Gabb Wireless, makers of the popular Gabb Z2 kids smartphone, definitely did their research when developing the Gabb Watch. They’ve managed to blend the best features of the Verizon GizmoWatch 2 and the Xplora X5 Play into one of the most affordable kids smartwatch on the market. Our tester's kids thought the Gabb Watch was easy to use, and many of its features—including a virtual pet—were a big hit with her 5-year-old in particular.
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The Gabb Watch 2 features 15 extra parent-approved contacts (25 total), a flashlight app, repeating tasks on to-do lists, new wallpapers and themes, and three new pets to unlock.
Already have the original Gabb Watch? You can get all of the above with a free software update.
In our Gabb Watch Review
How much money is a Gabb Watch?
The full retail price of the Gabb Watch is $149.99, but you can get the watch for free if you sign up for a 2-year contract. Signing up for a 1-year contract gets you a 50% discount off the retail price.
The watch doesn't work without a Gabb Wireless plan, which costs $14.99 a month no matter which plan you choose.
There's also a $25 one-time activation fee.
Cost of Gabb Watch accessories
Optional Gabb Watch accessories include the following:
- Equipment warranty ($4.99/mo.)
- Screen protector ($12.99)
- Extra watch band ($12.99 to $29.99)
Video: Kids & Parents Review the Gabb Watch
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Gabb Watch vs. other kids smartwatches
Max. number of contacts
Compatible cell providers
|View on Amazon|
|Best for unlimited data||$69.99|
|10||COSMO Family Safe Network||View on COSMO|
|25||Gabb Wireless||View on Gabb|
|Best for active play||$149.99|
|50||T-Mobile recommended||View on Amazon|
|Best for Verizon customers||$199.99 + $35 activation fee|
|10||Verizon||View on Verizon|
|Best for preschoolers||$29.99|
|–||N/A||View on Amazon|
*Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.
Limited contact list
Image: Suzi Brzezinski, SafeWise
The Gabb Watch’s contact list now has room for 25 people—15 more than before—and you have full control over who gets one of those coveted spots. No outside numbers can call your kid’s watch, which protects them from spam and scam calls.
If you're only seeing 10 contact slots on your child's Gabb Watch, check for a software update. On the watch's menu, swipe up until you see the down arrow icon. Tap it and then tap Check for update. It should update automatically after a few sections.
—Suzi B., SafeWise product tester
The Gabb Watch includes an SOS button to quickly reach you (or whomever you designate as the emergency contact). But kids have to press it for a full 10 seconds, and that feels like an eternity in an emergency. In fact, it’s actually faster to just swipe the screen and start a call with a couple of taps.
In contrast, the Angel Watch starts calling emergency contacts after three seconds.
There’s no 911 option on the Gabb Watch, but this is typical of most kids smartwatches.
—Suzi B., SafeWise product tester
GPS tracking and geofencing
The GPS tracker in the Gabb Watch makes it easy to find your kid any time. For example, maybe your kid had ball practice at a huge sports complex and you want to know which field they’re on. You can view their location in real-time on the MyGabb app or schedule automatic location updates every 15 minutes or so.
Our tester decided to make her kids responsible for sharing their locations—the modern version of "call me when you get there." It's as easy as pressing one button on the Gabb Watch.
Screenshots and image: Suzi Brzezinski, SafeWise
You can also set up “safe zones” and get notifications when your kid enters or leaves these areas. Common safe zones include school, home, friends’ houses, the cul-de-sac, or the library. The idea is that you can let your guard down a bit and not worry about your kid’s whereabouts until you get that “exiting safe zone” ping.
Here's an example of what that looks like in real-life: When her kids left a safe zone unexpectedly, our tester called them through the watch to ask where they went and to remind them to play in the cul-de-sac.
