Kidizoom Smart Watch Review

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Wearable technology comes to the pre-teen market in the shape of the capable VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch. It's a watch, stills and video camera, gaming device, and rechargeable.

VTech KidiZoom Smart WatchWearable technology comes to the playground

Kidizoom Smart Watch Review

Wearable technology has been one of the next big things for as long as technology has become accessible to the masses. Clip-on MP3 players like the iPod Nano have been around for a while, but the Kidizoom Smart Watch from VTech is the first mass market wearable tech device aimed squarely at children.

At its most basic it's a camera watch with a clock function, but to leave it at that is doing VTech a gross disservice. The watch face is a 1.4-inch colour, 128x128 pixel colour touch-sensitive display, and that opens up all sorts of possibilities, especially for the target market of children of 4 and over.

Kidizoom smart watch screenKidizoom Smartwatch screen

The interface is simple, much like any Apple touch screen iDevice - a power button, a home button, a camera button, and the rest is on the touch display. The power button is tiny and tricky to operate at first, but otherwise the interface is a breeze, and nicely designed.

There are basic parental controls that allow you to set a time limit for daily use (beyond the watch function).

Photos and video

So, it can take photos and video using the built-in camera - the lens is located on the top edge of the watch, so it's very easy to frame the photo or video and preview the shot on the watch face - very cool if you're 5 (and let's face it, if you're 35).

Photos are shot at 640x480 pixels, videos at 320x240 or 160x120 at 15 frames per second. Internal storage is 128MB, which means there's room for about 800 photos or 6 one minute higher resolution videos.

Once captured, photos and video can be played back on the display. There's also a voice recording function which young kids find a hoot - recording angry dad without his knowledge and playing it back later at the moment of peak embarrassment is definitely a favourite. The device also offers some fun effects to change recordings - dad as a robot is another favourite.

Games

The KidiZoom Smartwatch has three built-in games:

  • Super Detective - a memory game;
  • Rotating Puzzle - a, erm, rotating puzzle game;
  • Finger Dance - the world's smallest version of Dance Dance Revolution.

There's also Time Master, which will teach kids to tell the time using analogue and digital displays.

While none of the games are going to make the Wii, XBox or PS redundant, they are enough fun to keep children occupied for short journeys, and offer opportunities for skill development. More games can be downloaded from the VTech Learning Lodge via a host computer - the watch has no wifi or network connectivity.

Usage

The battery takes about 3 hours to achieve a full charge, and be warned the watch comes with no charge, so best to open and pre-charge if you're giving this as a gift. VTech quotes a battery life of 2 weeks from a full charge, although in our experience this was extremely optimistic. Charging is done by connecting the watch to a power supply via the mini-USB port, so we'd recommend putting it on charge over night.

The Kidizoom Smartwatch is splash proof but not waterproof - if this thing goes underwater you can almost certainly kiss it goodbye!

Overall

The VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch is a cool piece of wearable technology that's affordable and functional enough to make it a massive hit with children. The real fun will come from the creative uses kids make of the photo and especially video capture functions, and younger users will benefit from the time-telling and educational games.

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