Review of The GizmoPal Kids Wearable GPS Tracker and Communication Device by LG

Review of The GizmoPal Kids Wearable GPS Tracker and Communication Device by LG



 

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What we love…

Gives children too young for a cellphone an easy way to call their parents or be called by them, GPS location, reasonably priced

What we’d love to see…

More face options, digital watch display, ability to switch on realtime tracking and prevent band from being removed

Summary

I think I think this is a really useful device and it is a great deal. I would love to see some more “tween-friendly” design options as I think the 8-12 year olds are a great target audience for this device but may be put off by its young look.

Our Rating

recommended-by-the-imums

The GizmoPal is a GPS tracker and 2 way communication device from LG available exclusively through Verizon. It is designed to help parents keep in contact with their children when they are apart. It is linked to a parents Smartphone and up to 2 addional caregivers can be added. With a simple touch of a button the child can call their parent or vice versa. It is available in blue or pink.

I tested the GizmoPal with my 11 year old son and my 7 year old. The 11 year old he in 5th grade and I’m not yet ready to give him a cellphone but at the same time I would love him to have some independence to walk to the library after school or a friends house, and I’d love him to have an easy way to call me during those times.

Look and Fit

The face of the Gizmopal is quite large but it fits quite well on my 11 year old’s wrist, on the 7 year old the face was wider than his wrist so it did look big on him  although the strap could tighten enough for him to wear it. The designs of the 2 color options do look like they are for very young children it would be nice to see an older child designs, or a skin option to change the look of the device, as I think kids in late elementary school are a great target audience for this device but they may be put off by the young look of the device.

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Set Up

To use the GizmoPal you download the GizmoPal App (available for Android and iOS) and pair the primary caregivers Smartphone to it. You can also can adjust settings and add caregivers from the app. Two people (phone numbers) can be allocated as caregivers- each of these can not only call and be called from the GizmoPal, they can also use the app to change settings and check the GizmoPal’s location. Two more phone numbers can be allocated as contacts: these have more limited privileges they can call the GizmoPal (their calls are limited to one minute duration), but the GizmoPal can’t call them and they can not access the app.

You can set the app up to automatically check the child’s location at pre-set times of day such as checking they arrive at school on time or make it home after school. You can also check their location at any time, this can take up to 3 minutes to locate them. In the settings you can adjust the volume of the band and switch fun sounds and ringtones on or off. You can also check the battery level of the GizmoPal and remotely turn it off (though you can not switch it back on remotely). In the app options you can choose to activate auto-answer – if the child doesn’t answer the call within 10 seconds the GizmoPal will automatically answer the call, this is especially useful when using it with younger children.

In Use

Once it is set up you can call the GizmoPal just like calling a cellphone. The child can also easily call you, touching the call button gives them instructions on how to call “press call button  once to call xxx” , “press call button twice to call yyy.” When you set up the contacts via the app you can choose from a variety of titles for each contact e.g. mom. mama, dad, aunt, grandma, grandpa, if the person is not listed they are called caregiver (you can’t enter a personalized name e.g. Mary.)

My older son has been wearing his GizmoPal regularly to school and it has been really useful if I’m running late to pick him up I can just cal him or if he is going somewhere after school such as to the library or a friends house I can call him to see if he arrived safely or just check his location via the GPS. It gives me a lot of peace of mind knowing if he needs me he can call just by pressing a button. I find that I typically need to charge the GizmoPal about every 5 days which works well for our schedule. He has used it on weekends too but we did sometimes have issues with not being able to use it when outside areas of good cell phone coverage. The GizmoPal is worn like a watch and he needed to remove his watch to wear it, it can tell the time (by speaking it) but has no visual display of the time, so in class it was hard for him to know the time so it would be nice to see a digital clock added to the face.

My younger son used the GizmoPal over the weekend when we were on an overnight field trip to a local aquarium with his Cub Scout pack. It was useful because he has a tendency to spot a friend and go to join them instead of staying by my side, so I’d often turn around and see he wasn’t there. With lots of different directions he could go in it was great to be able to call him and remind him not to run off and to be easily able to relocate him. I did wish at times though that I could have it pick up faster than 10 seconds as that can seem a long time to auto-answer when your 7 year-old is out of sight. It was also great for him to have a way to call me, we stopped at a local Toys R Us on the way home and he got lost amongst the toy aisles as he hunted for Legos, and he gets very worried when he realizes I’m not in sight but with the GizmoPal he could call me and tell me where he was.

