The CEO of PhoneHalo, Chris Herbert, noticed some of my tweets about the problems I have been having with the StickNFind Bluetooth tracking tags, and offered to send me a sample of his competing product to review. This was very promptly shipped from the US and dropped onto my doormat on Monday morning.
The Audiovox Insite Ultrathin Bluetooth Proximity alarm, on the whole, is a much more functional product than the StickNFind. Let me go into some detail.
Firstly, the tag is very small. It isn’t as small as the StickNFind, but it is small enough to be used for the same applications.
The construction quality and plastic used are excellent and it has an integrated loop for attaching to keys. The battery fits on a small tray at one end. I can see that people might be confused which way the battery goes in, but the design protects against the battery being fully inserted incorrectly.
The app is readily available in the iTunes store for free.
Pairing the device worked easily – just insert the battery, and follow the instructions in the app.
The app only has a very small number of core features. I really believe this is why the Audiovox Insite tag works much better than the StickNFind tags.
There are two buttons:
- Ring Device – this immediately causes the tag to beep and light up
- Locate Device – this shows the last GPS location that the phone was in when the tag was in range.
That is all it has. No radar, no temperature. Very simple, but it works.
Two icons at the top of the screen show range (Close, Mid, Far) and battery level. Generally the range is sensible, but it does jiggle around from time to time. It isn’t really that important, as none of the features rely on this.
As soon as the tag and phone are out of range from one another, the alert is triggered on both. There is no way of setting range – it is just in or out of range. It seems to me that they have admitted that any kind of range estimates will be poor, and have worked within this limitation.
So, what do I think?
- The range is quoted as 30-60ft. This is very much what I am experiencing – it is in range anywhere in my house. StickNFind doesn’t even get to the other side of the room.
- The connection does sometimes drop, causing false alarms. The tag automatically reconnects though. I have had a couple of disconnects a day when out and about. My cooker extractor fan seems to cause a problem – possibly it is electrically noisy.
- The tag rings immediately when I press the button on the phone, every time, as long as the tag is in range. StickNFind only sometimes works, and with delay.
- The beeping is far louder and more shrill than StickNFind. It makes it far easier to find the tag.
- The app is stable and phone battery life doesn’t seem to be impacted.
- Use of Wifi nearby doesn’t seem to impact range.
So, totally useless for tracking my cat, but it doesn’t claim to be able to do so.
I popped the tag open to see how it was constructed. The plastic is glued together and it was not possible to get the PCB out without wrecking the case.
The board is small and well constructed. Very thin PCB material. It would be possible to redesign it to be no larger than the StickNFind.
So, thanks to Chris for the sample. The Audiovox Insite tags don’t do what StickNFind claims to – but neither does the StickNFind. If you want to make sure you don’t lose your keys, camera, or phone, they do the job well.