Verizon sells two smartwatches for kids ages 6 through 12: the GizmoWatch 2 and the GizmoWatch Disney Edition. We think the GizmoWatch 2 is an excellent GPS tracker and communication device for families on a budget, but the Disney Edition is overpriced compared to other kids’ smartwatches.
Verizon GizmoWatch Review
GizmoWatch 2 vs. GizmoWatch Disney Edition
The GizmoWatch 2 and the Disney Edition share the following features:
- Real-time GPS tracking
- Time-based location alerts
- Parent-controlled contact list
- Parent-controlled text response list
- Auto answer
- Step counter
- To-do list
- Funny sounds game
- School/quiet mode
A few extras were added to the Disney Edition:
- Selfie camera
- SOS button
- Weather app
- Orange, green, and blue loop straps
Plus, there are cool Disney-themed backgrounds, photo frames, and characters to interact with on the special edition.
A timer, stopwatch, jumping game, and voice distortion app are available on the GizmoWatch 2 but not on the Disney Edition.
Cost of the GizmoWatch: Financing available
The GizmoWatch 2 costs around $100, making it one of the most affordable but functional kids smartwatches on the market.
The Disney Edition has the opposite problem. Its nearly $200 price tag makes it more expensive than other kids smartwatches, including those with advanced features like video calling and longer contact lists.
There’s also a $35 activation fee for either watch, which bumps up the total price. And don’t forget the Verizon service plan, which runs around $10 per month.
If your kid’s a die-hard Disney fan and needs this watch, Verizon offers 24-month financing for either GizmoWatch. We aren’t aware of any similar kids smartwatch with this option.
Excellent parental controls
The GizmoWatch gives your child a chance to call you without being exposed to spam phone calls. It’s the watch’s primary function, and we think it does a great job thanks to the options available in the parent app.
Limited contact list
You have full control over who can call or text your child through the phone and vice versa. The contact list has room for just 10 people, and you can assign them different permissions.
- Buddy: can send and receive calls
- Gizmo Buddy: can send and receive calls and texts from another GizmoWatch
- Caregivers: can send and receive calls and texts, see real-time GizmoWatch location, and receive various alerts
- Guardian: same as Caregiver but with the ability to add and remove contacts, turn the GizmoWatch on and off, and change its settings
You’re one of them, so really there are nine spaces left. Your child might outgrow this list before you know it.
Predefined text messages
Text content is also completely within your control. From the parent app, you can create a list of quick messages for your child to choose from when sending texts. The GizmoWatch also features a list of emojis for children to send instead.
Children can share images with the Disney Edition, but there’s no video calling.
Screen time limits
A new smartwatch is exciting, and your child might need a little help focusing on school. You can set up a period of time when the watch won’t work (except for emergency calls on the Disney Edition). It’s called School Mode in the Disney Edition and Quiet Mode in the GizmoWatch 2.
But note that there’s no way to limit the watch’s daily use or receive alerts about excessive usage.
Location check-in features
Through the GizmoHub smartphone app, you can view your child’s location to confirm that they made it to school or are still at a friend’s house. Best of all, you can do so without seeming like a nagging parent, since your child won’t know that you’ve looked up their location.
Your child can also manually check in by tapping the location symbol (a white arrow on a teal background). Contacts marked as guardians or caregivers will be notified of the child’s location.
Our hack for historical location tracking
There’s no built-in report on the GizmoWatch 2 that shows your child’s location history or traces their steps. But you can set up the next-best thing: time-based notifications.
- Start on your child’s profile page.
- Tap Add Location Alert followed by Time-Based.
- Next, select Time Range.
- Choose the dates and times when you want to know your child’s location, as well as how often you want the check-ins to take place.
For example, you could set up the app to tell you where your child is every 30 minutes between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., every single day. Or, you could just focus on the times when your child is traveling to and from school, sports practice, a friend’s house, etc.
On the app, you’ll see a full list of your child’s locations during these scheduled check-ins. It’s not minute-by-minute historical tracking, but it’s pretty close.
The only downside is that you’ll drain the GizmoWatch 2’s battery life with more frequent check-ins.
You can also receive location-based alerts. First, you have to set up and name the locations you want to monitor, such as school, home, the park, the library, or friends’ houses.
A circle appears around each location on the map. This is the geofence (digital perimeter). You’ll get notifications when the GizmoWatch enters or exits this boundary.
You can adjust the size of the circle on the map by tapping and dragging.
The only downside is that this won’t work well in apartment complexes or other large buildings. You won’t necessarily know which floor they’re on.
SOS calling in Disney Edition only, but not to 911
One feature missing from the GizmoWatch 2 is an emergency/SOS button. The Disney Edition does have a recessed emergency button on the side. Kids can activate it by pressing and holding for five seconds, then swiping on the touch screen to place the call.
You can set up only one contact as the designated emergency number. If you’re not available, the phone doesn’t cycle through to a back-up number. Your child would have to manually go through their contact list and place another call.
Neither GizmoWatch can place calls to a number not in the contact list, including to 911. You also can’t make 911 an approved contact. This isn’t unusual for a kids smartwatch, but if it’s a dealbreaker for you, check out the TickTalk 4.
Auto answer feature for parents
Both versions of the GizmoWatch feature an “auto answer” option for parents. If your child isn’t answering calls, enable this mode from the parent app to turn their watch into a two-way speaker.
Lukewarm fun for kids
Neither GizmoWatch features a ton of games or other entertainment. If you’re concerned about screen time, this is definitely a bonus, but your kid might feel disappointed.
