Spytec GL300 GPS Tracker Review

Despite accurate location logging, this GPS tracker can't compete with rival devices on price or features.

Our Verdict

Despite accurate location logging, this GPS tracker can't compete with rival devices on price or features.

For

  • Accuracy is solid
  • Reasonable purchase price
  • Excellent battery life.

Against

  • High monthly data cost
  • No standalone app
  • Bare-bones mobile site.

From a nuts-and-bolts perspective, there's a lot to like about the Spytec GL300. The $150 GPS tracker is reliable and has excellent battery life. But as reliable as the GL300 may be, other GPS trackers have robust apps and far more appealing data costs.

Design

Credit: Jeremy Lips/Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Jeremy Lips/Tom's Guide)

Made by Queclink, the black GL300 weighs 2.11 ounces, but it has a sturdy construction that doesn't feel cheap. A green indicator light on the front of the device blinks when you're receiving a GPS signal.

The left side features a mini USB port, with a cover that's easy to open, while the right side features a SIM card slot. You can remove the SIM card, though the slot is held shut with two raised screws that jut out from the casing; the GL300 includes a mini-Phillips head screwdriver for the opening the slot. Along with the screwdriver, you'll also get a charging cable that you can plug into a wall outlet. The GL300 isn't waterproof on its own, though you can buy a $30 waterproof case from Spytec.

Features

There's no standalone Spytec app, a surprising and glaring omission when compared to other GPS trackers such as the Spot Gen3 and Trackimo. Desktop users go to one website, while mobile users access a stripped-down version of the full site. From your phone, you can see the unit’s current location as well as where it's been over the last 24 hours. You also have the ability to port those latitude and longitude coordinates over to the Google Maps app — and that's pretty much it. You can't create or view geofences, view account settings or track other vitals such as battery life from the mobile site.

MORE: GPS Watch Buying Guide

The main website where you manage your GL300 uses a Google Maps interface that you can switch to Google Earth. You have to set your home address once you log on, and that can only be done by manually inputting latitude and longitude coordinates. Using the GL300's geofencing feature on the desktop app is slightly easier, as you can enter a home address. But then you have to manually zoom all the way in on your location from up high, and when you drag out the zone circle, you have no idea how far and wide it goes. It's a guessing game based on your best eyeball estimate.

The site also allows you to see movements over the past 24 hours and to enter email addresses and cellphone numbers to relay alerts to additional contacts.

Performance

Credit: Jeremy Lips/Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Jeremy Lips/Tom's Guide)

The accuracy of the Spytec GL300 is excellent, often zeroing on location down to within just a few yards, even indoors. Its refresh rate -- a minute, at most -- is also better than what a lot of other GPS trackers provide. In terms of accuracy, the GL300 was on a par with Trackimo and just a hair behind the Spot Gen3.

Crucially, there's no capability to make one- or even two-way calls with the device; the GL300 also lacks emergency options.

Battery Life

The GL300 runs on a rechargeable battery that lasts a while. Spytec promises up to two weeks of battery life depending on usage, and we got about 12 days when using the device somewhat regularly. That compares favorably to Trackimo, which gave me two days of solid use, and is in line with the five days of steady use I got from the Spot Gen3.

Service Plans and Warranty

Credit: Jeremy Lips/Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Jeremy Lips/Tom's Guide)

The biggest knock against the GL300 is the price of its data. While the $150 price tag for the unit itself compares nicely to other devices, monthly data plans start at $25 and go as high as $45 a month. In contrast, the $140 Trackimo GPS Tracker has no monthly fee for the first year after you buy the device, with just a $5 monthly service fee after that; the Spot Gen3 tracker costs $15 a month.

MORE: Best GPS Watch

What's more, the different tiers of GL300 data plans are essentially the same, with the only major difference being the frequency the device sends updates. The $25-a-month Basic plan has an update frequency of 1 minute, while the top-of-the-line $45-a-month Elite plan refreshes every 5 seconds. That's a hefty premium to pay to shave off 55 seconds.

The GL300 has a one-year warranty.

Bottom Line

The high cost of data coupled with the lack of a dedicated mobile app undercuts the appeal of the Spytec GL300. In a vacuum, its accuracy and battery life would impress, but when you start to compare its ongoing cost and feature set to rival GPS trackers, you realize the Spot Gen3 offers a more robust product for adventures, while the Trackimo has more attractive service plan pricing.

Specs

Size: 2.65 x 1.57 x 0.82 inches
Weight:2.11 ounces
Battery Life:Up to two weeks
Battery:Rechargeable Lithium-ion
Emergency Features:No
App Support: Web-only
Network:Quadband GPRS/GSM
Monthly Service Cost:
$25 per month

This article was written by Erik Malinowski. Follow Tom's Guide at @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.