When you’re little and you look up to your big brother, you want to be just like him, and that includes being cool with your own phone. His biggest brother had a second hand phone from Father Christmas and as he now uses it to stay in touch with us when he’s on his way home from school or at a friend’s house, Hero, despite being 4 and a half years his junior, felt he needed to be as teched up as his big bro. Sadly for him, Father Christmas did not think it was wise to bring him a second hand phone too. Then we were contacted to see if we’d like to try an Xplora watch for him. I remembered that Jensen had a very early version of the Xplora that we’d done some work on Instagram for when he was starting Junior school and I was curious to see how the watch had developed in the years since then. Hero got to pick the colour of his new XGO2 and was very happy to find that green was an option.
Sim Card Needed
If you’re buying an Xplora XGO2, you will need a PAYG Sim Card. Ours took a while to come from GiffGaff and they sent three out in the end, but we got there at last.
The Xplora App
The Xplora XGO2 comes with a handy app where you can control and manage your child’s watch. There are several features and everything is very easy to use – which is great because genuinely, I am terrible at setting up electronic equipment and reading instructions, and when I saw that the instructions in the box only mention how to charge it, I panicked. Luckily everything is clear on the app. You can download it from the app store, for free of course.
The XGO2 lets children make and receive calls from up to 50 pre-approved numbers which can be added by the person in control of the Xplora App. This means no one undesirable is able to message or call, and reduces the possibility of bullying via these methods. The watch lets children send and receive voice messages, texts, photos and emojis
Probably my favourite feature of the phone is the tracking ability. There is also the ability to set up a safe zone thanks to the GPS tracking, and have the watch alert you if your child leaves the designated area.
There’s also an SOS button which children can press to let their parents or carers where they are, if they feel worried or need help.
The Benefits of Exercise
Hero loves to run, jump, skip and jiu-jitsu move his way to and from school, fitting in as much parkour as humanly possible. Luckily he does love to run like the wind across the field to school, but if he didn’t, the XGO2 is there to encourage children to move their bodies by rewarding them with virtual coins which can be exchanged for rewards. I didn’t actually believe it when I read it, but it’s true.
There are various campaigns to be joined – Hero is now competing in the Boss Baby Family Business campaign where he has to stay ahead of the bad guys in the movie by moving his own body as much as possible. I was a little wary giving any of my children a way to measure their exercise due to my own issues with exercise and food growing up, but Hero doesn’t care about how much he’s done and carries on regardless.
As the child of a photographer [that’s me, haha] Hero loves to take photographs himself. The quality is pretty poor and grainy due to the resolution, but Hero likes taking them nonetheless.
There’s no denying that this is an impressive looking watch. As a mom who would dearly like her own FitBit, I’m quite envious of him. He wears his little “Green Bean” watch and can often be seen with his hands on his hips, just in case anyone has missed that he has his own James Bond Style watch that he can call his brother or me and his dad on. It reminded Hero of my Garmin, which is affectionately known as the helicopter pad due to its size. This is a chunky watch. Hero loves it.
The watch face display is 1.4 inches [we measured it] and although I have a few issues pressing the buttons as I have larger digits than him, Hero’s fingers are the size that the XGO2 are designed for and he has no issues with controlling it.
Other Features of the Xplora XGO2
Hero loves that there’s a stopwatch [which means he can time everyone doing everything], a calendar [so that he can know how many days there are until Hallowe’en, Half Term, when Father Christmas comes and his birthday. He feels he might be cheating in class if he uses the calculator, but we catch him doing little calculations on it from time to time and smiling to himself. There’s also a little torch button which Hero tries to use at bedtime to read his Mr Men books.
Quiet in Class
Thankfully there’s a mode for the watch called School Mode. Whilst the watch’s location can still be tracked, no chimes or calls or messages will disturb them in class, which means they won’t get into trouble and will stay safe.
Hero loves that he has his own alarm now. He feels very grown up that his watch will tell him it’s time to get up. You can name the alarms so that when the time comes, the text s displayed on the watch. We have “Good Morning, Sunshine!” and “Get your shoes on for school” so far. This weekend he’s looking forward to adding his rugby training to his alarm system. As a child who’s very keen on learning about time [and is surprisingly punctual for a seven year old] it’s given him an extra bit of independence and he’s learning to self manage his time better in tiny ways.
It’s safe to say Hero loves his watch and has told all of his little friends about it. We’re very grateful for the chance to try it out and the little bit of independence it’s given to Hero.