Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Review: XY Find It XY3 Bluetooth Tracker

Bluetooth trackers seem to be a dime a dozen these days, however as we've found (through much trial and error) not all devices are created the same. After testing out and reviewing the TrackR Bravo and Sticker, we tested out the Linquet, and while each of these devices worked decently, we still have yet to find one that fulfilled our needs. So when the guys over at XY Find It asked if we'd like to checkout their new XY3 Bluetooth Tracker we jumped at the chance.

For the most part most Bluetooth trackers on the market are going to have the same basic features. About the only major differences are going to be in the user interface and the actual design of the tracker. That doesn't however mean that they will all perform the same, but we'll get to that a bit later.

XY3 Design

As far as design goes, the XY3 is similar to the TrackR in that it features a small half dollar size shape and measures roughly 1.46" x 1.26"x .32". This means it is only slightly thicker than most of the other tracker devices out there. One major difference, and one of the big positives as far as I'm concerned, was the XY3 features a more durable ABS plastic casing. Why I say this is a positive is because not only does it give you more color options, 8 in total, but is means that it is far less susceptible to being scratched, dinged and dented. An issue we had with the metal casing on our TrackR.

XY3 App User Interface Design and Features

Within the app there’s a full range of settings including setting your own sounds for beacons that go out of range, beacons that are found, etc. You also have a few features here that many of the other trackers we've used don't have. Settings like the ability to turn the app on/off at device startup and setting device out of range sensitivity. These are both helpful as you don't have to leave the app continuously running, and you can shrink your range size so your devices don't get too far away too quickly.

Tracking is all done from a familiar Google Map interface which shows your phone's current location, the tracker's location, and/or the tracker's last known location. Each tracker features its own plot on the map and you can set photos for each device. Making it quick and easy to differentiate your devices. Each individual beacon also features a graph showing proximity with ratings of Far, Near and Immediate. These are helpful, but not even close to being accurate! You'll also see a battery life indicator giving you an approximation of how much life remains.

XY3 Range and Effectiveness

According to their website the XY3 Find It has a maximum range of about 210 ft with a suggested maximum of 150ft. This includes usage of a special set of algorithms that take effect at the edge of that range to help avoid triggering "false" out of range alerts when you simply go to the other side of your home or maybe a meeting at work. The specific total range of any of these devices vary greatly depending on the obstructions in the area that may deflect the signal so we can take those numbers with a grain of salt.

In our testing the effective range of our device was between 100-125ft (indoors to outdoors testing), meaning that was the drop off point in which the device would finally sound an out of range alert. We tried adjusting the sensitivity to see which setting would best suit our needs, unfortunately the device would not trigger the "Keep Near" alerts at any closer range no matter what settings we tried to use. I had hopped that given the name 'Keep Near' there would be some sort of alert before we were entirely out of range, this however doesn't seem to be the case.

We also ran into issues regarding connectivity once the XY3 was out of range. No matter how close in proximity to the device we were, the tracker was slow to reconnect and on occasion it would not reconnect at all. This forced us to close out the app and try to connect again. Obviously this would be an issue if we weren't certain where our device was, and how close we were, as we wouldn't then be able to try the beep button to locate it.

Luckily if you have any issues you can still use the last known location and view where your device was on them map. From there if you can't locate your item on your own you can report it as lost within the app. Then, if your item goes within range of any device running the XY app, you will get an email with the new approximate location to help you find it.

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Overall we have to say were are fairly impressed with the XY3 Find It. Not only does it seem to be more durable than the other Bluetooth trackers we've tried and tested, but it also seems to be a bit more reliable. We had far fewer issues with connectivity and false alerts than we did with our TrackR devices and the casing has held up much better than both the TrackR and Linquet.

Another major plus was the beeper locator being audible enough to actually hear! That was a major complaint we had with our other devices. You won't hear it in a crowded room or from two rooms away, but you can hear it in say your car or living room (where I loose my keys the most!).

As to locating our belongings we were also impressed with the accuracy of  the locations provided on the map and the addition of the signal meter to help guide you towards the right direction. Though we think the signal meter could still use some refinement as it wasn't extremely accurate.  We didn't get to test the secondary 'crowd based GPS' feature, mainly because as mentioned with our previous reviews, this feature relies heavily on there being a lot of users in your area in order for it to work effectively. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a lot of users in our area using trackers that use this feature and we still have yet to see anyone come into close enough proximity to any of our devices to trigger them. So once again this is very much going to be dependent on your area.

Given all of the above I have to say that so far out of all of the Bluetooth trackers we've tested I think the XY3 Find It has definitely come as close as you can get to nailing down all of our must haves and meeting all of our expectations.

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