Wearable GPS trackers are handy for anxious parents worried about their child wandering off at the mall. But why get a dedicated tracker when you can get this function, as well as health and fitness monitoring with the myFirst Fone R1s, a 4G-capable smartwatch designed for kids? My two children, who are in primary school, certainly found the smartwatch useful — they have been taking turns to wear it for almost two months.
- 1.3-inch TFT capacitive touchscreen
- 2MP front camera
- IPX8 rating
- Supports iOS 10+ and Android 5.0+
The R1s has a similar design as its predecessor (R1). It is fairly chunky, which may actually help it withstand the rougher treatment you'd expect from children. Case in point: My two-month-old review set already has a scuffed edge and a minor scratch on the screen. Compared to the older R1 model, the new R1s adds a heart rate sensor, upgraded IPX8 water resistance, and has twice the amount of internal storage and RAM. The latter means my child can store up to 1,500 songs on the smartwatch, up from 500. This built-in music player is also my older daughter's favourite feature, as she can play songs during her school bus ride. I imagine the driver knows the lyrics to “We Don't talk About Bruno” by now.
My younger son prefers the ability to customise the watch face, which is also new to the R1s. You can take a picture with the smartwatch's 2MP selfie camera and use that as the watch face. The camera quality is middling at best, but it's decent enough for video calls. Included with this 4G smartwatch is a free nano-SIM card (free 6 months unlimited data plan). You can also chat with your child via the myFirstFone app (for iOS and Android). But the smartwatch doesn't actually have a keyboard input function. Instead, your child will have to respond using emojis and pick from a selection of preset text phrases. Alternatively, he or she can record and send a voice message. It's not ideal, but it means your child will spend less time on idle chats. Note that the smartwatch is only IPX8 water resistant and unsuitable for swimming.
For some parents, the appeal of the R1s lies in its tracking features. Using the app, I was able to see the location of the smartwatch to a good degree of accuracy. For actual emergencies, the smartwatch has a large SOS button that will record a 30s audio clip and send an SOS notification to the phone that's paired with the smartwatch. You can also set a Class Mode to disable certain features that may be a distraction during lessons. However, I think the app needs more polish — the initial pairing process could be more user friendly. The touchscreen could also be more sensitive. I often had to tap a few times before the touch is registered.
According to my daughter, the myFirst Fone R1s has around 80% battery remaining after a typical school day with light use. Based on my experience, I had to charge it every day, otherwise the smartwatch won't make it through the following day. All in all, the R1s will probably sound attractive to some parents with its mix of GPS tracking and smartwatch features. I think it's a bit large for younger kids, while the lack of any games, unlike some fitness trackers for children, may limit its appeal to kids. The R1s is available now at S$269 on Lazada and Shopee.
Review unit provided by Oaxis.
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