According to urban legend, the TrackR device, and the company which manufacturers such a product, came about as the result of Chris Herbert and Christian Smith finding themselves locked out of a car because they could not find the car keys. As a result the TrackR Company was set up in 2009 to ensure this situation did not arise again for them and many others. Research conducted by TrackR shows that the average person will spend 153 days looking for lost or misplaced items during their lifetime and I though I was absent-minded.
Originally only available in the US, the TrackR.bravo has now made the journey across the pond and can now be purchased from stores such as Argos, Currys, John Lewis, EE phone shops and, of course the ubiquitous Amazon who currently lists this product at £19.99. The TrackR.bravo is a lightweight unit weighing just 4g including the CR1616 battery that provides the power for the device’s Bluetooth connectivity. Approximately the same size as a 50p coin, the TrackR.bravo is available in a choice of colours. Along with the black of my review samples, you could select white, blue or peach. A multi-coloured pack of 5 units is also available.
The TrackR.bravo device comes with a small double sided sticky pad and a key ring attachment. You can then attach the unit to an appropriate, easily mislaid item. It should also be possible to tag your cat or dog if they are inclined to wander off when the mood take them. Unfortunately, as my cat refuses to consider wearing a collar, I was unable to test this particular aspect of the product.
In order for the TrackR.bravo device to perform its designated task, it needs to be paired to a free downloadable app via Bluetooth. When you run the app for the first time, a short animated tour of the app’s functionality can be viewed by swiping through a series of screens or you could ignore it and move straight on to the process of selecting your type of device and undergoing the pairing process which is activated from the app rather than the host smartphone.
My first three attempts at pairing brought up a message that the process had been unsuccessful. However closing down the app and then restarting it, revealed that pairing had been completed. The TrackR.bravo app gives you a split screen view. In the lower half is the device’s name and an indication as to how far away it is. The top half of the screen displays a map that pinpoints the positioning of the mislaid device when it is within a range of 100 feet.
With items within the 100 feet range you can use the app to personally target the mislaid item. To help find the item there is a button on the lower half of the screen interface that is mean to emit an audible signal from the TrackR.bravo device that is attached to it. However the signal emitted from my review unit was so low that I was unable to hear it within the same room. In fact I could only hear it when it was held close to my ear which defeated the purpose of the product.
A replacement unit solved this problem. The audio sound emitted could be heard within a small room. While solving this problem, the replacement unit raised another issue. With two or more TrackR devices connected to the same smartphone, you can switch between them but it is not particularly easy to distinguish which device is being connected. It would be useful if each device could be assigned an appropriate name.
Working in the opposite direction and using the TrackR.bravo is find the paired smartphone was more successful. Pressing a button on the TrackR.bravo causing the smartphone to ring and allow you to zoom in on. Beyond this 100 feet range, a feature referred to as Crowd GSP is activated. This feature can make use of a network of TrackR devices to help locate the missing item. I have yet to test how well the Crowd GSP feature performs when required.
WiFi Safe Zones are supported. Once set up, these zones will automatically disable separation alerts, which occur when the TrackR.bravo is separated from the paired smartphone, when you are connected to Wi-Fi networks. The app can display a list of available zones. TrackR works with Nest compatible devices.
The TrackR.bravo device is an interesting product that I felt was more useful in finding my smartphone than tracking items from my smartphone. The downloadable app can support up to 10 devices depending upon the brand of your Android handset. Amazon is listing this product at £19.99.
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