Kids love gadgets as much as adults, maybe even more, so it’s no surprise the idea of having their own smartwatch gets kids excited. Choosing what watch to get for your child can be daunting with so many choices out there. Aside from wading through all the options, it’s also important to consider privacy, durability, and cost when looking at the choices. One watch that does a great job of these core features is the Coolpad Dyno. There are a lot of choices out there, so let us help you find the best kids smartwatch for your child.
Best Overall: Coolpad Dyno
While the brand Coolpad may not be all that familiar to you, its watch is one that should be considered when looking for an excellent smartwatch for your child. The Coolpad Dyno is not only a fun looking device, but it also has some great features to help keep you connected with your child and let them have some fun.
The Dyno can connect via Wi-Fi but also has a SIM card so that it can fully function as a phone. Coolpad has a companion app for the parent to add specific contacts that the child can both call and message. Your kid can either send messages by choosing one of the preset options which you can customize in the app, or by using the voice to text feature on the watch. Phone calls work as you would expect and can be made using the SIM card that connects to networks in the US and Canada. Also on the watch included is GPS, in which you can set up geofences so that you can be notified when the watch enters or leaves a predetermined area.
The watch has some fun watch faces that your child can swap between as well as two different colored straps in the box. There are some fitness tracking features as well that helps to incentivize being active. Something else that this watch has is excellent battery life, with nearly three days between charges. You’ll also get a notification when the battery is low should your child forget to charge it. While it’s not perfect, the Dyno is a fun device for kids and a great peace of mind for parents.
- Excellent safety features
- Great price
- Good battery life
- Lacks additional app integrations
- Limited customization options
- No keyboard for messaging
- $60 at Amazon
- $50 at B&H
Fun peace of mind
The Coolpad Dyno’s two-way contact and geofence tracking helps the child and parent feel at ease with a fun, durable watch.
Runner-up: GizmoWatch 2
The GizmoWatch 2 from Verizon is a great watch that gets a lot of things right. Starting with the style, it comes in two color options — blue or pink — and has a durable squarish plastic case. There are two buttons on the side to offer a few actions when pressed. One of them is if either button is pressed, the parent designated emergency contact is called.
The screen on the watch is vibrant and gets bright enough to be visible in most lighting conditions. Your child can select from seven different colorful themes to give their watch a bit of personality. There’s also a fun jumping game and step tracker for the kids to earn rewards from that you can set in the parent’s app.
From the parents’ side, through the GizmoHub which acts as the companion app, you can control nearly every aspect of your child’s watch. This is also where you get to set up who the watch can either call, be called, or message. There’s no camera, but your child can make standard phone calls, send preset messages, emojis, or voice messages.
The Gizmowatch 2 has built-in GPS, which can be used for locating the watch as well as setting up geofences. Doing so will send you a notification when the watch leaves the designated area. Your child can manually ping you their location from the watch, or you can always check-in from the app.
While a lot is going for the watch, it does have its downfalls. Verizon Wireless has great coverage for a lot of people and will work fine. But if you don’t get good Verizon coverage — too bad because you can’t use any other carrier. The other main feature lacking from the GizmoWatch 2 is Wi-Fi. The addition of this feature would help in low cellular connectivity.
If you are in an area with good Verizon coverage and don’t mind that you can only use that carrier, the GizmoWatch 2 is a great smartwatch for kids that offers fun features for them and safety features you want.
- Good call quality
- Watch software is easy to use
- Great safety features
- Missing a Do Not Disturb mode
- Locked to Verizon
- No Wi-Fi
- $100 at Verizon
Safety and communication in one
Many of the same features as the winner, only locked to Verizon. Geofencing, parental controls and more make this a great option.
Best with a Camera: TickTalk 3
TickTalk 3 is another watch with a ton of features for parents and kids alike. Much like the Coolpad Dyno, this watch comes with a SIM card — operating on T-Mobile or AT&T networks — and Wi-Fi for connectivity. You get the ability to connect to your child with voice, text, emojis, and photos.
This watch has the addition of a front-facing camera so that you and your child can exchange photos and even video chat — with all of the communication happening within the dedicated watch/phone app. There is an option to turn on a full phone dialer for the watch, but you also can set up a firewall in the app so that only certain contacts can make calls and send messages to the watch.
The TickTalk 3 watch also gets route tracking. This allows you to see where your child has been and their traveled path. There is also a “Do Not Disturb” option to keep all notifications off to save from the child getting distracted. A unique feature for the watch is that there’s the ability to set reminders for your child with 60 preset options to help your kid stay on task. The watch comes in a couple of different colors with interchangeable velcro straps to help you customize along with a variety of watch faces.
