Fitbit Ace3 REVIEW - a fitness tracker specifically for kids
Fitbit Ace3 REVIEW – a fitness tracker specifically for kids
PAT PILCHER finds a kid to test a new fitness tracker especially made for kids – and for parents to monitor their kid’s progress.
Adults have long enjoyed the benefits of fitness trackers, yet kids have been largely ignored until now. Fitbit has launched the Ace3, a fitness tracker aimed at kids aged eight and older. It’s a showerproof doodah with a host of fitness and health-related tracking capabilities designed to track and provide fitness stats for both children and parents.
Kids can be harsh critics, and unlike many adults, most have a real knack for seeing through marketing BS. Taking this into account, I equipped 10-year-old Sinjin, the son of a friend (James), with the Ace3 to get his take on it.
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Fitbit hasn’t fallen into the trap of making the Ace3 look too childish. They’ve chosen to base its design on the Alta HR. (Fun fact – the straps for the Alta fit the Ace3). It’s available in Electric Blue and Power Purple. Being a Fitbit device, its screen is both simple and easy to read, even in direct sunlight.
Fitbit gains early marks in the design department. Sinjin’s dad James says that “Although the Ace3 is quite basic looking, Sinj reckons the design overall is pretty cool, and he enjoyed showing it to his friends for the first few days. He says it’s easy to put on and to take off and is comfortable when he’s wearing it. While the screen is small, it’s easy to read and easy to operate the menus”.
It’s designed to take knocks and bumps and is “showerproof” with an IPX7 rating. Unfortunately, this also means it isn’t swim-proof, so while it’ll cope fine with splashes and showers, swims or baths will kill it. Like the Alta, its wristband is crafted from silicone which means it’s durable too.
The Ace3’s tracking features are like other Fitbit widgets. It’ll track the wearer’s steps, activity minutes and sleep. A crucial difference is that parents can also view their kid’s data at a detail level unavailable to kids. Parents also have control over the data kids can see with the Fitbit app, while kids can see stats such as sleep, active minutes, and steps. According to James, Sinjin has “definitely taken an interest in his daily steps and the other goals. Some days (but I think not all) he’s actively monitored how he’s doing and has changed his routines. Not sure it’s changed his behaviour, but Sinj says he has taken quite an interest in his sleep patterns on some days.”
The Ace3 also encourages kids to stay active by throwing different challenges at them and helping them celebrate reaching their goals. A nice touch is that kids can also compare data and challenge each other. It can also remind kids to move once an hour.
If Sinjin’s feedback is anything to go by, Fitbit’s approach seems to be working. James says that Sinjin “likes the different watch faces, and overall, the range of features that you get. He looks at the app – which is easy to use – several times a week. The badges and the challenges from week to week are also cool, sometimes.”
All told, the Fitbit Ace3 isn’t a bad option for kids. We (and Sinjin) liked that it didn’t look too childish. James also liked that it keeps him in the loop while challenging and stimulating Sinjin to stay active.
If that’s what’s good, what’s not so good? James found getting set up to be a frustrating exercise: “The setup was somewhat painful – better instructions on how to do the parent setup would have been great.”
That minor issue aside, James and Sinjin did get set up, and James says that “it’s been great to see Sinjin playing with the watch, and taking an interest in steps, etc. Also been interesting to see his sleep patterns. Once it’s set up, switching between the parent view and the kid view on the app is easy. Overall a really positive experience.”