What do you do if you have a senior loved one who is driving, but you’re worried that they shouldn’t be? Or maybe that same driver just moved to a new, unfamiliar area and has been getting lost. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to keep an eye on them, virtually – just in case there is a problem?
Family1St has a GPS tracker that can do just that. And they gave us a tracker to test for one month, in return for an honest review.
So, I’ve been using the tracker for a few weeks now and it’s done a great job of tracking my driving trips. During the month, I have taken it pretty much everywhere and I can pull up the Reports feature to see exactly where I have gone. It even shows a tiny car driving on the Track History report that follows the routes I took. I can click on each way point on the report to see my travel speed and direction, as well as the battery life left on the tracker.
The Family1st vehicle GPS tracker is tied to a specific vehicle. When you activate it, you set up an account and provide the IMEI number that comes with the tracker. That allows the tracker to be followed via GPS. When you or your loved one are driving, you simply bring the tracker with you and it records your trip.
I put mine in the open console area between the seats, however the easy-to-understand online manual does specify that the device shouldn’t be put into the glove box or into a closed console because that can interfere with the signal. Also, you can tuck the tracker under the front seat of the car, which I don’t recommend. I did it one day and then was worried about the device rolling out and getting stuck under the gas or brake pedal if I had to stop quickly.
The tracker is accurate in that it followed me and knows that my vehicle is parked in my garage right now. It also recorded the speed I was traveling whenever I drove with it in the car, along with where I stopped at stop lights or parked in parking lots.
I can see how this would be invaluable information for someone whose car was stolen with the tracker inside or for a lost senior driver or new driver. My daughter got lost at night in an unfamiliar part of town when she was a new driver (and there was no such thing as GPS yet), and we had to hunt her down via her recollection of the landmarks she had passed (we found her, but having a tracker would have made it so much less worrisome!).
The Family1st tracker does have some reports that only come with an upgraded package. Still, you can see the Travel Log with the basic tracker / package.
Family1st Tracker Pros And Cons
- Easy to activate and set up.
- Long battery life – per Family1st, the GPS portable tracker I used has “an extended 600 mAh Li-Polymer re-chargeable battery which lasts up to 14+ days with 1 hr of motion
updates per day.” As an experiment, I left the tracker turned on and in my vehicle for an entire week and it still had just under 50 percent battery life left at the end of the week.
- Easy to use – just turn it on and go.
- Indoor tracking with WiFi possible.
- You can set up a geofence for a certain area and the device will immediately send an alert via text or email if the tracker leaves that defined area.
- If the tracker is in your car and the car is stolen, the police should be able to find it via the device’s track history.
- Lifetime warranty: Family1st stand by their products – they provide unlimited support and a lifetime warranty.
- Low monthly fees: monthly subscriptions start at $14.95.
- Free five day tracking trial.
- 30 day full refund.
- No cancellation fees and you can cancel anytime.
- 24*7 Tech Support: Family1st’s tech support specialists are available 24*7 via email. They also have phone and live chat available from 9:00AM – 5:00PM PT.
- Reports are intuitive to use, but some reports are only accessible if you have the OBD (On Board Diagnostic System. These include info like mileage driven, fuel usage, driving habits (ie: quick stops), and speed. In fact, there is a bullet point on the Family1st website that says, “With access to our “Hard Brake,” “Speed,” and “Acceleration” monitoring services, you can rest in full confidence that your loved ones will be driving safely,” but those features do not come with the standard tracker
- The tracker only tracks the particular vehicle it is assigned to – it’s not a “personal” tracker. It does not track the person – or even the tracker – if it is in another car. We tried taking the tracker along while driving in my husband’s car and it didn’t record anything.
- Price – the tracker costs $20 to purchase, then $14.95 per month for tracking as of this review (June, 2020). There are free apps that can be set up on a phone that can track the phone’s location in real time, however they may not have the same features.
In summary, the Family1st GPS tracker was easy to set up and easy to use. It would be useful to track the car it is dedicated to, as well as the senior who is driving it, however the only feature that the Driver Safety Report shows is speed driven. You would need to get the OBD or hardwired devices if you wanted additional information like fuel use or mileage.