Garmin vívofit jr, Kids Fitness/Activity Tracker

Last updated date: September 3, 2019

DWYM Score
7.9

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We looked at the top 1 Kids Smartwatches and dug through the reviews from 4 of the most popular review sites including BestReviews, Top Reviews, CNET, Fitness Tracker 24 and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Kids Smartwatch you should buy.

Overall Take

Toughness is a big feature on the Garmin Vivofit Jr. It's waterproof with a comfortable silicone strap, and the battery goes for a year without needing replacement. Interactive features also allow parents to dole out rewards for chores and other assigned activities. We loved that this watch wasn't bulky during our testing. In our analysis of 29 expert reviews, the Garmin Garmin Vívofit Jr. Kids Fitness/Activity Tracker placed 3rd when we looked at the top 5 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note September 3, 2019:
Checkout The Best Kids Smartwatch for a detailed review of all the top kids smartwatches.

Expert Summarized Score
8.3
4 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
7.2
1,600 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
Water resitant to 5 atm. Polymer case with silicon strap. Compatible with Vivofit 3 bands if necessary. No recharging. Replace battery once a year.
- BestReviews
The tracker is compatible with a task management app that parents can use to assign chores and responsibilities and give kids recognition for completing certain tasks, such as making their bed or setting the table.
- CNET
September 29, 2016 | Full review
The design is waterproof, which means there won’t be any accidental mishaps that ruin the device. You know, like forgetting to take it off before going swimming.
- Fitness Tracker 24
What experts didn't like
Dead pixels develop in the screen. Difficulty syncing with the parent app.
- BestReviews
It will probably need a screen protector, which Garmin sells, to keep it from scratching during active play. There similar models to what you find for a smartphone that peel and stick on.
- Fitness Tracker 24

From The Manufacturer

Let's get kids on the move. Meet the activity tracker just for kids, vívofit jr. It’s swim friendly, durable and features kid-approved designs, a 1-year battery life and a free, parent-controlled mobile app. The app motivates your pint-sized powerhouses to stay on the move with rewards and a mobile adventure trail to unlock. Meanwhile, parents can monitor steps and sleep and get a Summary of their kids 60-minute daily activity goal. The app also gives parents the ability to manage and assign chores and give rewards to positively enforce good behavior. It's all easily controlled from Mom and dad’s Compatible Apple or Android mobile devices. Do not place in high temperature environments, such as a clothes dryer.

Overall Product Rankings

1. VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch DX
Overall Score: 9.1
Expert Reviews: 6
2. LeapFrog LeapBand Activity Tracker
Overall Score: 8.7
Expert Reviews: 6
3. Garmin vívofit jr, Kids Fitness/Activity Tracker
Overall Score: 7.9
Expert Reviews: 4

An Overview On Kids Smartwatches

With new technological innovations entering the marketplace every year, buying a new smartwatch can be as intimidating as it is exciting. That goes double when you’re getting one for your kid.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

There’s just so much more to consider. Kids are voracious consumers of anything new and shiny, and there’s a delicate balancing act in making sure their tech not only has the latest bells and whistles, but enough safeguards in place to make sure they won’t abuse them.

Most kids’ smartwatches won’t do everything that their full-featured adult counterparts can, but depending on your child’s age, you might not want (for instance) Facebook connectivity anyway. The good news is, in a lot of cases they won’t need to be within Bluetooth range of a smartphone to work. They can still be paired up with a parent’s phone, who can then set safeguards and other features.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

The first thing to focus on is why you want your child to have a smartwatch in the first place. Kids will want most of the same things out of their watch: the ability to play games, take pictures and maybe message with their friends, if they’re old enough. Most parents will want a little something beyond that, and that’s where they can narrow down the choices.

There are generally three areas of functionality for children’s smartwatches: learning, fitness and security. Many will incorporate aspects of two or even all three, but most all of them specialize in something.

As far as kids are concerned, learning watches, like the VTech Kidizoom, are all about fun, but the games and apps are geared to teach numbers, letters or even social skills. They’ll come pre-programmed with some activities, but in most cases, you can download additional ones through a PC or paired smartphone.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Fitness tracking watches for kids also come with games, but they are intended to incentivize your kid to get up and go. The LeapFrog LeapBand Activity Tracker, for example, rewards kids with points for things like jumping, running or exercising in a certain way. They can then use those points to buy apps or swag for their tiny virtual pets. Imagine that! A piece of wearable tech that actually discourages couch potato behavior.

Then there are security watches that are designed to help you keep tabs on your kids, or at least provide them a way to contact you in case of emergencies. That might mean a preloaded set of “SOS” numbers your child can use to quickly dial parents or loved ones. In most cases, it means some form of GPS monitoring so that you can know where your child is at all times. In the case of the OLTEC Kids GPS Tracker, it means that you can activate a secret camera and voice monitor to immediately see the child’s whereabouts and eavesdrop if necessary.

Of course, none of these features are worth much if the child doesn’t use the gadget to begin with. Involve them in the process of picking a smartwatch, and you’ll both get more out of the experience.

DYWM Fun Fact

Smartwatches and their hi-res display screens are seen as cutting-edge today, but did you know that Seiko was wowing the world as early as 1982 with their revolutionary TV Watch? Well, “wowing” might be a bit strong. Although the TV Watch received 82 VHF and UHF channels on a 1.2-inch screen, this apparently wasn’t impressive enough to make the masses buy it for $495.

The Kids Smartwatch Buying Guide

  • When buying any kind of smart watch, a certain amount of water or impact resistance is a plus. When you’re talking about a kid’s smart watch, those features are almost a necessity. Check the materials that a watch is made out of, and consider whether they’ll stand up to your child’s typical playtime. Most watches will boast some type of water resistance, but bear in mind that “resistant” does not mean “impervious.” Look for specifics: For instance, the Garmin Vivofit Jr. lists the rating for its water resistance at 5 ATM. This means that the watch is built to keep out water when submerged up to the equivalent of five atmospheres. One atmosphere is the amount of pressure at sea level, and each level beyond that is roughly equal to the water pressure at 10 meters underwater.
  • Expect your kids to use their smart watch a lot, at least at first. That means their ability to hold a charge is going to get tested early. For rechargeable batteries, look for lithium ion, the same reliable type used in most smartphones. Some watches will come with replaceable batteries that can be changed out once depleted. If so, be sure to have that replacement set handy.
  • Speaking of usage, most parents will want a way to regulate it. Left to their own devices, a lot of kids will stay on that device for hours on end — and that can be harmful to their attention span, no matter how educational their smartwatch is. Look for parental controls not only on things like content, but on where and when your kids can use their watch. Models like the OLTEC Kids GPS Tracker Smart Watch have a handy timer feature that lets parents disable most functions on the device during regular school hours.
  • GPS is another great feature for security-minded parents. It lets parents keep track of where their child for peace of mind at work or during play dates. Just bear in mind that GPS signals don’t generally work in buildings, so while you might be able to tell that your child is at school, you won’t necessarily know exactly where.
  • If possible, play that smartwatch before your kids do! If not, you may be able to at least look up the games that are available on any given watch online to see if they are age-appropriate. Also, make sure the watch comes with games and activities pre-loaded. Many watches will nudge kids to purchase new games or virtual accessories, which they can usually do by connecting their watch to a computer via USB or a phone by Bluetooth.
  • If you’re OK with them making purchases, make sure the watch has enough internal memory to handle the new content. Storage space can be an even bigger factor for watches geared toward older kids, who may not play as many games but will certainly be taking lots of pictures and video.