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Monday, May 12, 2014

iBitz Activity Monitor for Parents and Kids - Product Review

There's been a lot of technical advances in the way that we track our activities and fitness in the past couple of years.  We have graduated from simple pedometers that you clipped on your belt into the realm of technology that you wear all the time and it tracks your steps, activity and even sleep.  Of course, this, along with other factors has lead to a push for a healthier society (which is good imho, as I think children spend too much time watching tv and not being active- which is partly in the fault of the parent!).  I have a Fitbit, as well as I have tried several other monitors as a tester and wear mine almost religiously (except for when I take it off to shower and one of my children makes off with it).  I find that it motivates me to get up and move, which is important since most of my ventures have me sitting down.  

Recently, my daughters teachers all started wearing pedometers and tracking their steps schoolwide.  The teachers all had a contest going on to see who could get the most steps.  This really encouraged my daughter to make sure that she was getting active and she kept asking me if I would buy her a Fitbit.  Not willing to spend that kind of money on something that she was more than likely to lose, I started doing research on buying just a simple pedometer but wasn't ready to buy anything for her yet.  

Then, as if by some cosmic force, I got an email from Best Buy asking if I would like to review a new brand of child/parent combo activity monitors.  Suh-weeeeeet!  Sure thing I said!  About a week later, my daughter got her wish PLUS a whole lot of fun to go with it!!   



The adult version came in black and the kids is this neon orange that my daughter loves.  It is iPhone/iPod 5/iPad specific, so make sure that you have one or more of these devices before you get it.  I personally wish it were on Android, as most of the devices in my life are android powered.  We own one iPod and we're lucky it worked for the testing of this device.  It's very specific on which versions it will work with.  I hope in the future that they expand this to allow for android and perhaps even some older versions of ipods.  


The adult version tracks your steps, distance and calories and you can wear it on your hip or your shoe.  It seems pretty accurate.  The kids versions tracks steps, and then uses these steps to allow your children to "earn" game time and power their Geobotz character.  The app for the adult monitor is marketed as "a unified family app", and will sync multiple devices so you can monitor your children's progress.  

Pros: 
 The kids device is pretty awesome.  I love the idea of earning game time through physical movement and the games are ones that kids will love. Parents can set the goals and rewards for the child and even allow for rewards of screen time, adventures with parents or even coins and content on Disney's Club Penguin. 
I also love that it will sync with the parent app, though I'm not sure how it works in terms of distance as we only have the one ipod and I am unable to test syncing across multiple devices. 
It's pretty accurate and the colors are fun for kids (7 different colors, in fact!) rather than just black like the adult version.  
Comes with an extra battery (though gives you no indication as far as how long these batteries should last)
Low cost in comparison to other models, such as the Fitbit or Jawbone Up.
wirelessly syncs to your iOS Bluetooth 4.0® (BLE) phone or tablet
Water resistant.  (I don't need to say more. As a parent, this is important)

Cons:  
Apple only products.  (I really don't like it when companies do this... so limiting!)
No display to show your progress without a device handy (like I'm going to let my 7 year old take the ipod to school)
I wish it came with a band to wear as a bracelet or other form of attachment.  I just don't think children can resist messing with them.  (though that would probably also be true of a bracelet)
No GPS is included on the kids monitor, which would be useful if it was perhaps only used as a locator?

Overall, the concept is so cool and it is a great vision of what is to come in the future to help keep adults and kids (and whole families) active together!

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

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