Zoombak: The Technologizer Review

zoombak-locator-loresFrom time to time here on the site we like to review some of the products we come across in our travels around the country to various events, and the Zoombak is one of those products. Simply put, the device is a personal GPS locator which allows for a variety of uses in tracking objects — whether it be a car, your pet, or even a person.

The Zoombak unit itself is very compact, measuring in at about 2.9 inches long by 1.7 inches wide, and is about .8 inches thick. It’s light weight, about 2.5 ounces, makes its use on just about anything without much consideration for size or weight fairly practical.

Zoombak sent us the pet version, which includes a pouch that can be attached to a collar, as well as wall charger. A version is sold for the car which replaces the pouch for a car charger, and there is also a universal option which includes both pieces.

The pet version and universal version retail for $200, while the car model is $250. The difference in price for the car model is due to the fact that a car installation kit and 12V charging apparatus are included within the package.

GPS location systems are done through Assisted GPS, which uses the T-Mobile network and cellular towers to assist in locating the device. We found the system to work about as well as any cellular GPS system on the market — which means positioning won’t always be 100 percent accurate but fairly close overall.

In order to use the device, the user must register it and sign up for a service package with Zoombak. If a user goes month-by-month, the device costs $14.99 monthly. However, a user can lower the rate to $9.99 monthly if they pay up front.

For some, this might seem to be a hefty price to pay for tracking. However, potential savings can come from elsewhere: if its an animal involved, the money saved by not aimlessly searching and/or not losing the pet altogether (which these days can cost hundreds if not thousands), or if in the auto, some insurance companies may give a break for tracking devices installed in cars.

Compare this with LoJack — which can be far more expensive, and Zoombak looks more and more like a good deal.

Tracking is done through the company’s website, which gives you the options to set notifications when the device either moves in or out of a certain area. We found this feature to be the neatest of the Zoombak offerings.

zoombak_device_size_loresI set a zone which allowed me to set a certain distance around my home. It works — my dog loves to roam. As soon as she moved out of the area I had set, within a few moments I had received a text message on my phone alerting me to it.

No more searching for pooch, that’s definitely nice.

There’s a plethora of other uses here. Take for example your gallavanting daughter or son tells you they’re going to their friend’s house. Set a zone around that location, and you’ll know if they get there. Yes, it may be a little too big brother for some, but if your a nervous parent, it’s piece of mind.

One beef we had with the system is the requirement that you must log in to the site in order to track. We would have preferred to have some system where the information could have been public: the Zoombak representatives we talked to seemed to suggest that is likely not in the cards.

Overall, we are very pleased with this unit, and are sad to see it go back. The possibilities for use of the Zoombak are almost endless, and I’m sure enterprising techies will find new uses for this. Either way, personal tracking devices seem to be a burgeoning market, and I’m sure we’ll see more of these types of devices in the future.

Either way, if you have the money and a use for this, the Zoombak may be a good idea for the Christmas list this year. It may be a little pricey, but the potential savings are quite significant. And the piece of mind is, too.


2 comments

  1. John Duffy November 12, 2008 at 1:02 pm #

    Upfront – I’m with LoJack; while Zoombak looks fine, the facts need work.

    Cost – LoJack costs less, not more. It has no monthly fee, so while it costs more upfront to pay for the police tower network, breakeven is about 3 years compared to Zoombak. And LoJack lasts as long as that car is on the road; documented recoveries each month on vehicles installed 15-20 years ago.

    Recovery – Would anybody suggest trying to actually recover their own vehicle? Police have LoJack tracking computers in helicopters and patrol cars, automatic alerts of stolen LoJack vehicles in the area means they can track, AND recover your vehicle fast, typically within hours, guaranteed in 24 hours. Leave recovery to the professionals.

  2. Jack Starkey January 11, 2009 at 8:10 am #

    I used to like LoJack however with LoJack’s very limited coverage area and old technology coupled with it’s inability to transfer to my next vehicle I think the new technology (GPS) works better and gives the owner a lot more flexability. I also would be concerned about owners chasing their own stolen car however talking to Zoombak they work with the police in this aspect.

    Cost, Zoombak wins here too, buy it and use it as long as you own the car, then buy a new car and transfer it and continue to use it. Unlike LoJack which forces you to buy a new loJack every time you buy a new car and by the way Zoombak costs less up front.

    The best part of Zoombak is the ability to have it work every where, what happens if you buy a Lojack and move to Vermont or one of the other 27 states it doesn’t work in? Will the car dealer or LoJack reimburse me, I don’t think so. They advertise coverage in 23 states however most of the time it is just one or two counties. I would reccommend checking with your local police dept. defore buying a Lojack you might be surprised here to. I also can use Zoombak on my ATV, boat and jet ski, again Lojack loses here too.

    The world moves fast and GPS is in the future. 8-Track Tapes, VCR’s and cathode tube televisions where great at one time but we all know what happened to them. If you don’t advance your technology you lose. I personally have used GPS for the last ten years it works, cost less, is good everywhere and is transferable.