Cube Tracker REVIEW Bluetooth Device to Help Keep Track of Your Goodies
I know that I am not alone in the struggle to remember where I left my keys, my bag, my remote controls, etc. To help with keeping track of my things, I have become a huge fan of Bluetooth trackers. Over the past few years, I have tested multiple devices such as the Tile Mate, Slim, Sport, TracKR Bravo, TrackR Pixel, Chipolo, Voila. Each of the devices has had its own pros/cons and could serve a variety of roles. The Cube Tracker is another option on the market that can be used to keep track of your things. The product arrived in a quaint 2 7/8 inches square by 7/8 inches thick white box. The cover beautifully displayed a life-sized replica of the Cube Tracker and intelligently angled it to rest like a diamond instead of a square. The raised image provided more than just a visual representation of the tracker; it provided a useful tactile feel of the rubberized device. The sides of the box provided suggestions for the use of their tracker, displaying blue icons of a bike, luggage, purse, camera, keys, wallet, phone, and a briefcase. The lower left side edge detailed the 1-year Limited Warranty, Bluetooth nature of the device, and the typical product labels. The bottom face proved to be the most useful, detailing the Bluetooth Key Finder, Last Known Location, Phone Finder, Replacement Battery, 1 Year Warranty and CubeTracker App on the iOS App Store and Google Play Store. The product hanger was riveted to the back of the box and I thought the use of a plastic “CUBE” cutout was rather ingenious. After reviewing the packaging and the unique way that Cube Tracker spruced up a square box, I was excited to try out the device.
Opening the lid of the box, my eyes were immediately drawn to the 1 7/16 inches by 1 7/16 inches black rubberized tracker with grey “CUBE” across the center. The black tracker was well displayed on a white thin plastic tray. Beneath the plastic, Cube Tracker included a circular battery removal tool, a 7/8 inches diameter keyring, an eight-panel instruction manual, and a spare CR2032 battery. To start, navigate to the iOS App Store or the Google Play Store and download the “Cube Tracker” App. Once you open the app, you will need to navigate through the informational screens. First, choose to allow the “Cube” to access your location while using the App, always allow or don’t allow it. You can then hold the small black circle on the tracker for five seconds to link it to the app. The App will ask you to name the tracker and you can be as creative as you wish. I decided to name my tracker “inveniam viam,” which means “I shall find a way” in Latin. Next, take a picture of the item that you wish to link with your tracker and then you can explore the Cube Settings. From the main page, you will see a “+” icon along the top left to add additional trackers. Along the middle, you can choose between various trackers from the list. You will see the name and last known locations and a picture of the cube. Along the bottom, you can switch between List mode and Map mode (displays the trackers on a map). Along the top right, you can tap the “i” and Buy a Cube on the Amazon page, send a message to email@example.com, or view a tutorial.
I was pleased with the simplicity of the application. Once you choose one of the trackers, you will be directed to an individualized page. Across the top, you will find camera and cog icons and across the middle, you can tap “Find” to cause the Tracker to jingle. Along the bottom of the screen, you will see the last seen GPS location and a double upward arrow. To see the location on a map, choose the arrow and to close the map, choose the double downward arrow. If you choose the cog, you can change the tracker name, cube item photo, adjust the ringtone of your phone and the tracker. I tested each of the sounds and liked ringtone 4 for the Cube and Alarm1 for the iPhone. One of the coolest features of the Cube Tracker was the little camera icon. When you choose this, the app will take you to a camera/video page, which uses the camera features of your phone. You can select the swap icon, located along the top right, to take a forward camera picture. You can turn the flash on/off along the top left, and you can choose picture or video mode along the bottom. At first, you may think that this is simply a photo taking feature, but this allows the Cube Tracker to be used as a Bluetooth remote to take pictures. This was a feature that I was not expecting and may be the major differentiating factor between the different brands of trackers.
The instruction manual noted that the device was capable of 150-foot range, with 30-foot optimal indoor range. The 30-foot range was reproducible but was limited by objects that blocked the signal. Using my driveway, I was able to get to around 50 feet before phone connection became a problem. The 12 gram IP67 tracker used Bluetooth 4.0 low-energy technology and had an 80-decibel ringer. The included battery should last a full year with standard use and the company conveniently included a second battery. It supports iPhone 4S through iPhone X, iPad 3rd generation to present, iPad Mini (all), iPod touch5 or later and Android devices running 4.4 or higher (Lollipop, Marshmallow, and Nougat). I did not have an Android device to test the tracker and thus used my iPhone X. Another feature that I thought I would like was the ability to replace the battery. Personally, this has been a controversial feature that the Tile group does not allow. I like that I can continuously upgrade my device to the latest and greatest Bluetooth, but it seems rather wasteful. I used the included battery removal tool, inserted it into the Cube Tracker and significantly chipped the edge of the tracker. This did not appear to impact the water barrier, but it made the edge sharp and ugly. I was very displeased with the weakness of the plastic, as I did not apply a lot of pressure. Lastly and most importantly, the App must be open in the background to utilize the features of the tracker. You can use the phone to find the device or use the device to find your phone (will jingle in silent as well). However, if you close out of the apps, the phone will not jingle when called.
Testing the range feature, I was displeased with the find it features. If the device and phone were directly next to each other, the phone would jingle the tracker, and the tracker would jingle the phone easily. I was surprised that the phone also pulsed the flash, which added an additional night time/darkroom feature. With the proximity alarm off, the phone would record the last known position. However, without a network of other peoples devices searching for Cube Trackers, I had to rely on the last known location to hopefully be close enough that the phone/tracker reconnected. Unfortunately, the reconnection radius was rather narrow, and I had to be within about 5 feet of the device for the phone to reconnect. If I was actively looking for my lost item, I felt as if I was playing a game of hot and cold. There was no notification on my phone other than a jingle of the cube. This was similar when trying to find the phone with the tracker. I did navigate to the website and learned that the Crowd Find feature is coming soon and a new Cube Pro is in the works. I was not pleased with the durability and the lack of crowd finding features, especially when the Tile Mate is currently $14.99 on Amazon and the Tile Style was $16.99. I think that Cube Tracker has a great start but unless you want it for the shutter remote feature, there may be other versions on the market for around the same price point.
Originally published at macsources.com on May 3, 2018.