My wife is forever losing things. Pretty much on a daily basis she’ll ask me—after spending a few minutes wandering from room to room peering around with a worried look—“Have you seen my (keys, wallet, smartphone, etc.)?” Of course, I find it totally endearing, because otherwise she’s a pretty meticulous and thoughtful person who has the infinite patience and compassion to put up with my own eccentricities. Heck, if anything she should be losing her mind with our chaotic two-kid-plus-childish-adult household, but instead she just can’t keep track of certain tiny-but-important items. So, I was intrigued when I was given a chance to try out the TrackR Bravo, a tiny gadget that could do away with ever misplacing your important things again.
A Tiny Tracker … er, TrackR
The TrackR Bravo bills itself as being the “World`s Thinnest Design” in tracking devices of its kind and it may be the smallest, as well. The little metallic disc is about the size of a Loonie and light as a feather. It’s also only got one button on it. In keeping with its size, the TrackR Bravo comes in pretty minimalist packaging, with only a keyring and round adhesive sticker as accessories. You can use either to attach the little disc to basically anything you’re sick of losing. It also comes with a one-page setup guide that you use to configure the free TrackR app, available for both IOS and Android devices.
What’s App, Doc?
The TrackR app is pretty easy to install and set up. Just download it onto your IOS or Android device and make sure its Bluetooth is turned on. After you accept a few permissions, you’ll be asked to register for Crowd GPS, which is a big part of extending the reach and usefulness of the TrackR. Then just go through the usual Bluetooth “add a device” scenario, click the TrackR’s one button (it should beep), select it from the menu, and voila! You can stop losing stuff. The app’s interface gives you a GPS-enabled map, plus a small drop-down menu so you can play with a few settings like enabling/disabling silent mode or Crowd GPS.
A Face in the Crowd
The TrackR’s range is limited to how far a Bluetooth signal can go, so it’s great for home use, but what if you’ve left your phone or wallet on the table at the restaurant downtown? Well, that’s where it gets tricky. The TrackR‘s long-range success depends on its Crowd GPS network. If someone else is in that restaurant, has a TrackR, too, and has left their device’s location services on as well … you’re golden. You’ll get a report on your TrackR’s location.
What Does it Track?
At first blush, the idea that you have to rely on other people for more long-range tracking of your cherished things seems to diminish its usefulness. But considering one of TrackR’s tricks is it can be set to give you “separation alerts” (it rings if you leave your valuables behind), I already see this being able to eliminate most instances of misplaced stuff. You don’t know how many times my wife has walked away from our car with the keys still sitting on the roof. Just imagine, with a TrackR on her key fob, when she gets a set distance away a buzzing will alert her that she’s left them behind. You can also set “Safe Zones” so the thing isn’t going off because you’ve dropped your keys on the table downstairs and forgotten to turn it off before walking away and going upstairs to bed. And the tiny gadget also has a phone-finder option that can ring your lost phone, even if it’s on silent mode, which is pretty handy. But it isn’t just keys, wallets and phones that can be safeguarded with the device. Since it is so small, you can stick it to or slip it into practically anything that’s always getting lost or misplaced, really. Throw it on your forgetful kid’s backpack or umbrella. Maybe stick it on their notebook so there’s never an “I forgot my homework” excuse again.
But, I’d use the TrackR for more than just the stuff I tend to misplace. What about sticking one on your bike? In the event it was stolen, using the Crowd GPS could pinpoint its exact location where you could direct the proper law enforcement. The same goes for things like laptops, luggage, purses or anything else that fall victim to light fingered thieves. You could even put one in your car’s glove compartment and recover a stolen vehicle (again, with the help of the proper authorities). Heck, forget about car thieves, I’d keep one in my car just so I can find it in the mall parking lot. And with enough people in the neighbourhood on the Crowd GPS, I can also see putting a TrackR on your dog or cat’s collar so you can always locate the family pet if it makes a break for it out the front door. So, as far as usefulness goes, I’d say it’s a pretty versatile device, and inexpensive at that, as well. My wife already wants one for her keychain and another for her wallet—both things she misplaces regularly (but never again). Unfortunately, the TrackR Bravo can’t do anything if the rest of our household stresses eventually do make her lose her mind.