Buying a smartphone for children might sound like bad news for some parents but the myFirst Fone R1s is a smartwatch phone that will go some way in allaying those fears.
myFirst is a Singapore-based tech brand that produces a wide variety of tech with children in mind and the Fone R1s is a fair reflection of the company’s direction. The R1s provides all the benefits that a smartphone offers but without the extraneous distractions.
First impressions are good: the R1s doesn’t look nor feel cheap and is offered in attractive two colours: a deep blue (Space Blue) that’s almost black that is suitable for schools that have a restiction on watch colours, as well as a cotton candy-esque colourway (Cotton Candy Mix). You also have five strap colours to choose if your child wants to personalise the watch to taste.
Also, the vibrant 1.3-inch IPS display is eye-catching and makes text easy to read too. It is also the perfect platform for cute animated wallpapers or photos taken with the built-in 2MP camera. But beyond the cute, childlike housing, the R1s has a feature set that might well surprise you.
Because the Internet can easily put children in harm’s way if they’re left to their own devices, the Fone R1s tries to strike a balance between parental control and fun.
First and foremost, the watch lets parents keep track of their wards and functions as an open channel for communication. With 4G capabilities, the smartwatch can provides access to cellular calls, video calls and chat. the R1s pairs with the myFirstFone app on the guardian’s phone, which functions as the sole administrator account. The child can add other myFone friends on their watch, which parents can choose to accept or remove. Parents can also add additional numbers or even administrators (parents) of other children via the app.
Parents will also know their child’s whereabouts at all times thanks to the GPS tracking system and they can also set a designated safety zone through the Geo Fencing Area Alert. In addition, the watch also has a one-touch SOS button that the child can press to alert their parents in emergencies.
Of course, all these restrictions don’t sound fun for the kids, but that’s for the parents to worry about. The R1s has other features that are more conducive to fun – itcomes with a built-in mp3 player and 8GB (approximately 1,500 songs and audiobooks) of storage, so they (and by proxy, you) don’t have to listen to Baby Shark on loop. myFirst aldo offers an accompanying Headphones BC Wireless Lite, a bone conduction style wireless headphones that’s easy on the eardrums. Bone conduction headphones won’t win the hearts and minds of audiophiles, but your ENT specialist will be very pleased with your life choices.
And while we’re on the subject of health, the R1s also features a heart rate monitor that allows parents to monitor their child’s well-being and gives you the option to set fitness goals and achievements.
Pre-orders for the Fone R11s ($269) pre-order start 15 December 2021 and deliveries will commence starting 6 January 2022. The Smart Watchphone will also come with six months of free data SIM (PCCW Global) and subsequently $10 per month if you wish to continue. Alternatively, you can also get the watch for S$28 per month with a one-year contract through M1.
Both plans offer unlimited data (data voice and voice call) but M1 offers unlimited voice calls to landlines or phone lines, while PCCW Global offers free data roaming to selected countries (Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, China, Australia, New Zealand). And if it’s important for your child to have a mobile number then you have to go the M1 route (or get your own SIM card and number on your own) as the PCCW Global route is purely data.