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myFirst Fone R2 review: Big improvements

myFirst Fone R2 review: Big improvements

myFirst Fone R2

The myFirst Fone R2 smartwatch is a big hardware upgrade over the older Fone R1s. Almost every aspect of this 4G smartwatch, which is designed for kids, have been improved. From the screen to the camera to the overall responsiveness of the interface, the R2 is better in every way. It begs the question why myFirst continues to sell the S$269 Fone R1s when the Fone R2 is just S$30 more at S$299.

Quick specs

  • 1.3-inch AMOLED touchscreen (360 x 360 pixels)
  • 5MP front camera
  • IPX8 rating
  • eSIM with roaming in 85 countries

The Fone R2 is slimmer, and lighter than the previous Fone R1s. The design isn't a drastic departure from the older model. You still get a selfie camera next to the circular screen, and there's a big button at the side that triggers a SOS call when pressed and held (pressing it will instead take a photo with the selfie camera). But myFirst has upgraded various components here. Take the display, for example. It's still 1.3 inches, but it's now an AMOLED touchscreen instead of a TFT LCD. The Fone R2's display is brighter, sharper, and looks more vibrant. More importantly, there's now an ambient light sensor that enables the display to adjust its brightness according to the surroundings. This can impact the battery life — myFirst says this sensor, and the AMOLED together reduces power consumption by up to 20%.

myFirst Fone R2
Credit: Vincent Chang/Can Buy or Not

Another upgrade is the selfie camera. It's now a 5MP camera, up from 2MP. The quality, especially detail-wise is better, and it gets the job done. But it's obviously still a long way from matching a smartphone or tablet camera. The placement of the camera also means that it's slightly tricky to angle it properly for a video call or a selfie when you're wearing the Fone R2. As evident from the numerous photos of my child's face taken from a lower, side perspective. There's also a new customisable button above the display. You can bind the single click, double click, as well as press and hold functionality to a feature, such as activating the camera, or even initiating a video call to a specific person. Of course, you also get basic fitness tracking (heart rate, steps, calories and distance).

myFirst Fone R2
Credit: Vincent Chang/Can Buy or Not

The myFirst Fone R2 is more responsive than its predecessor when tapping and swiping around the interface. It feels less buggy, too. It also comes with an eSIM instead of a physical SIM card, which makes the setup process more convenient. Where myFirst needs to work on is its Circle social app, which is a safe, managed social network for its young users. Users can post photos or messages to this curated circle of family, friends, and other acquaintances. Smartwatch settings, like Class Mode to disable certain features during lessons, are also found in this app. myFirst has added new stuff like interactive stickers, and smarter location tracking. But I feel the main issue is that there aren't enough users. None of my child's friends or classmates has a myFirst smartwatch. While you can use the app on any smartphone, there aren't enough reasons to do so.

Unlike the Fone R1s, which just about makes it through a normal school day, the myFirst Fone R2 can last 1.5 day on a single charge. That's effectively two school days. I still end up charging it every day, but it's definitely an improvement from the previous version. With all the hardware upgrades, and improved performance, the Fone R2 justifies its higher price tag compared with myFirst's other smartwatches. It's a decent substitute for younger kids that shouldn't be carrying a smartphone yet, and helps to give parents peace of mind knowing that they can track their kid's location. The social aspect feels a tad forced, and undercooked, but I don't think that affects the value of the Fone R2. Get it now from Shopee, and Lazada.

See Also
Samsung Visual DIsplay forum

Review unit provided by Oaxis.

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Much improved hardware and performance

Buy it at Shopee
Buy it at Lazada

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