Fitbit’s latest wearable is a fitness tracker for kids 8 and older, dubbed the Ace. The Ace just became available, seeming to fill a gap between trackers designed for little kids (like the Vivofit Jr.) and wearables meant for adults.
The Ace is a showerproof wristband with tracking capabilities that provides both a kid’s and parent’s view and functionality so parents can retain control of the data and see their children’s progress.
Here are a few of the key features.
- Tracks steps, active minutes, and sleep
- Reminders to move
- Challenges and badges to inspire more activity
- Battery life of up to 5 days
Fitbit didn’t go for anything over the top or childish for the Ace, opting instead to retain the familiar look of fitness trackers. It would be easy to mistake the Ace for the Alta HR, and in fact the bands for the Alta will fit the Ace (more on that in a minute).
Currently, the Ace is available in just two colors — Electric Blue and Power Purple. The screen is as you would expect from a Fitbit fitness tracker, with no real deviations from other Fitbits with the exception of a few new icons and watch faces. The clarity of the screen is great, and the device is lightweight and comfortable.
The Ace is “showerproof” (IPX7) but not swimproof. Essentially it’ll stand up to splashes and showers but cannot be submerged for a swim or bath. The wristband is made of a flexible, durable elastomer material.
Tracking on the Fitbit Ace is similar to any other Fitbit — it keeps track of steps and activity minutes, and it offers the same kind of sleep tracking as other trackers.
A key difference you’ll see in the Ace versus other Fitbits is the way it encourages movement and activity. The Ace and app offer up different challenges and let kids make and celebrate goals. They can also compare and challenge friends. The Ace has reminders to move once an hour.
Sleep tracking will let parents see how well their children are sleeping. This info — and additional data not available on the kid’s view (like calories burned or body fat percentages) — appears on the parent’s view of the app. The data is synced wirelessly to Android and iPhone.
There are two different app views, one for parents and one for kids. Parents have complete control over what kids can do and see with the app, but the app on the kids’ view is engaging enough and easy to use.
Kids are able to see their stats (sleep, active minutes, steps, and so forth) while parents get a more comprehensive look at data.
Fitbit has done a nice job of making a fitness tracker for kids that doesn’t look babyish, keeps parents in control and in the loop, and offers kids enough challenges and data to inspire them to keep moving. It fills the gap between trackers for younger children and adult trackers. This one is designed for kids 8 and up, so it’s hard to say for sure how long kids will stay engaged with the device. Even if they aren’t completing challenges, though, parents can still see where they need to focus attention: if kiddos aren’t getting enough activity or sleep, they can take measures to help them make healthier choices.
Overall, it has a good design and a great message — it’s a well-intentioned device that will probably work well for some families (but will likely be short-lived for others).
The biggest drawback to the Fitbit Ace is the band itself — it’s just too small to actually work for most kids who are 8+. The band it comes with is 5” to 6.34”. Numerous customers have found that this sizing does not fit their child, so they have to buy a different band, adding even more to the initial cost. If you add a Fitbit branded Alta band, you’re looking at another $30 or so. Of course, you can get inexpensive knockoffs on Amazon, but the fact is, you’re spending more beyond the price just to be able to wear it.
The price of the device seems a little on the high end, too, coming in at $100. Considering that it’s for kids, not waterproof, doesn’t have GPS, and a host of other things, this seems a little steep. Perhaps this mostly feels high because, as a general rule, stuff for kids usually doesn’t last that long. They’re hard on it, or they lose interest, and it ends up stuffed in a drawer somewhere or given to Goodwill.
For the most part we’re impressed by the notion and design of the Ace, but there are a few issues to consider. Be sure to measure your child’s wrist before buying to see if the band will fit.
The Ace just released, so there aren’t any long-term reviews to look at, but early reviewers like the functionality. Fitbit has solid fitness trackers across the board, so we do expect this to be a usable and lasting device — if your child will wear it beyond the first few weeks.