TrackR Bravo Review: Hands-On With a Coin-Sized Bluetooth Tracker for Lost Items [iOS Blog]

Launched as an Indiegogo project in the middle of last year, the TrackR Bravo is a follow up product to the StickR TrackR, a small coin-sized Bluetooth-enabled device designed to attach to valuable items so they can be located using the TrackR app.

As of today, the TrackR Bravo, which is smaller and lighter than the company’s previous-generation products, has begun shipping out to customers. Like the original TrackR products, the TrackR Bravo attaches to items and gives out alerts via an iPhone app when an item is misplaced, preventing keys, cameras, and other small objects from being lost.

Ahead of the product’s launch, TrackR sent MacRumors a TrackR Bravo to review, so read on to see how it works and what we thought of it.

Design

The TrackR Bravo is slightly larger than a quarter, and approximately as large as two quarters stacked on top of each other. It is circular in shape, with a small loop at the top that allows it to be attached to a keyring for fastening to keys, pet collars, and more.

It has a colorful anodized aluminum housing, and it’s small enough to fit comfortably in a purse, wallet, or camera bag.

How it Works

The TrackR Bravo has built-in Bluetooth 4.0, with a 100 foot range. It works in conjunction with the TrackR app, which can be downloaded for free from the App Store.

After registering for a TrackR account within the app, the TrackR Bravo can be activated by choosing „Add a New Device“ and pressing the Bluetooth activation button on the TrackR. The app supports 10 different TrackR Bravo devices, so multiple items can be tracked at the same time.

To continually track devices, the TrackR app requires the iPhone’s Bluetooth to be turned on and the app to be running in the background.

Within the app, there’s a map that displays where the TrackR Bravo is located, a distance range that lets you know how far away the item is, and a button that activates a sound to help you find the item. The sound isn’t very loud, so you will need to be fairly close to the TrackR to hear it. You may not hear it a few rooms away, for example, but it will be audible when in the same room.

If you tap the button on the TrackR Bravo itself, it will play a noise within the app, which can also help locate a lost phone. When using this feature, it often took several presses to get the sound to activate, but it did work reliably.

The TrackR Bravo is supposed to have a 100 foot range, but we found that the available range was much less than that. It does show the last known location of an item though, and when the iPhone gets close enough to the TrackR, it will pick up the Bluetooth signal again.

For example, with the iPhone in a bedroom and the TrackR Bravo in a living room approximately 40 feet away, signal between the two devices was lost so a sound was unable to be played. We had to approach the living room again for the iPhone to connect again, so when looking for a lost TrackR item within a large house, you will still need to do quite a bit of roaming.

At times, it also took awhile for the two devices to pair back up when a connection was broken, making it take longer to find lost items. There were also instances when it refused to re-pair all together until we exited the app and reopened it with the TrackR nearby.

The company advertises a Crowd GPS network that’s designed to help you find items that are out of Bluetooth range by using the iPhones of other people who also have the TrackR app installed, but we were not able to test this feature as no one with the TrackR app walked near our „lost“ TrackR Bravo.

There are settings within the app to turn on alerts for when the TrackR Bravo and the iPhone become separated. This will cause the TrackR’s sound to go off when you walk away and it can also set off a notification sound on the phone. This is perhaps one of the most useful features of the TrackR, because it can be used to make sure you don’t leave the house without an important item or forget an item at a restaurant.

WiFi Safe Zones can be set up so you don’t receive alerts when your phone is connected to home WiFi, and the TrackR Bravo is also able to integrate with the Nest thermostat to control device alerts when at home.

The TrackR Bravo has a one year battery life with a replaceable CR1616 battery. It is water resistant, but there’s an option to purchase an accessory pack for a waterproof enclosure.

Who’s It For?

If you often misplace small items like keys and wallets within your home, the TrackR Bravo may be a useful tool. It’s also potentially useful to prevent you from leaving valuable items behind when leaving a restaurant or other location, due to the alarms that go off when a Bluetooth connection is lost.

The range on the TrackR Bravo is short, so it can’t be used like some GPS-enabled trackers that help you keep an eye on things like luggage over long distances, but it is suitable for use within a home.

Pros:

Fits anywhere
App is easy to use

Cons:

Short range
Sound isn’t loud enough
Bluetooth connection unreliable at times

Compatibility

The TrackR Bravo works with the iPhone 4s and later and the third-generation iPad and later.

How to Buy

The TrackR Bravo can be purchased from the TrackR website for $29.99.




