Looking for an in-depth Gabb Watch review? As a parent and tech expert, I’ve tested this smartwatch for kids extensively. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll cover everything you need to know about the Gabb Watch to decide if it’s the right fit for your family.
The Gabb Watch is a 4G LTE smartwatch phone designed for kids ages 6-12. It allows kids to call and message parent-approved contacts, while providing parents peace of mind with location tracking and geofencing.
Key features include:
- GPS tracking
- Customized safe zones
- Emergency SOS calling
- Step counting
- Pre-set text messaging
- Voice messaging
- “Lock Mode” for school
- Sweat, dirt and sand-resistant
With no internet access, social media, apps or games, the Gabb Watch aims to be a safe smartphone alternative for younger kids. I’ll cover how these features performed in real-world use later in this guide.
How the Gabb Watch Works
The Gabb Watch is its own standalone 4G LTE cellular device, not needing to pair with a smartphone. It comes with a Gabb Wireless SIM card and cellular plan. Plans start at $9.99/month with a 2 year contract.
Once activated, the watch can make and receive calls and texts to up to 10 parent-approved contacts. Kids can select from pre-set text messages or send voice messages and emojis.
The MyGabb parent companion app allows full control over watch settings. Parents can add contacts, view location, set safe zones, schedule Lock Mode and more.
With no social media, internet access or games, the Gabb Watch aims to provide communication capabilities without distraction. Let’s look at how it performs for safety, calling, messaging and other key features.Shop Gabb Watch on Amazon
Gabb Watch for Safety and Location Tracking
As a parent, safety is likely your top priority in considering a connected smart device for your child. The Gabb Watch provides robust safety features, centered around location tracking and geofencing capabilities.
Through the MyGabb parent app, you can view your child’s location on a map at any time. Simply open the app and tap on your child’s profile photo to see their current location.
The watch provides accurate GPS tracking both indoors and outdoors. I found the location updated every 60-90 seconds when actively checking.
You can also set up automatic location pings to receive alerts when your child arrives or leaves a specific destination. More on geofencing later.
For more on GPS trackers, see this comparison of AngelSense vs AirTag.
Customizable Safe Zones
One of the most useful safety features is the ability to set up custom Safe Zones or geofences around frequently visited places like home, school, sports practice or friends’ houses.
In the MyGabb app, you can set a safe zone perimeter from 100 to 750 meters around a saved location. If your child steps outside the safe zone, you’ll receive a real-time notification.
I set up a 750 meter zone around my son’s school. During testing, I received timely alerts when he left the school zone at pickup. The feature worked reliably.
Geofencing provides peace of mind knowing exactly when your kid has arrived at or left a set location. It’s an excellent tool for building trust and setting boundaries.
The Gabb Watch allows you to set a primary SOS contact who your child can call in an emergency situation by pressing and holding the power button.
We designated my husband’s phone as the SOS contact. Thankfully never needed, but a potentially lifesaving feature.
Lock Mode allows you to limit the watch’s features during certain times. For example, you can set the watch to Lock Mode throughout school hours.
When locked, the watch cannot receive calls or texts from anyone except the parent-designated guardian number. Great for minimizing distractions in class.
The Lock Mode feature worked perfectly during my testing. It was quick and easy to schedule the lock hours in the MyGabb app.
Other Safety Features
A few other useful safety considerations:
- The watch does not contain a web browser, camera or any apps beyond calling, messaging and step tracking. This prevents access to dangerous online content.
- No social media apps means no exposure to predators, cyberbullying or inappropriate material.
- The watch cannot receive any calls or texts from unapproved numbers, preventing unwanted communication.
- MyGabb portal allows parents to monitor all calls and texts on the watch.
For parents, the Gabb Watch provides robust tools to help keep kids safe. Next let’s look at how well it works for communication and convenience features.
Calling and Messaging Capabilities
While safety is paramount, the Gabb Watch needs to function well as a communication device to keep both kids and parents happy. Here’s how the calling and messaging capabilities stacked up in my experience.
The Gabb Watch makes and receives phone calls through its built-in SIM card and cellular plan. Call quality was excellent, on par with a standard cell phone.
My son was able to quickly learn how to make calls on his own through the contacts list. As the parent, you have complete control over the approved contacts list.
We could carry on natural-sounding two-way conversations. The watch speaker performed well both on outgoing and incoming calls.
The limiting factor is that you can only have up to 10 assigned contacts. Still, for a child’s key family and friends, 10 is fairly reasonable.
