BEST GPS TRACKER FOR KIDS: LG GIZ­MO­GAD­GET

PCWorld (USA) - - Reviews | Gps Trackers For Kids -

Price: $150

Of all the ways you could track your child’s lo­ca­tion, the LG Giz­mo­gad­get for Ver­i­zon Wire­less ranks among the best. Tough, light, easy to use and packed with fea­tures, the touch­screen de­vice is an en­tic­ing watch-style GPS tracker for kids and par­ents alike.

Pric­ing and ser­vice plans

Avail­able through Ver­i­zon Wire­less, the $150 LG Giz­mo­gad­get counts as a line of ser­vice on your ac­count—so you’ll have to pony up a monthly ac­cess fee. The good news is that the ac­cess fee for the Giz­mo­gad­get is only $5, ver­sus the $20 monthly fee that Ver­i­zon charges for most phones. Any calls made or data con­sumed by the Giz­mo­gad­get counts against your monthly ac­count-wide min­utes and mo­bile data.

De­sign

A lit­tle more than a half-inch thick and weigh­ing about 1.8 ounces, the Giz­mo­gad­get looks mas­sive on a small wrist. Of course, that wasn’t a prob­lem for my gad­get-ob­sessed six-year-old, who viewed the chunky form as a plus, not a mi­nus.

While the face of the Giz­mo­gad­get mea­sures about two inches di­ag­o­nally, the ac­tual 1.3-inch touch dis­play looks con­sid­er­ably smaller, with Call and End but­tons sit­ting be­low the touch­screen. The wa­ter­proof, slightly rub­bery body of the watch feels light but re­as­sur­ingly tough, mean­ing it should sur­vive rough­hous­ing on the play­ground or even a splash from the wa­ter foun­tain. A micro-usb charg­ing port

sits on the back of the watch, cov­ered by a pro­tec­tive flap.

Keep­ing the Giz­mo­gad­get on a young wrist can be a bit of an is­sue, with my six-year-old com­plain­ing that the watch­band started to hurt within a half-day of use. Strap­ping the Giz­mo­gad­get over the cuff of a long-sleeved shirt cer­tainly helped, and older kids with larger wrists might have an eas­ier time find­ing a good fit.

It should also be said that the Giz­mo­gad­get’s bulky, some­what strik­ing look draws a cer­tain amount of at­ten­tion from nearby kids and adults alike, with a sur­pris­ing num­ber of peo­ple ask­ing me if my daugh­ter was wear­ing an Apple Watch. All the en­vi­ous looks at my kid’s watch made me a bit ner­vous. Then again, if you’re go­ing to strap a $150 gad­get on your kinder­gart­ner’s wrist, some un­wanted at­ten­tion comes with the ter­ri­tory. If you’d pre­fer a GPS track­ing watch that looked more like a toy, con­sider the cheaper LG Gizmopal 2, also avail­able through Ver­i­zon.

Setup

Get­ting started with the Giz­mo­gad­get is a rel­a­tively sim­ply process (and, in­ci­den­tally, iden­ti­cal to the setup process of the cheaper Gizmopal 2).

Once you in­stall the Giz­mo­hub app on an iphone or An­droid phone, you then pair it with the Giz­mo­gad­get by plug­ging in the watch’s Ver­i­zon phone num­ber (which flashes on the screen the first time you turn it on). Next, you add your­self as a “pri­mary care­giver” con­tact, en­ter­ing your name and what­ever your child calls you (any­thing from “Mommy” and “Daddy” to “Grandma” or “Brother”). You can then per­son­al­ize the phone by adding your child’s name and pick­ing a theme (like “Space,” “Un­der­wa­ter,” or “Princess”). A five-digit PIN de­liv­ered via SMS com­pletes the ba­sic setup process.

Track­ing and mon­i­tor­ing

Front and cen­ter on the Giz­mo­hub app is a map that pin­points the lo­ca­tion of your kid’s Giz­mo­gad­get. Note that the dis­played

lo­ca­tion isn’t a re­flec­tion of real-time po­si­tion. In­stead, you must man­u­ally fetch the watch’s lo­ca­tion by tap­ping the Find but­ton, or by sched­ul­ing Place Alerts or Lo­ca­tion Checks.

Place Alerts trig­ger no­ti­fi­ca­tions when your Giz­mo­gad­get-wear­ing child ar­rives at or de­parts a des­ig­nated lo­ca­tion, such as “School” or “Home.” They have a cou­ple of an­noy­ing lim­i­ta­tions: You can set up only five Place Alerts at a time, and each Place Alert can be ac­tive for only two hours at a time. The only way to track your child’s com­ings and go­ings at school con­tin­u­ously would be to pro­gram a se­ries of two-hour Place Alerts that cover the en­tire school day.

In ad­di­tion to Place Alerts, the Giz­mo­gad­get also of­fers Lo­ca­tion Checks, which au­to­mat­i­cally fetch the watch’s lo­ca­tion at pre­de­ter­mined times. For ex­am­ple, you could set up a Lo­ca­tion Check that pings your kid’s Giz­mo­gad­get every week­day at noon, or each Tues­day at 2 in the after­noon. As with Place Alerts, you can set up only so many Lo­ca­tion Checks at a time, although you get up to ten Lo­ca­tion Checks ver­sus only five Place Alerts.

Pre­sum­ably, the re­stric­tions on Place Alerts and Lo­ca­tion Checks are to pre­serve bat­tery life. If you tried track­ing the Giz­mo­gad­get’s every move, its watch-sized bat­tery wouldn’t last past lunchtime.

Call­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tion fea­tures

You can cre­ate up to 10 con­tacts on the Giz­mo­gad­get, in­clud­ing your­self, us­ing the Giz­mo­hub mo­bile app. If you like, you can also flag a con­tact as a “care­giver,” which lets them lo­cate and send mes­sages to your child via Giz­mo­hub.

Mak­ing calls from the Giz­mo­gad­get is a sim­ple mat­ter of press­ing the Call but­ton and then tap­ping the name of a con­tact. My ea­ger six-year-old, de­lighted that she could call me when­ever and wher­ever she wanted, fig­ured out the process within a split

se­cond. If you’re con­cerned about your child call­ing strangers, don’t worry: The Gizmo Gad­get’s call func­tions work only for the con­tacts you’ve pro­grammed into the watch.

The Giz­mo­gad­get also comes with some ba­sic text-mes­sag­ing fea­tures, in­clud­ing the abil­ity to send stick­ies, brief voice mes­sages, and short pre-writ­ten mes­sages (every­thing from “I’m home” and “I love you” to

“Where are you?” and “When are you pick­ing me up?”) to des­ig­nated “care­givers” on her con­tact list. Last but not least, your kid can also quickly send her lo­ca­tion by swip­ing up on the screen and tap­ping a con­fir­ma­tion prompt.

In­ter­face and ex­tras

The Giz­mo­gad­get’s touch-and-swipe in­ter­face is easy to nav­i­gate, par­tic­u­larly for dig­i­tal na­tives like my kinder­gart­ner.

Be­sides the main watch face, you can swipe in one di­rec­tion for “Fun Sounds,” a fea­ture that plays fun clips like zippy space noises, walkie-talkie lingo, or un­der­wa­ter ef­fects, depend­ing on the set­ting.

Swip­ing in the other di­rec­tion takes you to a se­ries of tap­pable icons. The Gad­gets icon, for ex­am­ple, in­cludes a com­pass, a stop­watch, and a timer, while the Ac­tiv­ity icon fea­tures a jump­ing game and a step counter. The lat­ter can send you daily no­ti­fi­ca­tions on how many steps your kid took—my daugh­ter par­tic­u­larly loved this fea­ture, run­ning up and down our stairs to boost her to­tal steps. There’s also a to-do list that you can edit re­motely from the Giz­mo­hub app, and even a voice recorder that changes the sound of your voice.

If you’re wor­ried about the Gizmo Gad­get’s var­i­ous beeps and bops dis­rupt­ing class, you can sched­ule up to 10 “quiet times” that’ll si­lence the watch’s sounds and ring­tones.

Bat­tery life

The LG Giz­mo­gad­get’s rated bat­tery life is eight days of standby time and two hours of con­stant use. Dur­ing my time with the Giz­mo­gad­get, I found that it lasted two or three days on a sin­gle charge with mod­er­ate use—three or four lo­ca­tion checks a day, plus the odd phone call. If you’re con­stantly ping­ing the Giz­mo­gad­get for its lo­ca­tion and mak­ing fre­quent phone calls, you’d prob­a­bly have to charge the watch each night.

Ver­dict

An easy and rel­a­tively af­ford­able way to keep track of your kid, the touch­screen LG Giz­mo­gad­get GPS tracker watch packs in an im­pres­sive num­ber of fea­tures—in­clud­ing two-way call­ing, text mes­sag­ing, and plenty of ac­tiv­i­ties and games—into a tough, light­weight but some­what bulky pack­age. Still, we wish you could pro­gram more lo­ca­tion alerts at once, and the watch it­self might prove too big for younger chil­dren to wear com­fort­able.

The LG Giz­mo­gad­get is a bit bulky for smaller wrists.

You can check the lo­ca­tion of the LG Giz­mo­gad­get man­u­ally by tap­ping the Find but­ton, or you can cre­ate up to five Place Alerts or ten Lo­ca­tion Checks.

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