I’d like to think the original Vivofit Jr was respectably successful having clinched a 3.5 rating from 600 plus reviews on Amazon. The main gripe was with the stretchy wrist bands that didn’t really fit kids with bigger wrists. Garmin has since released the second edition of their child focused activity tracker and this time round, they threw in a coloured display along with adjustable wrist straps capable of fitting children and adults alike for select editions of the Garmin Vivofit Jr 2. ($99.99)
Along with other a few other improved features, will the Garmin Vivofit Jr 2 activity tracker be live up to the expectation of its predecessor? Read on for the actual review.
This review is based on the Garmin Vivofit Jr 2 Captain America edition so the watch faces and story line is unique to this band.
GARMIN VIVOFIT JR 2 IN SHORT:
- Tracks steps, sleep, activity time
- Auto goal: 60 minute daily play goal
- Customisable rewards and chores
- Task Timers (2, 5, 10, 15, 20 and 30 minutes)
- Wireless sycning with audible alerts
- Water resistant to 5 ATM
- Changeable wristbands which are easy to put on
- Up to 1 year user changeable battery
- Unlock adventures or update new adventures with purchase of new activity straps
- Step leader board with family members who uses Garmin activity trackers
- Toe-to-Toe competition within 2 minutes
GARMIN VIVOFIT JR 2 LOOK AND FEEL
The Vivofit Jr 2 has cool patterns of Disney, Avengers or Star Wars characters emblazoned across the band. The design will depend on the series of activity trackers and also the band type – either stretchy or adjustable strap type.
Though there are 7 different versions of the activity band straps, there are only 3 different adventures:
- Mickey’s Birthday Surprise: A Disney Adventure
- BB-8’s Adventure: A Star Wars Story
- Ultron’s Revenge: A Marvel Avengers Mission
The activity band straps are sold seperately at $29.99 and allows the original Vivofit Jr owners to upgrade to the adventures listed above, ensuring the adventure never stops.
Owners of the Vivofit Jr 2 can also upgrade to new adventures with the purchase of a new strap.
A single button scrolls through the menu on the Vivofit Jr 2 tracker with short and long presses.
The screen is tiny at just 11mm x 11mm. I’m not making a big fuss here since most of the displays are just icons.
Back light illumination ensures visibility in the night or low light conditions is taken care of.
At present, there are 7 editions of the Vivofit Jr 2 on sale with the First Order edition sold only at Best Buy. That’s also the nicest version in my opinion.
The activity band is water resistant to 5 ATM and lasts up to a year running on a single user-replaceable battery. I thought I should state here that my unit went flat after a mere 4 months after un-boxing.
In order to connect and use the Vivofit Jr 2, it has to be synced to a compatible mobile device; most probably the parents’.
GARMIN VIVOFIT JR 2 FUNCTIONS
The Vivofit Jr 2 is a good looking activity tracker that’s sure to capture the hearts of your child. After all, Garmin did partner with key industry players such as Disney, Marvel and Star Wars.
And similar to its predecessor, Garmin’s children focused activity tracker unleashes its full potential only when parents are engaged in the setting up phase.
And one of the key preparation phase includes the setting up of chores and the accompanying rewards.
The best way to inculcate responsible decision making is to include the child in crafting the outcome. For example, both parent and child could decide that making the bed for an entire week would see the child getting an extra allowance which may go towards buying a big item in due time.
With the Vivofit Jr 2 and the accompanying mobile app, there are plenty of opportunities to engage the child and modify the rewards over time; it isn’t stagnant and shouldn’t be.
Sure it’s a lot of work on the parent’s part to customise, negotiate, discuss with the child before coming to any agreement. But isn’t spending time with the child what parenting is all about?
I particularly like how the Vivofit Jr merely serves as an external tool to craft out the non verbal contract between parent and child but leaves the essential communication process untouched.
Setting up aside, let’s look at some of the core on-device features of the Garmin Vivofit Jr 2.
When worn daily, the wrist band functions as an all day activity tracker, recording the child’s physical activity time, steps and even sleep. Audio beep alarms can also be set for the child to take up to.
There’s also the pre-set timer function which automatically sets time limit for activities such as brushing teeth (2 mins), homework (15 mins), and watching TV (30 mins). Timer features are pre-fixed and can’t be changed at present.
