At a Glance
So which is best: Kidizoon, LeapBand or Vivofit Jr 2? The VTech Kidizoom Smart Watch Plus is aimed at multimedia entertainment, while the worthier LeapBand and Vivofit Jr 2 go for child fitness and activity. As such it’s difficult to say which is best for you. They are all a lot of fun, but I’m not sure your child will be delighted by the Garmin’s chores features! The LeapBand is cheaper but lacks the camera and microphone of the cooler Smart Watch – which is entertaining but not much more, and is let down a little by the overly simple games. For all-round fitness and well-behaved children the stricter Vivofit Jr 2 is maybe more the parents’ choice than the child’s.
Price When Reviewed
Smartwatches are all the rage, and kids will be asking for them from Santa at Christmas and from their parents all year round. Unless you can afford an Apple Watch or risk the usual child-induced accidents befalling an Android smartwatch you’ll want a cheaper option, and preferably a choice from smartwatches specially designed for kids.
There are wristbands from Leapfrog, VTech and Garmin to choose from.
These three children’s wristbands are actually quite different and offer different functions.
The VTech Kidizoom Smart Watch (£40 but available online for around £30) is a watch that offers a bunch of fun multimedia functions, such as the camera (still and video) and a hilarious voice recorder. It’s aimed at keeping children entertained. Read our
Kidizoom Smart Watch review for more details.
Pictured above: the VTech Kidizoon Smart Watch.
The Kidizoom’s three games aren’t very engaging but playing with the camera and voice recorder are fun and should keep children entertained. There are about 50 different watch faces (analogue and digital), many of which are hideous to adults but fun for kids. It’s a shame VTech didn’t build a time-telling game as this would have been perfect.
The Leapfrog LeapBand (again around £30 online) is aimed at keeping kids fit by encouraging active play plus healthy eating habits. Read our
LeapBand review for more details.
Pictured above: Leapfrog’s LeapBand.
The LeapBand sets a series of fun physical challenges – walking, running, jumping and dancing – that the wearer tries to complete to earn credits to spend on their virtual pet: feeding, cleaning, grooming and clothing the pet as they earn more points. Activity is measured with the built-in accelerometer, just like you’d find in the iPhone or activity trackers.
As such it has similar aims as the Vivofit Jr 2 from Garmin – makers of proper adult fitness trackers. The Vivofit Jr 2 (a step up in price at £79.99 but available for around a tenner less at Amazon) encourages kids to keep active through various “adventures”. New adventures appear in the mobile app as children reach their 60-minute activity goals. There are seven themed activity trackers to choose from (including Marvel Comics superheroes, Star Wars, and Disney’s Minnie Mouse), each with its own set of adventures.
Pictured above: The Garmin Vivofit Jr 2 range
The tiny display shows the date and time (set during a sync with a smartphone with the Garmin Vivofit Jr app installed), total number of steps that day, plus total active minutes and progress towards the 60-minute activity goal, and also the number of chores completed.
All three wristbands are well-made and comfortable wristbands with a watch function combined with other features. The LeapPad and Kidizoom are around the same size – chunky! The LeapBand is slightly larger, and we prefer the looks of the Smart Watch, which is slightly less ungainly.
The Vivofit Jr 2 is slimmer, and available in either ‘Adjustable’ (age 6+) or ‘Stretchy’ (4-7 years old) bands.
Fun vs fitness
While LeapBand and Vivofit Jr 2 reward kids for jumping around and keeping fit the VTech Smart Watch sends kids off taking photos and videos and then manipulating them with special effects.
All of them feature a stopwatch (which kids love), although the Smart Watch goes further with an Alarm and countdown Timer.
Vivofit is maybe less fun and more worthy than the other two watches – and even allows parents to schedule alerts for homework and brushing teeth, and other boring chores such as setting the table and putting toys away. But its activity-based missions will keep them fitter than Kidizoom users through competitive games such as Toe-to-Toe step challenges.
Parents manage chores and rewards from the parent-controlled Vivofit mobile app (iOS, Android and Fire). This is also where parents can track multiple kids’ step, sleep and activity data when synced. You can set daily step challenges for the whole family.
Each is fun but quite different in their features, so a kid could even have one for fitness fun and the other for more entertainment. Neither LeapBand nor Kidizoom games are particularly great. The Smart Watch has three, but the camera and voice recorder offer more fun; the LeapBand has more games plus the fun fitness challenges.
Only the Vivofit is waterproof, so keep the others away from bath time! It also features a one-year battery life (swap out for a new battery when it’s run out of juice), while the other bands need to be charged more frequently.
The LeapBand is available in Green, Blue, Orange and Pink, compared to the six versions of the Kidizoom (White, Blue, Light Blue, Purple, Green and Pink).
Garmin has the pricier Vivofit Jr 2 trackers for Star Wars, Marvel Comics and Disney fans, and its app-based adventures are similarly themed.
We liked all three bands so it’s really up to parents to decide which features work best for them. The Leapband and Vivofit are great for encouraging healthy activity while the Kidizoom is best for entertaining kids with its camera and microphone.
Both are well-made and comfortable wristbands with a watch function combined with other features, and around the same size – chunky! The LeapBand is slightly larger, and we prefer the looks of the Smart Watch, which is slightly less ungainly.
VTech Kidizoom Smart Watch DX: Specs
- Rechargeable battery
- 5 built-in games
- still and video camera’ Voice Recorder