Andy, Will It Work? FiLIP Child Locator

Andy, Will It Work? FiLIP Child Locator

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - It tracks. It communicates. It sets boundaries for your child and alerts your smart phone when he breaks them.

But several shortcomings with the FiLIP 2 Child Locator keep it from getting my full recommendation.

Offered exclusively by AT&T, the FiLIP 2 is a wearable watch/phone/child locator. It's $149, plus $10 a month to link it to a parent's AT&T plan.

Worn on a child's (ages 6-11) wrist like a watch and incorporating what AT&T describes as 'triangulation tracking' (Wi-Fi, cell towers, GPS), the FiLIP 2 enables a parent to program 'safe zones' and alerts that parent when the child leaves those zones. A parent can also call and text the child through the device, which carries its own phone number.

With the FiLIP 2's app downloaded to the parent's smart phone -- and up to five family members' or friends' numbers programmed into it -- all a child has to do to is press and hold the device's red emergency button. The device will automatically dial those five numbers in the order they are programmed until someone answers.

"If it doesn't reach anyone, it will contact the authorities on its own," said Langston Lee, retail sales manager for AT&T's Cordova, TN, store.

We tested it at Target's Colonial Rd. store in East Memphis with the Brooks family: Mom Kizmet, Dad Monroe and their 8-year-old son Collin.

"We think Collin's too young for a cell phone, so this type of product would be perfect," said Kizmet Brooks.

Collin could not shake the FiLIP 2 off of his wrist, but he could easily remove it. Strike one.

We let Collin and his dad get "lost" in the toys section while Kizmet was on the other side of the store. Collin held down the FiLIP's red emergency button. Kizmet's phone rang, indicating Collin was calling from the device, but instead of connecting her immediately with him, she received an automated voice alert that Collin's FiLIP 2 is trying to reach her. It prompted her to press a button to initiate the connection.

"Instead of telling me I'm receiving an emergency, I want it to give me him immediately," Kizmet said.

Strike two.

The FiLIP 2, however, did shoot Kizmet a notification on her phone. It confirmed Collin activated its emergency button.

When Kizmet attempted to text Collin through his FiLIP 2, her text went through. But the device won't let Collin text a reply.

Three strikes, but the FiLIP's not out yet.

Its premier feature -- 'safe zones' -- is designed to let parents program a specific address or radius where their children are allowed to be. The safe zones feature can alert a parent when the child leaves his school or his neighborhood.

Or his neighborhood's department store.

We programmed the Target store as Collin's safe zone. His dad took him from the store and for a ride around Colonial Acres.

A few seconds after they pulled out of the parking lot, the FiLIP 2 app sent Kizmet a notification that "Collin has left Target." She launched the app, and she was able to track their location via GPS on the FiLIP 2's map.

But it refreshes a minimum of every three minutes. "I would want an immediate update for something like this so I know where my child is at all times."

That 3-minute delay, the annoying alert before relaying a child's emergency call and the fact that it can be easily removed from a child's wrist make the FiLIP 2 problematic. But since Collin could call his mom with the device (remember, he's too young for a smart phone) and since it did track him outside of his safe zone, the FiLIP 2 earned a 'Maybe' rating.

"You still want to keep up with (your children) and know their exact location," said Kizmet, stating the obvious.

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