Tail-It is the new GPS tracker project on Kickstarter, is it a good deal? Or just another flop of crowdfunding? We will discuss in detail in the section below.
We know GPS trackers can be useful to help us tracking our valuable item and pet. Nowadays, there is a myriad of brands in the market, and the two most popular trackers in particular are the Tile (like this one) and Trackr.
Both are featuring more-or-less the similar functions, you can learn more about their differences here.
However, almost every single one of them is using the Bluetooth connection to pair with your mobile device where you will have a range limitation of 200 ft (Bluetooth 4.0). Let’s say your dog is out of range, the system will use their user’s base (if someone who also used the tracking system occasionally walks close to your dog) to locate the position.
This method is full of uncertainties and often unreliable.
On the other hand, what Tait-It does is the exact opposite. It is a penny-size standalone tracker which uses the cellular connectivity instead of Bluetooth, so it doesn’t have a range limitation. Also, it features a wireless charging system instead of button battery or “sending back for a discounted replacement” as in many brands. For design, the team has come out with 4 thoughtful designs for the specific need.
Sounds cool right? or maybe not.
Let’s move on to the section below.
Review and Discussion – Is it really worth it?
The idea of using cellular connection isn’t new at all.
The only reason of many manufacturers didn’t go for this option is simply because of the tracker will then have to consume too much battery power. That said, the Tail-It offers only 3 weeks of battery life, while the Tail-It plus is up to 2 months. In most cases where we use it more frequent, the actual duration will be even lower than that.
The screenshot above shows a response to a backer’s question which asked if Tail-It is able to do continuous live tracking. Judging from the reply, it’s safe to assume that the power consumption is VERY much depending on the usage.
In contrast, most popular trackers are offering a way longer battery life that lasts for at least a year or more. For example, this generation 3 TrackR will even send you a battery replacement for free. Just let them know via the app.
Isn’t it trackers are supposed to be a set-and-forget?
On the other hand, the flip side of using cellular connection is the fees for data. We all pay for our mobile bill for the cellular internet right? nothing is free. Same goes for Tail-It, it requires an activated SIM card for the tracking to work. Certainly, you can use the provided SIM card and pay a monthly subscription fee to Tail-It team and let them pay for you instead, alternatively, you can use your own SIM card and pay for the bill yourself.
The more data you use for tracking, the more you pay. If it’s a pre-paid SIM card, it’ll just stop tracking.
This subscription system is what makes the tracker unworthy. Imagine having your mobile phone tied up on your dog and let it run. Then, use your friend’s phone to call/locate your own phone. That’s the idea.
In comparison to the other trackers which usually cost you lesser than $20 in one go, Tail-It doesn’t come cheap at all. Each of these is now available for $86 on Kickstarter, and you will have to pay $20 for the shipping.
Please also be noted that, so far, there is no feature to recording travels. So, you can’t really track down the footprint. Although it’s claimed for global tracking, there will be unavailable to track in the remote area where the poor signal or without the coverage of the cellular signal.
Overall, is it worth it? We don’t think so. Apparently, using cellular data to track for long-term may not be a viable solution as it involves a lot of hassle. To put it short, the price is more expensive, low battery life, lack of many tracking features and more.
Also, as they are a flock of backers questioning about the country-specific and provider-specific data plan restrictions, the creators do not seem to be able to answer many of them. So, if you are really going for it, be prepared for many unexpected things.