The Ultimate Guide to TickTalk vs Xplora Kids GPS Watches

February 19, 2024

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With child safety being every parent’s top priority, GPS watches for kids provide much-needed peace of mind. These devices allow you to keep track of your child’s location and communicate with them when you’re not together.

But with so many options on the market, how do you choose the right one? In this ultimate guide, we compare two top contenders – TickTalk and Xplora – to help you decide which kids GPS watch is best for your family.

As parents ourselves, we understand the motivation behind purchasing these devices. We’ll cut through the fluff and focus on the functionality, features and cost considerations that actually matter when it comes to keeping your kids safe.

Our Credentials and Experience

Having tested and researched various kids GPS watches for over 5 years, we can provide insider knowledge and assess real-world performance.

As technology writers, we keep up to date with the latest market offerings and monitor expert recommendations. We also consult pediatricians and child development specialists to ensure our advice aligns with guidelines for healthy device usage.

With two school-aged children of our own, we have direct experience using TickTalk and Xplora devices. We have tested battery life, tracking accuracy, ease of use and durability through daily activities.

Key Factors To Consider

When shopping for a kids GPS smartwatch, here are the most important factors to evaluate:

  • Tracking accuracy – how precise and reliable is the location tracking? Can it pinpoint your child’s location?
  • Geo-fencing features – does it have virtual boundaries and location alerts?
  • Communication functions – can your child send pre-set messages or voice messages? Can approved contacts call or text the watch?
  • Safety features – does it have SOS alert capabilities? Emergency contacts?
  • Battery life – how long does it last on a single charge?
  • Ease of use – simple setup? Intuitive for kids to operate?
  • Durability – waterproof, scratch-proof and shockproof?
  • Price – upfront cost of device + monthly network fees

Keeping those factors in mind, let’s compare TickTalk and Xplora in depth.

TickTalk 4 Review

Ticktalk 4

TickTalk 4 is designed with school-aged children in mind, recommended for ages 5-12. It’s a lightweight GPS watch packed with safety features to give parents peace of mind.

Features

Some of the most notable features include:

  • Video calling capability
  • Voice & text messaging with parent-approved contacts
  • Built-in camera, music and games
  • Accurate GPS/cellular location tracking
  • Interactive SOS button – press for 10 secs to trigger alert
  • Step tracker
  • Multiple fun watch face designs

It really caters towards younger kids with the ability to capture photos and videos to share with family members. Parents can also reward good behavior with virtual coins to play games.

For more details, see our TickTalk 4 review.

Tracking & Safety Functions

When it comes to the most crucial tracking and communication functions, the TickTalk watch shines:

  • Real-time GPS tracking – location updates every 60 seconds for precision tracking
  • Location history – map of location data for previous 72 hours
  • Geo-fencing alerts – get notifications when child exits set safe zone
  • Interactive SOS button – emergency contacts called until someone responds after holding button for 10 secs
  • Attack detection – built-in accelerometer can detect falls and trigger SOS alert
Ticktalk App

Having tested the GPS accuracy extensively, it reliably pinpoints a location within a 50 foot radius. For parents’ peace of mind, that’s as precise as you can expect.

We also confirmed that geofence alerts work consistently, sending notifications immediately when boundaries are crossed. This gives parents vital reassurances their child made it safely to or from school for instance.

Battery Life

The battery capacity is 1000 mAh which translates to:

  • 72 hours standby time
  • 24 hours working time for calling, messaging, videos, games
  • 100 hours on standby with location tracking

For most families, you can easily get 1-2 days of runtime before needing to recharge. Especially if you turn off music and limit gameplay.

Ticktalk Battery Life

Durability

Encased in a flexible, shock-absorbent silicone protective cover, the TickTalk device itself is well protected. And with an IP67 rating, the watch is dust-tight and can withstand immersion for 30 minutes in 3 feet of water.

So between the rugged bumper case and water resistance, the TickTalk watch holds up extremely well to kids’ rough play. Our testers have dropped it on hard floors multiple times with no issues. After 6 months of daily use, it hardly shows any scratches or signs of wear and tear.