There are some improvements I would like to see in future updates, I can see 2 distinct markets for the device-1) preschool and early elementary school kids and 2) late elementary school and middle school kids who don’t yet have a cellphone. For the younger kids using it I’d love to see a band that they can’t take off and a warning sent to the caregivers phone if it is removed, I’d also love an option in the app to disable switching it off at the device. For the older kids I’d love to see more grownup looking face designs, or a skin option to change the look of the device and the addition of a digital watch display. For both age groups I’d also love to see an option to switch on the tracking continually in real-time if this was on continually it would drain the battery but I’d love to be able to activate  it if needed. This would be useful if they are walking from your house to a friends house in the neighborhood you can watch them as they travel, or in an emergency situation e.g. a lost child who is not answering the call you can more easily track them.

Overall, I think I think this is a really useful device and it is a great deal – it costs $79.99 to buy then $5 per month on a Verizon Wireless MORE Everything plan. I would love to see some tweaks made to the device to make it even more useful especially adding some more “tween-friendly” design options as I think the 8-12 year olds are a great target audience for this device but may be put off by its young look.

Verizon Wireless Logo 120x90

 TECHNICAL SPECS

ŸStandby Time: Up to 148.8 hrs

ŸUsage Time: Up to 2.5 hrs.

ŸWeight: 1.48 oz.

ŸWidth: 1.37 in.

ŸHeight: 2.17 in.

ŸBattery: 400 mAh

ŸCompatibility: Android 4.0 or higher, iOS 7 or higher

Requires Verizon Wireless Cellphone service ($5 per month to add to a Verizon Wireless MORE Everything )

GizmoPal – Verizon Wireless 

GizmoHub
GizmoHub
by Verizon Wireless

Category: Lifestyle, Utilities
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone4-iPhone4, iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74
Size: 35.79 MB

$FREE

Screenshots
(Click to enlarge)

 

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).
 Up to 100 by Marbotic – Review

Up to 100 by Marbotic – Review



upto100

What we love…

fun game that engages children to learn about numbers using a traditional app as well as the added wooden numbers portion

What we’d love to see…

hints for the rooster level problems if they are answered wrong repeated times;  introduction to wooden numbers for the parent

Summary

This app helped my son be able to demonstrate the one and ten position of numbers in the span of less than a week.   It is best suited to preschool to early elementary school age.

Our Rating

 

Up to 100Up to 100 by Marbotic is an iPad only app that takes tablet based learning to a different level by allowing you to use wooden numbers to press on the screen for learning.  The app is aimed at preschool age and slightly older and helps your number learn number sequencing (find the missing number), understanding two digit numbers (the ten and the one place); recognizing a number written out in either cursive or print, understand the pronunciation of numbers and the ability to manipulate quantities of numbers.  The app has narration available in English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish.

We tested the app using both the traditional style with moving the numbers and touching them as well as with the tactile wooden numbers and hands down we enjoyed using the wooden numbers more.    In the understanding the ten and one places – there are three levels (chick, hen and rooster) each has progressively more difficult.  The chick allows you to experiment by dragging or touching numbers to the screen and visually displaying them.  The hen displays a number and then you have to either use the number strip or the wooden numbers to tap on it as well as saying the number.  The rooster shows the number of dots to represent each of the numbers in the ten and one spots and then you have to fill in the information correctly.  It was similar in the numbers section with the chick section allowing you to manipulate the numbers, rooster showing a series of numbers with one missing that you had to fill in and the rooster showing a spelled out word.

I liked that the app used simple concepts such as a ten box and a one box with dots to show the progression of numbers as well as having three different levels of difficulty.  This meant we could experiment with concepts prior to having to demonstrate them.  The app was easy to play and provided instructions as you played,   The parent area allowed you to change the settings for your children including the showing of the number bar, beads in color versus black and white, numbers in letters and the toggling of the numbers slide.  For the most part we left the numbers slide on even when using the wooden toy because it helped my son to sequence his numbers.  I also really liked that I could choose the range of numbers allowing us to focus in on specific ranges of numbers.

