As the hype for wearable tech goes on, LG and Verizon decided, “Children should join the fun!”. So they released LG’s GizmoPal powered by Verizon ($79.99 at Verizon).
Unlike Apple Watch and other wearables, GizmoPal is simple. Yet, it is an effective tool especially if your child loves adventures (and getting lost) or if you simply want a way to make sure your little one is safe all the time. The idea is to give your child a device which can act as a phone minus the complexity of actually using one. That’s a great concept considering that it is made to be used by children. But will they use one?
“Hey look! He’s wearing a weird-looking watch!”
GizmoPal comes in 2 colors: blue and pink. The blue devices are printed with cars and trucks and the pink ones with stars. Not particularly in line with today’s gender neutral push but it works. The face of the device measures 2.17”(H) x 1.37”(W) x 0.55”(D). This is large for little wrists but at the same time you want the screen to be accessible. Does a larger screen make it easier to read? No. In fact, the GizmoPal has no display. On its face is a single button and speakerphone which are all that is needed in order for it to work. The device is durable and water resistant, but not completely waterproof. Your kids can where it to the pool, but shouldn’t dive in with it on.
While some children may not mind wearing a device that easily catches attention, some might worry about what their kids will think. I showed it to the children in my neighborhood and asked them what they think about GizmoPal. Most of those aged 4 to 8 got excited and wanted one. However, most children over 8 think it looks childish and cringed over the idea of wearing one to school.
“Press the button to make a call. Press the button to play some music. Press the button to do everything!”
Living by its simplicity, all interactions are done by pressing the button. Actions trigger voice prompts, so it is perfect if your child is still learning to read.
Now let me show you how to bend GizmoPal to your will.
How to make a phone call:
GizmoPal can call 2 phone numbers pre-set using the companion app, one of which should be a Verizon subscriber. The other can be any iOS or Android user. To call the first number, your child has to press the button once. To call the second number, twice.
How to receive phone calls:
The same phone numbers can call GizmoPal. Your child calls you, or you call her. Plus, you can set 2 additional phone numbers, say, her grandma or a nanny. Since GizmoPal has a standard phone number, (thanks to its micro sim slot) you can also call it from a dialer, although it will reject calls from phone numbers other than the ones you approve.
GizmoPal uses voice alerts to notify your child of an incoming phone call. To answer a call, your child simply has to… you guessed it right, press the button.
“What if she doesn’t answer my phone calls?”, you might ask. Don’t worry. It has an auto-answer feature you can set using the companion app. Once activated, GizmoPal automatically answers phone calls after 10 seconds of ringing.
GizmoPal is a watch. It may not have a display but it can tell time, literally tell it. By pressing down the button, this time longer, GizmoPal says the time out loud.
BONUS: How to play music:
That’s right, GizmoPal can play music. It is preloaded with 15 songs, for kids of course. Just press the button quickly and it will play a song. However, this feature marks down GizmoPal’s battery life to more than half of normal usage time which is 2.5 hours.
Peace of mind on your end
GizmoPal is for your kid’s safety, but it is for your peace of mind, too. GizmoPal has a companion app which you can control from your Verizon subscribed smartphone. The app is compatible with any Android 4.0 devices and higher or iOS 7 and higher.
Perhaps parents’ favorite part of the app is the GPS tracking feature. GizmoPal’s GPS is limited, so don’t expect it to be super-accurate.
Using the app, you can see your child’s ‘real-time’ location on a map. However, updating its location can take up to 3 minutes. By then, your child may already have walked several hundred feet away, more if she’s in a car.
The problem with its GPS is also the problem with most child trackers in that GPS accuracy is lacking. It can tell you that your child is at the mall, but not where within the mall. So voice calls are the best feature GizmoPal has to offer.
Still in line with GizmoPal’s GPS, the app can send you notifications. You can add schedules like “She should be home at 3:00 PM”, and the app tells you whether your child got home or not at 3:00 PM.
Final Say on GizmoPal
GizmoPal isn’t the only kid-tracker/child phone out there. AT&T (Filip 2) and Sprint (Sprint WeGo) both have a gadget for kids, but GizmoPal is the simplest and yet it offers invaluable protection and peace of mind. Children aged 4 and beyond won’t have problems using it. Also, GizmoPal is the least expensive.
I would recommend GizmoPal to parents with kids ages 4 to 8. Children beyond that age bracket may be able to use more complex gadgets like a phone. If you are interested, you can visit Verizon Wireless’ website and purchase a GizmoPal for $79.99.