Coolpad Keeps It Simple With First Kids Smartwatch

LAS VEGAS — Coolpad's first foray into the world of kid-friendly smartwatches looks to strike a balance between giving kids a cool piece of tech to wear on their wrists and giving parents the tools to check in on their children as needed.

Available Jan. 28, the $149 Dyno Smartwatch is something of a departure for Coolpad, which is probably best known for its assortment of budget smartphones, usually offered by low-cost wireless carriers. But Coolpad is in the midst of a rebranding effort, refocusing its efforts on more purposeful products that target both parents and kids.

The Dyno watch certainly fits in with that strategy. For kids ages 4 to 9, the watch offers a step counter, a two-way calling app that lets them call their parents, and a messaging app where they can send preset texts, again to their parents. Kids can add other Dyno watch-wearing friends to their message list, but only with parent approval.

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If that seems a little thin on features, it's by design. There are no built-in games or an app store that allows you to add other capabilities to the watch. Showing off the watch to me here at CES, Coolpad executives said they were reluctant to build a device that had kids staring at another device at a time when parents are looking to scale back on their children's screen time. The Dyno Smartwatch is there to count steps, tell time and let kids stay in touch with their parents, and that's that.

The stripped-down features certainly make the watch easy to navigate, as I was able to swipe through the Dyno Smartwatch's by scrolling across its touchscreen. There are just two buttons one the watch — one that wakes the watch by activating its screen and doubles as a back button, and a second SOS button. When a child presses that button for 5 seconds, it will call the emergency contacts stored on the watch; if no one answers, it will give kids the option of calling 911.

If parents appreciate how the watch puts safety tools in kids' hands, they'll also appreciate the Dyno Smartwatch's companion app that runs on their Android or iOS device. From the app, parents can set a geofence that will alert them if their child leaves a designated area, and they can also check on their child's location. By default, the app checks on location every 30 minutes, but that can be adjusted by 15 minutes up to an hour if you want to extend battery life beyond the two days the Dyno watch is expected to deliver.

As for privacy concerns, Coolpad executives told me the device will comply with Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, which means location data will be safely stored. The company said it's working with partners to provide secure encryption.

The watch ships with two swappable bands — one blue, one pink — which you can opt for depending on your child's particular style. An IP65 rating means the Dyno Watch will stand up to sand, dust and splashes of water, though your kid will want tor remove the watch before they dive into a pool.

In addition to the $149 cost of the watch, you'll also need to pay $9.99 each month for the service that covers location tracking and communication. It's a month-to-month contract, though, so you can pause and resume service at will.

We plan to review Coolpad's Dyno Smartwatch when it becomes available later this month, so stay tuned for a full assessment of whether this device is a good choice for you and your kids.

Image Credits: Tom's Guide

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.