Orbit Bluetooth Tracker Tags Help Protect You from Losing Things

Orbit Bluetooth Tracker Tags Help Protect You from Losing Things

I do not want to lose my keys. And I want to do everything I can to protect myself from that situation. So I jumped at the chance when a publicist offered to send me an Orbit Bluetooth locator tag to test out.

Tile may have been one of the first such devices, tiny Bluetooth locator tags that you can attach to a key ring, place in your luggage, or keep in your purse or wallet. They typically use Bluetooth wireless to communicate with a free app that you download to your iPhone or iPad. There are now many on the market, including pet trackers and child trackers that use GPS and the cellular data network to track your loved ones.

Find your lost keys or other object

I have my Orbit, which retails for $39.99, on my key ring, and if I misplace my keys I can tap Find Orbit in the app, and it will make a sound that alerts my to where it's located (if my keys are in Bluetooth range, which is 50–100 ft.). In addition, a map in the app shows the last location where my Orbit and my iPad were connected. Conversely, if I misplace my iPad mini, I can press a button on the Orbit, and my iPad will make a sound to let me know where it is.

The only issue I had with the Orbit is that I could barely hear the sound it made when I tapped Find Orbit in the app. Part of this is that I have trouble hearing high-pitched sounds. But the Orbit website says it has a 90-decibel speaker, so it should be much louder. I may have been sent a defective unit.

Another feature of Orbit is the Separation Alarm (generically referred to as "geofencing"). When I turn that on, if my iPad mini (which I take with me everyplace) and my key ring get out of Bluetooth range of each other, both the Orbit and my iPad will alert me that I forgot one or the other.

This feature is great, but what if your house exceeds the range of Bluetooth, such that your keys or iPhone keep sounding an alarm when you go to a different part of your house? That's easily remedied by turning on the Safe Zone feature, which keeps both the Orbit and your iPhone silent when they're within the range of your home Wi-Fi network.

Take remote selfies

An unusual feature of Orbit is that you can use it as a remote for taking selfies. You tap the camera icon within the Orbit app, and then when you're ready to take a photo, you press the button on the Orbit.

Tracking your luggage at the airport

In addition to showing the location of your Orbit device on a map, the app also indicates the degree of separation by telling you signal strength between the two devices and indicating whether the distance is near, mid, or far. Some people use Bluetooth trackers to help them locate their luggage at an airport. You can put an Orbit in your suitcase, and then you can watch the Orbit app to see when your suitcase is getting near you.

Replaceable battery

Unlike the Tile, Orbit has a replaceable battery. It lasts up to six months, and a replacement battery comes with the device, as well as a tool that you use to replace the battery. With the Tile, you simply discard the device and buy a new one (at a reduced price). You can add multiple Orbit devices to the app and track all of them in one interface. However, I didn't seem to be able to connect my Orbit with both my iPod touch and my iPad.

Pet and children trackers

Bluetooth range is limited, and now there are many trackers available that use GPS and the cellular data network. If your dog gets lost, you can see where in the world he is just by looking at your iPhone. They cost more, of course, plus they typically have a monthly fee for access to the cellular data network.

Once such location tracker is the Kyon Pet Tracker. The device is $250 and the service is $5/month). In addition to having GPS, it has an altimeter. If your pet is lost in a building, you could not only identify where it is on a map but also which floor it's on. The Kyon includes an LED display on your pet's collar that shows your phone number if your pet gets out of geofencing range.

One of the highest rated child trackers is AmberAlertGPS ($125, $15/month). You can attach it to your child with an included lanyard or wrist/anke band. It's claimed to be accurate within five feet and even includes two-way calling so you can call your child. Or your child can call you with the touch of a button.

Pros

  • The Orbit is a handy device that helps you track your keys or other items of importance to you

Cons

  • The unit I tested had a barely audible speaker

Final Verdict

The Orbit is similar to other Bluetooth tracker tags, but the remote camera feature is unusual and would make this a good choice if you would find that feature to be useful.

Master your iPhone in one minute a day: Sign up here to get our FREE Tip of the Day delivered right to your inbox.

Topics

Author Details

Jim Karpen's picture

Author Details

Jim Karpen

Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.