In terms of improvements, I did find that if I didn’t position the “6” or the “9” properly with the wooden toy they would be misread by the iPad – I’m sure this was due to the positioning of the rubber dots on the back of the wooden numbers.  Also in the rooster level of the ten and one places if you got the number wrong multiple times, it would just fly away the number rather than giving a hint or eliminating the number of items available.  I’d also like to see a few instructions included in the box with the wooden numbers as when I opened it – it was simply a box of numbers.  Even an overview of – how hard to press as well as the suggestion of how to use them with your child would have been very helpful.

The app has a parents corner which requires the solving of a math problem in order to enter.  There are no in-app purchases or advertisements in the full version of the app.

We really enjoyed practicing our math skills with this app especially when using the wooden toy.  Although it’s not required to use the app, it helped my son make the connection between physical numbers and numbers on the iPad and helped him become more engaged.  I think it also improved his understanding of the one and ten spot of numbers as we were able to replicate the experience off our iPad – something we couldn’t really do without using our fingers to count before.  This app is best suited to preschool through early elementary school age and the three levels means it will grow with your child.

RRP of the wooden toy is 34,99 € plus shipping which varies by country.  The wooden toy can also be used in 10 fingers + and More or Less : Learn addition and subtraction.


by

Category:
Requirements: Compatible with
Size: 0 MB

$


NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.  In addition the wooden toy was provided for review purposes and further testing of the app.

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. They have a variety of devices including an iPad, iPhone, and an iPod and is often found with a device! My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.
Energi+ Power Backpack by TYLT – Review

Energi+ Power Backpack by TYLT – Review


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What we love…

Very well organized, pockets for everything, includes 10,400mAh battery and cables, cable organizing system, great shoulder padding, TSA friendly

What we’d love to see…

Apple lightning cables included, smartphone pocket on shoulder strap

Summary

The Energi+ is an incredibly well designed bag for carrying a Laptop, Smartphone, Tablet and accessories. I love how it is designed to allow you to charge all your devices on the go and you can recharge the battery and devices without ever taking them out of the backpack. It has great padding and pockets for everything!

Our Rating

recommended-by-the-imums

The Energi+ Power Backpack by TYLT  is the most organized electronics backpack I have come across. At first glance it looks like a regular Laptop backpack, but as soon as you start opening zippers and looking inside it becomes obvious that it is much more. As well as having a myriad of different pockets the Energi+ also comes with a 10,400 mAh rechargeable battery, charging cables and a cable organizing system allowing you to charge up to 3 devices at once.

The Pockets

Laptop Pocket

This is the furthest back pocket, it is well padded and large enough to hold my 15″ MacBook Pro. The outer zipper fully opens so that it can be laid flat for TSA screening and a velcro tab keeps the laptop safely in place in its padded pocket as it goes through the x-ray machine.

Charging Station

Opposite the Laptop Pocket (and within the same zippered area) is the charging station. This has an elasticated pocket to fit the included 10,400 mAh battery. The battery has 3 charging outlets- 2 x 1A and 1x 2A. It is charged via a microUSB cable. It has an ingenious cable management system – there are a series of elastic tabs to guide the wires through so that they remain neat and tidy and don’t get tangled. Pass-throughs for the cables are marked in blue, and set up so that cables from the charging area can easily pass through to both side pockets, the tablet pocket and the Protect Pocket. This means you can easily recharge the battery without removing it from the bag and you can charge your tablet, smartphone and accessories all whilst they are safely in their designated pockets. If you are charging overnight you can connect up the battery to recharge and connect your devices to it, once the battery is at 50% charge it will start charging your devices too.

The Energi+ also includes 3 charging cables- 2 x microUSB to USB cables and one USB cable that can be used as a microUSB charging cable or as an Apple 30 Pin charging cable (it has a removable 30 Pin tip). This is really useful as it means you can leave these cables permanently in place in the backpack. My one disappointment is that there is no Apple Lightning cable included – this has been the current Apple cable for over 2 years now so it would be useful to also include this.

