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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Meet My New Pal, Gizmo!

The end of March is usually marked on our calendars with lots of circles and colorful letters that spell out 
S P R I N G  B R E A K, 
followed by even more exclamation marks.  This year was no exception, and we went to a place we are very familiar with, Daytona Beach.  For a change, we stayed at Dayton's Ocean Walk, a Wyndham Resort with everything a sickly family needed to have a restful and relaxing vacation.  We had access to two indoor pools, an outdoor pool and lazy river, plus the beach, the ocean, and a little mall with several shops, restaurants, and a theater.

To prep for this adventure, I decided to give my friend Kyle over at Verizon a call and see what fun techy stuff she might be able to let me try out while on vacation.  We came up with a cool new phone, the Motorola Droid Turbo, and a new pal, Gizmo.

The phone was put to use right away as a hotspot for the girls to plug into and have WiFi access on the long drive down.  Bear has an iPad that Tink surrendered to her after we gave her (Tink) my old Samsung phone. Unfortunately for these girls, neither device is "active;" they rely on FREE WiFi to get out to the grand old World Wide Web (Do we even call it that any more?)  They were happy, and TG and I were happy that they were happy.  I also had a bit of time in the passenger seat to finally figure out how to get Pandora in the van through a smart phone, 

(We listen to country most of the time, but every hundred miles or so we just have to ROCK OUT!) 

AND I listened to Purdue's first round game on a streaming sports station.  I'm probably showing how lame I am at all this technology available to me, but this busy girl is catching up as quickly as she can. 

"Use voice commands to ask a question, post a status to Facebook® or take a selfie and zap it to others. With Active Display, receive notifications without interruption. Icons appear on screen—peek to view them. Droid Turbo even adapts based on where you are, such as silencing at home after a specified time, through Droid Assist."

The Droid Turbo also lived up to its name in quick charging time,  

"Rejuvenate your battery with a Turbo charge
Droid Turbo is made to keep going all day and night. It comes with a Turbo Charger—get up to eight hours of battery life in just 15 minutes†. Enjoy up to 48-hour battery life*. It even offers convenient built-in wireless charging."

and it has a lot of different ideas as to how to help its user have a better experience, maybe even a smarter one!

The big "new thing" I wanted to try out was the Gizmopal by LG.  

This cute little wrist device was going to be involved with a big adventure for the girls.  Because Tink's phone cannot be used as a phone, we really did not feel comfortable letting the girls out of our sight.......BUT they are 12 and 10, and they are responsible young ladies, so we let them go out on a one hour excursion to the attached mall with this device on Miss Bear's arm.  It is a two-fold tracking devise.  The app allows me or TG to track them as they go here and there, 

and it also serves as a two-way phone, set up to call the Droid Turbo or TG's phone.  They could call us, and we could call them.  We had already walked around the mall and determined that there were enough vendors to keep safe eyes on the girls.  It was an outdoor mall with three levels.  So we were just about ready to set them loose, when we couldn't get the tracking app to work.  ACK!

Kyle set me up with a Verizon manager to help me walk through the process of setting up the phone and parring it to the Gizmopal.  When we went to activate it in Daytona, it said it was still our in the middle of now where Benton County, Indiana.  I made a quick call to Kyle, and she had the same manager call me back, and after several attempts, we decided that the Gizmopal just wasn't going to talk with the phone.  Sigh.....

Now why on earth would I write a review for a device that did not work?  Well, ONE the phone did work.  The girls called in three times, and we were able to communicate just fine with them.  TWO, If this had been my personal Gizmopal, I would have been able to go to any Verizon store and exchange it for a more cooperative one.  The customer service with Verizon was fast, patient, and professional, and that's something you don't always know until a problem occurs.  

If we lived in an urban area and didn't want to go to the cost of putting both girls into phones and data packages, this would be the way to go.  It gives parental piece of mind, and a way for kids to venture out thinking with the comfort of knowing they can call any time.  

If your kids are at an age that you are comfortable taking walks to a community park or over to a neighbor's house, the Gizmopal would be a great piece of mind for all parties involved.  Our girls were ready for a big of big girl freedom, and we were very pleased with the results.  Thanks Verizon for allowing my TG and I to put a little controlled air under our girls' wings.  

Verizon did not pay me to write this post.  They sent me these devices to try and blog about, and I shipped them back to Verizon yesterday.  These words are my own thoughts and observations :-)

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