What We Like
Easy-to-use starter watch
Lots of games
What We Don't Like
Not the most high-tech
Lots of little boys and girls are crazy about watches, particularly smartwatches—and that includes my 7-year-old son. However, most parents, like me, aren’t comfortable spending hundreds of dollars on an elementary student’s high-tech bling, especially when that bling allows for easy, unlimited access to gaming and more. That’s where kid-friendly versions like the GBD Game’s SmartWatch for Kids come in. Since it’s designed for kids ages 3 to 12, I enlisted the help of my son, as well as a 3-year-old family friend, to test it out. Here’s what both kids thought.
Setup: Easy even without instructions
This toy comes in a package with a charging cord. An instruction booklet would be a nice addition, as I’m sure most users would benefit from a list of games and functions and how to operate them. Still, the wearable offers an intuitive, well-designed interface that was a breeze for my kid testers to figure out.
At setup, kids can select the clock face of their choice: In addition to 20-plus backgrounds, including animated images (such as an airplane, rainbow, or tiger), they can choose between analog or digital and 12- or 24-hour clocks.
My son had the watch for about 10 seconds before setting the time, changing the language to Chinese, then Spanish, and back again, taking a picture, and swiftly navigating from game to game. The 3-year-old, on the other hand, did need a bit more time to get the hang of the watch. She learned how to access the games and could happily play, but she didn’t tackle any of the setup features on her own.
Design: Big screen, plenty of activities
This smartwatch has tons of features and is a winner on all counts. The watchband itself (available in bright pink, royal blue, silver, and black) is made of a soft, flexible plastic complete with lots of openings to accommodate a wide range of wrist sizes, and the 1.5-inch LCD touchscreen is big enough for gaming. There are 10 engaging game options, including the ever-popular Fruit Ninja.
The GBD is outfitted with a camera, which can be used while wearing the watch, “like a spy,” said my son. It even includes functions to control photo effects and add borders and filters. “I can take my own pictures,” boasted our 3-year-old tester, thrilled.
The GBD watch is outfitted with a camera, which can be used while wearing the watch, ‘like a spy,’ said my son.
There are tons of clock-related options, which fully engage little ones in the intricacies of time-keeping. They can set alarms, monitor their steps, and record their voices. The rechargeable lithium battery lasts five to seven days and charges easily using the provided charging cord.
Entertainment Value: Absorbing
My testers loved this watch. The games are easy to play and win, similar to the Atari games of my youth, and so they’re perfect for budding gamers. Fancy Zoo is a series of sticker-like animal pictures that kids swipe through. That’s it, but it had the 3-year-old hooked. Other games, such as Receive Apple, Save Bear, Elude Balls, and Air Drop, are similarly straightforward.
The majority of the games follow the same formula: Things (such as apples or crowns) fall down from the top of the screen, and the player tries to catch them while avoiding the bombs. All were hits with my watch testers, but Fruit Ninja, Star Wars, and Racecar (which entails racing along a racetrack to the finish line without getting in a wreck) have gotten the most play. The farting panda in the Pi Wang game, who tries to run and jump from building to building without falling to his death, also got a lot of laughs.
‘I can take my own pictures,’ boasted our 3-year-old tester, thrilled.
The colorful, engaging graphics are another bonus. The ability to quickly scroll through and swap out background images, take and adjust photos, set alarms (like big kids), and track steps were also a big hit. So was the cool Panda Voice Recording feature that records and translates voices to sound like pandas and lets you play with an interactive panda character “friend.”
Parental Control: Helps limit access
I loved being able to set time-per-day limits so I didn’t have to worry about the distraction of 24-hour access. Parents will also appreciate that unlike many tech toys, this watch isn’t noisy. All the games have various noises, and the watch makes a satisfying “whoop” when toggling between functions, but none of the sounds are super annoying. While the volume can’t be adjusted, we found that the toy stayed at a pleasantly low volume.
I loved being able to set time-per-day limits so I didn’t have to worry about the distraction of 24-hour access.
Age Range: 3 and up
This watch is designed for kids aged 3 to 12. I would say any kid would love this watch, but those on the younger end of this range will probably need a bit more help to navigate all the features. Our 3-year-old tester had a blast with it, though, and the bonus is that she’ll get lots of use out of it as she grows.
My 7-year-old is absolutely smitten with this watch, the pink color notwithstanding, which has now become a badge of honor. He says it’s his “favorite watch ever” so check, check for moving the illustrious (and pricey) Apple watch off his upcoming birthday list.
We’ve had lots of little hands on this watch and have found it to be quite durable; so far it’s retained its ‘new watch’ look.
My 10- and 12-year-old boys also have been vying for turns to check out all the games and features and were particularly impressed by the covert nature of taking the photos while wearing the watch. Funnily enough, my 16-year-old daughter needed pointers from her younger brother on how to access all the games, but once she got the hang of it, she, too, was a fan. Overall, I’d gear this watch to ages 3 to 9. Older kids may enjoy it, but they’ll get bored more quickly.
Ease of Cleaning: Takes seconds
This watch is a breeze to keep clean, as just about anything easily wipes off the plastic material. As mentioned above, there is no instruction sheet, but common sense says it needs to be kept dry. We’ve had lots of little hands on this watch and have found it to be quite durable; so far it’s retained its “new watch” look—and allure.
Price: A bargain for all its features
GBD Game Smart Watch for Kids retails for about $36. When you factor in all of the cool elements offered by this model, the cost is a bargain. There are tons of similar products on the market, starting around this price and going up to $60 or more, so this model is a good deal on an entry-level product.
GBD Game Smart Watch for Kids vs. VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch DX2
These two child smartwatches have similar features, including customizable clock faces, cameras, and pedometers. The VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch offers higher quality at a slightly higher price of $60, although I’ve frequently seen it for sale online for around $35.
The VTech model has two cameras: one for motion and one for selfies with photo effects options. Additionally, there are lots of cool games, including a “monster detector” virtual reality-type game, in which players capture monsters in the world around them, a motion sensor for active challenge games to keep kids moving. It also has more memory and is “splash-proof.”
In short, the VTech watch is a step up. It’s more complex and may be more fun (and appropriate) for an older child. However, the GBD Games model is still a winner for any kid (especially the preschool to early elementary-aged set) who wants a fun gaming watch.
- Product Name Smart Watch for Kids
- Product Brand GBD Games
- MPN GBD-OK520 Mix Pink
- Price $35.99
- Weight 2.2 oz.
- Product Dimensions 9 x 2.2 x 0.6 in.
- Model Name GBD Gen 1
- Resolution 128
- Battery Life Rechargeable Lithium Polymer 400 mAh Battery, lasts 5-7 days
- Strap Wrist Size 5.25-7.25 in. around
- Camera 1.3 MP
- Manufacturer recommended age range 3+ years
- Warranty Refund available for 30 days from purchase
- What’s Included 1 Lithium-ion battery (already installed) and USB charging cable