Since I got this Micro-Stealth GPS Tracker I have put it through its paces, below is my full review of my
I ordered through the Virtual Spy Shop for £250, which states that all spy equipment sold is used by practising Private Investigators on actual surveillance jobs. The online ordering was easy and I paid using my PayPal account.
On despatch of the item I was given a web login URL and a WAP link. I was fascinated to watch its progress from Calais and to the beginning of the tunnel. The GPS signal was lost as it made its way through the tunnel but this was to be expected. Then it emerged in Folkestone and made it’s way across Kent stopping at a couple of royal mail parcel sorting depots one being in Canterbury and then later that evening whilst out I watched it’s progress on my mobile along the A2 and across the Dartford crossing and then make it’s way towards the midlands stopping once more in Crick and arriving in the Coventry sorting office late that night and was at my doorstep on the morning.
On receipt of the unit it came in a nicely designed packaging box that you usually see with more expensive mobile phones. Accessories included a nice little personal protective pouch, charger (European, but an adapter is available from Tesco for £2) a magnetic waterproof case for attaching to a vehicle or anywhere else metal. The unit itself is indeed very small I could probably fit it into my other tracking device 4 times without the magnetic case. It comes with two buttons one on the side being a panic button which would make it an ideal lone worker solution and one on the top being an on/off button. On receipt of the Micro-Stealth I was not too sure of the functions of these buttons and so I called the support number given and spoke at length to Jorge Salgado-Reyes who explained everything and was really enthusiastic about his products.
My first port of call was to charge up the unit so I could put it through its paces to see what sort of battery life I could expect. Charge time took around 3 hours either with the USB option or via the plug, with a glowing green light signalling a charge complete. Whilst charging you are updated with a flashing red light from inside the unit. Fully charged and left on its default setting of reporting its position every minute, I unscrewed the magnetic case and slipped it inside and re screwed the case opening. Jorge recommends that you put the top of the unit (The side with e-Loc) away from the magnetic side of the case as the antenna of the stealth is in the e-loc side. The magnetic case being made of plastic and with two round magnets is more than up to the job of holding to a metal surface in fact it took quite a bit of force to detach it once it was in place.
Now time to try it out to see how it performs. Having watched its journey from France to my door whilst no doubt buried underneath a load of parcels instils confidence in the product. Now, I wonder if it will work ok underneath a vehicle. First of all I attached it under my car; looking at the first metal under seal of my vehicle that caught my eye, I placed the tracker towards its target and Thwack! The strong magnets pulled it away from my hand and locked on to the vehicle like a Staffordshire bull terrier onto a cat! This was done very quickly, the small size being a distinct advantage no messing around looking for a wide enough magnetic surface like you get with some trackers. The days of finding an identical car to rehearse on before you go out to do the job for real are gone.
A quick drive round the block to test it and back in the house to check on how well it performed by logging onto the P.C. and looking in the various web options of Google maps, Microsoft Virtual Earth, live tracking and Mapquest showed me exactly where I had travelled, what speed I had travelled at and various other bits of information that would come in handy. One such feature being the Geo Fence which is any area on the map you can set so that if the vehicle enters this area it will inform you via text message or via email when the vehicle enters and also when it leaves that area. Over the next few days I attached it to a couple of different vehicles and it performed flawlessly. The only problem I had was when I fitted it underneath a Peugeot 206 it did not seem to like it there for some reason. Yes it tracked it and tracked it well but on all other vehicles I tried it on when the vehicle stopped moving the tracker stopped reporting as it is intended to do. But when under the 206 for some reason when stopped it kept on sending reports periodically all night and some times they would be false hits showing that the vehicle was in an adjacent street and then on the next report showing its true location and then back to the neighbouring street and so on. I have seen this before with other trackers however. But when on the move it performed flawlessly. I think a nicer feature would be for the Micro-Stealth having being inactive for a defined time, say 15 minutes that it powers itself down. Then as soon as it is on the move again with enough vibration it powers itself up again. This would in my opinion extend the battery life even further. My TrimTrac and a passive logging tracker I have worked in this way.
From the internet mapping options provided with the stealth you can change the reporting times to whatever suits your needs from 60 seconds down to real time. This is excellent; you send a signal via the internet telling the Micro-Stealth what option you require. Increasing the reporting times will however shorten the battery life and will take more credit off the SIM card as the GPRS usage increases. For the course of this review I decided to try it on three different settings to see what the differences in battery life were.
1. First of all one minute. The battery was fully charged at 2.30pm on the Thursday and the battery ran until the following Monday evening, giving up the ghost at about 10pm. That equates to approximately 103 hours. Remember that one night it was almost constantly reporting every few minutes when on the 206 and over the course of the days it covered probably 200 miles (I Have since found that there is a setting in the poll settings that will stop the sporadic reporting of positions when vehicle is stationary). I preferred to view the progress of the movements in live tracking mode and viewing in Microsoft’s birds eye view opened up a more detailed view of the current locations and when tracking it in the post I could actually see the Royal mail depots that it was sat in and the bay that the lorry was sitting in that the tracker was on.
2. Now with the stealth set to reporting at 30 sec intervals charge was complete at 4.30pm on the Tuesday afternoon and died in the early hours of Thursday morning. Setting to ten second reporting gave a very similar result lasting approx a day and a half. These tests were carried out under normal day to day driving conditions.
On Saturday afternoon the phone rings. “I think my wife is having an affair” “She drives a silver BMW, Registration number XXXX XXX”. I found the vehicle located in a busy pub car park, I drove my car across, blocking the view of the public. Out I get under the Beemer and Thwack! Tracker deployed in about 5 seconds. Worked perfectly!
It’s very rare when you have sat waiting in anticipation for a product to arrive that it works as good as you expect, but for me the Micro-Stealth has become one of those rare occasions.
The small size of this unit will be the attraction as it can be fitted just about anywhere under a vehicle very quickly. The drawback will be that if you needed to monitor for any length of time say a matter of weeks then due to its small size then it is going to struggle. During the course of this review I spoke to Jorge on a few occasions and he said that someone had reported to him that when set on the hourly reporting setting, a customer had achieved I think 9 days usage which is good if you only need to know roughly what a vehicle has been doing from day to day but you will miss on a hell of a lot of info in an hour.
Review written by Melvin Rattenbury of M.R Investigations