LAS VEGAS — The initial version of Trax, a kid-friendly GPS tracker, did a very good job of pinpointing a child's location. A new version coming in March aims to be even better.
The GPS tracker from Wonder Technology Solutions has a new name — it's now called Trax Play — and it promises improved positioning over the original Trax. Enhanced GPS will let you retrieve the signal faster when you check your child's position on the Trax smartphone app, which should reduce those moments of anxiety when your child wanders out of view.
Speaking of the Trax app, it's due for an update in the coming months as well. The most welcome addition will be the arrival of advanced settings that let you adjust how frequently you want to track your child's position. You can update as frequently as every 10 seconds, or as infrequently as every 5 minutes.
That latter setting is aimed at extending battery life for the Trax unit, a major criticism of the earlier version of the GPS tracker. Trax lists a battery of life of about 24 hours, but when we tested the device last year, it had trouble making it through the day on a single charge.
Trax's price tag is getting a makeover as well. The previous version cost $249, although that included two years of data service. The new Trax Play will cost $99, which puts it more in line with the pricing on similar GPS kid-tracking devices. Factor in the $4.99 monthly fee when you opt for two years of service, and you're still saving roughly $30 off the price of the original Trax. (Service fees cost $8.49 per month when you sign up for just a single year of service.)
Otherwise, Trax Play retains the same compact size as the original tracker. It's 2.2 x 1.5 x 0.4 inches and weighs a little less than 0.9 ounces, making it easy to slip into a pocket, or even attach to a belt.
The original Trax was the runner-up in our round-up of kid trackers, with the unique features that caught our eye remaining in this new version. Like its predecessor, Trax Play will offer an augmented-reality view that lets you hold up your phone to get a graphic indicator of which direction you should head to find your kid.
The companion app offers both a geofencing feature, which alerts you when the Trax Play enters or exits an area, and a proximity fence that sets a moving radius that follows you when you're walking around outside.
In addition to the Trax Play, Wonder Technology Solutions is also working on a smaller version aimed specifically at pets, as well as a wireless key finder. Both devices are slated for release at the end of 2016.