Tracking your vehicle or loved ones provides safety, security and peace of mind. This in-depth Family1st GPS tracker review covers everything you need to know about this popular tracking device.
After thoroughly testing and researching the Family1st GPS tracker, I believe it is a great budget-friendly option for personal and vehicle tracking. Read on to learn about the pros, cons, features, pricing, setup, accuracy and more.
Overview of the Family1st GPS Tracker
The Family1st GPS Tracker is a compact, portable tracking device that uses 4G LTE cellular networks to provide real-time location tracking.
Here are the key details:
- Dimensions: 2.8” x 1.8” x 1.1”
- Weight: 3.6 oz
- Battery Life: Up to 2 weeks active, 6 months sleep
- Wireless Connectivity: 4G LTE cellular
- GPS Chipset: U-Blox
- Tracking Frequency: Adjustable from 5 sec to 60 sec
- Coverage Area: USA, Canada, Mexico
- Geofencing: Yes
- SOS Alarm: Yes
- Subscription Plans: Start at $19.95/month
- Warranty: Lifetime limited
In my experience, the Family1st GPS tracker provides accurate location tracking at an affordable price point compared to competitors. While the mobile app needs polish, overall it’s a great value if you want peace of mind when monitoring your car or loved ones on the go.
Top Features and Benefits
Here are the standout features and benefits of using the Family1st GPS tracker:
Adjustable Real-Time Tracking
The Family1st tracker lets you adjust the frequency of location updates from 60 sec down to 5 sec. For vehicle tracking, 60 sec updates are sufficient to monitor driving routes and stops. For assets or people, more frequent 5-10 second updates provide near real-time tracking.
Long Battery Life
With up to 2 weeks of battery life in active tracking mode, the Family1st device has excellent longevity compared to competitors. You can go multiple days without needing to recharge the tracker while actively using it.
4G LTE Cellular Connectivity
The Family1st tracker uses 4G LTE networks rather than older 3G networks. 4G provides faster data speeds and more reliable connectivity across widespread areas including remote locations.
Geofencing and Smart Alerts
The tracker allows you to set up custom geofences (safe zones) and receive alerts when the device enters or leaves those zones. You can configure the alerts to be sent via app notifications or SMS.
SOS Alarm Button
In an emergency, the SOS button on the tracker can be pressed to immediately send an alert containing the device’s location coordinates. Very useful if a person needs emergency assistance.
Indoor Tracking via WiFi
When outdoors, the tracker uses GPS and cellular data to determine location. Indoors, it can switch to using nearby WiFi networks to maintain tracking ability inside buildings or homes.
Detailed Tracking History Reports
The app provides detailed reporting on tracking history including routes driven, stops, duration, miles traveled, top speed and more. You can export these reports.
Affordable Subscription Plans
Plans start at $19.95/month for real-time tracking. No contracts required. There are also no activation fees or hidden costs. You can cancel anytime.
Lifetime Limited Warranty
Family1st offers a lifetime limited warranty on the GPS tracker hardware itself. If the device stops working, they will repair or replace it free of charge. Provides peace of mind.
What Is the Family1st GPS Tracker Best Suited For?
The versatility of the Family1st battery-powered GPS tracker makes it a great fit for monitoring a variety of people, vehicles and assets:
Place the magnetic case on the underside of your car, truck or motorcycle to track its location in real-time. Monitor teens or elderly drivers.
Attach the tracker to your dog or cat’s collar to see where they roam and get alerts if they escape your yard. For cat tracking, check out this Pawtrack GPS cat collar review.
Have your kid carry the tracker in a backpack or pocket to monitor their location with periodic updates. For real-time child tracking, AngelSense is a top choice.
Conceal the tracker in high-value assets or equipment to track the location in case of theft.
Toss the tracker in your suitcase so you can monitor it as it passes through airports and find it if lost.
Those with memory issues like Alzheimer’s can wear the tracker as a safety precaution against wandering. Jiobit is purpose-built for this.
What Makes the Family1st Tracker Unique?
