Elari KidPhone 3G: the idea was good…

Designed for children, hybrids of a mobile phone with a wristwatch are devices, in general, already familiar, but … peculiar. The main problem is that adults are supposed to buy them, so manufacturers are guided by this audience, and children should use them. And they are not interested. It was during our childhood that the watch itself was a cool accessory from the adult world, and not everyone had a landline (at least) phone. So give me in my childhood who is the simplest “children’s watch” – happiness would be full pants. Modern children live in a slightly different world – so from the age of four they begin to reach for smartphones and tablets, watch YouTube on TVs, etc.

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And what can a typical watch offer them? Nothing. They are made for us – the ability to contact the child and / or track his location, standard for all such devices, is needed by adults. Children – maximum talk with peers. But, again, the smartphone does it better, and it does a lot of other things. The clock is not. They could – only at the same time they will cost at the level of “adult” smart models. To which it is desirable to add a strong case, a large battery, etc. etc. You will get a device with a retail price of 20 ***, or even more (because retail also wants to eat), but this majority of adults will not buy it for themselves. Even more so for a child. Because the latter can (however you protect them) break, drown, fall in love … lose in the sense … Or change them for something useful from their point of view – what a watch-phone in its current form is not for a child. Who knows – it would be more useful, maybe they would “live” longer.

But now it usually goes under the category of accessories. It costs a couple of thousand in retail (or two times cheaper on Ali). Designed for a 2G network, equipped with simple software, nothing interesting (for a child, not an adult) can not … regularly falls into disrepair and changes to a new one. Or, in the end, this process gets boring, so the problem is solved by other means – for example, a push-button dialer plus the corresponding operator services (albeit paid, but generally inexpensive) to control the location. Or even a smartphone. After that, problems arise with the control of its use, but this is a completely different story – we will all be there.

I myself went through a similar path with the older child, so I was not going to repeat it with the younger one at all. But then I had the opportunity to get to know Elari KidPhone 3G closely, which differs radically from other children’s watches-phones. For the price, too, though. But it was interesting to see how a living child at the age of four would perceive them 🙂

Exterior

There is nothing special about the appearance of KidPhone 3G – they look like many other smart watches and not only for children. For the latter, they are just too big – about 40x50x15 mm, which was largely due to the relatively large display (1.3 “TFT; 240 x 240), over which the camera is also placed, and attempts to “shove” a larger battery into the case. So, in principle, they look normal on an adult hand (especially with a less cheerful color), but they don’t interfere too much on a child’s. and the screen was not scratched, although my daughter used the watch quite actively (but more on that below).

All control – using two buttons and a touch screen. There are a lot of bookmarks on the last one, although most of them are only interesting for adults – you can call the last number, open the phone book or chat with Alice right from the main one. Only the chat did not fit here, and the toys were separate – but they did not hook the daughter at all, unlike the opportunity to chat with the clock.

Behind – a cover for a SIM card (the usual nano is already, which is convenient) and a contact pad for charging. Here, in this case, the imitation of “adult” models is unnecessary – it would be better to have a standard connector than the need to carry a special cable with you. e, the connector needs to be closed with something, the plugs are regularly torn off, and without them there will be no protection against moisture. Here IP65, which at least allows you to wash your hands. By the way, the gadget is charged for a couple of hours – a bit too much for such a battery.

Interior

It is clear that the richness of functions, and indeed 3G support in general, requires a more serious element base than in simple models. A whole smartphone is hidden inside here. But, unfortunately, rather outdated – MediaTek MT6572M is a seven-year-old solution and quite voracious. Note – by the standards of smartphones and their batteries, this is, and here, paired with it, the battery is only 580 mAh. So the main problem is clear – without a special load, the watch can work for a couple of days. Well, one for sure – even with the use of a pedometer, location tracking and a small number of calls. But to chat with Alice … as soon as you started,n to look for an outlet in a maximum of an hour. Those. a student can be given such only by setting the “In the classroom” mode, in which all functions are cut off, except for showing the time and SOS. And … back to the beginning – not interesting. And when it is interesting, then after a few changes the battery is discharged – after which it is not interesting at all. Including parents.

