Pros / The LG GizmoPal allows for two-way calling between parents and young children and incoming calls from approved numbers.
Cons / This device works on a variation of the Verizon Wireless Family Locator service, which you can set for regular updates, though it does not update more than once every three minutes.
Verdict / In the LG GizmoPal, Verizon Wireless and LG combine a limited use feature phone and GPS tracker packaged in a fun, wearable device for your kid.
Editor's note: GizmoPal 2 is now available. Clicking the Buy button will take you to this version for purchase. We will evaluate, rank and review the GizmoPal 2 when we next update the Emergency Cell Phone reviews. Meanwhile, enjoy our review below about the VC100.
This LG GizmoPal VC100 from Verizon Wireless is not so much an emergency cell phone for kids as it is a sense of security for parents. It’s advertised as being perfect companion for kids aged 4 and up, but we imagine the cutoff for that age to diminish as your child starts gaining more independence. It has a rubberized, water-resistant and durable design that makes it convenient for parents and somewhat fun for kids. Plus, it securely fits around smaller wrists like a watch.
The GizmoPal is a limited use emergency mobile phone and GPS device in one. It communicates across the Verizon Wireless network to an app installed on the parent or caregiver’s smartphone. The device itself pairs with a primary number, which the child can call with a push of a button, but you can add a second caregiver number, too. Additional numbers can be added, but the child is only able to receive calls from these numbers and not call out to them.
The device’s last known location is displayed on Google maps in the GizmoPal app on your smartphone. Aside from location, the GizmoPal app allows you to interact for your child’s device. There’s even an override setting to make GizmoPal auto-answer after 10 seconds if your child is in the habit of not answering on their own. Unfortunately, t location data does not update in real-time. Even refreshed updates can take as long as three minutes. At a normal walking pace, this can be the difference of almost 90 yards from the last known location. In the same amount of time, a car can travel over a mile at city traffic speeds. This is not an alternative to immediate adult supervision.
For the child, GizmoPal tells time and plays a range of fun sounds each time they push GizmoPal’s call button. While this can be entertaining for the kid, it can also be distressing for battery life. GizmoPal comes with an estimated 138-hour standby time from a 400mAh battery. In our testing, though, we experienced a 20 percent drop in the battery’s charge in just a few hours by randomly playing with it and counting how many fun sounds are loaded onto the device. There are 15, and they can be disabled from the app.
The LG GizmoPal VC100 is a great emergency cell phone for your young child. As a limited function feature phone, it allows them to call out to two numbers that you set from your smartphone’s GizmoPal app. It also lets them receive calls from only the numbers you allow, which helps save minutes on your Verizon calling plan. Its built-in GPS tracking capabilities also allow you to track your child’s location any time the device is active.