Gabb Watch vs Apple Watch: An In-Depth Comparison for Parents

February 25, 2024

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Choosing the right smartwatch for your child can be a challenging decision. The two most popular options for kids are the Gabb Watch and Apple Watch.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll compare the key factors to consider when deciding between Gabb Watch vs Apple Watch for your child.

Overview of the Gabb Watch and Apple Watch

The Gabb Watch is designed specifically as a smartwatch phone for kids, with parental controls and limited functionality. It allows calling, messaging, and location tracking within a controlled environment.

Gabb Watch 3
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The Apple Watch offers full smartwatch capabilities. With Family Setup mode, parents can manage settings and restrictions. As kids grow older, it transitions into a traditional Apple Watch.

Apple Watch
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Target Age Range

  • The Gabb Watch is best for younger kids, approximately ages 5-12. Its simple interface and limited features cater to young children.
  • The Apple Watch works for older kids and teens who want a more versatile smartwatch. Around middle school age is ideal for utilizing its capabilities.

Design and Durability

  • The Gabb Watch has a plastic body with changeable silicone bands. Its rugged design withstands drops and the wear and tear of active kids.
  • The Apple Watch uses premium materials like aluminum, steel or titanium. Interchangeable bands allow customization. It’s less durable than the Gabb.
  • The Gabb Watch is splash-proof, while the Apple Watch is fully swimproof.
Apple Watch Water Resistance
Apple Watch

Features and Functionality

  • The Gabb Watch offers basic features including calling, messaging presets, alarms, stopwatch, calculator and activity tracking.
Gabb Watch Call
Gabb Watch
  • The Apple Watch provides the full capabilities of a smartphone on your wrist, like apps, music, payments, voice assistant, activity tracking and more.
Apple Watch Features
Apple Watch
  • The Gabb Watch’s simple interface is easy for young kids to navigate. The Apple Watch provides greater versatility but may have a learning curve.

Parental Controls and Safety

  • The Gabb Watch gives parents total control over contacts and settings. It lacks open internet access that could expose kids to risks.
  • The Apple Watch enables parental restrictions through Family Setup. As kids mature, controls can be lifted for greater independence.
Apple Watch Family Setup
Apple Watch
  • Both watches allow location tracking, geofencing and emergency SOS capabilities for peace of mind.

Location Tracking

  • The Gabb Watch uses cell tower triangulation, WiFi and GPS for location tracking. Accuracy can vary in remote areas.
  • The Apple Watch uses precise GPS and cellular data for accurate real-time location tracking, even without a phone nearby.
Apple Watch Location Tracking
Apple Watch

Messaging and Communication

  • The Gabb Watch allows messaging with parent-approved contacts only. Kids can send pre-set text messages or voice notes.
  • The Apple Watch lets kids message anyone in the parent’s contacts. Teens can use free form messaging via text, email or voice.
Apple Watch Messaging
Apple Watch
  • Both watches enable emergency calls and messaging if needed.

Battery Life

  • The Gabb Watch lasts 1-2 days on average, for extended use without frequent charging.
  • The Apple Watch runs for 18-24 hours on a charge. Daily charging is needed for full-time use.

Apps and Games

  • The Gabb Watch has no app store. A few pre-installed games teach responsibility through achievement rewards.
  • The Apple Watch provides access to age-appropriate games and education apps from the vast App Store catalog.
Apple Watch Apps
Apple Watch

Price and Plans

  • The Gabb Watch costs $99-$150 for the device. Cellular service plans cost an additional $10-$15 monthly.
  • The Apple Watch ranges from $199-$349 for the device itself. Cellular service plans vary by carrier but average $10 monthly.

Key Takeaways

  • The Gabb Watch is designed for younger kids with its simple interface, durability, and parental controls.
  • The Apple Watch offers greater versatility, fuller smartwatch capabilities, and independence as kids grow.
  • Consider your child’s age, maturity and interests when choosing the right device.

For more on how the Gabb Watch compares to other kids’ smartwatches, see these comparisons:

For other devices to keep track of kids, check out:

FAQs about Gabb Watch vs Apple Watch

What age is appropriate for an Apple Watch?

The Apple Watch is ideal for ages 12 and up. Kids should be mature enough to navigate the advanced interface and responsibly use its open access features.

Can I add contacts to my child’s Gabb Watch?

Yes, parents can approve specific contacts that their child is permitted to communicate with on the Gabb Watch.

Do I need an iPhone for my child’s Apple Watch?

No, Family Setup allows using an Apple Watch independently without pairing it to a parent’s iPhone.

Can I remove features from the Apple Watch as my child gets older?

Yes, parents have full control over the Apple Watch restrictions and can adjust permissions accordingly.

How accurate is the Gabb Watch’s location tracking compared to the Apple Watch?

The Apple Watch provides more precise real-time GPS tracking. The Gabb Watch relies on cell tower proximity so location can be approximate.

Is the Gabb Watch durable and waterproof?

The Gabb Watch is splash-proof and its silicone band and plastic body can withstand normal wear and tear. The Apple Watch has higher water resistance but scratches more easily.

Can I add extra apps to the Gabb Watch?

No, the Gabb Watch does not have access to downloadable apps. A few basic pre-installed games reward responsibility.

Which is safer in terms of internet access for younger kids?

The Gabb Watch is likely the safer choice for younger kids due to its lack of internet connectivity and strict parental controls.

How do I set up Family Setup on the Apple Watch?

To activate Family Setup, pair your child’s Apple Watch with your iPhone during initial setup. Then enable parental restrictions under the Family Setup menu.

Final Thoughts

The Gabb Watch and Apple Watch each have their pros and cons for kids. Assess your child’s age, interests and your family’s needs when deciding the right fit. The Gabb Watch provides a controlled experience for younger kids, while the Apple Watch transitions into a fully capable smartwatch for teens.

Whichever you choose, set clear guidelines with your child on usage expectations. With proper parental oversight, a smartwatch can provide both independence and peace of mind.