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GadgeTell Review: pocketfinder Personal GPS Locator

Sections: Gadgets / Other, GPS/Navigation, Reviews

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What is being reviewed?

Pocketfinder is a small GPS locator that can send information and notifications directly to your phone to let you know where your loved-ones (or targets) are. Worried about where your kids/pets/elderly are? Pocketfinder promises “peace of mind in a pocket-sized device.” A picture on the site has it next to an oreo-looking cookie, which is about right.

You charge it up in the pocketfinder dock and slip on the rubber cover with a carabiner hook so you can attach it to your kid’s backpack or your pet’s collar. Then you download the pocketfinder app, and you’re ready to go.

My thoughts

The app (available on Android and iPhone) is where all the good stuff happens. There are actually no buttons on the device, so it better be good, and it is. Your main view is the map, which you can toggle between map, satellite, and hybrid – a satellite view with street names. The app has the full functionality of the website and is very nicely designed and easy to use. You can chose the icon that shows up on the map. We kept this innocent looking little girl so we can make sure she gets to school safely.

Boy I hope that pig-tailed girl gets to school safely

Pocketfinder gets more accurate the more you use it, as it discovers satellites covering it. eventually you can get accuracy up to 10 feet. It also will show you the current height of the device, and the speed at which it is traveling. Your newly licensed teenager might not appreciate it, but if you could pop it in the trunk and find out how fast the car was going. The dashboard even tells you the battery level of the device so you know when you need a charge. On the most frequent locating setting, I got  about 4 days between charges. You could put the device in airplane mode or set it to locate once every 6 or 12 hours, to save battery life overnight.

The next thing you can do is set up a zone. A zone is a radius around the device that you can customize in a number of ways. So take the device home and hit “instant zone.” You can pick the size of your zone on the map, name it, and set up alerts for when the pocketfinder enters and exits the zone, and for different times and different days of the week. The alerts can then come through SMS text messages or email.

Setting up a zone with text alerts

A new update includes tap alerts, which is a great idea in particular for the elderly. Tapping rapidly on the device will send an alert to a selected contact, so if someone fell and couldn’t reach a phone they could send an alert that way -although I sent a few tap alerts without realizing I was doing it. You can store basic medical info in the device which you can then request to have sent to medical and law enforcement agencies during emergencies. The website also helps you fill in and print out a missing person / pet flyer.

Luckily I had a two hour road trip planned so I got the full pocketfinder tracking experience. I set up the pocketfinder to alert me if I drove over 65 mph. Don’t tell the highway patrol, but let’s just say I got a couple of alerts over the course of the trip. A very cool thing was to go back and track the trip a few days later. The map showed my location each hour, and I could further zoom into that hour to see my path in five minute intervals, including the red *ahem* speed alerts.

My trip up the turnpike. Don't tell the authorities about that red speeding alert

I called pocketfinder support at one point (I’d locked myself out of the device) and ended up getting some pointers from Peggy, who was a great help. Peggy constantly referred to experiences she’d had with the device as a user herself and even offered that her daughter and she would be using it to keep track of each other on a long drive coming up.

The bottom line

The device works nicely. The locations are accurate and the app is well designed. You’re limited to where the device can connect with a satellite — I take the subway to work and walk right into the building and the device lost me when I went underground. However pocketfinder did send me a text alert that I’d gone out of my home zone before I got to the subway stop. And I just need to walk out of the office building for a minute before it locates again. I think the key is customer service; If I ever got into a situation where there was an emergency and I needed pocketfinder to help track someone down, I feel confident that the company would be responsive and helpful. If you’re worried about your young or old folks, or your pets, $149.95 for the device and a $12.95 monthly service charge with no contract is a good investment.

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  • Richard Johnson

    How often does the unit update? I understand the TAGG product can go as long as 10-12 minutes before it alerts you that it has left the zone. This is way too long for a runaway dog anywhere near a busy street. Thanks!

  • john

    Does this product work internationally?