Want to track your kids? New Disney smartwatch will rope Darth Vader in to help

Neo (Image credit: Vodafone)

The 'child-oriented' smartwatch market seems to consist of watches designed to appeal to parents more than children, with loads of features that let you constantly track your kid and ping them at any time, but little for the youngster to actually enjoy.

Disney and Vodafone have teamed up to try and tackle this issue by slapping a few Disney characters on a wearable: meet the Neo, a new smartwatch that uses popular characters to distract kids from the boundary issues kid-focused watches present.

The Neo, designed by Vodafone, is set to launch in 2021 for £99, with a £7-per-month contract for two years after that bringing its total cost to £267. There's also a one-year contract that costs £12 per month alongside that initial up-front cost, for a total of £243 which seems a better option. At the moment, the watch has only been confirmed for the UK, but it could come to other countries Vodafone operates in.

Disney comes into play because the software is based around popular Disney Kids' movies like Star Wars, Avengers and Frozen - you can get Darth Vader, Iron Man or Buzz Lightyear, for example, to jump around on the watch reminding the kids to go for a walk or telling them it's time for dinner in 20 minutes.

Neo features

Neo seems to function much like your standard smartwatch with a range of tools and apps - except the parent is the one who is in control. So the parent - you, presumably - can edit the calendar to add a reminder to do homework, monitor how much exercise a kid has done and remind them to do more. There's a calculator on board too.

There's one big addition that few smartwatches have - a camera. This lets your kid take pictures (so they can prove they're doing homework at a friends' house, not just playing video games), and conduct video calls whenever you want.

As well as video calls, you can do standard calls and text to and from the smartwatch - so, if you want, you could be constantly pestering your child. There's also GPS tracking, so you can make sure they're safe (or check they're not skipping on school). Oh, and if you want, you can totally lock down the smartwatch for 'quiet time'.

The Disney aspect of the Neo seems tenuous, other than giving a face to a virtual assistant. The design of the smartwatch shows no mouse insignia - instead, it's a white wearable with a pale-green or pale-blue strap, and it's a pretty thick device. We'd imagine that's because there's a camera in there.

Vodafone says the Neo will last two days between charges, which is only okay for a smartwatch, but given this has constant connectivity and GPS, the limited battery life is understandable.

This watch seems designed for helicopter parents who constantly want to be messaging and tracking their child, although we'd imagine it might not be popular for children who like their space and privacy. We'll be sure to get more hands-on time with it when it launches, to see what it's really like.

Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist.