PROS / This laptop tracking software allows you to take periodic pictures through the webcam.
CONS / GadgetTrak doesn't provide a way to remotely protect data on a stolen laptop.
VERDICT / This software has had a high success rate for recovering stolen laptops.
The creators of GadgetTrak are the ActiveTrak Inc. folks based in Portland, Oregon. The innovation of this laptop tracking software came about because of an outbreak of laptop thefts from local schools. Since the creation of this software, several of these local schools and others have installed and used this laptop tracking software to successfully recover stolen laptops. In fact, they claim to have around a 90% recovery rate. With odds like that, this software is a great choice for protecting these expensive gadgets, and we've named it our TopTenREVIEWS Bronze Award winner.
So why are the odds so good? The effectiveness of laptop tracking software is primarily based on the positioning technology that it uses. GadgetTrak uses Wi-Fi to triangulate the location of your stolen computer. The company claims that this system can narrow the location down to within 10 to 20 meters, in most cases, and even as close as a single meter in some. Whether it's one meter or 20, that's pretty accurate.
The one flaw to a Wi-Fi only system for this kind of software is that it is limited to areas that have Wi-Fi. These areas are always growing and currently they cover a good chunk of the U.S., Europe, South Korea, Japan and also select parts of Australia and Brazil. Beyond that, the rest of the world is pretty much hit and miss – with Wi-Fi only to be found in parts of major cities. Even in the U.S. and Europe, where it is most abundant, there are gaps in coverage.
That is why a hybrid system that included GPS and cellular signals along with Wi-Fi would perhaps be even better. Between the three you would have coverage almost everywhere, which would leave nowhere for thieves to run. However, most laptop tracking software, like GadgetTrak, doesn't have an overly extensive system like that. And when you have a 90% success rate, tacking on that extra little bit may not be necessary.
There are two major features that GadgetTrak laptop tracking software has. First of all, the software is supported by both Mac and Windows operating systems. It was originally for Macs only, but ActiveTrak Inc. has since added Windows compatibility as well. This was a good move on their part since it's a shared market. Besides, don't Windows users want to protect their laptops too?
The second feature is the webcam usage. Once this software is activated, it periodically takes photos via the webcam. This can result in some very incriminating mug shots, which can potentially help the police track down the offender more easily and pin the crime to them.
Ease of Use/Installation
Laptop tracking software is meant to be small enough to go unnoticed by thieves, that way they think they've gotten away with stealing your laptop. When they get home and turn it on, the Wi-Fi connects up, and they wind up with police on their door step with the mug shots that GadgetTrak takes. The small size means it can be stealthy like that, but it also means that the installation is very quick and that the application itself is simple and straightforward.
Support and Documentation
The GadgetTrak website is a little bit misleading. Most of the information about the laptop tracking software only refers to Macs, but it is indeed for Windows as well. Despite needing an update, the site has information on about everything you want to know. They included details on the features, FAQs, system requirements and more.
If you run into something that can't be found or that is unclear, and you want some more information, the GadgetTrak support team is very quick to respond to your requests. We sent an email with a question that they responded to in less than 10 minutes. Most of the time companies respond within the next few days via email and you have to call them to get an answer sooner, but that was not the case for us. Although this may not be the case every time or with every question, you can be assured that a speedy response is on the way.
ActiveTrak Inc. found a need and filled it. Responding to the increasing rate of stolen laptops, this company came up with GadgetTrak. This is one of the best laptop tracking software applications on the market. It has a high recovery rate and a reasonable price. Be aware that there isn't any data protection with it, so you'll need separate software for that, but all in all it does what it's meant to do.