Gabb Watch Review: Tweens’ First Phone That’s Safe, Fun, and Wearable
When you finally give in to your adolescent’s pleadings for a cellphone, offering them an iPhone—even an older model—is like handing them the keys to a motorcycle. Gabb Wireless has been supplying a bicycle-with-training-wheels version of their safe and economical handsets for a few years now. This summer, it produced the tricycle version: a watch phone, to extend the metaphor.
The Gabb Watch has been an excellent way for me to introduce my 8-year-old to texting and phoning without having to worry about her becoming sidetracked by apps like TikTok. And, of course, we parents gain a great deal of peace of mind. Gabb kindly sent me a watch to try out, but I am confident enough in the product that I will—gasp—pay for the service in the future.
There’s No Stranger Danger
My daughter can only send and receive calls and texts from the 10 contacts I’ve allowed on the accompanying MyGabb app on my phone, which is one of the first major differences between an unrestricted cellphone experience and this safety-conscious watch phone. I’ve set myself up as her guardian and SOS contact, so she can reach me fast in an emergency. It won’t go through if someone who isn’t in her contacts phones her number. When a known contact sends a message, their name and (if one has been loaded) image are displayed. Although ten contacts may not appear to be a large number, it has proven to be sufficient.
There is no need to type.
Texting can take the form of pre-written messages or voice. The watch comes with a number of pre-programmed messages (“Yes,” “No,” “OK,” “I will call soon,” and so on). In the app on my phone, they can be altered and new ones can be made, for a total of up to 20 messages of 25 or fewer characters each. With these prefabricated texts, my kid doesn’t have to worry about typing, autocorrect, and other such nonsense. She can also record a brief audio clip and share it if she wants to convey an emotion that isn’t covered by a predefined text—or her favorite emoticons. We felt the messaging to be straightforward, effective, and uncomplicated.
Placement, Placement, Placement
GPS is used by many of the watch’s safety functions. Take, for example, This is a condensed version of the information.