Getting kids to be active can sometimes be a challenge. My son loves to run and play, but it’s also very easy for him to get distracted by YouTube or Netflix, and he’d sit in front of a screen for hours if I didn’t limit it. Sometimes getting him to be active and up off the sofa can be a challenge. When I was thinking about ways to get him more active, I thought about a step counter, and he loved the idea. Whilst researching smart watches for kids, I realized that there are way more features available than just a simple step counter, and it made me think about all the other things that would be useful for both him and for me as a parent.
The Xplora XGO 2 (available on Amazon with an RRP of £99) is a combination of a watch and a phone, allowing it to have far more functionality than a regular step counter watch, whilst remaining easy for both kids and parents to use. I was sent an Xplora XGO 2 for review and want to share my thoughts on it. Testing with me is William, who is 5 years old. William is big for his age, in 6-7 years clothing, and also very experienced and capable with tech (perhaps more than I’d like!), but even so I’d say he’s on the younger side you’d want using this watch. This watch could be used all the way up to teenagers, but I think the ideal age is for kids who aren’t quite ready for a full smartphone yet.
The Xplora XGO 2 is available in a range of colours, but only one size. It is quite big on the wrist of a 5 year old, but it does need to be a bit big for you to read the icons and touch the screen. It’s comfortable for him to wear, but he can’t yet take it on and off himself, but the advantage of the standard watch-pin strap it has is that it’s very secure and there’s no risk of it falling off whilst being active.
Starting our day very excited!
William wore the Xplora XGO 2 on our recent trip to Caerphilly Castle.
William’s favourite feature of the Xplora XGO 2 is the one I originally wanted – the step counter. Its very easy for him to turn on the phone, and swipe to the step counter. Although his reading level is fairly primitive, the icons make it very easy for him to understand what apps he’s opening. Once the app is open, when the screen powers down automatically, the app remains running, so when he clicks the on button again, the steps are waiting for him. He’s having a great time counting his daily steps, and trying to reach the goal of 10,000 steps motivates him to be way more active. As you might be aware, kids that are more active are more healthy both physically and mentally.
The other features it has for kids to use include being able to send an receive calls and messages (with a SIM card), camera, calendar, calculator and torch. All are really simple and easy to use.
For parents, there’s are safety features that will help give you peace of mind. Most of these do require the watch to be installed with a SIM card. I chose a cheap contract-free SIM card that offers a decent amount of data for £5 a month. You really don’t need much data at all though for the features, so the lowest data SIM card you can find should be fine. I haven’t tested it on a pay as you go usage, but I imagine the costs would be minimal.
Parents can install an App on their phone which connects to the watch. This app can give you their GPS location, which seems very accurate based on my experience. This photo is an example provided by marketing, as I’m not really comfortable sharing my GPS data publicly as I’m sure you’ll understand, but I have used the feature and I found it extremely accurate as to his location. Parents can activate school mode, which means the watch can only be used as a watch during set times. You could then set it for the whole day at school, or let the kids use it during their lunch break. Do check with the school what is or isn’t allowed though, and you may find some schools will ask this to be kept in a bag during class hours even on school mode.
I love this gadget. It’s really increased William’s activity levels, but also has a ton of useful features and most importantly, the safety aspects really give me peace of mind.
We were gifted an Xplora XGO 2 to share our thoughts on it, which have remained entirely my own. If you’d like to explore this watch more you can check out the official website, or purchase it on Amazon. If you have any questions, leave it in the comments and I’ll be happy to help where I can!