Is your son or daughter begging for a smartphone, but you’re not quite sure they’re ready for it yet? Would you like more peace of mind by being able to know where your child is at all times? LG and Verizon have teamed up to give you the perfect gadget in the Gizmo Gadget smartwatch.
While it is a long way from having the features that Apple provides, it gets the job done. The Gizmo Gadget is not a toy, it is an actual cell phone that you, the parent, control. Your child can only call and text numbers that you have inputted. You can also track their location and set up a geofence, so you can be alerted when they leave a certain area. You will receive a notification when the volume is changed, when the watch receives a call or one of several other status updates. The notifications can be managed through the Gizmo companion app which can be downloaded for free. It can also be used with multiple devices, which is great if you have more than one child.
As a phone, it works great. We found the speaker and microphone to work very well. It’s up to you to set up which numbers your child will be allowed to call or text. You can easily set this up in the free Gizmo companion app. Text messages can be sent and received only between the watch and a phone using the Gizmo app. When sent from the watch they can only consist of emoji, a brief audio message, or one of nine preset messages. These messages can be entered in the app and are limited to 30 characters. Audio recordings are limited to 20 seconds. There is also a fun feature where the child can record their message and then change their voice to Darth Vader or one of three other filters.
At any time you can simply tap the Search icon in the app and within 30 seconds you can see the watch’s exact current location. Incidentally, there is a small icon of two arrows that appears briefly on the watch to let your child know that you are checking in. When you set up a geofence, you will receive an alert whenever they enter or exit a specific area. You can set a specific time limit for each location, which is very helpful in order to conserve the battery. This feature can also tell you if they have started walking home from school, which is a great comfort.
There are a few other little apps included, such as a to-do list, compass, countdown timer, stopwatch, a voice changer, and a step counter which also has a feature for detecting jumps. There is also an app with “Fun Sounds,” which vary depending on which theme is chosen. There are five themes to choose from and you can mix and match for more variety. Although there are no games included, the cool factor should still impress your child depending on their age and how tech savvy they are.
The interface of the Gizmo Gadget is smooth and the 1.3″ color touchscreen works great. It is waterproof up to a depth of one meter as well, so no worries about wearing it in the rain or the occasional drop in the tub. The watch band is interchangeable and there are three colors to choose from (additional bands are $39 each). Incidentally, if the watch is removed from the band, Gizmo comes alive and asks to be re-attached. This is a cute little feature that may very well prevent it from being lost too easily. We should point out that although it is not too difficult to remove from the band, it would be nearly impossible for the Gizmo Gadget to fall out of the band on its own.
Standby battery life is about a week with up to two hours of constant use. You can easily recharge using the included USB cable. Last but not least, since this is a real phone you will be buying a two-year contract with Verizon along with your purchase. Thereafter, there is a $5 monthly charge for usage. Definitely cheaper than a standard phone plan, without the risk of your child “accidentally” running up a large bill.