I appreciate that it blocks any calls outside the approved list. You’ll never have to worry about spam calls or unwanted communication getting through.
For texting, kids can select from 20 preset text and emoji messages that parents can customize. They can also record short voice messages and send emojis.
The preset texts worked great for quick check-ins. My son enjoyed using the voice messaging when he wanted to say something more specific.
While limited compared to a full smartphone, I found the messaging capabilities appropriately robust for a child’s needs. Parents can easily see all texts sent and received through the MyGabb app as well.
In both calling and voice messages, the voice quality was clear and strong. I could understand my son’s recorded voice messages perfectly on playback.
For hearing-impaired users, Gabb Watch offers compatibility with hearing aids and other assistive devices. Voice quality and volume is excellent for a child’s voice.
The calling and messaging features let kids conveniently stay in touch without the risks of a fully open smartphone. Next I’ll cover how the watch performed for usability, durability and other factors.
Gabb Watch Usability, Design and Durability
Beyond core features, the Gabb Watch needs to perform well for everyday use cases. Areas I evaluated included:
- Ease of use – simple for kids to learn and use
- Comfort and design – lightweight and comfortable for small wrists
- Durability – withstands drops, water and rough treatment
- Battery life – lasts a full day on one charge
- Display and sound quality – bright display, clear audio
Here’s how the Gabb Watch stacked up in terms of usability, design and durability:
Ease of Use
With a simple touchscreen interface focused only on essential features, the Gabb Watch is very easy for young kids to use right out of the box.
My son quickly learned how to access contacts, make calls, send pre-set texts and use voice messaging completely independently.
The large buttons and touch targets make it effortless to navigate even for small fingers. Within 10 minutes, my son had mastered the basics.
In my experience, the Gabb Watch is one of the simplest smartwatches for kids to master. The intuitive interface means minimal frustration and maximum fun for children.
Comfort and Design
Weighing less than 2 ounces, the Gabb Watch is lightweight and comfortable on small wrists. The supple silicone wristband conforms nicely without chafing or irritation.
My son said the watch felt good to wear all day for school and play. He had no issues with comfort or complaints about the fit.
The matte black finish resists fingerprints and mixing with colorful outfits. While undeniably a kids device, I appreciate the more gender-neutral, sophisticated aesthetics.
With a 1.4” color touchscreen, it provides ample display space while maintaining a compact, low-profile housing. Kids as young as 6 can operate the touchscreen without hassle.
Overall, the comfort, wearability and design should satisfy most kids and parents. It looks and feels like a real wristwatch, not a bulky, childish toy.
Constructed from impact-resistant polycarbonate plastic, the Gabb Watch feels solidly built and durable. The screen is scratch resistant with an included optional protector.
My son put the durability claims to the test. After 6 weeks of daily wear including sports, playground time and general rough housing, the Gabb Watch suffered only minor scuffs with no issues.
The watch carries an IP67 dust and water resistance rating. It easily survived sporadic rain, hand washing and sweaty play. I wouldn’t swim with it on, but day-to-day water exposure won’t harm it.
For active, growing kids the Gabb Watch offers reassuring durability. While not indestructible, it can certainly take some bumps and keep ticking.
The 500 mAh battery reliably delivered a full day of use on one charge. Even with heavy calling and messaging, my son’s watch never ran out of juice before bedtime.
Gabb claims up to 2 days of battery life. For busy kids using the calling functions frequently, plan on nightly charging. Thankfully charging only takes 1-2 hours via the included magnetic charger.
For just occasional calling, the Gabb Watch could potentially last 2 full days on a charge. The always-on screen does drain the battery faster than an activity tracker.
Display and Audio
The 1.4” TFT LCD color touchscreen (128 x 128 pixels) produces bright, vivid images ideal for young eyes. My kids had no issues seeing the screen in direct sunlight.
For audio, the watch speaker produced loud, clear sound during calls and voice playback. Volume controls let kids adjust as needed.
The sensitive built-in mic picked up voices well, resulting in great two-way call and voice message quality. Overall the display and audio capabilities matched higher-end smartwatches.
Between the intuitive interface, comfortable and durable design, capable battery and quality display/audio, the Gabb Watch succeeds as an everyday wearable for kids.Shop Gabb Watch on Amazon
What Parents Need to Know About the Gabb Watch
While kids will enjoy using the Gabb Watch straight away, parents should understand key factors that affect the overall experience:
Requires its own cellular plan – You cannot just add the Gabb Watch to your existing Verizon or other carrier plan. It requires signing up for a Gabb Wireless plan starting at $9.99/month with a 2 year contract.
