- 2-way voice calling
- Predator alert
- SOS button
- One of the prettiest looking GPSs on the market
- Great software
- Unit is fairly expensive up front
- After initial cost of unit, still must pay decent amount for monthly service
- Short battery life
The Amber Alert has more functions than you can shake a stick at. If you really think about it, battery life – as long as it holds a charge long enough to get through the day – shouldn’t be an issue. So the only thing holding this device back is the (ongoing) cost. But in the end, you pay for what you get, which in this case is quite a bit.
General Thoughts on Amber Alert GPS
The Amber Alert GPS is like the Swiss Army Knife of the GPS world. This unit was designed specifically for the use of keeping track of children ages 2 to 10. It is a small, lightweight device that is jam-packed with features to fit the needs of most anyone. It’s sort of a combination between a typical GPS and a cell-phone, in that it uses GSM networks to help with determining its location. The software used in conjunction with the Amber Alert, called the Tracking Portal, is intuitive and offered for your computer and as a mobile app. With it you can configure and track multiple devices quickly and easily. Though the battery life is relatively short, this device holds its own against the competition in terms of functionality as a whole. If you have the extra cash to spend, and don’t mind continuing to shell it out on a monthly basis, the Amber Alert GPS is the way to go for keeping track of your young child.
When it comes to features, all of the usual suspects are available. On-demand location is obviously possible. Zone alerts allow you to set imaginary zones wherever you wish, and be notified any time your child goes into or out of them. Speed limit alerts will notify you if your child is travelling above a pre-set speed. Or, if you would like to be updated regularly, you can set up Breadcrumbing. This allows you to set a schedule of when to be notified your child’s location. One of the features that you won’t find on any other GPS is called the Predator alert. This will trigger an alert should your child be within 500 feet of the home of a registered sex offender. And lastly on the alert front is the battery alert, which occurs when the unit is down to 15% capacity. With any of these alerts, you can set the device to email and/or text you.
The other extremely useful features are the 2-way voice calling and the SOS button. The 2-way voice calling is just like it sounds; call your child and talk to them on the device, or they can call you from the device (though they can only call one pre-set number). You can also listen in on their surroundings. And the SOS button, when pressed, will send a text and/or email to up to 10 people that you set in advance. Ah, how far we’ve come from Morse code.
Tracking is accomplished via the Tracking Portal software or your smartphone (dumb phones need not apply). There is even the option to print out detailed Excel spreadsheets showing location and alert breakdowns. Helpful when little Johnny is insistent that he didn’t go to his friend’s house after school when you told him to come straight home.
The only downside to the combination of GPS and GSM technology is that in order for the device to actually report its location, it needs to be able to receive a GPS and cell signal. In the event that you do not have a GPS signal, the device will use its last known location and use the cell system to track its current location from there. However, seeing as it uses 3G, which has widespread coverage, this will give you an accurate location the vast majority of the time.
Ease of Use 9/10
Monitoring the location is a snap, whether using the software or the mobile app. And setting alert preferences is as simple as a few clicks. The device itself has no screen to complicate things, just indicator lights and the SOS button. There are also a number of easy ways to keep it with and/or attached to your child, like lanyards, a neoprene pouch, or sleeves that fit on arms, ankles or wrists. And the Amber Alert comes with a micro USB charger to power up the lithium ion battery that’s said to last for approximately 48 hours.
Help & Support 9/10
It would appear that the manufacturer has confidence in their product, as evidenced by the help and support options. First off, they offer a 14-day money back guarantee (though this will only refund the price of the unit, not activation or subscription costs) should you not be happy with the device. They also have a customer service line that says that they will never “leave you hanging”. There is a good amount of help offered in the software if problems arise, and should you have a pressing issue, there is an emergency tab where you enter your phone number, and a member of their support staff will get in touch with you. This is offered 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. And lastly, the device comes with a one-year warranty.
Really the main downside is the cost. With a fairly pricey initial price tag plus activation fee, it starts off a little spendy. And from there, plans for a small recurring monthly fee, with additional monthly costs for the Tracking Portal, it can add up pretty quickly. Barring the high cost, with all of the functions, accessories and support offered with this GPS, you really can’t do much better.