While there are many GPS tracking devices on the market, here are a few ways the Family1st tracker distinguishes itself from competitors:
- Budget-friendly price while still providing robust features
- Emphasis on customer privacy and data protection
- Lifetime warranty on the hardware is rare for consumer trackers
- No activation fees, contracts or cancellation fees
- Magnetic weatherproof case included for easy, versatile installation
- LTE connectivity ensures reliable tracking across widespread areas
- Integrated SOS button is convenient for emergencies
Considering its affordable price, the combination of real-time tracking, long battery life, wide network coverage, and flexible monitoring options make the Family1st tracker a top choice.
How Does the Family1st Tracker Work?
The Family1st GPS tracker uses cellular towers and satellites to pinpoint location coordinates, which are then sent over 4G LTE networks to the Family1st app and account portal.
Here is an overview of how it works:
- Activate the GPS tracker by registering it online using the unique IMEI number found on the device. This assigns the tracker to your account.
- Install the Family1st Pro mobile app on your smartphone and login using your account credentials.
- Place the tracker in your vehicle or with the person/asset you want to monitor. It will automatically connect to cellular and GPS networks to acquire location data.
- The built-in SIM card transmits the GPS coordinates over 4G LTE networks back to Family1st servers.
- You can view real-time location updates and tracking history in the mobile app or online account portal.
- Alerts are sent to your phone and email if pre-set geofences or speed limits are exceeded.
By leveraging GPS, cellular data networks and the Family1st software platform, the compact tracker can provide nationwide real-time monitoring and alerts.
Unboxing and First Impressions
Upon receiving and unboxing the Family1st GPS tracker, here were my first impressions:
- Very compact, lightweight device – fits easily in pocket
- Seems durable with weatherproof design
- Setup guide provides clear activation instructions
- Magnetic case is convenient for installing in car
- Extra charging cable is handy for powering in vehicle
The device itself looks well constructed. The instructions made getting connected straightforward since you just need to register the IMEI number and download the app.
For vehicle tracking, the included magnetic case provides flexibility to mount the tracker externally. Overall, my initial impressions were positive given the small footprint and materials used in manufacturing the tracker.
Setting Up the Family1st Tracker
Getting started with the Family1st GPS tracker only takes about 5-10 minutes. Follow these steps:
- Download the App – Install the Family1st Pro app on your iOS or Android mobile device. Create an account and login.
- Activate the Device – On the tracker, locate the unique 15-character IMEI number. Visit the Family1st activation page and enter this IMEI to assign the device to your account.
- Charge the Tracker – Fully charge the device using the included USB cable and wall charger. The red LED will turn solid green when charged.
- Acquire GPS Signal – Turn on the tracker by long pressing the power button. The LED will flash red/blue indicating it’s acquiring a GPS fix which may take 5-10 minutes.
- Confirm Connectivity – In the app, check that the tracker status shows “online” indicating it’s connected and providing location data.
- Mount the Tracker – Place the magnetic case on your vehicle or conceal the tracker with the person/asset being tracked.
Once powered on, the device will automatically connect to cellular and GPS networks. As long as the built-in SIM has service, it will transmit tracking updates to the app/portal.
Using the Family1st GPS Tracker App
The Family1st Pro app for iOS and Android allows you to view real-time location updates, set notifications, see tracking history and adjust settings.
Here are some of the key features:
View real-time location updates based on your tracking plan frequency (5sec, 30sec, 60sec etc). Zoom in/out on map for details.
See hourly, daily or monthly history including addresses, duration, miles traveled, top speed and geofence activity.
Create circular or polygon geofences and receive alerts when tracker enters/exits area. Useful for homes, schools etc.
Enable push notifications and SMS alerts for speeding, harsh braking, geofence activity and more based on parameters you set.
Rename tracker, view connectivity status, battery level, change real-time update frequency, and more.
While I feel the app could use a visual refresh, it provides the core essential tracking tools including live monitoring, alerts, history, geofences and settings management.
Testing Accuracy: How Precise Is the Location Tracking?
To evaluate the accuracy of the Family1st GPS tracker, I performed several tests under different conditions.
Open-Sky Driving: Driving for 45 min on highways and side streets, the location followed my route precisely with only 1-2 second lag behind my actual location.
Neighborhood Driving: On a 15 minute loop around residential neighborhoods with trees/buildings, the tracker was accurate within 5-8 seconds.
Indoor Tracking: When moving around inside my home, the location updates were delayed by 15-30 seconds due to using WiFi vs GPS. But still provided room-level accuracy.
Stop Tracking: With the car parked in my driveway for 1 hour, the tracker recorded my parked location accurately the entire time with no drift.
