It has been a long time coming but at last, here is my review of the PocketFinder (GPS trackers for today’s world). We bought the Pocketfinder device last fall after Ella took herself for a kilometre walk in a very busy area of Vancouver….okay, that was just one incident. Other incidents involved Ella crossing a very busy Vancouver street. We are not sure whether she waited for the walk signal or just went for it but that is beside the point. The point is, we are acutely aware that our beautiful, smart little girl is a flight risk. I hate to use the term “run away” because the reality is, she is not trying to run away from anything but rather, is just a curious, independent little monkey.
We chose the Pocketfinder based on reviews, wearability, price, accuracy and user interface. We knew that Ella would not keep a watch on, especially one with a face bigger than a toonie. I would like to note that when we started looking for a device, I thought it would have already been invented – a medi-alert bracelet with GPS tracking. Seemed simple enough. Apparently not. That being said, technology has come a long way even since we purchased the device (HereO had not even been released yet.)
The details: The pocket finder device is about the size of an oreo cookie and weighs about as much as a small apricot. It comes with a silicon case and a carabineer. The actual device is $130 and has a month fee of $15.95/month.
Things I like about Pocketfinder:
– You can use the app on your smartphone and get real-time data.
– You can set zones. Once the device exits the zone you get a notification on your phone or by email. For example, Home, School, Church.
– It can give you a history of locations and tells you how much battery is left.
– It isn’t a watch.
– The app is totally user-friendly.
Here is how it went down practically.
Wearing the device: We wanted something that Ella could wear on her person. Not her back pack or shoes. She’s not one to strip before she runs like some, so something on her clothes would work fine. Ella can’t work a carabineer so we can clip it onto a belt loop and she will leave it alone. That being said, we generally don’t like to put jeans on Ella, especially for school because it inhibits her independence when in the bathroom. We could clip the carabineer onto leggings and it would stay but was obviously not as secure. Also, it didn’t take long for the silicon case to break. That being said, you can buy the cases in packs of 3 for a reasonable price. Side note, have you seen this company? Brilliant.
|See the device on her belt loop.|
Tracking our baby girl: The Pocketfinder will give you the general location of your device. Sadly, this device doesn’t track to the exact square foot. The app also often only updates anywhere from every 2 minutes to every 20 minutes and, depending on the wi-fi interference or 3G network, will vary on where it tells you the device is. Often if we are at home and the zone is set too small we get incessant alerts telling us that the device had left the home zone. We wanted a device that would tell us if Ella had left the house but this is not realistic. (There are other devices that cater to this need) The location, as rendered by our app floats around about a three house radius. Furthermore, this past year, Ella’s class was in the basement of a hundred year old concrete building. Like any signal, the GPS had a hard time locating the device when she was in her class and at one point, it said that she was in False Creek when she should have been at school.
It doesn’t sound great does it? And yet, will we keep it? Yes. Would I recommend it? To some, yes. Here is why: on the day that Ella took her little stroll, if she had been wearing the device, we would have been able to know her general location instead of wondering what direction she had gone in, knowing that the radius was multiplying with each passing minute.
I thought it would be easier to get a device that tracks as well as an iPhone. The one time that I lost my iPhone my husband was able to use the Find My Phone app and know exactly where it was. In my head, I thought, if they have a Find My Phone app, they must have a Find My Kid App. I guess it is not that easy. That being said, the Pocketfinder does tell you approximately where your child is. If she runs away from school (something that I fear) it will be able to tell me approximately where she is. If, God forbid, someone were to take her, hopefully, they wouldn’t think to look for a GPS on her person and I would be able to know her approximate location. When we compared devices, location accuracy seemed like an issue all-round. Hopefully, with time, this will improve.
|In this screen shot of the Desktop Dashboard, it is pretty much bang on in terms of location.|
So there you have it. It’s really an insurance policy – you hope you will never have to use it but it’s there should you need it.
Have you tried another device? What do you think? Paste the link to your product and/or review in the comments.