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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Fitbit Ace LTE hands-on: a Nintendo-like smartwatch for teenagers

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When Fitbit invited me to a demo of the Ace LTE, its new tracker for teenagers, I didn’t anticipate a lot. The earlier Ace trackers had been pared-down Fitbit bands that didn’t do a lot and lacked GPS. Different smartwatches for teenagers are usually boxy, glorified GPS trackers, designed to enchantment extra to folks than children. However the Ace LTE? This can be a children smartwatch that feels prefer it may truly be enjoyable to put on. I sort of want there have been one thing prefer it for adults.

The $229.95 Ace LTE has a squarish case that’s paying homage to the Fitbit Versa. The primary distinction is that the supplies are extra applicable for teenagers. (Assume plastic and Corning Gorilla Glass as a substitute of sapphire crystal and titanium.) There’s additionally an elective bumper for further sturdiness. Nonetheless, when you flip it the other way up, the sensor array seems to be almost an identical to the Pixel Watch 2. A neat perk is that if in case you have a Pixel Watch 2, this makes use of the identical charger.

It will get about 16 hours of battery life, however quick charging means you get 60 p.c in half-hour.

The Ace LTE’s complete schtick is train ought to be a type of play. In truth, it’s extra like a sport console strapped to your wrist than a standard smartwatch. As a substitute of apps, the watch comes with a bunch of preloaded video video games. The idea is as a substitute of interval coaching, the place you sprinkle bits of high-intensity struggling right into a exercise, the Ace LTE employs interval gaming. As soon as they’ve performed a specific amount, children are prompted so as to add to their step depend to earn extra taking part in time.

There’s additionally an Eejie, a Tamagotchi-like buddy who lives within the Ace LTE. This, too, is a bit like Animal Crossing in which you can purchase an Eejie in-game objects, rooms, garments, and different equipment. However as a substitute of microtransactions utilizing real-life cash, you must purchase these objects utilizing arcade tickets. These, in flip, can solely be received by making progress on day by day objectives or by taking part in video games.

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There’ll be six collectible bands to start out, every costing $35.

The particular connector acts as a “sport cartridge,” holding unique objects for Eejies, a Tamogatchi-like buddy.

Every Ace LTE band can also be a collectible. As soon as popped on, a band unlocks new outfits for the Eejie, unique collectibles, and a themed noodle — the animated ring that represents your day by day progress. Further bands value $35 and have their very own themes. The thought is that youngsters can commerce bands to get objects, a lot in the way in which us historical nerds traded POG slammers and Pokémon playing cards.

I bought to strive two video games: Smokey Lake and Pollo 13. The previous is a fishing sport that jogged my memory of the way you acquire fish in Animal Crossing or Stardew Valley. It entails viewing your digital surroundings, casting your arm out to catch a fish, and pulling it again to reel it in. Pollo 13 was a Mario Kart-esque sport the place you play as a hen racing in a bath, accumulating eggs to get powers. You race by tilting your arm, and the intention is to greatest your archnemesis, Kim. (I don’t know what Kim did, however she ate my mud.) After taking part in a little bit of each, I used to be prompted to take round 500 steps so I might play extra.

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The whole lot is managed by way of the Fitbit Ace app, which works on iOS and Android.
Picture: Fitbit

However the gaming is just one facet of the Ace LTE. The opposite is to assist children keep linked to their dad and mom. Whereas earlier Fitbit Ace gadgets didn’t have GPS monitoring, this one comes with LTE inbuilt. That allows calling, messaging, and placement sharing. The unhealthy information is getting these options requires a $9.99 month-to-month or $120 annual subscription to the Ace Go information plan. The excellent news is you don’t must undergo a service, nor does a child want their very own cellphone.

The whole lot is managed by way of the Fitbit Ace companion app, which works on each iOS and Android. The app is the place dad and mom can set trusted contacts, ship and obtain messages, view their youngster’s real-time location, and monitor how their youngster is doing with regard to their exercise objectives. There’s additionally a college time mode, which disables gaming throughout college hours. Later this 12 months, Fitbit says that it’s going to additionally add Faucet to Pay.

It seems to be loads like a Fitbit Versa on the wrist, however the inner {hardware} is nearer to a Pixel Watch 2.

Children smartwatches at all times increase an additional query of privateness. Fitbit informed me on the demo that solely dad and mom can entry location information, which is deleted after 24 hours. Exercise information is deleted after 35 days and won’t be used for Google advertisements. The Ace LTE additionally is not going to embody third-party apps or advertisements. In fact, that is what Google, which owns Fitbit, says upfront. When you’re frightened concerning the effective print, involved dad and mom must also take a look at the Fitbit Ace privacy policy.

We’ll have to check the Ace LTE to see how effectively it really works — each as a way of encouraging children to maneuver extra and as a instrument for fogeys. That mentioned, it is a vital replace to the Ace lineup and one of many extra enjoyable approaches to a smartwatch for teenagers that we’ve seen shortly.

The Fitbit Ace LTE is out there beginning on June fifth for $229.95, with an Ace Go priced at $9.99 month-to-month or $119.99 yearly. Annual subscribers get an additional collectible band, and those that purchase it by August thirty first will get 50 p.c off the subscription value.



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