Tablet Pocket

This pocket is well padded and roomy enough to hold a full-sized iPad in a protective case, and it can be charged in the pocket

Protect Pocket

This is a curved pocket accessed from the top of the bag and includes a stiff-sided, removable padded liner pocket. This has 2 compartments- one designed to fit sunglasses or eyeglasses and the other designed to fit a Smartphone or MP3 Player. A cable pass though goes into this pocket so you can charge your smartphone in place.  There is also a headphone port to allow your headphone cable to pass out so you can listen to music on the go. This pocket gives both these items really good protection, and if you are not using this pocket removing the stiff liner allows the pocket to collapse giving more room in the main compartment below.

Main Compartment

This is roomy enough to hold lunch or a few items of clothing for an overnight trip. The back wall of this pocket has 4 mesh pockets with elasticated tops to allow you to organize and easily find accessories, it also has a large flat zippered pocket that could hold papers or a paperback book. The right side has a pen or stylus pocket and the left side another mesh pocket. The front wall of this compartment has 2 more zippered pockets, one has a see through front and would be great for a passport, the other could be used for a wallet. A charging cable pass through goes through this compartment so accessories can be charged here as well.

Zippered Removable Accessory Pouch

The bag comes with a removable zippered accessory bag that is a great place to store any items you will want to take out of the bag frequently.

ENERGI-Bag-FullDiagram-Front-ill-RSTR

2 Zippered Front Pockets

2 more zippered pockets are on the front of the bag- the smaller upper one is padded and sized for a smartphone or MP3 player (no charging in this location), the other is sized for papers or travel documents.

2 Side Pockets

The right pocket will hold the battery charging cable (connected to the battery) and connecting it to a wall charger or computer will allow you to recharge everything whilst still in the bag. The left side pocket is large enough to hold a Smartphone or similar sized object.

Water Bottle Pocket

A fold out mesh water bottle pocket on the right side of the bag zips away into a pocket when not in use.

Shoulder Straps and Lumbar Support

One thing I love about this bag is the great padding on the shoulder straps. Lets face it when you are carrying a Laptop, tablet, battery and accessories your bag is going to be heavy, so the amount of padding can make a huge difference to your comfort when carrying it. The shoulder straps are nicely padded overall and have an extra thick padding on top of the shoulders which really helps to stop the straps digging into your shoulders when carrying heavy loads.  The bottom left part of the shoulder strap has a small zippered pocket- handy for carrying earbuds, keys or coins. The shoulder straps are very easy to adjust. The lumber area is also well padded with mesh ventilation and is designed to allow the handle of a wheeled carryon to fit between  this area and the backpack, making it easy to carry at the airport.

Overall, the Energi+ is an incredibly well designed bag for carrying a Laptop, Smartphone, Tablet and accessories. I love how it is designed to allow you to charge all your devices on the go and you can recharge the battery and devices without ever taking them out of the backpack. It has pockets for everything!  I also appreciate the great padding on the shoulder straps and lumbar area and that is has been designed to make it easy to use when flying. There are just 2 small changes I would make- including Apple Lightning cables and adding a Smartphone pocket on the shoulder strap- this would make access to your phone when carrying the backpack easier.

I highly recommend this backpack for those who regularly travel carrying a Laptop, Smartphone, Tablet and other electronics and accessories.


RRP $199 available from Amazon and other retailers.

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.

 

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).
Review of The RE 200 AC750 WiFi Range Extender by TP-Link

Review of The RE 200 AC750 WiFi Range Extender by TP-Link

TPLINK3

What we love…

Quick and easy set up, portable, simple to move between locations, dual band, can use with a Blue-ray or game console at the same time as using as signal extender

Summary

My house is a big challenge for a signal extender and although I did not find one ideal location for the RE200 that gave good signal in all areas of the house, I did see an improvement in WiFi signal throughout, and by moving it between 2 locations I could get a useable signal in all areas (which I could not previously).

Our Rating

recommended-by-the-imums

The RE 200 AC750 WiFi Range Extender by TP-Link is a Dual Band Range Extender designed to boost your WiFi signal in home or office locations where you have areas with poor WiFi signal or dead spots. The RE 200 plugs into a power outlet, and can also be used to provide wireless internet to a wired device such as a Blu-ray  player, Wii or Playstation console.

I have an awkwardly shaped house for WiFi signal – it is split over 3 floors with lots of walls and we have a lot of areas with poor reception and dead spots. I have used another WiFi extender in the past, but with it I have to keep switching between the main signal and the extender signal in different areas and still have dead spots, so I was interested to see how the RE200 would cope with this challenging environment.