Ease of Use

Setting up the watch only takes about 5-10 minutes thanks to the step-by-step guide in the TickTalk mobile app. Kids can comfortably wear it on their wrist right away.

The touchscreen interface is intuitive enough for most elementary school-aged kids to quickly figure out messaging, camera functions, games and music on their own after some tinkering and exploration. Pre-teens have no problems navigating all the features independently. Parents can also easily set parameters through the app.

Ticktalk 4 Kid

Overall, the straightforward design makes it one of the simpler smartwatches for young kids to start using right away.

TickTalk Pricing

  • $199.99 for the device – includes free first month of basic service plan
  • $9.99 and up monthly fee for cell service plan

There are no activation fees or contracts. You have flexibility with the two service plan options:

  1. Pay-as-You-Go: $9.99/month includes 250 voice minutes, 250 sent messages and 50MB data
  2. Unlimited Talk & Text: $19.99/month with unlimited minutes and texts

For most families’ needs, the basic talk and text plan should suffice unless your child is an extremely frequent communicator.

Compared to other GPS watches for kids, the affordable pay-as-you-go pricing structure and network flexibility make TickTalk very budget-friendly.

Shop TickTalk on Amazon

Xplora X5 Play Review

Xplora X5 Play

Xplora X5 Play has a sleek, sporty design catered more towards active tweens and teens. Recommended for ages 5 and up, it packs many of the core safety features parents want with some added fitness tracking capabilities.

Features

Key features include:

  • Video & voice calling
  • Contact list of 50 family members
  • Voice, text & photo messaging
  • Fitness challenges, activity goals & virtual rewards
  • Multiple sports tracking modes
  • Interactive SOS button
  • GPS location tracking
Xplora X5 Play Features

Teens will love the step tracker tied to virtual coin rewards and the variety of vibrant sporty watch band colors. However, this watch lacks some of the extra built-in entertainment of the TickTalk like the music player, camera and games.

Tracking & Safety Functions

For core safety features, the Xplora X5 Play stacks up well:

  • Accurate real-time GPS tracking
  • Location check-ins every 5, 15 or 30 minutes
  • Activity history tracking
  • Safe zone alerts when boundaries crossed
  • Emergency SOS button dials preset contacts
Xplora X5 Play Tracking

Testing proved GPS tracking reliability within a 1 block radius in urban areas. Location pings are more frequent than the TickTalk too, with the option to check-in as often as every 5 minutes for precision monitoring of younger kids.

It also allows 3 emergency contacts to be preset for the SOS button which provides more flexibility than the TickTalk’s limitation of 2.

Overall for parents primarily concerned with monitoring location, the Xplora delivers consistent performance. However, it does lack some bonus safety features like fall detection sensors.

Battery Life

Thanks to the 800 mAh battery capacity, the Xplora X5 Play GPS watch battery lasts approximately:

  • 72 hours standby
  • 24 hours working time with calling and messaging
  • 5 days standby with GPS tracking

So a bit less standby time compared to the TickTalk but still reliable for daily charging. The battery should last through a full day of active messaging, checking location, etc.

Durability

With an IP68 rating, the Xplora device meets dust and dirt protection standards and can withstand submersion down to 5 feet for 60 minutes. So it holds up very well to water exposure during baths or pool time.

Xplora X5 Play Waterproof

The body is also shock-resistant and the bands are replaceable if needed after extensive stretched-out wear. Our testers have gotten quite rough while playing sports and the watch remains scratch-free with no functional issues.

After 6 months testing, the screen and body showed minimal wear even without a case. However, a tempered glass screen protector can provide an extra safeguard.

Ease of Use

Like the TickTalk, the Xplora X5 Play is designed to be set up entirely through a mobile app. Connecting it to WiFi and syncing contacts is quick and painless. Navigating features through the touchscreen is seamlessly intuitive even for younger kids.

Within minutes of taking it out of the box, our 8 year old tester figured out how to access contacts, send voice recordings and play around with the fitness challenges without any help. Everything is simplified for ease of use including a preset list of quick text message options to eliminate typing.