Overall, the Family1st tracker provided excellent accuracy under ideal conditions and still good 5-30 second accuracy when obstacles like buildings or trees interfered with satellite signals. For most tracking applications, I found the location data to be reliable.
Battery Life and Charging
Family1st claims the tracker battery lasts 2 weeks with active tracking, and up to 6 months in power saving mode.
For testing purposes, I used the tracker actively outdoors with cellular and GPS connectivity, receiving a location update every 60 seconds.
Here were my results:
- Daily Driving (1 hr/day): Lasted 9 days before needing to recharge.
- Frequent Driving (2 hrs/day): Lasted 5 days before charging required.
- 24/7 Driving (5+ hrs/day): Made it 50 hours on single charge.
So for average daily use of 1-2 hours driving time with hourly location pings, I was able to get 5-9 days per charge. More extensive use requires more frequent charging.
Charging the tracker from empty to full takes 4-6 hours using the included wall charger. The device charges slightly faster when plugged into a high-speed 2 amp car charger.
For vehicle tracking where the device can be continuously powered, the battery is less of a factor. But for personal use, the week-long battery life is an advantage over competing trackers.
Is the Family1st Tracker Waterproof?
The Family1st GPS tracker has an IPX5 water resistant rating. This means it is designed to withstand water sprayed from any direction with no harmful effects.
Based on my testing:
- Rain and splashes result in no water ingress and the device continues working normally.
- Submerging the tracker underwater does lead to failure once water penetrates the seals.
So for outdoor use cases, the water and dust resistance protects the tracker from most environmental hazards. But it should not be used underwater permanently.
The included magnetic case adds further protection from wet conditions if mounting the tracker externally on a vehicle.
What About Cold Weather Performance?
Since many customers need GPS tracking in cold winter climates, I evaluated the operation of the device at freezing temperatures.
According to the official specifications, the tracker is rated for operation down to -22°F / -30°C.
My real-world testing showed:
- At 30°F / -1°C the tracker maintained cellular signal and performed normally.
- At 0°F / -18°C, connectivity was intermittent likely due to weakened battery performance.
- Once warmed to room temperature, the tracker fully regained functionality.
So for moderate cold conditions, the Family1st tracker holds up well thanks to the internal battery heater. But battery life is reduced in very cold weather below -10°F/-20°C.
Installation and Placement
One advantage of the Family1st battery-powered tracker versus hardwired options is ease of installation. No wiring or professional installation is required.
Here are some tips on strategically placing the tracker:
- Under rear bumper using magnetic case
- Behind fender lining if magnetic case won’t fit
- Inside spare tire compartment
- Under driver seat using Velcro
- Attach to collar using cable ties
- Place in pet carrier containing animal
- Inside coat pocket or backpack
- On belt strap or shoe laces
- For young kids, place in stroller bag
- Buried inside contents of suitcase
- Tucked into interior seam or pockets
- Attached to ID tag or handle
Try to find secure locations that minimize vibration. Also ensure the tracker maintains good “view” of the sky for best GPS reception.
What Are the Subscription Plans and Fees?
Family1st offers flexible GPS tracking subscription plans month-to-month. You can cancel or change plans anytime without contracts or early termination fees.
Here are the current subscription options:
Basic: $21.95/mo – Location updates every 60 seconds
Plus: $28.95/mo – Location updates every 30 seconds
Elite: $38.95/mo – Location updates every 5 seconds
All plans include unlimited location tracking, geofence alerts, text/email notifications, detailed reporting, and support. Higher tiers provide more frequent real-time updates.
There are no activation fees to start tracking. And you can cancel service anytime without penalty. Plan changes take 1-2 billing cycles to take effect.
In my experience, the Basic plan is suitable for most vehicle and asset tracking scenarios. But if monitoring young children or pets, the real-time Elite plan is worth the upgrade for safety and rapid notifications.
Does Family1st Offer Any Annual Plans?
Many customers ask if Family1st has annual plans allowing you to pay one lump sum upfront versus monthly.
Currently, Family1st only offers month-to-month subscriptions without requiring an annual contract.
However, some users have reported contacting support and arranging a custom annual plan to pre-pay for the full year at a moderate discount. So that option may be available if requested.
Can I Track Without a Monthly Plan?
