Over the last two decades, we have seen an explosion in the number of innovative gadgets that the industry has been churning out. These devices were mostly aimed at the young adults and adults in general, if there’s such a categorization.
However, as tech companies looked to dominate and make their products the go-to products for incoming adults, they began targeting the teenagers with products such as tablets and game consoles. This apparently wasn’t enough as well.
The only demographic that was left largely untouched was the pre-teen children. Well, this makes perfect sense seeing as they heavily depend on their parents and some would point out don’t really have their own money to spend.
Their parents do have the money though, and they ended up buying these products for their children. However, as they were designed for teenagers and adults, these gadgets were unsuitable for children.
Fitbit took a long, hard look at this demographic and decided, well, someone needed to cater to them. So, in June of 2018, they launched a fitness tracker made specifically for children. The first-generation Fitbit Ace was released to rave reviews. As is the case with most gadget manufacturers, an updated version was released in June, 2019. This is the Fitbit Ace 2.
We’ve seen over the years with tech gadgets, the second iterations of devices tend to be a hit or a miss, or sometimes the differences could be so small they really didn’t warrant the term upgrade. Will the Fitbit Ace 2 be a hit or a miss?
Well, dig in, let’s find out.
Visually, the Ace 2 is designed to look veritably different than the Ace. Whereas the first Ace was similar to another Fitbit product, the Alta, the Ace 2 is similar to another Fitbit product, the Inspire. Although they technically look the same, the are very different products.
Any fitness tracker would work for a child, but the Ace line tries to make them appealing to a child below 10 years by adding a variety of colors. In the Ace 2’s case, children over 10 would be conscious of the colors and may go for another type of tracker. The previous model wrist straps came in purple and royal blue. Those colors were plain and worked better with older children who were conscious of how they looked.
The watch-style wrist strap with a buckle works for the good of the tracker. This makes it far more difficult for the tracker to slip off the child’s hands while they are busy doing what they do best. The silicon edges around the screen also work to protect the screen from accidental bumps.
The Ace 2 though, some design effort was put into it. What it actually is, is a pebble that is strapped to a wrist strap to stop it from falling or being shaken loose. It primarily comes with two colors; a red and blue color scheme known as watermelon, accented with a teal clasp, and a midnight blue wrist strap accented with a yellow clasp.
That’s not all. The previous model only had two options. The Ace 2 provides children, or parents in this case, with a little more in terms of options. There are accessories you can purchase for the fitness tracker. These include a variety of wrist straps in different colors and print wraps. The most famous so far have been the Grape, which is a popping purple, and then the “GO!” which is black with printed letters on it. The Jazz is white with printed grey shapes on it.
It looks like Fitbit did not just rest on their laurels in satisfaction after they released the first generation of the Ace. They listened intently to what the customers had to say and made improvements on the Ace 2.
One major difference will be a boon for watersport lovers. The Ace, though a very capable device, was only shower proof. The Ace 2 on the other hand is water resistant up to 50 meters under water. This though, seems to be a redundant feature as one downside is that it doesn’t measure any swimming metrics like some of the other water-resistant fitness trackers like the Charge 3, the Versa or the Ionic. This was just to allow it to be worn in swimming pools.
Students of minimalism, Fitbit’s designers are. Aside from the touchscreen, the only input button is found on the left-hand side of the device. The button is used to turn the screen on and off.
A huge, highly welcome upgrade from the Ace is the usability of the screen. The Ace’s screen was only operated via a series of taps with the device’s accelerometer interpreting the movement as screen inputs. This was a pain to operate as some taps would go uninterpreted.
That has changed on the Ace 2. The screen is now touch sensitive making operating the device a smooth affair.
Similar to the previous generation, the Ace 2 also comes with a grayscale, or if you prefer, monochrome OLED screen, this time bumped slightly up to a 128 by 72 pixels of resolution and 0.72 inches of screen real estate.
Navigating through this device was easier. A tap of the button will wake up the screen an holding it down will give a battery percentage, notifications and other options. Swiping down will give you options such as alarms, timers and settings. Swiping up will show you activity statistics such as step count, how many minutes of activity and how much activity has been done for every hour.
These are basic metrics as the Ace 2 is only meant to keep the child active. It does not have a heart rate monitor or a GPS, as these would just be overkill on a device meant for children. Once the child reaches 13 years of age, a change in the Fitbit account will start to give other metrics like calories burnt, body weight and fat, as well as tracking options for females.
Both devices did come with a choice of different watch displays. The Ace’s felt more functional rather than exciting and as a consequence, most did end up choosing the screen with the most basic features; the time and the number of steps taken during the time the device has been active.
The Ace 2 comes with 19 different watch face options to choose from. This is up from 10 that the previous generation had. And there are improvements too. These animated watch faces are much more child friendly, an improvement over the bland watch faces that the previous generation had.
Setting up the tracker will require the parent to set up a profile for their child in their main account. Fitbit saw it fit to separate the profile into two views; the Parent View, with information that a parent can digest, and a Kid View to cater to the children.
The Parent View allows the parent to see their own stats alongside those of their children. You can still focus on the child’s activity by going into the Family View feature and clicking/tapping on the child whose stats you’d like to see. This will give you information on the number of steps they’ve taken that day, as well as any friends they might have added.
The Kid View displays the same information that is displayed on the fitness tracker. It can also show how much time was spent sleeping, the quality of the sleep and the schedule. From here, you child can also change the clock faces on the fitness tracker’s display.
Like a good number of other fitness trackers, the Ace 2 does come with the ability to track your child’s sleep, but because it lacks a heart rate monitor, it isn’t as accurate. Nevertheless, the monitor is still able to detect when the child does go to sleep, and can track how long they’ve been asleep, as well the any time they spent tossing and turning during the night.
The recommended number of sleep hours for children below the age of 13 is 9 to 12 hours, and the Ace 2’s default setting is 9 hours. As with any setting on the device, you as the parent can change this setting to suit your needs. This tracker is meant to help your child achieve their sleeping goals. You can set bedtime reminders to have them go to bed at a consistent time. You can also set alarms to wake them up in the morning.
Pros and Cons
- The device is light, making it barely noticeable when the child is deep in activity
- It is quite easy to use and navigate, even for children
- A good battery life. Lasts three or four days with the child fidgeting around with the screen and settings. Can last five days
- Aside from the tracking, the device does not offer children challenges that they can complete, preferring instead to wait for the child to reach their daily targets on their own
- No heart rate monitor
- No SpO2 sensor
- No GPS