Children’s smartwatches with GPS compared: every smartphone is better The idea sounds tempting: the child can be contacted and located at any time with a smartwatch on the wrist. But often a smartphone is better suited for this. 8:02 p.m. tech stage

childrens smartwatches with gps compared every smartphone is better the.jpeg
childrens smartwatches with gps compared every smartphone is better the.jpeg

The idea sounds tempting: the child can be contacted and located at any time using a smartwatch on the wrist. But often even a very cheap smartphone is better suited for this.

When smaller children take the first major steps towards independence, such as going to elementary school or after-school care unaccompanied, many parents and children would still like to be able to stay in touch. A GPS function is also often on the wish list, at least for parents. In theory, they always know where the offspring is at the moment. This can increase the need for security on both sides.

There are smartwatches that are specially tailored to these wishes. They should combine several advantages at the same time. On the one hand, the form factor speaks for the smart watches. Because they are not much larger than conventional watches and can therefore also be worn by small children on the wrist. For example, the smartwatch is not in the way when playing, is less likely to be lost or broken and is always within reach.

The most important feature is the telephone function. Children can reach their parents and parents can reach their children. In addition, many children’s smartwatches offer GPS. So the parents know where their offspring is. Often it can even be traced chronologically where the child was. Some models also have a chat function that can be used to send voice messages, emojis and even pictures taken with the watch. Of course, this requires a SIM card.

For this guide, we took a closer look at the two particularly popular smartwatches Xplora Xgo2 and Anio 5 . They were kindly provided to us by Starmobile. These and other smartwatches for children are still available at Startlink via this link until September 15 under the Back To School campaign with a 12-month contract in the Telekom Smart Connect S tariff for 12 months without a basic fee.

In addition to these two models, there are other high-quality models such as the TCL MT 40X Movetime , JBC Wikinger or Vodafone Neo that we have not tested. Our result does not claim to be complete and only refers to the Anio 5 and the Xplora Xgo2. However, you should refrain from buying very cheap children’s smartwatches from China, as our colleagues from c’t explain in their contribution Attention, the watch is listening .

The Anio 5 is one of the chic and compact smartwatches for children. It has the dimensions 44 x 8 x 13 millimeters and weighs 32 grams. It is therefore hardly unnecessarily bulky even on small wrists. The workmanship also appears to be of high quality. The speaker is on the bottom and the microphone is on the right. Also on the right side there are two buttons. One turns the watch on and off, the other red button labeled SOS, if you hold it down for a long time, calls the emergency contact previously specified in the app and sends an SMS with the GPS data. Attention: The watch should be worn on the right wrist. In our test, it happened several times that the SOS button was accidentally activated when the child leaned up with their left hand bent.

The bracelet made of synthetic fibers is fixed on one side and connected to the watch via a loop on the other. It holds with a Velcro fastener. This means that even small children can quickly and safely attach the watch to their arm. The bracelet is too small for larger hands. However, it can be removed via a quick release buckle and replaced with alternative straps. The Anio 5 is charged via the supplied adapter – every day. Because in the evening the 400 milliampere battery is basically empty. It was often empty even before bedtime.

The functions of the watch are deliberately limited. The child can only call previously defined contacts via the 1.3-inch touch-sensitive display, call any telephone number via a keypad and send emojis and voice messages to the Anio app in a chat function. There is also a stopwatch and the steps are counted.

From the Anio app, the installation of which can be described as bumpy to say the least, parents can use the aforementioned chat function to send text messages with a maximum of 60 characters in addition to emojis and voice messages. However, there is only one chat. So it is not possible to write to mum, dad or grandparents individually. When several people chat with the child via the Anio app, confusion and misunderstandings almost inevitably arise. There is also the option of using the app to determine rest times, for example during school hours.

Even if the range of functions is perhaps too boring for one or the other child, it basically covers the most important thing that a parent could wish for. However, difficulties often arise in the test. In the first two weeks of wearing by our “test child” everything runs smoothly. Chat messages arrive within a reasonable period of time, phone calls work with reasonable voice quality and the GPS location also works – even if the accuracy sometimes leaves something to be desired and it can take a while before the position of the children’s smartwatch is displayed in the app.

After two weeks, the problems increase. The clock restarts at regular intervals and the GPS function only works sporadically, later not at all. We spent a lot of time solving this problem; vain. Even resetting the account, app and clock does not help. A quick search on the net shows that we are not the only ones with these problems.

The Xplora Xgo2 is a real breaker with its dimensions of 53 x 42 x 16 millimeters and a weight of almost 60 grams. It even looks clumsy on adult wrists, and all the more so on children’s delicate wrists. The workmanship is okay, but it doesn’t look as high quality as in the almost filigree Anio 5. The bracelet made of a soft and flexible plastic offers a classic clasp in which a pin gets caught in an opening. It holds up well, but that makes it difficult for children to put it on on their own. There is no easy way to change the strap and replace it with alternatives.