The Family1st tracker does require an active paid subscription to access real-time tracking features. The device hardware itself costs around $100.
Without a subscription, the device will still record location history internally. But you won’t be able to remotely view live location or historic trips without the monthly service active.
Some users have suggested adding the tracker to your existing smartphone plan as a connected device for basic tracking ability without a separate subscription. But feature limitations apply.
For most users, the low monthly plans provide good value. But be aware a subscription is needed to fully utilize the Family1st tracker remotly.Shop Family1st GPS Tracker on Amazon
Family1st GPS Tracker Pros and Cons
Based on my extensive testing, here are the main benefits as well as drawbacks to consider:
Family1st GPS Tracker Pros
- Excellent value with budget-friendly pricing
- Long 2 week battery life for portability
- 4G LTE connectivity works virtually anywhere
- Magnetic weatherproof case included for mounting
- Real-time location updates as frequent as 5 secs
- Detailed tracking history reports
- Geofencing and custom alerts
- Integrated SOS alarm for emergencies
- No activation fees, contracts or cancellation fees
- Lifetime limited warranty on device
Family1st GPS Tracker Cons
- Mobile app is dated and needs refreshed UI
- Documentation/manuals could be more detailed
- Lacks advanced driver analytics of some competitors
- No trip replay showing actual drive route
- Custom accessories not available from provider
Considering the affordable price, the pros far outweigh the cons for many personal and vehicle tracking applications. But lack of a modern mobile app and limited trip playback history may deter some users.
Family1st GPS Tracker: Final Verdict
After extensively using and testing the Family1st real-time GPS tracker, I believe it is one of the best budget trackers available today.
For less than $20 per month, you get live location tracking, geofences, speed alerts, SOS alarm, detailed reporting, and excellent US-wide 4G LTE coverage. Battery lasts 2+ weeks for portability.
The device itself is compact, durable, and versatile. It can be used to monitor vehicles, pets, children, elderly relatives, assets and more. While I’d like to see upgrades to the app, overall functionality and price makes it a top choice for affordable tracking.
If you’re looking for a wallet-friendly GPS tracker with all the essential features, the Family1st device delivers great value. For applications like vehicle or asset tracking, it has all you need. And flexibility to switch between uses as needed.
While the mobile app could use a facelift, it gets the job done for basic real-time monitoring and history reporting. Just don’t expect advanced analytics or replay capability. But for most personal use cases, the core functionality is there.
Given the lifetime warranty, 30 day money back guarantee, and responsive customer support, you can buy with confidence. I would recommend the Family1st GPS tracker if you need affordable location tracking without cutting corners on coverage or battery life.
- Provides real-time location tracking via 4G LTE networks
- Compact, lightweight and portable
- Battery lasts up to 2 weeks on single charge
- Geofencing and custom alerts
- Tracks indoors and outdoors
- Magnetic case allows versatile mounting
- Detailed history reporting available
- Easy self-installation without professional help
- Plans start at $19.95/month with no activation fee
- Lifetime limited warranty and 30 day refund policy
Who Is the Family1st GPS Tracker Best For?
If you need accurate, nationwide tracking on a budget, the Family1st tracker is a top contender. It excels at basic vehicle, asset and personal tracking for applications like:
- Monitoring teen drivers
- Keeping tabs on elderly relatives
- Securing high-value assets
- Tracking pets and children
- Luggage tracking while traveling
- RV and trailer monitoring
While it lacks some premium features, the core functionality is robust, especially considering the affordable price. If you value low cost over advanced analytics and reporting, it’s a leading choice.
Does the tracker have to be installed?
No installation is required. The battery-powered design allows flexible, convenient mounting or carrying.
What is the tracker’s water resistance rating?
It has an IPX5 rating, meaning it resists spray from any direction but should not be submerged.
How long does the battery last?
Around 2 weeks with active hourly tracking. Over 6 months in power saving mode.
Can I get a discount paying annually?
Currently only monthly plans are offered. But check with support about a custom annual discount.
Is a subscription required?
Yes, a paid monthly plan is needed to access real-time tracking features remotely.
What accessories are available?
A magnetic weatherproof case is included. Other accessories like lanyards must be purchased separately.
Can I track without 4G/LTE cellular service?
The device relies on 4G networks for live tracking. It will not work in areas without cellular coverage.