Tech Review: A Strong Range Of New Bluetooth Tracking Devices

Jim Rossman

Most of you are familiar with some popular uses of Bluetooth, such as wireless keyboards or mice. You also know Bluetooth as a term used to describe those small earpieces that help you make hands-free calls. If you have a fairly new car, it may have a Bluetooth link to connect your smartphone to make calls or play music through the car’s entertainment system. All of these uses for Bluetooth are quite handy, but they consume a fair amount of power. In the past year, developers have released devices using a new low-energy version of Bluetooth that enable them to run for up to a year on the same battery. Today, we’re looking at three Bluetooth devices to help you keep track of your valuables _ including kids. All the devices work in concert with an app for your Bluetooth-equipped iOS or Android device. BUDDYTAG: The BuddyTag ($35, is a small Bluetooth locator designed to be worn on the wrist of a child. Not much bigger than a quarter, the BuddyTag comes with a rubber bracelet that fastens with a small screw. Once closed on your child’s wrist, it’s pretty secure. The BuddyTag app is clean and easy to configure. Download and launch the app and press the single button on your BuddyTag. The tag will appear on your device. You swipe the name to connect it to your device. You can configure the range of the BuddyTag to give your child more or less room to roam. The maximum communication range is about 40 feet indoors (through walls) and up to 100 feet outdoors with a clear line of sight. When the child wanders outside the device’s range, the alarm will sound on the phone. There’s also a panic button on the tag that when pressed will set off an immediate alarm on your phone if you’re in range. You can also set up home and office mute zones that will disable the alarms when they’re not needed. It’s also easy to disconnect the BuddyTag from your phone when it’s not needed. Overall, it worked well, although I did get a few alarms when I wasn’t expecting them while walking around the house. I suppose the decreased range is to be expected indoors, and it’s better to have too many alarms than not enough. The BuddyTag’s battery should last up to a year. You can see the battery level in the app. Once the battery dies, you can’t replace it. You can trade in the old one for a discount on a new BuddyTag. AUDIOVOX INSITE: The inSite Anti-Loss Bluetooth Proximity Alarm is designed to help you keep track of your valuables such as a purse, laptop, keys or wallet. The inSite ($30, is thin and light. It hides easily in a purse or laptop bag and ships with a plastic card to make it easier to slide into a wallet. The inSite works with an app much like the BuddyTag. When connected, the phone will sound an alarm when the tag moves outside Bluetooth range. You can also set the inSite to keep track of its location, so if it goes out of range or the battery dies, you can check the app to see its last reported location. The inSite doesn’t have a setting to adjust the range, so the alarm will go off when it’s out of range, which will depend on environmental factors. If you’ve misplaced your device, you can make the inSite beep by pressing a button in the app (as long as you’re in range). The inSite uses a CR2016 button battery that should last up to a year and is easily replaceable. KENSINGTON PROXIMO: The Proximo from Kensington is a proximity alarm system with two parts _ a key fob and a tracking tag. The fob costs $40, and the tag is $25. They are available at Kensington ( or Like the other devices, the Proximo system will set off an alarm when your phone is out of Bluetooth range of either the fob or tag. The app can keep track of up to four Proximo devices. The key fob is going to get a lot of use from me. It’s a key-chain-size fob Bluetooth tracker that will let me locate my keys by pressing a button in the app. When activated, the app’s “find” command will set off a loud alert from the fob. I lose my keys inside my house several times per week. Not anymore. The fob also has a button that will find your smartphone. Pressing the button sets off a loud alarm on the phone. Of course, you have to be in range for this to work. The Proximo app also has a map feature to show the last known location if your fob or tag is out of range. The tag is about the size of a 50-cent piece, and it’s got the same feature set as the fob, except for the button to help you find the phone. Both Proximo devices use a CR2032 battery that should last for six months and is replaceable. All the apps are easy to use and free to download. The devices use Bluetooth 4.0, which is a fairly new technology, so they won’t work with any iPhone before the 4S or with early Android devices. Check the manufacturer’s website for specific phone compatibility. ___ ABOUT THE WRITER Jim Rossman writes for The Dallas Morning News. He may be reached at [email protected] ___ (c)2014 The Dallas Morning News Visit The Dallas Morning News at Distributed by MCT Information Services