If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, consider the Fitbit Ace 2 incredibly flattered, because this kid's fitness tracker has ‘inspired’ plenty of similar bands. While these watches may look similar, they’re not made by the brand, which is known for its dependable and sleek adult fitness trackers.
The Fitbit Ace 2 sits in the middle of the kids’ tracker/smartwatch market at £49, and currently sits atop of our best kids smartwatch guide, if you take all brands into account, but is at the lower end of the price range for well-known brands. Unlike the luxury options, such as the Vodafone Neo Kids Smart Watch, you don’t get a colour screen, but you do get a well-built band that’s comfortable to wear and a fitness tracker that doesn’t need charging every day.
Like Fitbit’s adult trackers, it’s a more serious option designed to build healthy habits, without unnecessary bells and whistles, but it does have fun touches, such as motivational home screens that include cute characters.
Fitbit Ace 2: Design
The design of Fitbit’s Ace 2 is one of its real strongpoints. The watch itself is nice and slim on little wrists, so the face doesn’t protrude too much, like Vodafone’s Neo, for example. The silicone band is comfy and there’s an adjustable clasp for a good fit. We tried it on a three-year-old and an adult and it fitted both, which is impressive. There’s a choice of two-colour combinations – navy and lime or coral and teal – with more straps sold separately.
The watch’s greyscale screen may not be the most exciting, but it is neat, swipe-able and includes some playful features, such as the ability to switch between novelty watch faces. The user interface on both the app and the watch itself is designed to be intuitive and our mini tester took to swiping and scrolling the watch’s backlit OLED display quickly, and even got stuck into stats.
Another nice design feature is the charger on the watch. You simply plug one end into a USB plug, and the other sit on the back of the watch’s face, not that you need to use it too regularly.
Fitbit Ace 2: Display
The Fitbit Ace 2 has a backlit OLED display that responds to natural swiping and scrolling. The watch’s greyscale touchscreen may be a far cry from Vodafone and Disney’s Neo rich colour display, for example, but it has a low profile and makes for an impressive battery life. Despite the lack of colour, there is some design fun to be had, with lots of different clock faces to choose from via the companion app.
We found it really easy to customise the watch face and our young tester was particularly excited by one face, where you can make a rocket take off by clocking up a certain number of steps. Similarly, you can grow a happy plant on another face, which gets longer and opens its eyes the more steps you manage. Sure, it lacks the immediate gratification of the seeing a Disney character spring to life and make signature noises, as with the Neo smartwatch, but it really engaged our mini tester and days later she was still keen to grow her plant and launch that rocket.
Fitbit Ace 2: Functions
Health is at the heart of the Fitbit Ace 2 and you can easily see all the data collected, from the number of steps you’ve walked, to how well you’ve slept.
The WHO recommends kids get 60 minutes of daily physical activity and the tracker comes pre-set with a 1-hour active goal. Parents can also use the app to set reminders to get kids moving if they’ve been sat around for too long. We found it really simple to customise the watch using the app, although the vibrating reminder surprised our mini tester a little!
Parents can also easily set bedtime reminders and alarms, which could prove a godsend when it comes to schooltime and the frantic school run. Kids who have their own smartphones can get call notifications to their wrists, which as well as being fun, could be reassuring for parents.
And if you want more buzzes, there’s a timer and stopwatch, which as you might expect was really easy to use. It could be useful for homework or running races and interval games. And, as this watch encourages kids to get moving, it’s handy that the watch is water resistant so it can work in the shower or even to go swimming.
Encouraging competition further, the watch is designed to offer virtual badges and avatars, giving kids extra motivation to get moving, or challenge their friends to races. The only drawback is that you need a friend who also have a Fitbit for some of the challenges. While we didn’t try challenging buddies, it looked simple to add friends.
The watch’s user interface is beautifully designed and it took our three-year-old tester minutes to get to grips with it. While parents will retain control over the device via an app (to see kids’ activity and set alarms etc) there’s also Kid View, which is a nice touch. In this view, kids can see data including their stats, badges and set clock face options in an easy-to-use part of the app. Our mini tester really liked it – particularly testing all the clock faces and looking at badges – and it helped motivate her to get moving with her watch again.
Fitbit Ace 2: Battery Life
Smartwatches and trackers can be really hit-and-miss when it comes to battery life. The Fitbit Ace 2 sits somewhere in between Garmin’s Vivofit Jr.3 which boasts a year of battery, and Vodafone and Disney’s Neo, which has two day’s battery life on standby, or less than one if you fiddle with it a lot. Fitbit estimates it has up to 5 days battery life on full charge, but in fact, ours lasted for 6 and our mini tester swiped the screen a lot!
While you do have to remember to charge the Fitbit Ace 2 at least once a week, it’s super easy thanks to the slick charger that sits on the back of the watch and you get nice text warnings on the watch accompanies with vibration alerts, leaving you with enough time to charge the watch before it gives up the ghost.
Fitbit Ace 2: Verdict
The Fitbit Ace 2 is the sleekest kids fitness tracker out there. With a thin band and face that doesn’t get in way, it manages to be unobtrusive yet there’s a choice of fun straps on offer so it can stand out if you want it to.
But it’s not a case of style over substance. While it might not boast the tech of the Neo, it has some lovely features designed to appeal to kids and get them engaged straight away, from cute watch faces to competitive challenges.
The only big drawback is that this watch lacks a colour face like some of its rivals such as Garmin’s Vivofit Jr. 3 which also has superhero games. It might be a little tame by comparison, but it takes care of the core features brilliantly. Simply put, it does what it says on the tin – and more.