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Setup

There are 2 ways to set up the range extender, if your router has a WPS button that is the simplest way, if not you need to setup via a web browser.

WPS  (WiFi Protected Setup)

My router does not have this button so I was unable to test this method but it sounds incredibly simple:

1. Plug in RE200, wait until WiFi light on RE200 is solid green

2. Press WPS button on router and Press WPS button on RE200, 2.4GHz and 5GHz LEDs will turn solid green once connected

3. Relocate the RE200 to preferred location (1/2 way between router area you are trying to extend coverage to.)

Web Browser Set Up

This is the method I used.

1. Plug in RE200, wait until WiFi light on RE200 is solid green.

2. Disconnect your Ethernet connection – this instruction confused me a little – disconnect it from where ? It actually just means if your computer is connected to your router via an Ethernet cable then disconnect it, otherwise do nothing.

3. Click on your computers WiFi to see available networks and choose TP-link-Extender.

4. Launch a web browser and connect to http://tplinkrepeater.net/, use admin as both username and password

5. Enter your router’s WiFi password and choose whether to keep this same name as your WiFi network name when using the RE200 or to give it a separate name. I choose a separate name  – it automatically suggested my regular WiFi name_EXT. Having a separate name allowed me to compare signal strengths with and without the extender in different parts of my house. If you choose to keep the same name as your regular WiFi network name you wont need to switch between networks in different parts of the house, making things very simple.

6. Repeat the setup for the other band (do once for 2.4GHz and once for 5GHz)

7. Relocate the RE200 to preferred location (1/2 way between router area you are trying to extend coverage to.)

Even though the non-WPS method has a lot more steps it was still very straightforward and only took about 5 minutes from start to finish.

If you make a mistake when setting it up (e.g. enter your WiFi password incorrectly) there is a recessed “reset” button on the base of the unit, a word of warning though – the RE200 must be plugged in when you reset otherwise the reset doesn’t work.

TPLINK2

In Use

My first challenge was finding a good location to place the RE 200 in, my router is upstairs in my kitchen, and I have dead spots in my bedroom (1/2 a level down and off to one side), living room (also upstairs) and office (full level down in another direction). One thing that made it a little tricky was that it needs to be located away from Bluetooth devices, cordless phones and microwaves, and I have a lot of Bluetooth devices in my house. The reason for this is that all these devices can interfere with the 2.4GHz signal, so you will get better performance avoiding them. The interference a typical household gets on the 2.4GHz band is a good reason to use a dual band extender like the RE200 (not all devices will work on 5.0GHz hence needing 2.4GHz also). The good news is it is really easy to move it between locations, after the initial set up it is just plug and go, when you move it to a new location just plug it in and wait for the 2.4GHz and 5GHz indicators to light green, and its ready to go.

My house is a really awkward configuration for WiFi signal, plus our incoming signal isn’t that strong (we have DSL but live quite a distance from the hub), so it is quite a challenge for a signal extender. I did find one location for the RE200 where I could get internet in all areas of the house, but the signal was still pretty weak in the far corners of the bedroom, this was still an improvement as there was no connection before in this area. However, I also found that by moving it between two different locations each one would improve my signal strength in different problem areas. The improvement in signal strength did vary significantly depending on the location of the RE200, and depending on whether I was using a computer or mobile device, in general the signal in the house was much worse on my mobile devices, so this was where I saw the biggest improvements. Once I had found the right locations I saw from 15% up to 100% improvement in download speed tests.

 

 

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The things I like about the RE 200 are: it is very easy to set up, very quick and easy to move between locations, it has both 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz bands and can be used to provide wireless signal to a Blu-ray or game console at the same time as being used as a range extender. It worked better than my previous extender, and with my previous extender I found areas where my devices automatically connected to the extender even though it had no useable signal and I had to manually switch back to the main router signal in those areas, this did not happen with the RE200. My house is a big challenge for a signal extender, and although I did not find one ideal location for the RE200 that gave good signal in all areas of the house I did see an improvement in my signal throughout the home, and by moving it between 2 locations I could get a useable signal in all areas (which I could not previously).

The RE 200 AC750 WiFi Range Extender by TP-Link is available from Amazon and other retailers, retail price is approximately $50

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.

 

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

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