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Comparing the Gabb Phone & the Gabb Watch – Find Out Which One is Right For Your Kid

Since my oldest child is now 12 years old (already!), it seemed like it was time to start researching cell phones for kids and teens. We turned to Gabb Wireless because I’ve heard great things about Gabb from friends, including Miranda (one of the writers on my team) who has written an extensive Gabb Wireless Review.

When you’re ready to buy a new Gabb Phone and/or watch, use code ThriftyNifty to save $50!

Today I’ll be bringing you a side-by-side comparison of the Gabb Wireless phone (the Gabb Z2) and the Gabb Watch.

The Gabb watch and the Gabb Z2 phone with a text overlay that says "A comparison of the Gabb watch and Gabb phone. Find out which one you should get."

Why Get Children and Teens a Cell Phone or Smart Watch?

Like many families, we’ve entirely ditched a landline. That saves us money, but I realized that if I’m going to take a quick trip into town and my 12-year-old daughter just wants to stay home, I wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving her without a phone in case of an emergency.

When my kids go over to a friend’s home without me, it’s nice to be able to send a phone with them for easy communication.

My older kids who are reading and writing also wish they could text family members more often. This helps them stay connected with the people they love.

Gabb Wireless phone and watch boxes sitting side by side


Safety is super important to my husband and me. My husband actually had an in-depth conversation with a (now) adult daughter of a retired FBI agent about protecting children and teens in today’s world. She said that growing up, her father was pretty strict with her and her siblings. She didn’t fully understand it at the time and yes, even resented it at times, but as an adult, she said she is SO thankful that he put safeguards in place for his children.

They didn’t have access to the internet or social media on their phones and the siblings had to share a phone.

These are three things we decided we wanted for our kids as well. Our new Gabb Wireless phone is shared by all 3 of my older children (ages almost 8, almost 10, and 12) along with the Gabb Watch.

The statistics are shocking and so sad. 9 out of 10 kids are unwillingly exposed to explicit content online. Age 11 is the average age that kids are exposed to pornography.

We love that with a Gabb phone, my kids don’t have access to the Internet or any other apps (like YouTube). It gives me a lot of peace of mind.

Tween talking on a Gabb phone

Social Media

I wanted to take a quick moment to talk about social media and the influence it has on children and teens as well.

Did you know that 82% of online sex crimes start with social media? Did you know that 1 in 5 youth receives sexual solicitations online? 1 in 3 kids becomes a victim of cyberbullying. 50% of teens witness cyberbullying regularly.

My husband led a youth group a few years ago and I helped him. Nearly every single one of the teens had a cell phone and they were all on social media too.

But, you know what they had to say about it? They hated it! They told us things like how much they hated the pressure to be perfect, the bullying, etc. Yet, every single one of them felt like they had to stay on social media because their friends were on there and that was how they communicated.

We decided right then and there to just say no to social media for our children. When they are 18 and more mature, they can decide for themselves then.

Tween using a Gabb wireless phone.

Gabb Watch Features

  • Call
  • Voice messaging, templated texting, emojis
  • Reliable GPS and tracking functionality
  • Custom contact list (10 parent-approved and managed contacts) — no outside calls or texts
  • SOS/emergency contact
  • Customize and receive a notification when your child leaves and enters “Safe Zones”
  • Avoid distraction during school hours with “Lock Mode”. Child and guardian can still contact each other in this mode.
  • Sweat-resistant
  • Resistant against dirt and sand
  • Gabb Go: fun task manager and step counter
Tween girl with Gabb Watch

Gabb Phone (Z2) Features

  • Internet, app store, & social media free
  • Fingerprint scan for security
  • GPS location services
  • Bluetooth connection for music
  • Front 5MP and 8MP Cameras
  • Comes pre-activated
  • Gabb Guard

Gabb Accessories

Gabb offers protective cases and screen protectors for the Z2 phone and also the Gabb watch. I would highly recommend getting these to protect the devices. Kids are prone to breaking electronics, so you’ll want to protect your investment.

The Gabb watch also has a variety of straps to choose from, even Star Wars ones!

Comparing the Gabb Phone (Z2) to the Gabb Watch – The Similarities

  • Both the phone and the watch allow your child to send and receive phone calls and texts (although there are some differences here when it comes to texting, see the section below).
  • You can also use both of these devices to track your child and set up safe zones for them.

Comparing the Gabb Phone (Z2) to the Gabb Watch – The Differences

  • As I mentioned above, both of these things are able to send and receive texts. With the phone, your child or teen can type whatever text they would like. However, with the watch, they are only able to reply with preset text messages. You and your child together can come up with a list of 20 different preset text replies.
  • The phone is able to connect to WiFi for service while the watch can not.
  • The watch does not have a camera feature but the phone does.
  • The watch features the GabbGo app. The app enables you to set up custom tasks for your child each day (for example, take a shower, brush teeth, do homework, etc.). The app also encourages activity by counting daily steps. Children earn virtual coins which they can cash in for virtual prizes. Kids can even get a virtual pet!
Gabb wireless watch GabbGo app
  • The watch limits your child’s contacts to just 10 phone numbers they are able to send and receive calls and texts. There is no limit with the phone.
  • The service fee (you have the option of choosing a monthly fee, 1-year contract, or 2-year contract, with cost savings for the lengthier options) is less expensive for the watch.

Our Family’s Experience with the Gabb Phone and the Gabb Watch

When I told my kids they would be getting this phone and watch, they were so excited. Here’s how the experience has gone. We’ve been using them now for about 2 months.

Gabb Phone Experience

My kids were so excited about a phone that was theirs – even my 6-year-old who has just started learning to read a few basic words. Between the watch and the phone, they were definitely most interested in the phone, but still excited about the watch too.