GabbGo™ for gamified fitness and to-do lists
Image: Suzi Brzezinski, SafeWise
We like seeing a touch of fun on kids smartwatches. The Gabb Watch features a digital pet app called GabbGo, but it’s not the screen-addicting time suck that it initially sounds like. GabbGo actually turns real-life fitness and chores into a virtual game like a cleverly disguised behavior chart.
Kids start out with either a cat or a dog. The goal is to earn virtual coins and then spend those coins building out a full menagerie of pets. Kids can also spend coins to teach their pets tricks like spin, backflip, roll over, or raise the roof.
Coins are earned by caring for their virtual pets or completing step goals and to-do lists, which you control and approve through the parent app. It’s a way to peel kids away from their screens and get them moving.
The Gabb Watch’s extra apps and features
The Gabb Watch has no internet access whatsoever, so your kid can’t access social media or download potentially dangerous apps from the App Store. But the Gabb Watch comes preprogrammed with a few extra tools and features, including the following:
Parents can also lock the watch from the MyGabb app so kids can’t use it at inappropriate times, such as during school.
The watch bands come in four cheerful colors. Extras cost around $10.
Screenshots: Suzi Brzezinski, SafeWise
What’s missing from the Gabb Watch
There’s no camera on the Gabb Watch, which undoubtedly accounts for its affordability.
A camera’s nice for video calling or so that your kid can share snapshots of their day, but it’s also a distraction. Gabb Wireless’s mission is to keep kids off their screens as much as possible, so it makes sense that they’d leave a camera off this watch.
Here are some other features you can find in other kids smartwatches, but not in the Gabb Watch:
- Talk to text
- 911 dialing
- Health monitoring
- Auto-answer for stealthy check-ins
- Waterproof vs. water-resistant construction
Those are all nice to have, but we don’t consider them total dealbreakers. You still get an incredible amount of features for less than $150 with the Gabb Watch, and no other kids smartwatch can compete with its value.
One mom's thoughts on the Gabb Watch
Suzi, mom of two kids ages 5 and 8, has tested several kids smartwatches for us. She had the smoothest set-up experience with the Gabb Watch.
"It was the first watch that connected on the first try," she said, adding that it's nice to have the cell service directly through Gabb versus a third-party like Verizon. "There were no SIM card compatibility issues like with other watches."
Suzi also noted that the Gabb Watch was one of the less bulky kids smartwatches on the market. "It has a slim design that's hard to find."
She and her kids also tested the Gabb Z2 phone, but after three months of testing, the Gabb Watch was the clear favorite. "The watch has more features," Suzi told us. Her competitive son enjoyed the step counter, whereas her younger daughter got a big kick out of feeding the GabbGo virtual pet and sending contacts a flood of emojis.
If you’ve been careful to keep your kid’s screen time to a minimum throughout their life and want to continue that trend, you’ll appreciate the bare-bones nature of the Gabb Watch. It offers the safety net of a phone without any internet access, stranger danger, or distracting social media apps and selfies.
If your kid is older and already has a smart device, the Gabb Watch might seem a little dull.
Overall, we’re impressed with the Gabb Watch’s balance of features and affordability.
Gabb Watch FAQ
Yes, the Gabb Watch has a virtual pet game that encourages kids to develop care routines, accomplish real-world tasks set by parents, and complete daily step goals. You can’t download any other games to the Gabb Watch.
No, the Gabb Watch does not have music.
No, the Gabb Watch does not pair with any Gabb phone. If you give your kid both devices, they’ll have two different phone numbers.
Read answers to more Gabb Watch FAQs.
How we reviewed the Gabb Watch
To test the Gabb Watch's appeal, user-friendliness, and location accuracy, we asked a mom to try it out with her two kids. Then we pitted the Gabb Watch’s specs and features against our lineup of the best kids smartwatches. We also browsed Gabb Wireless’s support portal to learn more about the ins and outs of this GPS watch. For more information about how we wrote our Gabb Watch review, check out the SafeWise methodology page.
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