it. My daughter often forgot to wear it. I had to keep bugging her about always having it on her. Then she had to deal with things like the speakerphone volume, which wasn’t optimal. The only time she genuinely wanted to use it was when she asked me to set an alarm to wake her up early so she could watch some TV before going to school.
I pretty much had to bribe my daughter into using the Coolpad Dyno. After the convincing was over, the experience was glorious … for me. I set safe zones around her school and our home, so I always knew where she was. I once tried to contact her during lunch to ask her what she wanted for dinner. Since she was busy playing with her friends she declined my call, but then used messages and voice notes to ask what I needed. She completely ignored the step tracker, but it was a relief for me to see that she was getting her fair share of playground action.
The Coolpad Dyno is definitely a good buy if you can convince your kid to wear it. It offers peace of mind for worried parents, especially when kids begin to gain more independence.
Buy Coolpad Dyno