The display is 1.4 inches and touch-sensitive. The speaker is on the bottom, the microphone on top. On the right is the only button and a flashlight. Xplora builds a camera aimed at the user above the display in the Xgo2. The 700 milliamp battery lasts exactly one day, in some cases the watch was even empty before bedtime. So the watch has to be connected to the supplied charging adapter every evening.

The installation process is complicated and could pose problems, especially for non-technical parents. Our first test sample completely refused to connect to the app by scanning the QR code displayed on the watch. We then received a replacement watch. Here, too, there were problems at first. The Android app didn’t want to send a verification code to the admin phone number at all. According to reports, other users are also struggling with it. The connection then worked via the iOS app.

The app allows phone calls, setting times when the Xplora Xgo2 is in sleep mode, an alarm clock and setting contacts who can be called from the watch. There is also a chat function. As with the Anio 5, it only offers a single chat history, writing to several people separately is not possible. In addition to text messages, emojis and voice messages, which are limited to 15 seconds, parents and children can also send pictures. There is no video function, although the smartwatch has a camera. In addition, parents can track the watch via the app and set a security zone. If the watch leaves this zone, the app will be notified.

The child has quite a lot of options on the clock. It can call predetermined contacts, start chat, record audio, take photos (4GB storage) and play music previously stored on the watch. There is also a calculator (cannot be turned off), a stopwatch, a pedometer with a reward system and a flashlight. A long press on the button on the side activates the SOS function.

Basically, the smartwatch offers just about everything that parents and children could wish for – if it were to work smoothly. The Xplora Xgo2 was also worn by “test child” for several weeks, with sobering results. On the one hand, the GPS function is partly too imprecise. Sometimes it shows the position with meter accuracy. On bad days, especially when the watch is moving, the deviation can also be several kilometers. That sounds more like a simple radio cell specification than GPS location. In individual cases, chat messages were only transmitted to the app hours later.

What was particularly annoying, however, was that the Xplora Xgo2 regularly lost the connection to the app. A restart fixed the problem though. However, if the child is traveling alone and important functions simply do not work, this makes the sense and purpose of a smartwatch for children ad absurdum.

The biggest advantage of a smartwatch compared to a mobile phone or smartphone is its slim form factor and the fact that it is always ready when attached to the wrist and is never in the way and is more difficult to lose.

If you can do without these advantages, you will find a similarly high (or low) range of functions in a mobile phone or smartphone, but a significantly higher reliability, which we particularly criticize in the test of the Anio 5 and Xplora Xgo2.

The simplest and cheapest way to give your child a telephony option on the go is the classic feature phone without smart functions and GPS location. For example, the Nokia 105 (test report) only costs 20 euros. According to Nokia, the small battery lasts a full month when switched on. The workmanship also makes a thoroughly reasonable impression.

There aren’t many functions. The camera and an app store are missing. This could also be an advantage for use by children. Cons: There are a few game demos on mobile that cannot be uninstalled. It is also less convenient to use overall than you are used to from current smartphones with touch displays. More about very cheap feature phones in our guide Small, cheap, practical: emergency cell phones between 10 and 20 euros .

If you want something more, you can use a cheap smartphone. We present usable models in our top 10: The best smartphones up to 150 euros – Xiaomi in front, Samsung in the back . There are also cheap and good models that are refurbished (purchase advice) .

Thanks to Family Link (adviser) , there is no need to worry about the functionality of the Android smartphone that is overwhelming for our little ones. The Google software provides extensive control options for parents via the Android smartphone. Family Link determines usage times, restricts apps or blocks them altogether. It is even possible to determine the location of the smartphone via Family Link.

Even if many parents, for understandable reasons, refuse to give their little ones a smartphone, this solution has advantages over a smartwatch. In this way, children already get used to the mobile phone, and relevant functions can be added or removed on an ongoing basis. Above all, a smartphone is more reliable than the children’s smartwatches we tested. There are also solutions, for example on Amazon (purchase link) to attach the smartphone to the wrist. However, these could still be too big for small children.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a smartwatch or a smartphone: In order to be able to use the devices to their full extent on the go, you need a SIM card. The tariff should have the shortest possible contract period, low basic fees and a telephony flat rate. A data volume of 200 MB per month should be sufficient.

Starmobile offers many different smartwatches for kids on contract. A look at their site can be worthwhile . Until September 15, these and other smartwatches for children are available via this link under the Back To School campaign with a 12-month contract in the Telekom Smart Connect S tariff for just under 5 euros per month without a basic fee.

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Brian Adam
Professional Blogger, V logger, traveler and explorer of new horizons.