Price: $ 50 plus subscription
Most trackers like Tile or Chipolo communicate via Bluetooth. That's great for battery life and size, but terrible if you find your lost thing more than a room or two away. GeoZilla's GPS tracker uses 3G services to contact you anywhere – almost anywhere.
What We Like
- Small and Unobtrusive 3G Subscription
- Cases Provided Are Useful
And What We Wear & # 39; t
- Unnecessary Premium Subscription Deals
- App has crashed or crashed Can not Be Updated
- MicroUSB instead of USB-C charging
If you tend to lose your keys or your dog is an Escape Artist, tracking devices will sound nice. Most of them have a ridiculously short range, usually no more than one or two rooms. And although they offer crowdsourcing to expand this area, there are not enough trackers for guaranteed coverage wherever you are. Whether it helps or not is a game of chance right now. You may have lost your tracker near other people with compatible trackers, but it seems just as likely that it can not communicate on its own.
GeoZilla tries to solve this with a reasonable approach: a combination of GPS and 3G service. They buy the $ 50 hardware and subscribe to a data plan to activate the 3G service. You can choose between 5 USD per month, 50 USD per year and 99 USD for three years. Three years make the most sense given this range. Once you have a plan, the tracker pings at set intervals so you can find your lost widget anywhere. Mostly it works well – if the app does not let down the hardware at least.
Simple effective hardware
In general, trackers should be this small, inconspicuous and light. This GPS tracker is bigger than Bluetooth trackers like Tile or Chipolo, but that's understandable given the extra radios. It's about the size of a key fob, so it still fits in your pants pocket or most other places you want to stash it.
The face has three buttons – one for SOS and two that do not do anything up to date. I am not sure what they are intended for, as they are not mentioned in any manual or in the app. If you hold down the SOS button for four seconds, a text message will be sent to selected contacts with a Google Map location link, and anyone who installs and links the app will receive a similar notification.
It's simple hardware, but that's all it needs to be. Josh Hendrickson
The Tracker itself has small holes for the included lanyard, but does not match a standard keychain setup. There are two cases included that take care of it. The first is a hard shell case that increases the overall size of the product. It is, however, satisfactorily solid and seems to protect the tracker from hard falls. The other is a soft bag with a belt loop that attaches perfectly to a dog collar, handbag or even a childrens belt. The soft case also adds a loop that you can connect to the included lanyard.
All in all, it's fine hardware. The tracker is everything he needs to be, and not an inch more. And I prefer that to something overdeveloped and complicated – like the Tracker app.
A dual-purpose app with unnecessary subscriptions
Unfortunately, the GeoZilla app (available for Android and iOS) must work for the GPS tracker. Rather than creating a completely new app for the GPS tracker, GeoZilla has integrated it into the existing app of the company. Imagine the GeoZilla app as a cross-platform application for finding friends on steroids. Unfortunately, the app welcomes you on first start with a premium subscription offer and a trial version.
This premium subscription is not required for the GPS tracker, but this is not apparent. This premium rate applies only to the Find My Friends features. Worse still, the free trial that the app offers for iOS automatically subscribes you to a $ 50 quarterly plan worth $ 200 a year. What you can not see here is that the company also offers a plan for $ 80 a year. Such dark patterns do not look very good.
Oddly enough, you get similar unnecessary premium offers on the Android side, but strangely, the costs are different. Regardless of whether you pay monthly or annually, the annual fee is $ 50. It seems strange that they charge a different price depending on the platform. However, this is far from important as these premium features are not required for the GPS tracker. They do nothing at all for the GPS tracker.
When you've done that, the app works much the way you expect it to. You can set up geofencing spots and create triggers to notify you when the GPS tracker enters or leaves the area. The app shows a familiar map that shows where you are (from the location of your phone) and where the GPS tracker is located.
An app that works unless it is not.
I'm even pleased to say that the GPS tracker is more accurate than my phone. In general, the app showed my phone in a place that was three houses away. The GPS tracker not only pinged my home, it also zooms in on the right part of my house. It was surprisingly accurate.
Among the tests I performed, I strapped the GPS tracker into my son's backpack. When the bus drove, he usually pinged me when he passed half the point at which I made a geofence. And it always appealed to me when he came to school.
This accuracy has come in handy when I went to school to pick up my son. He was at an after-school event and I was not sure in which of the three buildings he was in the school complex. The tracker recognized it so well that I even knew which entrance to get into the right class.
The disadvantage of using the GPS tracker in this way is the battery life and the frequency of pings. To maximize battery life, I've set the GPS tracker to update its location every five minutes. This means that I am not always notified when the bus drives halfway through my geofence. It just goes through too fast. Nevertheless, it is enough to find lost keys or even a lost dog every five minutes.
With this five-minute interval setting, the tracker can be used for about two days before I need to recharge. You can extend the interval but lose battery life. The app offers an option to warn you when the battery is nearly empty. For some reason, however, this option is not enabled by default. I did not pay enough attention and only went to the detection site once to find a dead device.
Another problem is of course the signal. The GPS tracker communicates its location via a 3G signal. If you lost it in a dead zone, you will not receive location updates (at least not until someone puts it in a signal area).
I also came across another big problem with the app: stability. I have several crashes during my testing phase. On several occasions, the app did not update the position of the GPS tracker. Despite a five-minute interval, the app would admit that it was half an hour or more ago. There is a handy update button that did not help. In general, I had to close the app multiple times to update the location.
If you've lost something important, those precious minutes can make a big difference in finding the location. It was not very reassuring.
The company is working on it.
The willingness of the company to listen to feedback was reassuring. I had more problems at the beginning when I started testing. I informed the company about my issues and finally updated the app to fix it.
GeoZilla is in an excellent position to improve its tracker in many ways. The hardware is good and does the job well. The app is unstable. This can be fixed and they already seem to work hard on it.
Should you buy a GeoZilla GPS Tracker? Yes, perhaps. For $ 150 you get the hardware and three years of service. If you travel a lot or have pets routinely escape your garden, the GeoZilla tracker is further away than any Bluetooth tracker you can find. And as long as the app still works, it's incredibly accurate. I have no doubt that you will find your lost item as long as the battery is charged and the tracker receives a signal. Be aware of the instability of the app and skip the premium subscriptions you do not need.
Rating: 7.5 / 10
Price: 50 USD plus Subscription
Here's What We Like
- Small and Unobtrusive
- Affordable 3G Subscription
- Enclosed cases are useful
And what we do not
- Unnecessary premium subscription deals
- App crashed or not updated many times  MicroUSB instead of USB-C charging