Who Is The Xplora X5 Play Smart Watch For?

  • The Xplora X5 Play smart watch is ideal for parents who want to give their children a way to communicate without giving them a cell phone
  • The smart watch can send and receive phone calls from a list of approved contacts
  • The watch has a built-in reward system to encourage kids to be active
The X5 Play smart watch is an easy way for kids to communicate with parents

A common question parents are facing these days is when to give their child a cell phone. Parents need to balance the benefits of being able to communicate with their children with the potential issues that come with cell phone use, like distractions during school or too much screen time. With the Xplora X5 Play smart watch, kids can have all the benefits of communication without any of the distracting apps and games of a proper smartphone.

Rough Setup

The Xplora X5 Play smart watch requires its own SIM card, which means it has its own unique phone number. Once the watch has been powered on, it needs to be linked to the Xplora smartphone app to be used. This app gives parents a great deal of control over the watch.

However, linking the X5 Play to the smartphone app wasn't as smooth a process as it could have been. The app requires users to scan a QR code on the face of the watch to pair it, but the app refused to scan the QR code the first several times I tried. It eventually worked, but it did take a number of tries and at least two fresh app installs.

Another look at the X5 Play

Once the X5 Play has been linked to a phone with the Xplora app, the owner of the phone is listed as a guardian. This allows parents to have some control over the X5 Play watch through the Xplora app.

Smooth Use

After the X5 Play smart watch was linked to the Xplora smartphone app, things have been working as intended. The X5 Play is capable of making phone calls to approved contacts, can take photos, can send and receive text and voice messages, has a stopwatch and can set alarms.

As the X5 Play requires its own SIM card, keep in mind that the watch only supports a select number of wireless providers. The most recommended SIM card from Xplora is one from SpeedTalk Mobile, which can be used with a number of plans. The X5 Play supports up to a 4G wireless connection and also has WiFi support when not out and about.

Phone Calls First

Phone calls with the X5 Play don't have the most crystal clear quality, but they get the job done. When talking through the watch, the person I was talking to sounded like they were using a walkie-talkie more than a cell phone. The person I was talking to also said she was hearing a strange swiping noise when talking to me, despite no such noise coming from my end.

Talking into your wrist feels goofy, but calls are clear enough

Despite these limitations, it was still easy enough to understand what each other was saying, and the quality is more than good enough for a quick phone conversation. The most impressive ability the X5 Play has in terms of phone calls is its microphone. I was holding the watch as far away as possible from the back of my head and didn't increase the volume of my voice. Despite this, I was still being picked up and could be understood on my phone call.

Phone calls can be made and received on the X5 Play smart watch, but X5 Play users can only make calls from a list of pre-approved contacts. Contacts are loaded into the watch via the linked smartphone app. If a contact that isn't saved in the watch calls, their call doesn't get completed.

Additionally, a push notification is sent to the parent's phone via the Xplora app after every phone call the watch makes. This allows parents to see who their kids are talking to without needing to look at the X5 Play watch.

Text Messages Second

The X5 Play watch can receive text messages from pre-approved contacts. If someone texts the X5 Play that isn't on the pre-approved list, the message is not delivered. The big downside with texting is that the watch is only capable of receiving text messages and can't send them.

However, there is a second way to quickly message with the X5 Play. The Xplora app can send and receive messages with the X5 Play, but only with the guardian smartphone account. While the smartphone app can send whatever the user wants, the X5 Play can only pick from a selection of phrases like "Hello!" or "I'll be late." X5 Play users can also send a selection of emojis and can record and send quick voice messages as well.

The last thing X5 Play users can send are pictures that have been taken with the X5 Play's camera. Speaking of the camera...

Camera Lag Is Real

The camera on the X5 Play smart watch isn't great. It reminds me of the cameras on flip phones back in the day. That said, seeing as how the camera is really only capable of taking quick selfies, it's fine enough. The real issue comes with how laggy the camera is.

An image taken with the X5 Play

When pressing the shutter button on the watch, the camera will make it look like it has taken a picture. However, the image that actually gets captured comes several seconds after the button is pushed. Expect to have to hold a smile for a long time, or expect a bunch of blurry and poorly framed pictures.

The X5 Play camera is also capable of recording videos, though these videos can only be played back on the watch. The videos cannot be sent to anyone.

GPS Tracking Enabled

The last major feature of the X5 Play smart watch is that it has GPS tracking capabilities. Parents can both track where their child is at any given moment or look at a history of where they have been throughout the day. These features are exclusive to the Xplora app, so kids can't turn off the GPS tracking accidentally or otherwise.

Smaller Features Galore

The X5 Play smart watch comes with a number of smaller features as well as the calling, texting and GPS. One particularly nice feature for parents is the ability to set timers on the X5 Play. It's even possible to set a timer on the Xplora app that is then pushed to the smart watch to remind kids to do something or go somewhere.

The app sends plenty of push notifications, including one for every phone call

There's a school mode built into the X5 Play. This mode shuts down almost all of the alarms and notifications for the watch during set hours of a week. Parents can customize the days and hours for school mode via the Xplora app.

Lastly, the X5 Play has integrated pedometer features to track the number of steps taken throughout the day. To encourage kids to get up and move around more, Xplora has a token system where users get tokens for reaching step milestones. These tokens can then be used with the Xplora smartphone app to play a selection of games. With more steps comes more tokens, which means more time to play.

Battery Life

The X5 Play smart watch uses a rechargeable battery, and comes with its own funky magnetic charging cable. This cable is both nice and convenient, considering it easily attaches to the back of the watch without the danger of snapping a USB-C cable or something similar, and it's also a bit of a pain. The X5 Play can't be charged by the dozens of micro USB or USB-C cables we already all own.

The X5 Play uses a proprietary magnetic plug to charge

Charging takes a little while, but if kids charge the watch while sleeping this shouldn't be a major concern. For example, it took about two hours for the watch to go from dead to 75% charged, and was fully charged in about two and a half hours. While the X5 Play has a battery indicator on it, this indicator only shows rough estimates for the actual battery life. If someone wants to know exactly how much battery life is left on the X5 Play at any given time, they need to check the linked Xplora smart phone app.

Once fully charged, I have found the X5 Play to last around two days of moderate use before needing to be charged again. The Xplora app will also send push notifications to parents to let them know when the watch is running out of battery and needs to be charged again.

Final Thoughts

Let me start by saying I'm not a parent, so I don't quite get the intricacies of raising a child. That said the X5 Play smart watch seems like a healthy compromise of giving a kid a way to easily communicate without shelling out a bunch of money for a proper cell phone. The communication features are limited, but they easily get the job done as far as quick phone calls and basic text messaging.

I'm sure parents will appreciate the other features like being able to give their children alarms and reminders through the Xplora app, as well as being able to keep an eye on where their kids are with the GPS tracking.

Is the X5 Play a great smart watch for adults? Not really. But its simplicity really allows it to shine as a way for parents and their children to easily stay connected without the need for expensive and distracting phones.

The Xplora X5 Play smart watch is available from a number of retailers including Amazon.