The GizmoWatch 2 features three activities that don’t have a lot of replay value, but they seem fun enough for younger kids:
- A jumping game: Complete a certain number of jumps in a row to advance to the next level.
- Funny sounds: Tap different icons to hear funny sounds.
- Voice distortion: Record a voice clip and play it back with different distortions.
The Disney Edition includes the funny sounds game, but not the jumping or voice distortion activities. Since that version has a camera, kids can entertain themselves with selfies and photo stickers.
Both watches also include a step counter, which could be turned into a fun challenge in a pinch. (“I bet you can’t take 100 steps!”)
If you gotta have games, we recommend the Xplora X5 Play.
Secure wristbands that are easy to swap out
You have two color choices when purchasing the GizmoWatch 2: pink or blue wristbands. The Disney Edition comes in an off-white color with the option to add an Elsa, Darth Vader, Buzz Lightyear, or Minnie wristband for around $35 at checkout.
For kids who want something way different, other manufacturers have come to the rescue. You can find replacement 20 mm wristbands in all kinds of colors and patterns for creative self-expression:
- Nylon wristbands with Velcro closures
- Funky and colorful patterns
- Silicone bands with more sophisticated colors
The watch’s original wristband features a buckle fastener and a secondary clasp to keep the long “tail” tucked out of the way. It provides a secure fit so your kid can run around without losing the watch.
The GizmoWatch 2 can only be charged with the included docking station. Your typical smartphone charge cord won’t work. So add it to vacation packing lists, because you’re unlikely to find a replacement at a convenience store.
On the plus side, it’s a USB charging station, so it should work with most car charging ports for on-the-go power-ups.
We recommend buying a couple of compatible chargers to keep on hand. One in the car, one at home, and perhaps one at a caretaker’s house will ensure your child can keep this safety device charged and ready for adventure.
You can view the watch’s battery level in the GizmoHub app.
Check Verizon coverage map before you buy
The GizmoWatch requires a Verizon service plan ($10/month). You can’t use it with T-Mobile, AT&T, etc. Make sure your area has Verizon 4G LTE coverage before you buy.
View Verizon’s coverage map and double-check it with the FCC’s map (check the “Verizon LTE Data” box). Zoom in on both maps to confirm your exact area is covered. There are pockets throughout the country that don’t get Verizon cell service, especially in mountainous or rural regions.
Verizon GizmoWatch 2 vs. other smartwatches for kids
Max. number of contacts
Compatible cell networks
T-Mobile, Metro PCS, SpeedTalk
|View on Amazon|
|Best for SOS calls|
|25||Red Pocket (AT&T)||View on Angel Watch|
Verizon GizmoWatch 2
|$99.99 + $35 activation fee|
|10||Verizon||View on Verizon|
|Best for active play|
Xplora X5 Play
|50||T-Mobile recommended||View on Amazon|
|Best for younger kids|
Little Tikes Tobi Robot
|–||N/A||View on Amazon|
Amazon.com price as of 8/26/2021 at 3:00 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.
We think the Verizon GizmoWatch 2 is an excellent choice for kids who are too young for a phone but still need a way to contact their parents. It also helps parents monitor their child’s newfound independence with GPS features.
How we reviewed the Verizon GizmoWatch
For our Verizon GizmoWatch review, we talked to Verizon and downloaded copies of the user manuals. We read what other parents were saying in dozens of reviews and used our industry knowledge of other kids smartwatches to put the GizmoWatch’s features into context. Learn more on the SafeWise methodology page.
Verizon GizmoWatch FAQ
A Verizon cellular data plan for GizmoWatch costs $10 per month. If you choose to finance the watch, you can make payments of around $4.16 per month for 24 months for the GizmoWatch 2, or payments of around $8.33 per month for 24 months for the Disney Edition. There’s also the option to pay about $14 extra per month for a Verizon Mobile Protect plan.
The Verizon GizmoWatch is water resistant, which means it works even if splashed, but it shouldn’t be worn in the pool, bathtub, or shower.
Yes. The GizmoWatch allows kids to send pre-written text messages. You can text a custom message to your child’s watch via the GizmoHub app.
No, the GizmoWatch can’t call 911.
Yes, both parents can have the GizmoHub app. Whoever sets up the account can grant the other parent Guardian access. This allows both parents to have the same level of control over the GizmoWatch.
Ages 6 through 12 will get the most use and enjoyment out of a GizmoWatch.
Yes, the parent app GizmoHub works with Android phones running version 5.0 and above.
No, you have to use Verizon with the GizmoWatch. But that doesn't mean you have to be a current Verizon customer to buy the GizmoWatch. You’ll buy a monthly plan during the checkout process.
The differences between the Gizmo 1 and Gizmo 2 include the following:
- Back button and power button moved from the front of the watch to the side
- Slight increase in touchscreen display size (1.4 inch, 300x300 pixels in GizmoWatch 2 versus 1.3 inch, 240x240 pixels in the original GizmoWatch)
- More powerful processor (Qualcomm Snapdragon 2500 in the Gizmo 2 versus the Qualcomm Snapdragon 2100 in the Gizmo 1)
- Slight difference in dimensions (1.71 x 1.77 x 0.53 inches for the GizmoWatch 2 versus 1.65 x 1.85 x 0.6 inches for the original GizmoWatch)
The original GizmoWatch and the GizmoWatch 2 share the same features, memory (4 GB), and battery time (about four days of average use).
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