SpaceTalk Adventurer Kids Smartwatch REVIEW
Finally, some cool tech for kids that’s actually useful, for both parents and their wee horrors. PAT PILCHER reviewed it with the help of, you know… a kid.
Smartwatches have been big news for adults for some time. Now, a slew of on-wrist smart devices aimed at kids is hitting the market. The latest from Spark is the SpaceTalk Adventurer. Lacking kids to act as testers, I did the next best thing and roped in Richard, a long-suffering friend and his 10-year-old daughter, Eva.
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The SpaceTalk watch sports a unisex design and comes in pink and teal/grey. Its vivid LCD display offers up colourful watch faces designed to keep kids engaged. There are no buttons or studs; it instead makes use of a touch screen interface. Crafted out of plastic, the SpaceTalk watch feels solid and able to handle any rough and tumble kids will throw at it. Add to this an IP54 rating, and it’ll survive the odd splashes and rain, even if it isn’t fully waterproof.
The real test of its design is, of course, how much kids like it. So, how did its design go down with the test subject? According to Richard, Eva was “happy to wear it. She was unhappy that it had to come off to charge at night, though she did find it a bit bulky and uncomfortable at times.”
The SpaceTalk watch is aimed at tech-savvy 5 to 12-year-olds who’d love their own tech but are too young to own a smartphone. The logic behind the SpaceTalk Adventurer is that it offers kids all the gee-whiz they’d want with a smartphone, but without letting young kids hang out on social media and the internet.
This is achieved by parents downloading an app. The app not only manages the watch but also prompts parents to check out its safety and security info. It provides a load of detail around how its data is both encrypted, stored and used. For parents worried about their kids finding unsavoury online content, the SpaceTalk watch allows them to rest easy.
After installing the SpaceTalk app, Richard found that the “initial install required an update to the watch, but after that, it connected easily.” Richard’s wife, Anna, also liked the location tracker and the reminder to charge the watch.
The watch itself is a well-featured bit of gear. An e-sim means that kids can call and voice message anybody in their contacts list, which is set by parents. Text messages that can be sent are pre-set (they can also be changed by the parent via the app). Alongside messaging, there’s also emojis. Crucially, there are no apps, social media, or internet access. Calls from numbers not in the contact list are blocked. Equally handy, the watch has GPS, which means parents can pre-set safe zones and get notifications if their child moves out of them. Another nifty feature is the SOS button. If pushed (and held – so your child doesn’t accidentally freak everyone out), it’ll contact everyone in your child’s emergency contacts list.
There’s also a fitness tracker, so your wee one can hear the watch tell them how many steps they’ve taken. Being a watch, it also has a stopwatch and a torch and last (but by no means least), the app also allows parents to disable features on the watch on a recurring schedule. This handily means kids are not distracted while at school or doing their homework.
According to Richard, Eva “took advantage of some of the features to set alarms and send messages to her parents.” The best demonstration of how much Eva engaged with the watch was that both Richard and Anna received messages and calls many times.
While the SpaceTalk watch costs a hefty $399, Spark offers a 24-month interest-free payment option. That said, parents will also still need to fork out for a monthly mobile plan and a subscription to the app (which works out to around $15-$20 a month).
The SpaceTalk watch isn’t petite. That said, housing a camera, a phone and smartwatch gubbins plus a battery all take up space. Either way, there’s no getting away from the fact that it is chunky. It is, however, a slick-looking device, and its design definitely appealed to our test subject, Eva.
The SpaceTalk not only gives kids a cool smartwatch but it also delivers peace of mind to parents who can know where their kids are and that they’re contactable without the distractions and worries of giving young ones a mobile phone.