As a parent, you want to keep your child safe and connected, but you may not be ready to hand over a smartphone. A kids’ smartwatch can be a good alternative, allowing you to track their location and communicate while limiting internet access and apps. Two popular options are the GizmoWatch and Apple Watch. This guide will compare their key features, pros and cons to help you decide which is best for your family.
As smartphones become ubiquitous, many parents are hesitant to hand one over to a child but recognize the benefits of an internet-connected device. Kids’ smartwatches offer a middle ground – allowing communication and tracking without unfettered internet access.
Two popular options for kids are the GizmoWatch and the Apple Watch. GizmoWatches are designed specifically for children, while the Apple Watch has adult-focused features but can be set up for family use with AirTags for elderly.
This comprehensive guide will compare the key features, pros and cons of GizmoWatches versus Apple Watches to help you determine which smartwatch for kids fits your family’s needs and budget.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Kids’ Smartwatch
There are several factors to weigh when deciding between a GizmoWatch or Apple Watch for your child:
GizmoWatches range from $100-$180, with no additional fees beyond the monthly cell service plan. The latest Apple Watch SE model starts at $249 plus monthly fees for cell service. So GizmoWatches are the more budget-friendly option.
Both offer parental controls, location tracking and emergency contacts. GizmoWatches limit communication to approved contacts only. Apple Watches allow more open communication, so parental oversight is key.
GizmoWatches allow calling and texting approved contacts only. Apple Watches enable messaging with any of your child’s contacts, which could be pro or con depending on your preferences.
Durability and Water Resistance
GizmoWatch models are durable with basic water resistance while Apple Watch SE boasts swim-proof water resistance up to 50 meters. So Apple may better withstand rough play.
GizmoWatches have built-in games and limited app capabilities. The Apple Watch grants access to download any apps, so monitoring use is important.
Ease of Use
GizmoWatches designed a simple interface for kids, while Apple Watch capabilities require more digital literacy. So Gizmos are better for younger kids.
Below we’ll explore the features and capabilities of each in more depth.
GizmoWatch Overview and Features
Verizon offers four GizmoWatch smartwatch models designed specifically with kids in mind:
- GizmoWatch – $99.99
- GizmoWatch 2 – $149.99
- GizmoWatch Disney – $169.99
- GizmoWatch Marvel – $169.99
The most affordable GizmoWatch does not have GPS tracking capabilities. The GizmoWatch 2 and character watches do provide GPS tracking and real-time location monitoring via the GizmoHub app for parents.
Here are some key features of the GizmoWatch models:
Price: Ranges from $99.99-$169.99, plus $10/month for cell service plan
Parental Controls: GizmoHub app allows parents to approve contacts, set boundaries, enable school mode, monitor activity
Communication: Allows calling and texting with up to 20 parent-approved contacts only
Entertainment/Apps: Includes preset games like TicTacToe; additional app downloads not available. For limited app capabilities, see Pawscout smart tag review.
Ease of Use: Simple, intuitive interface designed for young kids
Durability: Durable, scratch-resistant screen; water resistance up to 1 meter for 30 minutes
Warranty: 1 year limited warranty
GizmoWatches aim to provide core safety communication features in an easy-to-use design made for kids. With limited entertainment options and water resistance, they may not withstand quite as much active play as the Apple Watch. But the affordable price point and approachable interface make it a good choice for younger kids.
Apple Watch Overview and Features
The Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Series 7 and 8 models can be set up for family use to provide kids core smartwatch functions along with access to Apple’s full app ecosystem.
Here are some key features to understand:
Price: Apple Watch SE starts at $249 + cellular plan fees; Series 8 starts at $399 + fees
Parental Controls: Apps like Screentime and Location Sharing enable activity monitoring, content filtering, and contact management
Communication: Can call, text, email and use other communication apps with any contacts. For an alternative, see AngelSense GPS tracker review.
Entertainment/Apps: Access full App Store catalog of games, music, videos and more. See Fi dog collar review for app example.