My kids love having the ability to text grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and even my husband and me. I like that when they come to me saying “when will we go to Grandma’s house again,” I can just tell them to text Grandma and ask her.

They enjoy using their phone to take photos and videos and send those to the people on their contact list. It’s so nice to be able to give them this freedom and let them connect with others that way.

They love that they have some emojis they can send also.

girl using a Gabb z2 phone to show a photo she took with the phone

Initially, when they got the phone they wanted to use it all the time and I had to set limits on it. Now though, they just use it when they have someone they want to communicate with or if there’s something they’d like to photograph/video.

It’s great to be able to let them go with friends or even out into the woods on our property and know I can reach them at any time.

Gabb Watch Experience

Now it’s time to talk about our experience with the watch. We did not use the watch nearly as much as we used the phone (see the important message below about cellular network info for why).

When we did use the watch, I thought the features and capabilities are great. The first time we had a chance to use the watch was when I took my oldest for emergency surgery. She was very nervous about the surgery and the IV to administer sedation. Having the watch gave her something to distract her mind while we waited for the procedure to begin.

She discovered the GabbGo app and had a good time setting up her virtual pet cat and taking care of him.

We found it easy to navigate the features of the watch, including setting up the preset texts.

Important Cellular Network Info

First, when talking about the watch, I have to say that unfortunately, we weren’t able to get as much experience with the watch as I would have liked. As I mentioned above, while you can connect the Gabb phone to a WiFi source, you can not do that with the watch.

Although generally in our city there is good cell phone reception, the location of our home does NOT get good cellular reception – for any network. We can’t even get cable internet at our home. We’ve had to resort to DSL which is not the fastest or most reliable.

The reception on our personal cell phones is only okay. Uploading a photo or video takes a long time and our guests often have problems securing a good connection for their cellular network as well.

Since the watch can not be connected to a WiFi source, we were only able to try it out when we left our home.

It’s important to note that when we were not home, the watch didn’t have any problems connecting to the cellular network.

If you have good cell coverage at your home, you should not have any issues with connectivity. It’s definitely something to be aware of though if you’re living in the country like us.

Additionally, I reached out the Gabb and was told that looking ahead, Gabb will likely launch a watch with Wi-Fi in the future.

Final Thoughts on Comparing the Gabb Watch and the Gabb Z2 Phone – Which One Should You Get?

First, I will say that if you don’t have good internet at your home, you definitely want to go with the phone. However, if you’ve got a great signal in your home and general area, there are useful features with both items. You may very well find that one is a better fit for your child than another. Here are my recommendations.

Tween with Gabb phone

For Younger Kids, I Recommend the Gabb Watch

Why the watch? I really like that with the watch you can limit the people your child can have contact with. They can’t add in new contacts themselves and a random person can’t just text them.

You don’t have to worry about someone sending them inappropriate texts, images, etc.

With the watch, they are able to contact you in an emergency or just keep you in the loop about their day. I also love the capabilities of the GabbGo app. You can also track where they are at all times.

The watch is the perfect starter device and should give you total peace of mind.

For Older, Mature Kids and Teens, I recommend the Gabb Z2 Phone

Only you as a parent know the age at which your child is mature enough to move onto the phone.

Gabb recently began to offer Gabb Guard which blocks up to 90% of spam calls and texts. I was very happy to hear this! However, unlike the limited contacts list that the watch offers, the phone enables your child to call/text someone who is not on the contacts list. This could be a concern for some children and families. This is a big reason why I would recommend the watch for younger, less mature users.

Personally, I hope that Gabb will eventually roll out a parental feature that allows parents to control whether the phone can be in contact with numbers not in the contact list.

My children know that the rule is they are not allowed to have a conversation with anyone not already programmed into their phone. They are trustworthy and I believe they will follow this rule. Since they also all share one phone, it’s comforting to know that one child will certainly tattle on another if they catch them doing something they shouldn’t be doing.

Older children will appreciate the ability to text whatever they want with the phone, as opposed to being limited to the pre-programmed texts on the watch. My kids also really enjoy being able to take their own photos and videos with the phone.

It’s been great for my husband and me to be able to communicate with our children on the Gabb phone. They often send us sweet little messages throughout the day.

If you can afford the monthly fees for both devices and you feel that your child is old enough for the phone, I suspect that most children would benefit from having both devices. The watch is nice when kids are active and don’t want to hold onto a phone.

I also really like the features of the GabbGo app that’s available on the watch. Having a daily checklist for kids right on their watch would be so helpful for many of them to stay on task each day.

If you have any questions about the Gabb Watch or the Gabb Z2 phone, please leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to answer you to the best of my abilities.

Gabb Wireless Discount Code

Ready to purchase a Gabb Watch and/or the Gabb Z2 phone for your family? Use code “ThriftyNifty” and you will save $50 on your purchase! Click HERE to shop now.

Comparing the Gabb phone and the Gabb watch

gloria patterson

Friday 24th of June 2022

If you/your family can afford to get one or both of these for kids it sound like a very good investment. It will give you peace of mind and also your kids.

Mia E.

Monday 20th of June 2022

Sounds like a great phone and watch for kids with the right balance of having the features they want but being safe in terms of what they can access.


Thursday 16th of June 2022

This is a great idea for younger kids! I love how kids don't have acess to the internet. Perfect for the younger ages!


Wednesday 15th of June 2022

It looks like a fantastic phone to have.

Lauryn R

Wednesday 15th of June 2022

This is such an informative post about the Gabb Wireless phone and watch! Thank you so much for sharing. I have thought about what I am going to do when my kids get older and start having a need for a phone. I understand them needing one to be able to get a hold of me whenever, it feels safer knowing that they can. But I love the fact that they don't have apps or internet, this is perfect! My oldest is 13 so I will definitely be getting her a Gabb phone soon.