Maybe you're less forgetful than I am, but I'm pretty sure that most of people have, at some point or other, realized all too late that they've left their wallet at home or in the car. (If you're like me, this happens at least weekly.) With the help of your smartphone and an app, Phone Halo's new Wallet Trackr can let you know that you've misplaced your billfold, clutch, or purse before you get too far away from it.
If you've read our review of the Cobra Tag (which is also powered by Phone Halo technology) then you already have an idea of how the $19 Wallet Trackr works. The device pairs with your iOS device (be it iPhone or iPad) using the Bluetooth Low Energy feature of a Bluetooth 4.0 wireless connection. Meanwhile, a Phone Halo Item Trackr app running on your Apple device monitors the connection with the Wallet Trackr.
What makes the Wallet Trackr noteworthy is that the darn thing actually fits inside of your wallet without creating a bulge of Costanza-type magnitude. Taking up only as much space as 2 or 3 stacked credit cards, the Wallet Trackr should fit into most back pockets without throwing your spine out of alignment. I sat on the Trackr and I barely noticed it back there...under my butt.
The Wallet Trackr runs on a pair of thin coin-type batteries that can be removed by sliding out a tray, but you won't have to worry about that because the Bluetooth Low Energy wireless connection that the Trackr uses allows it to stretch that battery life to up to 3 years, according to the Phone Halo representatives who stopped by CNET's offices to show us the device.
When the Wallet Trackr leaves the Bluetooth range of your handset, the Phone Halo app starts your iPhone beeping and vibrating. It also marks the GPS position of the disconnect on a map. Meanwhile, the Wallet Trackr itself also starts beeping. The idea is that you'd find your wallet using a combination of the map and the audible tone coming from the Wallet Trackr. The preproduction model that I was able to test wasn't extremely loud, but I was able to hear it from across CNET's lobby. There's also a bit of proximity detection within the app that lets you know about how far you are from the Wallet Trackr with an icon that goes from red to green as the distance decreases.
The device has no display and no buttons; all of your interactions happen in the app on your phone or tablet, so removing the battery is the only way to stop the thing from beeping once it gets going if you don't have access to the app. This also means that, if you're unfortunate enough to be pickpocketed, there's no way for a thief to shut the Trackr down either.
The Phone Halo Item Trackr app can monitor multiple Bluetooth devices, including the Wallet Trackr, any Cobra Tags you may have lying around, Bluetooth headsets, even your car. (Having your phone automatically GPS tag where it disconnected from your car could be useful for remembering where you parked.) Phone Halo's representatives claim that they've tested tracking up to 15 devices at a time using its app, but are unsure of what the pairing cap for the iPhone/iPad actually is.
You've no doubt noticed that Phone Halo is only claiming iOS compatibility for