June 30, 2021
Up-to-date analysis of features and bugs
Are you considering a kids smartwatch for your child? You’ve probably heard of the Gizmo Watch, a Verizon product that has been around for several years. The Gizmo rose to popularity by being the first kids smartwatch offered by a US telecom, but despite a limited effort by Verizon to update the Gizmo with a new Verizon, key systemic problems remain.
Getting the right first device for your child is important. For kids that have never had a phone before, this is a big step. As a parent or guardian you might be purchasing a smartwatch for features like GPS tracking or to be able to call and text your child when you’re picking them up from school. But the fact is you and your kid have to love it or it will wind up in the trash. That means the watch has to work for your child, too.
We’ve custom designed an amazing kids smartwatch: COSMO JrTrack. Built for kids, tested and endorsed by kids and parents, we believe we have the right product for you. But we also know corporate juggernauts like Verizon can dump millions of dollars into marketing and regularly persuade parents to “just trust the brand.”
If you’re considering a Gizmo Watch for your child, keep in mind these 10 real customer experiences, which we have validated as instances of ongoing, systemic issues:
“Gizmo Watch GPS never works!”
A well-known and ongoing problem with Gizmo is its spotty GPS functionality. Despite advertising a suite of GPS features, the Verizon Gizmo is notoriously unreliable. COSMO’s testing of the device surfaced these main conclusions:
-Battery: Battery life takes a big hit from using the GPS. Live tracking rapidly drains the watch’s energy. Frequent GPS usage will kill the battery in much less than a day.
-Accuracy: Much like users have reported, COSMO engineers found the Gizmo’s GPS to be wildly unreliable at times, reporting locations all over the world. Even when it worked, it was frequently only accurate to within a mile or so.
-Usability: Don’t expect much more than to use Gizmo GPS than to give you a general idea of where your child is. The more sophisticated applications (geofencing, live tracking, etc) were unusable.
The Gizmo watch reviews below tell a concerning story...
“I went to the Verizon store only to find out I would have to change my entire plan which was double the cost.”
Verizon still requires a lengthy, multi year contract when purchasing the Gizmo. And this makes sense, as the raw cost of the device is listed at over $150, which they discount substantially when you sign a long term contract. But buyer beware! The average lifespan of a Gizmo device is barely two years, and that’s if your child takes good care of it.
“I’m considering switching our entire family plan and business accounts away from Verizon”
We’ve heard this story from Verizon / Gizmo customers many times. It’s not just that the device fails to live up to its advertised capabilities, it’s that Verizon also locks users into inflexible plans. Frequently, those plans are associated with larger family plans, which increases the difficulty of disentangling and prematurely ending a contract. Buyers beware, the Gizmo can corrupt your entire family plan!
Connection is spotty
Verizon’s network may work fine in your area, but that’s no guarantee the Gizmo Watch will reliably pick up calls. One of the most common complaints from Gizmo customers is spotty connectivity. Dropped or missed calls, no signal, device not found - you name it.
“The screen shattered after only 2 weeks during normal use!”
It goes without saying that a kids smartwatch should expect to encounter hardship. As a wearable that transitions from classroom to soccer practice to riding bikes after school, the Gizmo comes up short. The most common complaints from reviewers on Verizon’s website are about poor construction and shattered screens.
It’s true the Gizmo kids smartwatch has a built in camera. But apart from allowing kids to take selfies don’t expect much more functionality. At present Verizon hasn’t equipped the device to share photos in any way, not even by text message. This is surprising to most customers who expect such basic connectivity to be standard in today’s products.
Verizon has not made any announcement about when photo sharing will be released, and whether that will be a firmware update or require customers to buy a new device altogether.
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