The Gululu water bottle aims to gamify healthy water consumption habits for kids (or easily amused adults,) via a story in which somehow their stomach is a portal for Vitality Water to the interactive character on the bottle’s screen.
Mostly cross-posted from Paul’s other site.
The bottle connects directly to the internet and reports water consumption habits which you can potentially check in an app even when you’re not there (we did not test that out.)
Your child can pick multiple pets to associate with the water bottle, and then level the pets up with healthy water consumption habits.
As the software is updatable, chances are it will be updated with more options, characters, and games as time goes on. I’ve already updated the firmware on the bottle once so there’s some active development going on.
So, I’m going to divide this into my review and Maggie’s review. Maggie at 5 has been testing this, here’s her bullet point review:
- Makes water drinking fun
- Loves the “pet” she chose
- Likes that the charger cable is magnetic and she can plug it in
- May have drank too much water day 1
- Mail is exciting
- Does not like refilling it with the fridge
- Better than princess cups we have
The adult’s Gululu review
Setup had some problems. First and foremost the unit arrived with enough of a charge to seem to be working but to shut down during setup.
There was no low battery indicator, but perhaps this was in the hefty instruction manual (not pictured anywhere,) to charge it first. Really, the manual is large, don’t know how I don’t have a photo of it.
The worst of these setup issues was that my WiFi password was not accepted by the app and I had to connect to a different access point with a password without the special character that’s in mine.
I’m actually kind of used to that in some devices, which is why my Internet of Things router does not have spaces, special characters, etc in the password.
It took two tries, the first I could see it connected but the phone app could not locate it, the second time it worked.
If you read the manual you’ll see that the right side of the bottle from the screen is touch sensitive and functions to select items on the screen in conjunction with the one button. It’s not evident if you’re trying to set this up with a 5yo wanting to play with her pet. Don’t set this up in eyesite of a child, seriously.
I couldn’t tell that the thing was actually tracking her water intake vs just using a tilt sensor, and she never quite reached 100% so I don’t know what the logic is to prevent hyperhidrosis, which I was a little worried about (drinking too much to get a score). She drank a decent amount and didn’t get anywhere near where I’d be worried though.
I actually think my kid may have been cheating at one point, but oh well.
As I didn’t have a second Gululu bottle I was unable to see how they pair – a pet from one can go visit the other which can encourage kids to step up to upgrade their water beasts. But not something I could test.
Paul complains about everything
The following are issues I encountered with the current firmware and app.
Locked to one WIFi
The Gululu water bottle in current firmware allows for one WiFi AP. So taking this to Grandma’s house, car trip, etc takes it offline. While this isn’t a huge problem, if you’re sending it with your kid to daycare or school (there’s a school mode, don’t worry,) you won’t get tracking updates live.
Probably not a big deal, but if we’re internet connected for occasional content it would be nice.
Missing some of the messa
In the app the ends of several prompts were cut off. While not a huge issue as the app is only really needed for setup, it’s a rookie programming mistake and probably won’t make you miserab…
Defaults need work
Night one, the water bottle is upstairs with me and Kim sitting charging off of a multi-port charger. Sometime around midnight music starts playing and the water bottle lets me know it’s thirsty.
Yeah, it’s midnight. It knows what time it is. I went into the app and set up operation times the next day.
This seriously needs to be primary a step in the setup. It has no-interact times for sleep and for school so it’s also potentially usable at your child’s school.
However, if I were a teacher I’d probably ban it.
Too much printed documentation and story
It’s a water bottle with a screen and a speaker. It should tell you the story. I mean I have no problem reading to my kid but kid sees smart water bottle and bam, that’s it. We chose a pet, and away she went.
Besides that, the story involves an evil character called Tanga whose farts were so powerful they destroyed an ecosystem which is related to why you’re using your kid’s stomach to deliver Vitality Water through some inter-naval portal. Mmmm, fart water restoration.
So this may be refrigerator specific, but this bottle doesn’t quite fit in our fridge’s area for water fillin’, and as such we have to have it at an angle for filtered water. Every time I’ve overflowed the thing.
Probably just me and the fridge, but something to pay attention to. I think the excessive cup size (due to battery, screen, etc) makes it not sound like it’s full.
The top can be machine washed, the bottom hand washed. Internal space is a little small so you’ll need a cleaning wand.
Little high at the moment when you consider you could grab a Yeti tumbler, an Android Tablet, and some microsuction tape to stick them together for less. That said, you’re probably not going to want to go that route.
If you’re not familiar with my reviews, I try and find everything wrong with a product as opposed to saying something’s the greatest ever. This product has some issues, most of which can be solved with a software update.
My child has fun, drinks more water, and put down the iPad to play with this.
I talked with her today about this before I started writing. She says it’s fun but she’s had more fun with other stuff in the past few days. I asked her to clarify and she said Halloween was more fun… ok, yeah, I agree… foster puppy showing up was more fun (I agree,)… friend from out of town showing up was more fun (can’t argue that.) But that overall she likes it.
She’s also drank considerably more water than normal, even when we had the thing up on a charger.