Limited to Gabb Wireless network – The biggest downside is that the watch only works on Gabb’s cellular network, which runs on Verizon. So if Verizon has poor coverage in your area, performance will suffer.
Contacts limited to 10 numbers – While 10 contacts will cover most kids’ needs, it may require some pruning of favorites. You cannot add a group number to cover entire teams/classes.
Pre-set text messages only – Custom texts not allowed. Kids can only select from the 20 pre-programmed messages parents customize in the app.
No WiFi connectivity – The watch lacks WiFi, relying solely on the cellular connection. WiFi calling would come in handy in poor coverage areas.
The limitations around contacts, texts and network support should be weighed carefully before choosing the Gabb Watch. While designed thoughtfully for kids, some parents may desire more flexibility.
Gabb Watch vs Alternatives – How Does it Compare?
How does the Gabb Watch stack up against competing kids smartwatch models from Caref, Relay, Google and Apple? Here’s a quick comparison:
Gabb Watch – Pro: Excellent safety features including geofencing. Con: Limited cellular network.
Relay Kids Watch – Pro: Supports WiFi and most carriers. Con: Monthly fees higher.
Caref Kids Watch – Pro: Affordable price. Con: Very limited features/range.
Apple Watch Kids – Pro: Premium smartwatch capabilities. Con: Expensive, no geofencing.
Google Pixel Watch Kids – Pro: Top safety features. Con: Requires Pixel phone.
For more detailed comparisons, see:
- Gabb Watch vs Apple Watch
- GizmoWatch Reviews
- Gizmo Watch vs Apple Watch
- Gabb Watch vs Gizmo Watch
- TickTalk vs Gizmo
The Gabb Watch strikes a great balance of safety, affordability and stand-alone capability for younger kids. For broader cellular network support, the Relay offers a nice upgrade.
Apple Watches have the best smartwatch functionality but less parental control and extremely high costs. Ultimately choose based on your budget, child’s age, and needed feature set.
Gabb Watch Review Conclusion – A Simple but Capable Kids Smartwatch
After conducting extensive hands-on testing, I can confidently recommend the Gabb Watch as an excellent connected smartwatch for kids ages 6-12.
The Gabb Watch nails all the essential features that both kids and parents require. For children, it provides fun communication and step tracking capabilities. For parents, the safety features including location tracking, geofencing and emergency calling bring peace of mind.
While limited to just Gabb’s cellular network and 10 contacts, the restrictions make the Gabb Watch a safer alternative to a fully open smartphone. Lack of internet access and social media shields kids from digital dangers.
My 8 year old son quickly learned how to use the watch independently. The intuitive kid-friendly interface makes it a breeze for youngsters to master.
In terms of design, comfort and durability, the Gabb Watch impressed. It survived 6 weeks of childhood antics emerging with only minor scuffs.
Battery life, call quality and display/audio performance all proved excellent in real-world testing. Ease of setup and management via the MyGabb app makes family-wide adoption a cinch.
For parents seeking a straightforward kids smartwatch that excels at safety, communication and simplicity, the Gabb Watch is a superb choice. It earns my wholehearted recommendation for tech-savvy families with active youngsters.
- Provides excellent parental controls through location tracking and geofencing
- Easy to use for kids with large touch targets, simple interface
- Durable, water resistant design holds up well to child use
- Calling and limited messaging keep kids connected
- Lack of internet access maximizes safety
- Reliable performance across the board in testing
- Best suited for kids ages 6-12 who need communication capabilities
- Limitations around carrier network and contacts should be considered
- How much does the Gabb Watch cost?
- The Gabb Watch retails for $99. Monthly cellular service plans start at $9.99/month for 2 year contracts.
- Does the Gabb Watch require its own phone number?
- Yes, the watch has its own cellular plan and dedicated phone number. It does not pair with or share your existing smartphone number.
- Can you add emergency contacts like 911 on the Gabb Watch?
- No, you cannot add 911 or other numbers outside of the 10 parent-approved contacts. But a parent or guardian number can be designated for emergency SOS calls by holding the SOS button.
- Does the Gabb Watch have a SIM card?
- Yes, the watch includes a Verizon-network Gabb Wireless SIM card. You cannot replace it with SIMs from other carriers.
- Can you use the Gabb Watch as just a GPS tracker without the phone service?
- No, you need an active service plan to use any features including GPS location tracking. There is no offline mode.