- Video, text, and voice messaging
- IP67 Water resistance
- Reminders and DND mode
- Only about 1-day battery life
- The software can be a little wonky
- A bit on the chunky side
Best with a Camera
- $160 at Amazon
- $160 at TickTalk
See, hear, and text your way to peace of mind
Bulkier and more pricey than the winner, the TickTalk 3 has some features like a camera that may be worth the trade-offs for you.
Best Fitness Band: Garmin Vivofit Jr 3
Garmin makes some of the most impressive fitness smartwatches on the market today, and not to live the kids out of the fun, Garmin has the Vivofit Jr line of fitness bands. The newest in that family is the Vivofit Jr 3, and it has some great features for the little ones.
In an effort to encourage kids to be more active, the band can join in with the rest of the family that is using Garmin fitness products in friendly challenges. There’s even the ability to sync with nearby friends for a bit of fun competition as well. By getting at least 60 minutes of activity in a day, your child can earn points that translate into turns in a fun game that’s in the companion app on your phone.
The game is themed to match the fitness band itself, which comes in Marvel’s Black Panther or Iron Man, Disney Princesses or Little Mermaid, and some Garmin designs of Digi Camo, Lilac Floral, or Blue Stars. The device’s battery lasts up to a year and is replaceable, so you never have to charge it. You can also set reminders on the Vivofit Jr 3 for your child to earn digital coins to redeem for rewards that you set within your companion app.
The Vivofit Jr 3 is water-resistant to 5 ATM, tracks steps, and can track sleep automatically. While this device may not have the full gamut of features found in the Coolpad Dyno or TickTalk 3, it is still a fun way for your child to get active and be responsible.
- Doesn’t need recharging with 1+ year battery life
- 5 ATM Water resistance
- Activity challenges, sleep tracking, and task reminders
- Adjustable band fits small wrists well
- No GPS geofencing
- No Communication options
- The screen is very small
Best Fitness Band
Garmin Vivofit Jr 3
- $60 at Target
Time to move!
The Garmin Vivofit Jr 3 encourages activity with fun games and competition with friends and family.
Best Toy Smartwatch: VTech Kidizoom DX2
Instead of a tool for connecting to a smartphone, VTech created an experience that is mostly toy but partially useful. Amid all the games and onboard camera tricks, you’ll find a functional calendar for appointments, a voice memo app, and several other tools that work well with the smartwatch aesthetic. This is a great way to get kids thinking about using technology for more than entertainment without completely pulling them away from the shiny world of fun things.
Smartwatches are already luxury accessories, and for kids, they become little more than toys. VTech’s smartwatch for kids has a few games but also lets them take photos from their wrist and have some fun with the photos. It’s a fun way for a kid to emulate their smartwatch-wearing parent without needing to be tethered to a smartphone, and it includes some tools that could be useful. Calendar access, for example, gives you a teaching opportunity. Calculator apps let children explore math on their own. There’s plenty of fun to be had here. Still, the need to regularly charge the watch to use it and the availability of actually useful apps could become tools for teaching children how to care for their hardware and use it properly.
- Long battery life
- Entertaining games and watch faces
- Includes a pedometer
- No wireless connectivity
- Getting pictures off of the watch can be tedious
- Charges over micro USB
Best Toy Smartwatch
VTech Kidizoom DX2
- From $44 at Amazon
- $44 at Best Buy
- From $44 at Walmart
The VTech Kidizoom DX2 doesn’t have connectivity, but there’s plenty of fun and learning with games, step tracking, and a camera.
If you are looking for a watch your child will enjoy using that will also give you some peace of mind, then you can’t go wrong with the Coolpad Dyno. It is a well-built piece of technology that only looks nice but has some wonderful features. Since it has a SIM card in addition to Wi-Fi connectivity, you and your child will be able to communicate as needed. You will also have the added benefit of creating GPS geofence areas to alert you when your child enters and exits. While the device isn’t cheap, it is a great all-in-one communication device for your child that will be much harder to lose than a phone.
There could be some refinements such as it would be helpful if there was a keyboard on the watch, though tiny, it would be helpful in situations where the canned responses weren’t enough, and voice dictation is inappropriate. The software could use some cleaning up, but it gets the basics right. The Coolpad Dyno still gets so much right. So, whether you want to be able to ensure your child is where they should be as well as be able to talk to them, there are options for that. If all you want is to introduce your child to some wearable tech, then there’s that too.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Chris Wedel is a fan of all things tech and gadgets. Living in rural Kansas with his wife and two young boys makes finding ways to get and stay online tricky. By utilizing his years of experience with the tech and mobile communications industries — success is assured. When not conquering connectivity challenges and testing new gadgets, Chris enjoys cruising a gravel road in his UTV with some good tunes
Russell Holly is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He’s a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1 and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.