Unboxing the Trax Play GPS
The Trax Play has been around for a few years and this packaging design seems to be updated from some of the other reviews out there. The device is inside of a sleeved box and has form-fitting to cradle it in place. Underneath the tray holding the device, there are two silicon protectors that fit snugly around the tracker. One of them has a clip inside of it, which seems like it’s for clipping it to a dog collar. Also included is a small instructional paper (in English, Dutch, Spanish, and French) and a small micro USB cable to charge it. You can charge it in most mainstream phone charger blocks or straight from your computer.
Trax Play Specs
The device is made in Switzerland and is very light. It measures 2.2″ x 1.5″ x 0.4″ (55 x 38 x 10 mm) and is fairly lightweight at 0.85 oz (24 g). The battery is advertised to last up to 3 days – we will put this to the test. A lot of the time, we’ve found that the estimate given by the company is a little inflated. Trax says the battery takes two hours to fully charge, but for us it was close to one hour when we got it out of the box. Awesome! The downside so far? It feels somewhat fragile.
It doesn’t feel cheap or that it would break in your hand but it does make you wince when you drop it. Like most consumers, we dropped it a few times onto a hard floor and it has still worked fine. Not a big deal! It’s also IP65 waterproof – it can stand a spray with a water hose but its probably not a good idea to fully submerge it. We used it in light rain and it worked fine afterwards.
If this is your first time investigating GPS trackers, they pretty much always have a data cost. It’s hard to find a GPS tracker without a monthly fee. The Trax has several different annual options that make it cheaper. The prices as of 2018 are:
Before using the device, you have to setup an account through the Trax Web App on your computer. As soon as you confirm your account over email you are ready to pair the device with the Web App. All you need is your tracker ID and pin, which is included in the box. As soon as you submit it you get a confirmation email and your device shows up as a blue dot on the map.
What we really like about it is that it uses Google Maps instead of a third-party map service. It’s familiar, sleek, and you have some different options for what you want the map to look like. Have multiple Trax devices? You can easily add more trackers to the map from the menu.
The accuracy of it is pretty great! It shows up as a dot right over my house, which means it’s working! That’s awesome but we still need to see how accurate it is.
There’s a slider within the settings that allows you to set the frequency of the GPS updates. It goes from 10 seconds all they way up to 1 hour. Frequency is a big deal, especially when you want to use it as a pet tracker. It also shows the battery life.
Using the Phone App to Track Your Child, Dog, Luggage, Valuables, and More
While the desktop app is quite handy, the phone app is even more polished and also shows the battery life. All it takes is one sign in and your good to go. We are using the iPhone app but there is an Andoid app, too. The phone allows a few different methods of setting up boundaries. You can set up a proximity meter which is just one big circle. It’s basically just a really quick way to set up a geofence. It could be very convenient in a park with your child or pet. Or just to have peace of mind when you put your bag down somewhere.
What is Geofencing?
What is geofencing? Well, it’s just what it sounds like. It is a way to create a virtual fence for your tracker. You can do this on the Web App, or the phone app. After using the device for a while, I preferred the phone app. There are so many different ways to do it.
As mentioned in the previous section, there is a quick way setup a geofence with a proximity meter. The specific geofence option allows you to create it with three different tools: the rectangle tool, the polygon tool, and the freehand tool. You draw with your finger on your phone to decide where you want the tracker’s boundaries to be. The web browser app and the phone app show the history and timestamp of when the device exited and entered the boundary.
The downside? It’s hard to do an exact measurement of your backyard within the app. Instead, we used the Web App which made zooming in on our backyard a little easier than drawing with your finger on the phone. Still, it would be nice to have the option to set up the geofence by walking around with the device and getting an exact area.
Our Favorite Part About the Trax Play GPS Tracker
If the device leaves that range, you automatically get an alert. The best part? You can create several different geofences and schedule them. Do you go to a certain park with your dog quite often? Does your child walk or bike to school? Is there a time that your elderly family member usually gets home? The app allows you to name a geofence and schedule its date and time. You can even customize it to alert you on exit and enter. Want to turn off alerts? That’s easy to do, too!
Trax GPS Battery Life
The only way to see the battery life is through the web app. Trax advertises that the battery will be fully charged in about two hours and that seems to be true. Ours had about 20% when we received it and it charged relatively quickly. Trax says that the battery life is about 2-3 days. This depends heavily on the frequency of tracking and how often the device moves.
Bottom line: the more often that you want it to update its location, the more battery it will use. Trax also says that this means it will only do 12 hours of live-tracking mode. The device goes into low-power “sleep mode” when it doesn’t move for 5 minutes. This means that it would probably track a strictly outside dog for about a day. As a pet tracker, it’s probably best used when you’re traveling or taking your dog outside.
Our Rundown of the Different Ways to Use the Trax
Trax Play as a GPS Dog Collar
How long would it last? About 1.5 full days
It’s a little bulky to be a GPS dog collar and does not feel nearly as durable as a Whistle 3. That said, we didn’t have any issues with it after testing it out for a couple says as a pet tracker. It rained lightly when we tested it as a collar but its IP65 waterproof rating held true and the device was fine.
Trax Play as a GPS Tracker for Kids
How long would the battery last? About 1 full day
The device would work really well as a GPS kid tracker. The app’s geofence scheduling means that your child’s busy schedule is easily adaptable to keep track of them. It would fit easily in a backpack or coat.
Trax Play as a GPS Tracker for the Elderly
How long does the battery last? Varies
Again, the device really shines in its real-time tracking ability. If you’re worried about keeping track of someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, the Trax Play is a great way to track your family member with an app. The device would slide easily into a car, purse, or bag.
Trax Play as a Vehicle Tracker
How long does the battery last? About 1-1.5 days (unlimited if you leave it plugged in)
Have a new driver in the house? Keep tabs on their driving with the Trax. It doesn’t give the speed, but it does include trip history. Don’t forget to set up and schedule your geofence with the app! If you’re planning on using the Trax as a car tracker, you really need to make sure to plug it in while it’s in your car. Otherwise, the battery will probably drain within a day.
Trax Play as a Valuables or Bag Tracker
How long does the battery last? About 2 Days
Have an expensive peace of equipment that you travel with? Turn any camera bag, purse, or backpack into a trackable, GPS enabled bag. It would fit great in a passport pouch, too!
Trax Play as a Luggage/Baggage Tracker
How long does the battery last? It lasted our whole plane trip! The battery life would be great even for international trips.
The device is advertised to work in 100 different countries. We didn’t test this but have read in other spots that it does work in other countries. As long as there is cellular service, it should be good to go. Tracking your lost luggage with a GPS tracker is now within reach for everyone. Don’t worry about relying on the ticket barcode. Check your luggage at the hotel before going out? It gives great peace of mind there, too! It would fit great in a passport pouch, too!
Final Thoughts About the Trax
The Trax would suit city or rural life just fine. The only concern you might run into if you live in a rural area is the signal. If the device is in an area that has a cell phone signal it should work just fine. Overall, we found the phone app and desktop app to work really well. It’s polished, robust, and the geofencing capability is really easy to use. It charges quickly, too. We recommend it! Check it out here on Amazon.