The myFirst Fone R1s is finally here! We are honoured to be allocated a set of the smartwatch phone for review. Being the father to two munchkins (one young at heart), I was tasked by Sal my EIC to rope in my kids for this review.
Goodness me…What can I say, they were thrilled when I told them that I needed their help and as a barter they demanded to be paid with candies and Robux (Sal… I will send you the invoice for the goodies).
What better time to try out this piece of technology other than Chinese New Year! We spent the next 2 weekends visiting and trying out the R1s. Kids will always be kids (that’s right, i’m talking about you Sal), when they grab their hand on something new and novel like the R1s. It will only mean endless videocalls. I spent a good amount of time entertaining them as I was the only authorized person paired to the myFirst Fone R1s.
What is myFirst Fone R1s?
Developed by myFirst, a technology gadgets manufacturer for kids. The myFirst Fone R1s is the upgrade to the myFirst Fone R1 which was released in 2020. Smarter and better, Fone R1s is specifically designed for connectivity and the kid’s safety in mind. It utilizes 4G LTE and Wifi for Realtime GPS tracking, messages, phone and video calls. The myFirst Fone R1s can be purchased here for the price of SGD $269.
Being a Kiasu father myself, the safety of my children is paramount. My son is 10 years old and daughter 3years old, my biggest fear is to lose them or have them wander off. Mazeophobia, the fear of being lost was ingrained in me as when I was a child I went missing not once but twice. Both times I ended up at the information counter of the shopping mall. Imagine my mum’s expression when she heard my name being announced on the PA system.
I am always worried that my son would wander off after his remedial class or enrichment lessons. When he was younger, I will always hang around the vicinity of his school/enrichment centre to ensure that he is safe. With the myFirst Fone R1s, I am able to “Spy” on him as and when I like it without looking like a kiasu father!
The myFirst Fone R1s comes in two new colors, space blue and cotton candy mix. Both are great colors and ideal for my kids. Space blue itself is not childish and looks like the night sky, while Cotton Candy Mix is looks like what every little girl will dream of.
The myFirst Fone R1s comes with a 4cm round touchscreen, encased within a plastic casing with a IP68 water resistance rating. There are ample adjustment holes ranging from 14cm to 20cm. I am a size 17cm and the R1s actually fits my wrist nicely. That being said, I do feel that it can be a tad too big for younger kids.
My 3year old girl have to tighten all the way to the smallest hole and even that feels too big on her wrist. It would be more suitable for kids aged 5 and up.
The face of the R1s comes with a 2MP front facing camera on the right for taking pictures and video calls. Two round buttons on the left as general function buttons. In between the Two round button lies the micro SIM card tray.
A larger button on the right acts as the One-Touch SOS button. It will send a distress signal once activated which will include the current live location and a 30 seconds live recording of the surrounding sound.
On the back of the R1s lies the heart rate monitor sensor and the magnetic charging point. The R1s utilises a magnetic four pin connector for charging and transferring of data to your computer.
Once you startup the R1s, you will be asked to download the myfirst Fone App. An unique QR code will be shown on the R1s screen, which you will scan and bind the R1s to your account.
You will be required to activate the connectivity via WiFi or 4G LTE to fully enjoy the functions of the R1s. The myFirst Fone R1s comes with a 6-months free data access SIM card by PCCW Global or you can sign up for the R-PLAN. The R-PLAN is a S$28 monthly subscription plan with unlimited data & calls. For S$40 you will be able to purchase the my First Phone R1s which comes with free delivery and extra membership privileges.
The control panel is the command center of the device where you will be able to set all the security functions, set the profile of the child using the R1s. If you have more than one R1s or R1, you will be able to detect and add them as friends. However, approval of the friends will still need to be done at the control panel.
GPS Security Functions
One of the main function of the R1s is it’s GPS Tracking function which utilizes 4G LTE or Wifi to pinpoint it’s location accurately on the map.
You will be able to set Safe zones or Geo Fencing with a radius of 200m to 2km. In the event that the R1s leaves the Geo Fenced area, the mobile app will send an alert immediately.
Tracking mode allows you to ping the location of the R1s with intervals ranging from 1min to 1hour, it will be useful when your child is taking public transport and you want to ensure that he or she is travelling on the right route.
myFirst also placed in a couple of other security function whereby if the R1s is removed from the wrist, a notification and it’s latest location will be transmitted to the registered phone app. When the R1s is low on battery, a warning will also show up on the phone app.
If you are worried that your child might switch off the R1s on their own, don’t fret! When that happens, you will also receive a notification on your registered phone app. Even better, toggle the Shutdown Forbidden switch on the app and your child will not be able to switch off the R1s.
Voice Call/Video Call/Messages
To be frank, it’s quite cool to be able perform voice/video calls using your smart watch. It is something out of a spy movie that we can only dream of when we were kids. So you can imagine the number of calls that I have to entertain during the CNY period.
In order to ensure the safety of the user, both call and message functions are confined to the contacts listed in the authorized contact list.
Voice calls were clear on both ways, however due to the size of the R1s the output sound might be softer. Video calls are sufficient with the 2MP camera, however when it comes to low light situation the video will be very dark.
One issue with the call function is that you are calling/receiving calls from the myFirst Fone app. There are times when I tried calling from the R1s to my phone and did not get any notification. I have to open the myFirst Fone app on my phone, refreshes it and then I managed to pickup that call.
In terms of the message function, due to the limited screen size. The user can only send preloaded messages like “Hi”, “Where are you” or emojis.
If you are afraid that your child might get distracted during class, fret not. There is a class mode, which you will be able to set from your phone app to lock the watch at specific times. All functions of the watch will be locked except for the SOS button.
Pedometer/Heart Rate Tracker
Other than the two main functions of tracking and calling, the R1s also has a heartrate tracking function along with a pedometer. It will track the daily steps, calories burned and distance travelled and reward you by unlocking achievements on the distance travelled. To access this function, just swipe right on the screen and you will be able to see the pedometer or heart rate tracker.
For adults, if you don’t want to carry your mobile phone out while exercising. This is actually a good replacement, just that due to the security features you can only call or message the authorized numbers.
I really like the tilt to wake function, although it is as simple as tilting the watch and having it turned on. For user experience, it really makes things easier.
The R1s comes with 1GB Ram and 8GB of memory space allowing the user to download up to 1500 songs to be enjoyed. However due to the soft sound output, it is advisable to pair it via bluetooth to myFirst Headphones which uses bone conduction technology to transmit sound to the user.
The standby time for a fully charged watch is two day and operational talk mode is 6 hours. The average battery lifespan during my trial was around 7 hours without using the music player. While constant usage of the video call function and music function will deplete the battery much faster.
The Bottom Line.
The myFirst Fone R1s is a great next generation smartphone watch for kids and even adults. The world we know is getting more connected and dangerous. With so many online scammers out there, we really need to safeguard and protect our kids. Knowing where our kids are and able to contact them at a touch of a button is either a great sense of relief or it can also be an additional source of anxiety.
Especially when they don’t respond.
While many might say that the secure call and message functions might be too limiting, I find that it is a really good security function. Who else should a 6 year old call, other than their parents? That being said, the call function needs to really work every single time. I do hope myFirst will update the software to ensure this.
Overall, I find that the myFirst Fone R1s had met what it had reach out to do and it works! For the price of S$269, I feel that it’s a price which as a parent I won’t mind paying to know that my child is safe.
A functional smart watch phone that does the job, however for the pricing some may just get a smartphone instead.
- Great design
- Easy to use
- Accurate Functions
- Too big for younger kids
- Phone App not 100% stable
- Camera bad at lowlight situation
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