We tried using the Zoombak in various modes, including walking around with it in a pocket and putting it in the glove compartment of a car. We also activated the continuous tracking mode before going on a bike ride. The simplest way to find Zoombak’s location is to sit in front of your PC and click the Find Now button.
Once the locator has been found, you can view the results on a map, which gives the location as a blue pin. Move your mouse over the pin and you can read the location. Zoombak also uses Microsoft Virtual Earth, allowing you to view Zoombak’s location as a photographic image for a bird’s eye view. There’s also a historical tracking mode which lets you see where a locator has been taken.
When the locator was being used out in the open, it didn’t take too long to locate it, but when it was indoors, finding it was much slower or not possible at all. When this happens, Zoombak asks you to ensure that the locator is in clear view of the sky, which could be a bit of a problem if it’s on the other side of the country...
That said, the zone alert system worked very well. In this mode, Zoombak automatically updates the location position every 15 minutes, and can send you a text or email warning whenever the device enters or leaves the zone. However, depending on where the locator is in the update cycle, this warning can arrive anywhere between two and 13 minutes after Zoombak has entered or left the zone. In our case, the alerts generally arrived within three minutes.
Zoombak is compact, easy to set-up and simple to use. The web-based service means you can access the locator anywhere there’s an internet connection – and you can also use your mobile. Like all GPS systems, it has its limitations, but we think it works fairly well for most general tracking applications. The question is, do you think it’s worth paying £10 a month in addition to the up-front £100 price tag for the privilege of keeping tabs on things. If you do, we think you’ll be pretty satisfied with the system.
Zoombak Universal A-GPS Locator
some answers from an owner
I have one of these and it works well.
Ralph B: I keep mine in the glovebox and yes, it does work in there as well as when I've given it to my daughter to carry in her pocket when she's gone on bike rides with her friends.
Elmer Phud: I also park my car in the garage over night and although i can't get a locate while it is in there, when i leave for work in the morning and leave the zone set up around my house, I do get the alert to say I have left the area and where my current location is at the time.
My daughter now wants to cycle to school each day (don't know why, it's bl**dy freezing!) so I am going to buy a second unit and set up a zone around her school and around home - that way i will know she has arrived at school safely and also i will know when she leaves school so I know when to expect her home. I'll also get an alert when she gets home so I know she's got back ok.
I don't pay 10 quid a month though. I chose to pay 99quid when i registered which gives me a years usage.
I haven't watched any zombie movies lately, but when I first read the title of the article, I thought: "Huh, what? A zombie locator? That's pretty cool."
Mine's the one with a decaying severed hand sticking out of the pocket.
Another pedant writes ...
Curiously, there was a similar misuse of the word 'latter' earlier today (rather than 'the latter which', 'the last of which' might have been preferable:
Given that it's unlikely that the same mistake would be made independently in two separate articles, maybe these are cryptic clues for a treasure hunt on Friday.