I participated in a live demo of the Garmin GTU 10 at Macworld | iWorld, and the very first thing that came to my mind was an incident concerning a young man out riding his bicycle when he was hit by a car in a hit and run accident. He was thrown off the road out of sight and bled to death before anyone found him. Had he been wearing a GTU 10 that could be monitored by loved ones, he probably would have been saved. Based on that recent memory, I was eager to review this product to see if it really worked.
Garmin GTU 10
The Garmin GTU 10 has an MSRP of US$199.99. I found it at Amazon for US$170. The package includes the waterproof GTU 10, a carrying case, USB cable, and carabiner clip. It measures 3 x 1.3 x 0.8-in., weighs 1.07 ounces and is available in black. Tracking data is delivered across AT&T’s wireless network. There is a free iPhone app (Garmin Tracker) that allows email monitoring messages and texts to be sent to your phone. The product includes one year free standard tracking service. The renewal rate is US$49 a year.
Using the product
The first time you use the GTU 10, there are setup steps. First you have to register and activate it on your computer. Connect to the computer using the USB cable supplied. Then you must go on line to register and activate it. URL and directions are included in the users manual that accompanies the device.
You can set the tracking settings and create geofences at the same time. You can set up as many as 10 geofences. A geofence is a virtual boundary, defined by the user, who sets the boundaries by placing markers at strategic corners. The virtual boundaries of the geofences are accurate up to +/- five meters. Alerts are tripped if the goefence is penetrated. If your phone can receive text messages, you can set up text message alerts. While on line, you may set up both text messaging and email notifications.
The final step is to charge the GTU 10, using an appropriate charging device. Your computer is recommended. Battery life varies greatly depending on use. It can go from seven days if just used as a locator to one day when used with geofencing with 30-second notifications.
One of the features allows the user to create continuous GPS tracking sessions (location reports every 15 seconds for up to 5 hours). Another is to send invitations for others to track your activities. You can also view history of where your GTU 10 has been.
I tested the geofencing aspect of the GTU 10 with my neighbors dog since my cat, Abby, and I have a clear understanding. I get to go outside and she doesn’t. We set the geofence boundaries within the confines of our condo property lines and were able to monitor the dog’s whereabouts as long as he had the GTU attached to his collar. At the point that he wandered outside the geofence area, I received a text message to that affect since I had set up text messaging when I registered my unit.
I neither bicycled nor climbed a mountain to test the unit, but did test it while walking and it worked as promised.
Do I recommend it?
I do. There are numerous reasons why this product will be invaluable to people. I wish I had had one when my children were teens and driving. I can tell you that it works. Only you know if you need it and are willing to pay US$200 for each one.