I thought I should make mention of a new feature which Garmin introduced in the Vivofit Jr 2 called Toe-to-Toe. This feature allows children to compete with other kids, or adults, who also have the Vivofit Jr 2 or Garmin compatible devices.
By activating the Toe-to-Toe feature which is independent of the mobile app, the Vivofit Jr 2 will automatically connect with any Vivofit Jr 2, or compatible wearable, that are also in Toe-to-Toe detection mode.
Once connected, the 2 devices can then battle it out to see who clocks the most steps within 2 minutes. At the end of the timed activity, the step count of both players will appear on the screen of the devices and thereafter a “repeat” battle can be initiated by a quick press of the button. Vivofit Jr 2’s Toe-to-Toe feature can also be activated to time a child’s activity within 2 mins.
Garmin’s long list of wearables are compatible with the Vivofit Jr 2’s Toe-to-Toe feature and you can find the full list of wearables supporting the feature here.
The results of the Toe-to-Toe challenge isn’t recorded within the mobile app which is a pity. While I understand the need for data protection for other children, I thought it’d be great if a child could compare his or her win-loss record versus the parents. That’d certainly make for some nice dinner conversation.
Garmin has also given the story line of the Original Vivofit Jr an overhaul. The Vivofit Jr 2’s story line is now tagged to famous characters from Disney, Avengers and Star Wars with supposedly exciting adventures. The story line is played in tandem with background music on the mobile app and features a short story together with a single picture, almost comic-like.
And therein lies the biggest problem with Garmin’s newest child focused activity tracker – every 60 minutes of movement time daily only nets the child a single move in a overarching adventure. And it’s strictly one move per day so it’d be pointless even if the child clocks 120 minutes of physical activity or the equivalent of 2 moves.
Upon completion of the mission within the adventure, the child will be awarded a badge. With level increases, it’s possible to unlock more step icons for display customisation.
What got me excited was actually the number of badges up for grabs and I’m pretty stoked to collect them all. Not so much for stories, more for the badges.
Perhaps Garmin has done their fair share of market studies, focus group discussions and decided that 3rd party collaboration is the way to go. As an adult using the kids themed activity tracker, I have to declare I’m unlikely the target audience so you should take my lack of enthusiasm with the adventures thus far with a pinch of salt. Kids might be really excited about such adventures.
Update 31st March 2018
Garmin has added some bells and whistles to the Vivofit Jr mobile app. Kids can now access and quick tap scoring game that contributes nothing to the main story line nor level. It resembles the whack-a-mole arcade game but on a mobile device. I don’t find it enjoyable and derived little pleasure from playing it.
Also, green gems are strewn around the background whenever the goal is met. Clocking high levels of activity causes more gems to be dispersed. Apparently collecting these gems allow a player to level up faster. I’m already up to 70 gems and I’m still at the same level. Will update if netting 100 gems allows me to skip the story line.
There’s a loophole here. You want to clock the highest level of activity before syncing because once the device is synced and the goal is met, you won’t get more gems even if you go on to clock ridiculously high levels of activity for the day.
GARMIN VIVOFIT JR 2 IN A NUTSHELL
Garmin is strategic in tackling the children activity tracker market which has largely been left untouched by the competition. And it’s great they’ve extended the longevity of the original devices with the upgrade provided by purchasing a new wrist strap. Granted the Toe-to-Toe feature isn’t available, I think it’s still a considerable gesture on Garmin’s part to ensure first adopters aren’t left out. So kudos to that.
The Garmin Vivofit Jr 2 still retains the essence of what made the original Vivofit Jr great – involving the parents and family in keeping the child active and inculcating desirable habits.
And Garmin has gone a step further by adding new features such as Toe-to-Toe and themed adventures. Most importantly, they’ve included adjustable straps rather than just the one size stretchy straps. In the market, there’s very few competition for sensibly made kid’s focused wearables. Naturally it goes without saying Garmin has nailed it again.
I’m frankly not a fan of the pricing though. It’s a kids activity tracker no? At $99.99, it’s pricey.The Garmin Vivofit Jr 2 comes in 7 editions with a suggested retail price of $99.99. Seperate wrist bands are sold at $29.99
You can purchase the Garmin Vivofit Jr 2 from Amazon where there’s usually a small discount, great return policy, and free delivery depending on where you reside. In return your purchase helps to offset the costs associated with the running of this site. Would love to hear your views in the comments section and thanks for reading!