As we discussed in our coverage of CES2014, health and fitness trackers were everywhere! While there are endless companies trying to get adults to be active with fitness trackers, there was only one company that seemed to understand that getting the whole family active was the best approach. GeoPalz was showing its new line of Wireless Activity Trackers – the ibitz PowerKey Kids and the ibitz Unity Parents.
The ibitz Kids wireless pedometer promises to get kids active by offering rewards like access to Club Penguin and time on a Minecraft server. The clever idea of using technology to encourage kids to get off their tech and get active peaked our interest. We have now had some time to test out the ibitz wireless fitness monitor, please take a look at our full video review –
The ibitz Fitness Monitor Provides Just Enough Technology
While I am sure most parents would agree that a gadget that gets the whole family more physically active is a good idea, the problem often comes in the implementation. Fitness trackers that need constant recharging, involve complicated sync procedures or just dump endless amounts of raw data in your lap are also known by another name – dust collectors! Thankfully the ibitz has just enough tech to make it incredibly useful, but not so much to make it complicated and overwhelming.
Key Features The Ibitz Has:
- Easily Track Steps
- Stores 30 Days of Data
- Easy Sync to App via Bluetooth 4.0 or Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
- Uses a Single 2032 Watch Battery, That Can Last for 6 Months
- Offers Rewards via a Fun, Kid Friendly App
Strangely, almost as important to the success of the iBitz are the things the iBitz does NOT have -
- No GPS
- No USB Jack
- No Recharging
- No Plugging Into a Computer to Sync
- No Screen or Display of Any type
Why are all of those “lack of features” a positive? It creates a simple user experience for the kids, which means they will actually use it. No buttons to push or modes to switch into, simply wear it and forget it. In addition, by removing all the above functions, the ibitz is able to get months of battery life on a watch battery (they even give you a replacement battery in the package). So, you are never plugging in the ibitz to charge – it just sits on your waist recording your steps.
Make Health a Game and Kids Will Play
The ibitz hardware is impressive, but the real magic comes from the software. The ibitz Kids app does a wonderful job of making tracking steps fun. You have your ibitz character there to encourage you –
and, as shown in the video, you blast into space to explore more planets based on the amount of steps you have taken. Want to explorer further? Just take more steps. Want to reach another planet and get a reward set by your parents? Take more steps. Tired of taking steps and just want to play a game on your tablet? Sorry, you still may need to take more steps – to unlock your Android device.
We go over this in detail in the video, but the whole idea of ibitz is to meet today’s kids where they live – in the tech heavy world and use technology to get them to be more active. The ibitz app and reward system turn the simple idea of walking into a game and kids love playing games.
Moms and Dads, Yes, You Can Get Into The Fun As Well
You didn’t think GeoPalz would leave you guys out, did you? They also make the ibitz Unity – which is a tracker for parents. In terms of hardware, pretty much the same as the ibitz PowerKey Kids. The difference is in the app. The Unity App has much more information, detail and history. One very cool feature is that you can track the kids and adults all in the Unity App. This creates some great family rivalry – who can walk the most steps in a day?
While the ibitz Unity is a decent fitness tracker for adults, there are much more advanced fitness trackers on the market. Adults looking for very detailed tracking information would probably go with one of the more sophisticated trackers on the market, that include heart rate, body temperature, speed and more. The ibitz Unity is meant more for parents who want to track their steps along with the kids and make walking more of a family game.
The ibitz Apps Can Be Rough Around the Edges
Both the ibitz Kids and Parent app are new and still have a few rough edges. At the time of this writing (January 20th, 2014) the only active reward was from Club Penguin. Things like the Minecraft server, Amazon points and other physical rewards will be added by mid-February 2014. As a parent you can still create your own rewards, but look for many more partnerships and rewards as the app is built out in early 2014.
The Kids app is very easy to use, which is great for younger kids, say 5-8 year olds – but older kids might be frustrated by the simplicity. At this point, there is no way to see how many steps you walked on a specific date in the past. As the video shows, the focus is more on a journey to various planets and not on tying activity to a calendar. Of course, you can always give the kids access to the Unity App for Parents and then they can view more data.
In the end, these are minor issues with the app and all things that may be corrected in a future release. Overall, the apps are very easy to use and make it simple and fun to track your steps.
No More Excuses, ibitz Gives The Whole Family A Reason To Move
It’s a new year and time to end the excuses. With the ibitz PowerKey Kids and ibitz Unity Adult, it is simple and fun to be more active this year. Kids will love taking steps to unlock rewards you create for them. The idea of tying electronics (playing Minecraft, Club Penguin and unlocking an Android tablet) to physical activities is genius. At $35 retail for the ibitz Kids and $50 retail for the ibitz Adult, getting physically active will thankfully not break the bank.
The ibitz fitness trackers from Geo Palz. ibitz Kids is $34.95, ibitz Adults is $49.95