Otherwise, nothing special: a special firmware based on the fourth Android feels fine on the old processor, 512 MB of RAM and 4 GB of flash. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi also work fine. Only they also eat energy – that is. some Helio A22 or SnapDragon 429 would be much better here. But we can’t hope for their appearance in watches yet. And besides the high gluttony, the quality of the mobile Internet was also somewhat disappointing. Well suited for children’s watches, for example, the “Free” tariff from Danycom is really free and 30 minutes of outgoing calls per month with a gigabyte of traffic is basically enough. The presence of 3G support directly leads to this, it would seem, and is a competitive advantage of KidPhone 3G – Tele2 (on the basis of which Danycom and many virtuals work) does not have 2G in the London region, so most analogues (and push-button phones) will not work , but here … And here in some places there is no connection: the voice works, but there is no Internet, i.e. many necessary functions (at least the same geolocation – the location is determined, but there is no way to view it remotely). The same SIM card in a smartphone in the same place works well – but when using LTE. And voice over 3G goes well – but it seems that the use of this standard for the Internet is suppressed by the operator. Or maybe the antenna is a bit short in a compact case. As a result, a serious a priori advantage over competitors is somewhat absorbed.

Program Manager

What the company can only be praised for is the excellent Elari SafeFamily app for adults. We bind the clock by scanning a barcode – and forward: there is an administrator. If any of the family members only need voice calls, they can simply be added to contacts. Although no one interferes and generally disable the barring of calls from unknown numbers, but this is not welcome 🙂 And if you need location control, chat and settings, then you can add a few admins by already scanning the code from the “primary” phone.

What is being configured? The usual set: geofences (we get a notification if the child turned somewhere wrong), contacts, alarm clock, friends (with similar devices in the sense), geolocation polling interval, shutdown prohibition, etc. A standard set, in general – with the exception of the above-mentioned “In the classroom” mode.

Calls, video calls are functionally available (but here you need the Internet – with which everything is not always smooth, plus do not forget about power consumption), location, pedometer readings, and there is also the opportunity to “eavesdrop” on what is happening next to the child. It is implemented as a callback, but is performed in a stealth mode – it is not displayed on the watch screen in any way. And again we return to the fact that children’s watches are made for adults. If I were a child, I would think three times: is it worth wearing such a gadget. Or is it better to try to break/lose it. And in general – it’s not good to eavesdrop. But not being already a child, I understand that in some cases this feature may come in handy. The main thing, of course, is not to abuse it.

Alice

The presence of a voice assistant is almost exclusive to the model. But there are two drawbacks – firstly, very high power consumption (even if you drive Aunt Alice via Wi-Fi), and secondly, she is here on her own. The real bomb would be to control the functions of the device by voice – but now you can’t say: “Alice – call your mother.” Or rather, you can say something, but there is no benefit from it: he won’t call.

In general, only entertainment. In addition, a little limited compared to the “full” version – you can not listen to your favorite music, for example. But you can play cities, listen to a fairy tale, find out what historical events took place on that day, or just chat. The latter turned out to be a real find – a modern child perceives a voice assistant not as some kind of technical miracle, but as a living interlocutor. Maybe even promise to give him a pop. And he is very offended when they do not understand him – alas, but so far voice assistants are not quite pulling on a full-fledged artificial intelligence. Adults do not notice this, accepting the simpleles of the game, children do not yet fully understand them. But they are trying. And before they learn to read, for them it is generally extremely interesting and relevant. Yes, and it’s useful – because you can ask a question not only to mom and dad. And it’s a pity that it doesn’t take long to ask questions…

Outcome

A great idea is oftenined by the execution. In this case, the voice assistant is a noticeable feature of the watch – but it is extremely difficult to fully use it, since the ancient hardware platform quickly eats up the battery. However, other components also suffer from it, but to a lesser extent. So after the daughter has played enough with Alice to the point where you can endure a little without communication, we use the clock. For example, going for a walk in crowded places. Or when she just wants to call me at work and ask when I get home. There are no problems with this use – although more was expected. And there are more too – but there can already be difficulties with making a call, since the battery willn out at the wrong time. In general, this would be – but with greater autonomy. And, ideally, for the voice assistant to become a full-fledged way to control the clock, and not just an additional feature. In general, there is a reserve for both, and for the other – it remains to be finalized.

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