BlueTrack Prime 1300 review
GPS trackers are suited to a huge range of applications and BlueTrack’s Prime 1300 one of the best we’ve seen. It isn’t much bigger than a box of Tic-Tacs, yet squeezes in a GPS radio, a 3G modem for communicating its position and a 1,300mAh rechargeable battery.
BlueTrack originally developed the Prime 1300 for solitary workers, hill walkers and the like so their whereabouts could be monitored. The tracker has an SOS button for summoning help via SMS and email in the event of an emergency. But its compact size makes it ideal for many other applications. BlueTrack told us the Prime 1300 is now being used to globally track airline hold luggage and even to catch cheating partners.
The unit is charged via USB and once up and running all you do is press its power button for a couple of seconds. A flashing green light indicates it’s ready and a blue one shows it has a satellite signal. A web portal is used to monitor and configure the tracker and you can keep an eye on multiple devices from the same console. It provides a map showing where the device is along with co-ordinates and an address.
The maps are provided by Google Maps, so you can view movement in both road and satellite views, and the screen can also be split in half with Google Street View on the right. The portal lets you choose the frequency with which the tracker sends its position to the BlueTrack servers, which determines battery life, and from the Admin tab you provide up to four mobile numbers or email addresses for event notification.
You can also define ‘Geofences’ – circular zones on the map which can be set to notify you when a tracker enters or leaves them. The portal uses SilverLight and for iOS users there’s a cut-down version, which worked fine with Safari on our iPad.
For testing, we dropped the tracker into our target’s bag and sent them off to the next town, 24 miles away. We set the interval to 30 seconds and watched the map update itself with each new position. We were able to see the roads they were driving on, their speed at each interval, altitude, where they stopped and what shops and buildings they visited.
Home and away geofences also alerted us when the target entered or left them. The tracker never lost a signal and delivered pinpoint accuracy – in most cases it had this down to within a few feet. Pressing the SOS button resulted in an SMS message and email being received in under three minutes and both included a Google Street View link.
BlueTrack stores a full history of all datapoints, which can be accessed from the portal. Date and time filters can be applied and you can playback all the action for the selected period to see where the tracker went. Our test ran for four hours and battery life dropped to 82% with 30 second intervals, which tallies with BlueTrack’s figures. It’ll last up to a year when in battery saving mode with one position report per day.
The Prime 1300 is affordable and ongoing costs are based on the number of text you want, with a year’s worth of unlimited texts costing £149. It’s a great little device, and handy for all sorts of applications.