Pixie Point Bluetooth tracker: Our first take

Bluetooth trackers are a dime a dozen. There’s the Tile, a one-time-use Bluetooth tracker. Then there’s the LassoTag iBeacon, a reasonable various with a chargeable battery and thermometer. There’s additionally the Protag Duet, a colourful, round adhesive tracker with as much as eight months of battery life. And there’s the TrackR, a wi-fi tracker with a one-yr of battery life and international positioning. However the market’s more and more crowded nature hasn’t stopped new entrants from making an attempt their luck. And the newest, the Pixie Level, is probably the most promising but — on paper, at the least.

At first look, the Pixie Level seems to supply a veritable cornucopia of helpful monitoring options. A proprietary app guarantees to disclose the exact location of close by Pixies with a simple-to-spot arrow icon. Pixies create their very own native mesh community that enhances the accuracy of monitoring. And Pixie Factors resist water and don’t absorb mud.

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However all too typically, the Pixie Level fails to ship on its guarantees. That’s to not say it’s altogether ineffective — most of the time, the Pixie helps to level within the basic neighborhood of lacking objects — however it stumbles extra typically than could be anticipated of a Bluetooth tracker at its worth vary.

Good concepts, poor execution

The Pixie Level expertise is a cultured package deal, although. The app offers easy onboarding directions — and than it’s off to the races. When you’ve downloaded the newest Pixie app, you’re instructed to designate one Pixie Level as an “anchor” — it’ll stay affixed to the highest-proper nook of your iPhone or iPad when you’re performing searches. Subsequent, you’ll pair every further Pixie Level by following the app’s offered diagrams. As soon as that’s carried out, you’re free to start attaching the remaining factors to the property you’re most nervous about misplacing.

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Its pretty self-explanatory from that time (no pun meant). The app consists of an inventory of Pixie Factors you’ve paired within the current previous, replete with their respective distances (in ft or meters, relying in your choice) from the anchor Pixie. Tapping on one launches the search interface, which requires you to “scan” your environment by holding your iPad or iPhone at arm’s size and sweeping slowly within the course of the onscreen arrows. It’s kind of like taking a panoramic image.

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Sadly, it’s just a little erratic. In our expertise, the Pixie app needed to do fairly a little bit of “scanning” earlier than it had an sufficient image, so to talk, of its environment. It wasn’t unusual for our reviewer to full a few cycles in any given path, and scans tended to be somewhat unpredictable. Some took seconds, whereas others took near a minute.

Sadly, it’s somewhat erratic.

As soon as the app is completed scanning, although, the Pixie Level actually shines –at the very least in concept. The app’s headlining asset is an augmented actuality Pixie Mud function that overlays an animated cloud of coloured mud atop the situation of the Pixie Level — even via partitions and furnishings. Audio cues of accelerating loudness let you already know whenever you’re getting shut, and whenever you’re inside a number of ft, a “metallic detector” interface — a shifting gauge with purple and inexperienced indicators — point out the Pixie Level’s distance from the merchandise inside inches.

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A minimum of, that’s the way it’s presupposed to work. We had hassle getting the Pixie Mud show to work correctly. Within the absolute worst instances, it appeared in the other way of the Pixie Level, realigning solely when our reviewer started to stroll towards it. It made a time-consuming course of much more cumbersome.

We did discover the “metallic detector” genuinely helpful. The regular beeping served as a great, dependable indication of our closeness to the Pixie Level, in some instances getting us again on monitor when the Pixie Mud led us astray.

Spectacular know-how, however poor consumer expertise

The know-how behind the Pixie Level is extremely spectacular. It creates a mesh community that ostensibly allows exact, GPS-like triangulation of every unit inside a sure radius (one hundred fifty ft outdoor and 50 ft indoors). The app enables you to assign names to Pixie Factors with a purpose to higher manage them — you’ll be able to identify one “automotive keys,” for instance, and one other “laptop computer” or “pet collar.” And you may create kits of issues — say, a piece bag — and obtain an alert when objects go lacking from it.

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In distinction to some competing Bluetooth trackers available on the market, Pixie Factors don’t sacrifice options for compactness. They measure 1.9 x 1.four x zero.1 inches, however last as long as 12 months on a cost. (Sadly, the battery isn’t replaceable — when a Pixie Level dies, you’ll want to purchase a brand new one.)

All in all, the Pixie Level ecosystem has an extended method to go. It’s disappointingly inconsistent. And even when it does work, it requires finagling to get good. That had us questioning: Wouldn’t all that point calibrating the Pixie Factors be higher spent looking for them ourselves?

It’s a query Pixie should reply if it needs to persuade consumers to fork over $50 for 2 Pixies or $one hundred for 4. At these costs, it’s simply one of many costlier Bluetooth trackers available on the market. Tile Mate prices $25. The HButler Orbit begins at $30. If Pixie needs its answer to measure as much as the market’s greatest, it has its work reduce out for it.

The Pixie Level is on the market direct from Pixie direct. It’s solely suitable with iOS units for now, however an Android app is due later this yr.

Highs

  • Promising mesh networking know-how
  • Polished app

Lows

  • Inaccurate and inconsistent monitoring
  • Finicky setup course of

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