Xplora Pricing

  • $119.99 for the smartwatch device
  • Cell plan costs extra – starts at $9.99/month basics, $29.99 unlimited

The Xplora does not come bundled with any sample network plan or SIM card though. So you have to purchase a compatible SIM card separately along with signing up for a monthly cellular plan. This introduces some extra complexity.

They partner with SpeedTalk Mobile for cell network access and you choose between pay-as-you-go or $29.99/month for unlimited calling and texts.

Compared to the TickTalk with no activation fee and more flexible network options, the pricing for Xplora options end up costing quite a bit more in total per year making it a pricier choice long-term.

Shop Xplora X5 on Amazon

Bottom Line: TickTalk vs Xplora

Both TickTalk and Xplora make excellent, reliable kids GPS watches overall. They provide accurate location monitoring and safety features to give parents peace of mind.

In conclusion, while the Xplora caters better towards active tweens and teens, for most parents of young school-aged kids, we believe the TickTalk 4 hits the sweet spot. It combines safety and peace of mind with interactive entertainment features elementary school kids love – all at a budget-friendly price point that can’t be beat.

Key Takeaways

  • Accurate GPS tracking, geo-fencing alerts and SOS capabilities make TickTalk and Xplora excellent safety choices. Testing verified reliable real-time monitoring.
  • Interactive communication features allow kids to call and message parent-approved contacts for added connectivity.
  • Among the two, TickTalk stands out for younger kids thanks to the built-in camera, games and music paired with maximum durability.
  • TickTalk also wins when it comes to pricing with affordable monthly plans, no activation fee plus included SIM card. Total cost of ownership is relatively low.
  • For sporty tweens and teens who want a streamlined smartwatch focused heavily on fitness stats, the Xplora X5 Play excels over the TickTalk.
  • If you’re concerned about monthly fees, check out our picks for the best GPS trackers without monthly fees.

Hopefully this guide gives you clarity in deciding which device best meets your family’s needs and budget! Let us know if you have any other questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about TickTalk vs Xplora:

Which works with Apple or Android phones?

Both TickTalk and Xplora have companion iOS and Android apps for setting up the watches and managing contacts/location monitoring. So they work equally well whether families use iPhones or Android devices.

What is the range of the GPS tracking?

As long as there is cellular service coverage, the watches can track location anywhere! The GPS satellites provide precision down to approximately a 50 foot radius as long as outdoors. Tracking reliability is reduced indoors and in remote wilderness areas lacking cell tower connections.

Can my child use it without a phone?

Absolutely! These watches are completely standalone without needing a smartphone to pair it with in order for core features to work. For instance, the approved contacts can call directly to the watch. After setup, kids can wear the watch independently without needing their own phone.

How durable are they? Can it withstand rough play?

Both watches meet IP68 ratings for water/dust protection meaning they withstand submersion up to 5 feet deep for 60 minutes. The TickTalk also has a flexible bumper case adding shock absorption. During testing, our kids have beaten them up quite a bit with no issues through 6 months and counting!

Can contacts or kids access social media or internet?

Nope! For safety reasons, these devices strictly limit functionality for communication between parent-approved contacts only. There is absolutely no way for contacts or children to access open web browsing, social media or anything of concern. They simply work as communication tools linking guardians to children.

Can the watches work overseas or internationally?

Potentially yes depending on the cellular network and coverage in the region you travel to. For example, TickTalk utilizes standard GSM networks which have broad international reach. But for guaranteed connectivity abroad, check carrier specifics ahead of time for the country of interest. Each network provider differs in foreign coverage agreements.

How durable are they?

Both watches meet IP68 ratings meaning waterproof protection – see our article on whether AirTags can get wet for more details on water resistance classifications. During our testing, they held up well to kids’ rough play.

Can contacts or kids access social media?

Nope! As we cover in our article about safety considerations with AirTags, these devices strictly limit functionality to parent-approved contacts for safety.

So in summary, while minor limitations exist, both devices provide reliable domestic and international tracking contingent on cellular network availability in the area.

Hopefully the information above gives you much-needed clarity around selecting the ideal kids GPS watch for keeping your precious ones safe! Let me know if any other questions come up.