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Apple Seeds Safari 7.0.3 and 6.1.3 for Mavericks and Mountain Lion to Developers [Mac Blog]

Apple has just pushed the first seed of Safari 7.0.3 for Mavericks and 6.1.3 for Mountain Lion to developers, asking them to focus on Push notifications, AutoFill and more. The betas are available through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store as well as through the Mac Dev Center.

– General website compatibility
– Safari Push Notifications
– Login AutoFill
– Credit Card AutoFill (OS X Mavericks only)
– Extension Compatibility

Earlier today, Apple seeded Mavericks 10.9.3 Build 13D17 to employees along with a new iTunes 11.1.6 beta that restores local contact and calendar syncing to developers, but the betas should be seeded to developers in the near future.




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Numbers App Adds Back Applescript Support, And More

Do you hear that tinkling, rattling sound? That’s the sound of a million teeth skittering across the floor tiles as their previous owners relax their legs after smashing the teeth out of their own skulls with their own knees. What…Read more ›



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Apple Seeds OS X Mavericks 10.9.2 Build 13C39 to Developers [Mac Blog]

Apple today seeded build 13C39 of OS X 10.9.2 to developers, marking the second developer beta iteration of 10.9.2. The release comes almost a month after the first OS X 10.9.2 beta, build 13C32, was seeded to developers.

The update is available to registered developers through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store as well as through the Mac Dev Center.

The first seed of OS X 10.9.2 introduced FaceTime Audio to the Mac and asked developers to focus testing on Mail, Messages, VPN, Graphics Drivers, and VoiceOver. The second build allows Mac users to block people on iMessage and FaceTime as can be done in iOS 7.

Apple has also seeded Safari 7.0.2 for Mavericks and Safari 6.1.2 for Lion/Mountain Lion, asking developers to focus on General Website Compatibility, Accessibility, AutoFill features, Printing and Emailing from Reader, Dragging Tabs Between Monitors, and Extension Compatibility.




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Apple Seeds iPhoto 9.4.7 For OS X Mavericks GM Compatibility

As we reported last night, the OS X Mavericks GM (Gold Master) seed is now available for developers to test the final version of the operating system before it is ready for general distribution later this month. Opening Software Update today, however, shows us an update for iPhoto 9.4.7 that “addresses an issue that could […]

The post Apple Seeds iPhoto 9.4.7 For OS X Mavericks GM Compatibility appeared first on Cult of Mac.




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Apple Could Release Leather Case For iPhone 5S, According To Leaked Packaging [Rumor]

Apple is going to introduce the iPhone 5S and 5C in less than two hours, and the last-minute leaks are coming in fast. It looks like there could be a leather case announced for the 5S today, according to packaging that has leaked out of China. The design of the packaging is similar to that […]

The post Apple Could Release Leather Case For iPhone 5S, According To Leaked Packaging [Rumor] appeared first on Cult of Mac.




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USB Finalizes 10Gbps SuperSpeed+ Standard as USB 3.1 [Mac Blog]

Earlier this year, the trade organization behind the USB 3.0 specification proposed a new version of USB 3 that supports 10Gbps of data transfer over a backwards compatible connector.

The spec has now been finalized, and the first developer sessions will begin later this month.

SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps uses a more efficient data encoding and will deliver more than twice the effective data through-put performance of existing SuperSpeed USB over enhanced, fully backward compatible USB connectors and cables. Compatibility is assured with existing USB 3.0 software stacks and device class protocols as well as with existing 5 Gbps hubs and devices and USB 2.0 products.

[…]

„While maintaining backward compatibility, USB continues to advance to meet customer’s growing need for higher speed data“ said Roland Sperlich, TI Consumer and Computing Interface Product Line Manager. „The 10 Gbps data rate allows designers across many industries to do more with a universal standard.“

The first products with USB 3.1 should launch sometime in 2014.

Thunderbolt, which moves data at up to 10Gbps in both directions, appears mostly on Apple devices currently, but devices tend to be more expensive than their USB 3.0-compatible counterparts. However, Thunderbolt does have a strong ally in Intel, with the company pushing the standard heavily.

Thunderbolt 2, the next generation of the protocol, will support 20Gbps bi-directionally, but Thunderbolt 2 devices are also expected to be significantly more expensive than USB. The new Mac Pro, expected sometime this fall, will be the first mass market device to come with Thunderbolt 2, with the device equipped with 6 ports across two separate control boards.


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