We loved Fitbit’s Ace 2 fitness tracker for kids, it was one of the best kids smartwatches money could buy, but the new version – the Fitbit Ace 3 - builds upon an already near-perfect tracker by adding lots more battery life. We recently handed it a T3 Award, and praise doesn't come much higher than that.
Yes, it’s slightly chunkier and pricier at £69.99 instead of £49, but the Ace 3 boasts fresh looks and more features thanks to a heart monitor under the hood. However, the biggest boost is to battery life. While the Fitbit Ace 2 had five days of battery life, the new version has eight, which seems pretty conservative, since the watch we’re testing is still going strong on day nine.
Fitbit Ace 3 Review: Design
Fitbit Ace 2’s design was arguably the sleekest of all the children’s trackers we have tested, but the Fitbit Ace 3 has got a curvier, fresh new look. It’s still slim, with a silicone strap, but has a bubblier aesthetic and comes in two colour options: blue and green, and black and red. While the watch is intended for kids age 6+, the strap’s design means it can be worn by much smaller kids and adults alike.
The watch itself feels slightly chunkier than its predecessor and still has a greyscale screen, making it less enticing perhaps than offerings with colourful screens, such as the Garmin Vivofit Jr 2 and Vodafone’s Neo.
The watch pairs with Fitbit’s app. There’s a kids’ view where they can see stats, badges and change clock faces, while parents have an area of their own to see statistics and track their child’s activity. Both views are well designed and really intuitive, making setting the watch up and seeing all the stats a doddle.
Fitbit Ace 3: Display
The Fitbit Ace 3 has a touchscreen and PMOLED display. While it’s crystal clear and super responsive, it is greyscale. So, if colour is important, the watch may lose out to contenders such as the Neo – which has an incredible screen and rich animations – and the Garmin Vivofit Jr 3, which is perhaps the closest in price and similar in spec to the Ace 3.
One feature that is interesting about the tracker is its touchscreen. Unlike the Fitbit Ace 2, the watch comes to life at the flick of a wrist, and there are sensors on the side to select options, although users can swipe up and down to cycle through all the features.
Fitbit Ace 3: Functions
The Fitbit 3 does everything you expect of a fitness tracker; it counts steps and measures activity accurately thanks to a 3-axis accelerometer and sensors for heart-rate tracking. This means it can count intensive moves like jumping and skipping as active minutes, and also makes for fun interactive watch faces.
For example, our mini tester selected an alien that appears to be sleeping but wakes up and smiles when you go for a walk and move around. This motivating feature worked well for her, as did the timer and stopwatch, which are great for races. Competitive children can also challenge their family to fun step competitions and send each other messages or cheers in the Fitbit app.
The great thing about the watch is that kids can see their key activity stats for the day on their wrist, as well as call alerts and short text messages if they have their own smartphone. This might be a winning feature for older kids and we found it worked really well.
There are other incentives such as virtual badges that can be seen in the kids’ section of the accompanying app, while parents can set reminders to move and check out graphs showing their kids’ activity and sleep.
Like the Fitbit Ace 2, this watch is water-resistant to 50m and has a ‘water lock’. We couldn’t test it in a pool, but did notice it’s incredibly easy to put the lock on, which can be annoying. The good news is, it’s also simple to unlock the lock with a double-tap, so it’s far from a dealbreaker.
Finally, unlike some rivals, the Fitbit Ace 3 can be used to track sleep. Parents can schedule a quiet buzzing on the wrist act to act as a bedtime reminder, which is handy is getting ready for bed is a bit of a battle, and a gentle morning alarm too, which could make the school run a little easier. They can also see their kids’ sleeping habits within the app, which might prove enlightening.
Fitbit Ace 3: Battery Life
The Ace 3’s battery is one of its standout features. While some smartwatches (usually with colour screens) have to be charged daily, the Fitbit Ace 3’s battery lasts eight days on one charge … officially at least.
We found it actually lasts longer, but possibly because we didn’t sync with the app too much. While battery life varies depending on usage, it’s impressive, and compares well to the older Fitbit Ace 2, which has a very decent 5 days’ battery life. However, if charging a watch once a week is annoying, the Garmin Vivofit Jr 3 is a great option, with an incredible battery life of around one year.
Fitbit Ace 3: Verdict
The Fitbit Ace 3 builds upon another great tracker – the Fitbit 2 – by adding better battery life and some next extra features for more accurate tracking to become the best kids smartwatch. While it packs a punch feature-wise, the watch also looks great, and because there are no specific character or movie tie-ins, it offers longevity. It may even be acceptable to teenagers (maybe).