Keep tabs on your kids with this wearable tracker

Tech Tools: Tinitell smartwatch with GPS and call capability

New Tinitell smartwatch - with GPS

Product name: Tinitell

Price: €149.0

Where to buy: tinitell.com

Website: tinitell.com

Thu, Jun 1, 2017, 06:16

   

Parents face a dilemma. You want to be able to keep track of your child, know where they are and contact them in an emergency (and vice versa) but at the same time, you don’t want to give them a mobile phone. Maybe you have strong feelings about the appropriate age to give a child a phone, smart or otherwise.

A few years ago, there was a device called the Firefly, a phone aimed at younger children that would only allow them to call a predefined list of numbers, and allowed parents to limit receiving calls to that list too. That seems to have dropped off the market, which isn’t surprising given the availability of cheap mobile phones.

But you may still be uncomfortable giving your child even the cheapest of smartphones. So what’s the alternative? Step forward, Tinitell.

The product is a smartwatch designed to pair with an app that allows your child to make and receive calls to a closed set of contacts, and includes GPS capabilities – through the sim card, so make sure you have a decent data plan or at least keep it topped up – so you can pinpoint their location at all times.

Well, at all times, once they have a data signal. More on that later.

Charging the Tinitell is through a proprietary USB cable, so don’t lose it. As the watch charges, you’ll see the circle’s LEDs light up in quarters until it’s full. It doesn’t take that long, but the battery needs charging every day or two, so you need to keep on top of it.

Back to the issues with GPS coverage. Occasionally it dropped, leaving the watch stuck at an old location when you opened the app to check on its whereabouts. However, a recent update appears to have solved the issue for the most part.

The ability to personalise the watch is handy. When you are setting up the contacts list for the watch, you can record voice tags for each number. Don’t skip this, unless you plan on having a single number in there; it’s the only way your child will be able to identify what number they are ringing. As they move their way through the list of 12 you can preset on the phone, the voice tags play, and you press the centre button to place the call. So far, so simple. Audio quality is decent, similar to what you’d get from your phone’s speaker, so your child will be audible – but so will you to the surrounding crowds when you make a call.

The good:

The setup is reasonably simple and if something goes wrong, resetting the watch takes a couple of minutes.

The watch itself is reassuringly chunky and sturdy which given the target market is a good thing. It takes a lot to break it, even in the hands of an over-enthusiastic child.

The not so good:

The watch talks to you when turning on and off. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing in itself, but it’s a little creepy. The GPS was a little flaky until the update, which would be a major downside if that was the sole reason for you buying the device.

The rest:

The smartphone app controls everything on the watch, so you can update contacts as you wish. It also pinpoints the watch’s location on a map. Speaking of contacts, let your child record their own voice tags for each contact.

It’s not that difficult to remove the watch though, so make sure your child likes it before you let them roam, or you may find yourself €149 lighter and minus the watch too.

The verdict:

Once the GPS issue was resolved, the Tinitell proved its worth.