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Lifewire / Gannon Burgett
Nice battery life
High monthly cost
Mini USB charging
The PrimeTracking GPS tracker is a fantastic solution to keeping tabs on your belongings, be it luggage or a vehicle. The monthly plan isn’t cheap and the app could use an update, but its battery life is great and tracking is consistent.
GPS trackers have continued to shrink in both size and price, making it easier than ever to keep tabs on, well, pretty much anything you can imagine. From backpacks and travel bags, to vehicles, and elderly family, it can be incredibly reassuring to know the whereabouts of your possessions or loved ones.
Over the past few months, I’ve been putting the PrimeTracking Personal GPS Tracker to the test and have summarized my thoughts on the unit and its tracking abilities, after thousands of miles traveled and hundreds of hours of movement.
The PrimeTracking GPS unit is a fairly bland, compact device that measures just 2.7 x 1.5 x 1 inch (HWD) making it roughly half the size of a deck of cards, albeit a bit thicker. The cuboid shape features three LED status lights on the front, indicating power, GPS connectivity, and cellular connectivity. There is also an emergency (SOS) button on the front that will send out your location instantly if in a dangerous situation. I would’ve liked to see Prime Tracking use a micro USB over the mini USB onboard, but battery life is two weeks, so you don’t have to charge it often, thankfully.
Setting up the PrimeTracking Personal GPS Tracker is a simple process. After receiving the device and making sure it’s fully charged, go to PrimeTracking’s website, enter your device’s information to activate it, and selecting the tracking plan you want to purchase (I dive into the plans down below under the Pricing section). From there, you can download the PrimeTracking mobile app (Android, iOS) and log in with your account information to keep track on-the-go.
A GPS tracker is only as good as its ability to be located at a moment’s notice—so how does the PrimeTracking Personal GPS Tracker hold up? All in all, it held up quite well, offering consistent connectivity in all but the most remote locations in Northern Michigan, where cell service was abysmal on the best of days. PrimeTracking says the unit updates its location every ten seconds and although it did seem to stutter at times, particularly when driving in a vehicle or getting off at an airport at a new location, it managed to update consistently thanks to its 4G LTE connectivity.
PrimeTracking says the unit updates its location every ten seconds and although it did seem to stutter at times, particularly when driving in a vehicle or getting off at an airport at a new location, it managed to update consistently thanks to its 4G LTE connectivity.
A nice feature PrimeTracking has included is geofencing. This allowed me to set a virtual boundary of sorts for the tracker, which would automatically alert me if the tracker left a certain geographical location. Thankfully, I never had to use this feature, but if you’re planning on keeping tabs on a backpack while on vacation or a vehicle that’s supposed to be in your driveway, it’s nice to know you’ll be immediately alerted via notification if the tracker leaves the pre-defined boundary.
PrimeTracking has also added a built-in SOS button. Again, I didn’t have to use this specific feature, but I did test it and it worked immediately, notifying me on my mobile device of the location of the tracker. This would be great for little ones who might not yet have cellphones, but who might need to notify you of their location in an emergency situation. Likewise for elderly family members, who could keep the device on hand in the event they fall and are unable to reach a telephone.
Overall, I drove more than 1,200 miles with the GPS tracker and flew a pair of flights from Detroit to Seattle, and through it all, the tracker kept up with my every move. The battery life varied depending on how strong LTE connectivity was in the area, but as the specifications suggest, I was able to average about two weeks of battery life on a single charge.
l, I drove more than 1,200 miles with the GPS tracker and flew a pair of flights from Detroit to Seattle, and through it all, the tracker kept up with essentially my every move.
The PrimeTracking Mobile app, available on Android and iOS, proved to be a joy to use. The interface is well-thought-out and provides an incredible amount of detail on the screen. PrimeTracking uses Google Maps to overlay the location and history of the device and alongside the visual is a breakdown of the various addresses and specific hotspots the tracker has been. Admittedly, the tracking gets thrown for a loop when using it to keep track of luggage on a flight, but after landing, it sorts itself out and is back to business as usual.
A small, but welcomed detail within the app is a breakdown of the battery life of the unit within the app. This made it much easier to know when I needed to charge the device compared to any sort of on-device indicators, since the tracker rarely left my bag or the center console of my vehicle throughout my testing.
I spent time testing it as a vehicle tracker and even used it in my luggage on a flight and through it all, I received consistent updates on where my possessions were.
The PrimeTracking device retails for $50. This puts it roughly on par with similar trackers, if not a bit on the cheaper end. However, as is the case with almost any 4G LTE tracker, it’s the monthly cost that adds up. If you choose the monthly billing option, tracking costs $25 per month, while purchasing tracking in a lump sum annually costs $204, which averages out to $17 per month (a 32 percent savings over the month-to-month deal). This is a bit more than some competing products, but the option for a month-to-month plan in addition to an annual plan is convenient and its 10-second refresh puts it ahead of many competitors.
It doesn’t take more than a quick glance to recognize the PrimeTracking Personal GPS Tracker and the Spytec GL300 GPS Tracker (see on Amazon) are nearly identical devices, aside from the branding. Even underneath, the two devices feature effectively identical components, including an integrated SIM card and 4G LTE connectivity.
The Spytec costs $10 less upfront, but its subscription options aren’t nearly as compelling as PrimeTracking’s with three different levels: Basic ($25 per month), Premium ($35 per month), and Elite ($45 per month), which update the location every 60, 30 and 5 seconds, respectively. Unless you absolutely need that extra five seconds of tracking information, and don’t mind paying nearly double compared to PrimeTracking’s subscription, it’s safe to say the PrimeTracking unit is your better option in terms of overall value.
A trusty, travel-friendly GPS tracker
The PrimeTracking Personal GPS Tracker proved to be an invaluable tool. I spent time testing it as a vehicle tracker and even used it in my luggage on a flight and through it all, I received consistent updates on where my possessions were. The monthly cost is a bit higher than I would like to see, but for the value of items the unit is protecting, it’s justifiable—even more so if you’re using it to keep tabs on a loved one that doesn’t have a cellphone.
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