The TrackR Bravo is a coin-size Bluetooth device that helps you locate your lost belongings. Just attach the $29.99 gadget to your keys, wallet, or anything else you're prone to losing, and you can use your phone to make the TrackR beep. Thanks to a key ring-friendly design and an included adhesive pad, you can attach it to nearly anything. And it works the other way around as well, helping you to track down your lost phone. It's a sleek-looking tracking device,
The TrackR is a small, lightweight plastic disc about the size of a quarter that tapers in a small loop at the top. It measures 1.2 inches across and 0.2 inches thick, and weighs 0.3 ounces. It's smaller than the Tile, which measures 1.5 by 0.2 inches, and also weighs 0.3 ounces. You can fit an included keychain ring through the loop, or attach a circular bit of adhesive tape (also included) to the tracker's surface. A TrackR logo sits on the front, with a backlit pairing button right below it.
The tracker works with Bluetooth 4.0 devices running Android 4.4 or later and iOS 8 or later. I paired it with a Samsung Galaxy S6$579.99 at T-Mobile in no time using the free TrackR app. You can pair up to ten TrackRs with a smartphone.
As for battery, the TrackR uses a standard CR1616 coin cell that must be replaced yearly. While it's nice that you don't have to worry about recharging the tiny device, there is no real way to tell when the battery is dying. That could be problematic if you happen to lose something right before the battery dies. On the flip side, at least you can replace the battery here, which can't be said of the Tile; once a Tile is dead, you need to buy a whole new one.
Features and Performance
Both your connected phone and the TrackR will notify you with an alarm when they're out of range of one another. So if you leave your TrackR-attached keys behind, your phone will sound an alarm when you travel out of range, while the keys will sound off when you forget your phone. You can toggle these alerts on or off in the TrackR app's settings. You can also set custom alarm sounds from your phone's music library. I selected "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" as my alarm and it played the first few seconds of the song each time.
You can manually search for your connected phone by pressing the button on the TrackR, while will cause it to sound an alarm when in range. You can do the same for the TrackR by tapping an icon in the app. These functions work whether or not the Separation Alert is enabled. They also work when your phone's volume is muted
o test the TrackR, I asked my colleague to hide my apartment keys in the 5,000 square foot PC Lab. I wandered around, phone in hand with the TrackR app open. The keys were out of range at first, as indicated by the app's bisected main screen. The top half contains a Google Maps layout and a pinpoint that details where and when the TrackR was last seen. The bottom half has a green icon you can press to activate the TrackR's alarm, along with messages like Closeby, Far, or Near, which are a little too vague. I prefer the Tile app's proximity feature, which uses a circle with eight sections; the more sections that light up, the closer you are to the Tile.
When I got closer to my keys, the TrackR app notified me that I was near. Then I tapped the icon to activate the TrackR's alarm. It started beeping, but I still couldn't locate exactly where it was. It took me a few seconds to tune my ear to the muted sound. TrackR's website says the ringer volume goes up to 85 decibels, but I find that difficult to believe. The beeping is surprisingly faint, and made it difficult to hear even in the relatively quiet room. The Tile, which goes to 90 decibels, is much louder and more shrill than the TrackR, and thus easier to find, especially in a noisy public area.
This is a pretty substantial shortcoming for a tracking device, though the TrackR offers some additional features that are a bit more successful. For one, you can set up Wi-Fi Safe Zones in the app to disable proximity alerts when you're at home or at work, so you don't have to endure useless alarms every time you get up from your couch or desk. And, like the Tile, you can share access to your TrackR with a community of users in case your phone or TrackR go missing. This allows strangers with the TrackR app to anonymously ping your lost phone or TrackR if it happens to be in proximity. An alert will notify you if a good Samaritan has found your lost item. And if you're uncomfortable with this feature you don't have to use it.
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