Ease of Use: More complex interface less intuitive for young kids to navigate alone
Durability: Swimproof with water resistance up to 50 meters.
Warranty: 1 year limited warranty
With prices starting at $249, an Apple Watch is a pricier investment but provides far more capabilities as your child gets older. The lack of communication restrictions means you’ll need to closely manage your child’s contacts and app usage. But its durability, open app ecosystem and modern design make it appealing for tweens and teens.
GizmoWatch vs. Apple Watch Comparison
Here’s a head-to-head comparison of some key factors when choosing between the GizmoWatch and Apple Watch for your kid:
|Geo-fencing, emergency calls
|Location sharing, emergency calls
|Approve contacts only
|Any of child’s contacts
|Water resistant to 1m
|Swimproof to 50m
|Built-in games only
|Full App Store access
|Ease of Use
|Simple kids interface
|Complex, small icons
Pros of GizmoWatch:
- More affordable price point
- Easy for young kids to use independently
- Tighter parental controls over communication and content
Cons of GizmoWatch:
- Less durable than Apple Watch
- Very limited app capabilities
Pros of Apple Watch:
- Highly durable, swim-proof design
- Huge app and entertainment selection
- Can be managed via Family Sharing into teen years
Cons of Apple Watch:
- Expensive purchase price
- Complex interface for younger kids
- Open communication and content requires oversight
Which is Better for Your Child?
For younger kids (approximately 4-10 years old), a GizmoWatch is likely the better choice. The inexpensive price, basic water resistance, and simple interface designed for kids makes it a good first smartwatch. Limited communications and entertainment also means less oversight needed.
For tweens and teens (approximately 10 years and up), the Apple Watch provides far more capabilities – like swim tracking and an open app ecosystem – that appeal to older kids. But parents will need to actively manage contacts, apps and usage through Family Sharing settings. The higher price tag also makes it more of an investment.
Look at your child’s age, need for communication versus just entertainment, responsibility level, and your budget to determine which balance of features fits your family best.
If you want strong parental guardrails, limited communications and a basic durable design for under $200, go with a GizmoWatch. If you want to splurge on a highly durable, full-featured mini-computer with monitoring through Family Sharing of AirTags, choose an Apple Watch.
Frequently Asked Questions
At what age can kids have a smartwatch?
There is no set recommended age, as every child matures differently. Many experts suggest around age 10 as an average starting point, but assessing your specific child’s responsibility and need for connectivity is more important than age.
Can a kid use an Apple Watch without an iPhone?
Yes, as of Apple Watch Series 4 and later, the watches include cellular connectivity allowing use without pairing to an iPhone. Parents still need an iPhone to set up Family Sharing and manage the watch remotely, however.
Do I need a cell plan for a kids smartwatch?
For a basic smartwatch with limited functions, you may not need a cell plan. But if you want location tracking, calling and advanced communication features you will need wireless service – either added to your existing cell plan or through the watch provider.
Can I monitor texts on a kids smartwatch?
Many smartwatches for kids allow parents to view contacts and texts for safety. Check capabilities for any device you are considering to see what communication you can monitor. For monitoring capability examples, see finding hidden AirTags.
How durable are kids smartwatches?
Durability varies widely. Basic models may only be splash or rain resistant, while advanced options like the Apple Watch have swim-proofing. Assess your child’s habits and buy the highest water and scratch resistance you can afford.
The Bottom Line
Kids’ smartwatches allow parents to keep connected with children while limiting risks and distractions of full smartphones. Both GizmoWatches and Apple Watches have parental controls for safety and communication options to stay in touch throughout the day.
GizmoWatches start under $100, making them the budget buy with simplified apps and interfaces ideal for younger kids. Apple Watches start at $249 but equip tweens and teens for the future with expansive apps and advanced features.
Analyze your child’s age, responsibility, and needs to decide if a basic GizmoWatch or advanced Apple Watch is the right fit. Both keep kids safer and more connected – Apple Watches simply have greater capabilities to grow with your child over time.