Fitness trackers for kids have gained in popularity in recent years. This is for a good reason. There’s a problem of declining physical activity in children coupled with a rise in obesity. A recent study has shown that children of all ages are at risk of declining physical activity. According to figures, daily activity falls by around 3 to 4 minutes each year from the age of four or five. This is the case for both boys and girls.
Essential reading: Best activity trackers for kids: make fitness a habit, not a chore
The current guidelines are that children need 60 minutes of physical activity per day. This can be accomplished by including moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as brisk walking, or vigorous-intensity activity such as running. It’s also good to through in vigorous-intensity aerobic activity on at least 3 days per week. Shockingly, WTO figures show that four out of five kids between 11 and 17 globally do not meet this goal.
Fitness trackers for kids may not yet be as commonplace as they are for adults, but perhaps they should be. The more your kids learn about the benefits of movement and activity, the more likely they are to make an effort to stay fit long into their adult lives.
Arguably, right now Fitbit Ace 2 and Garmin Vivofit Jr 2 are the best devices you can buy for your little ones. Both come from trusty names in the industry. So which of the two should you choose? Here’s how they compare.
Fitbit Ace 2 vs Garmin Vivofit Jr 2: Design and hardware
Garmin Vivofit Jr 2 comes with two important upgrades over its predecessor. First there’s an always-on color screen instead of a black and white screen. And second, Garmin has teamed up with Disney to deliver a range of branded designs.
But whereas the Garmin Vivofit Jr 2 is a straightforward update on the first generation device, Fitbit Ace and Ace 2 are quite different. Fitbit’s second generation kids tracker comes with a more rugged design a much larger display and a more kid-friendly look.
Put Fitbit Ace 2 and Garmin Vivofit Jr 2 side by side and you’ll notice quite a few similarities. Both are a one size fits all affair and made of silicone and plastic-like material. Whats more, the two look like they can take quite a beating. This is particularly the case with Ace 2 which has bumpers around the display that serve to protect the wearable during playtime. Water resistance on both is down to 50 meters (5 ATM) so can be worn around the clock.
When it comes to hardware, one major difference to be aware of is battery life. Vivofit Jr 2 can keep ticking along for up to a year thanks to its CR1632 coin cell. You will need to replace it when it runs out, though. Fitbit Ace 2 on the other hand has a rechargeable battery which you’ll need to refuel every 5 days.
Another difference is the display. The one on Garmin Vivofit Jr 2 is about half the size of Fitbit Ace 2, but it is always on and full color. Fitbit’s only provides a grayscale experience.
Here’s a comparison of technical specs. We threw in the Fitbit Ace as well as its quite different to the second generation device and meant for a slightly older audience. You can see it stacks-up against Ace 2 on this link.
|Garmin Vivofit Jr 2||Fitbit Ace 2||Fitbit Ace|
|Size||Fits wrists up to 170mm||Fits wrists 125mm – 161mm||Fits wrists 125mm – 161mm|
|Material||Silicone and plastic||Flexible, durable elastomer material. The tracker and clasp are made with surgical-grade stainless steel.||Flexible, durable elastomer material. The tracker and clasp are made with surgical-grade stainless steel.|
|Battery||One replaceable CR1632 coin cell, lasts up to 1 yr.||Up to 5 days.||Up to 5 days.|
|Water-resistance||5 ATM (up to 50 metres)||5 ATM (up to 50 metres)||Rain, sweat and showerproof (IPX7)|
|Display||Always-on color 64 x 64 pixels, 10 mm x 10 mm||0.72 inch touchscreen Grayscale OLED||1 inch OLED tap display.|
|Sensors||Accelerometer||3-axis accelerometer, vibration motor||3-axis accelerometer, vibration motor|
|Activity tracking||Daily steps, sleep, activity.||Daily steps, active minutes, sleep, calories.||Daily steps and active minutes, sleep.|
|Smartwatch functions||Call, text, email notifications||Call, text, email notifications|
|Other||– Parents can assign tasks and chores
– Free parent-controlled app includes fun and educational mobile adventures for kids and chore/behavior management for parents
– Kids can earn coins to redeem for agreed-upon rewards managed by parents
|– bedtime reminders and alarms, Fitbit App: Kid View, timer and stopwatch, move reminders, clock-faces, fun incentives, 1-hour active minutes goal||– step challenges
– rewards and badges
– Fitbit App: Parent View
– Fitbit App: Kid View
Fitbit Ace 2 vs Garmin Vivofit Jr 2: Activity tracking and smart features
The main reason why you’ll want to buy either of these two devices is activity tracking. On that count both will suffice.
Ace 2 tracks your kids all-day steps, sleep, calories and there’s a 1-hour active minutes goal as per WHO recommendations. Animated clock faces change throughout the day as the wearer logs steps and other activity.
The thing comes with reminders to move which can be customized by parents via the smartphone app. The app can also be used to schedule bedtime reminders and silent alarms. Don’t look for a heart rate monitor or other fancy sensors, they are not there. Both the Fitbit and Garmin only have an accelerometer inside.
Kids will be rewarded for hitting goals with celebratory messages and fun badges. They can even challenge others to step competitions, including their parents.
One aspect where the Fitbit is lacking compared to Garmin is in gamification. Vivofit Jr 2 provides a variety of educational mobile adventures for the kids. As young ones reach their daily 60-minute activity goals, fun facts and a mobile adventure trail are unlocked.
What’s more, parents are able to assign their child chores to do around the house with the Garmin, and Vivofit Jr 2 will give the kids a nudge when they need to complete them. These can be set up to recur daily or even weekly. Kids can even earn virtual coins for every task you assign, which they can then use to redeem in-app rewards.
Fitbit Ace 2
What’s missing on the Garmin as compared to Fitbit are smartphone notifications. If your little one owns a smartphone, they’ll be able to get text/email/call on their Fitbit Ace 2. Plus there’s a built-in vibration motor for added interactivity.
Another difference to be aware of is the app experience. In Fitbit’s case the app provides two views, one for the parents which they can use to safeguard their kids’ privacy and stay on top of their activity. The other is for kids where they can see their daily stats and interact with others in the Fitbit family account. Garmin, on the other hand, only has a parents app which they can use to set goals and see their kids’ daily activity.
Fitbit Ace 2 vs Garmin Vivofit Jr 2: Bottom line
It is good news that Garmin and Fitbit have decided to join the kids fitness tracker game. After all, these are both well known and respected brands.
Although the specs between Garmin Vivofit Jr 2 and Fitbit Ace 2 are quite similar, there are a few differences to be aware of. One of these is battery life. Vivofit operates on a coin cell battery that is good for up to a year whereas you’ll need to charge the Fitbit every few days. Vivofit also provides an always-on, full color display. But this is much smaller than the grayscale screen of Ace 2.
Outside of that, both are rugged, water-resistant devices that are fit for the purpose. As far as price, neither of these will break the bank.
Garmin Vivofit Jr 2
The Vivofit Jr 2 adopts a more hands-on approach from parents so is more suited for younger kids. It does the basics well, has various adventure games and serves to educate your child on the importance of fitness, chores and meeting goals.
Ace 2 functions more like a traditional fitness tracker, not too unlike the Fitbit Inspire. It has smartphone notifications and is a great choice if other members of the family also have a Fitbit. Its calorie counting is also more suited for older kids.
All things considered, it really comes down to personal preferences. Either of these is reliable, good at monitoring activity 24/7 and comes packed with loads of parental control options.
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