Has your teen recently started driving? Do you worry about your elderly parents driving around? Or are you a business owner finding it difficult to manage your fleet of vehicles?
An OBD car GPS tracker can be the answer to your woes. These trackers conveniently fit into the OBD port of your car, bus, or truck. They can provide real-time tracking and alerts like geofences and vibration.
They can also help monitor driving behavior and routes.
One such device we will be reviewing today is the TKSTAR 4G GPS tracker. The tracker offers the features mentioned above at no monthly fee. Moreover, you have lifetime access to its app and web platform for online tracking.
You can configure the device through SMS; this can be challenging for some users. And you take some time to figure out how the app works.
The review aims to present the OBD tracker features and performance and understand whether it is worth buying.
|Model||TKSTAR TK816 OBD|
|Dimension (W x H x D)||53mm x 46mm x 23mm|
|Battery||Fits into the OBD portBuilt-in - Rechargeable lithium-ion, 3.7 V, 80 mAh|
|Working Voltage||10 - 40 V|
|Storage Temperature||-40°C to 85°C|
|Operating Temperature||-20°C to 55°C|
|Subscription Plan||No monthly feesPay for SIM card data plans|
|Amazon Rating||3.9 out of 5 (102 global ratings)|
About TKSTAR 4G GPS Tracker
TKSTAR Technology Co. Limited is the company behind the brand TKSTAR. It was founded in 2010 in Shenzhen, China. The company aims to manufacture innovative GPS products, which include trackers, navigation, and communication devices.
All research, development, production, and sales processes are handled in-house. The company offers its products in over 150 countries worldwide.
TKSTAR’s product offerings include portable, OBD, and hardwired trackers. These devices can be used to track and monitor vehicles, people, assets, and pets.
To improve customer experience, the company offers 24/7 customer support.
Who is The TKSTAR 4G GPS Tracker For?
The TKSTAR – TK816 is an OBD tracker. One can use the trackers to track cars, off-roaders, buses, and trucks.
You can use the tracker for personal applications like monitoring your teen’s driving routes and behavior. For example, you can set geofences to know when they leave school and arrive home.
You can use the speeding alerts and historical playback feature to understand how they drive. You can use this information to help them develop safer driving habits.
If you worry about your elderly parents driving, you can keep track of their location with the OBD tracker.
From a business perspective, fleet managers can manage multiple vehicles with one account. For example, you can view your drivers’ routes and how long they take to reach their destination.
So, individuals and business owners can use the TKSTAR OBD tracker to track vehicles.
5 Important Factors We Tested The Product On
So now we know what the OBD tracker can do and who it is meant for. But how does the tracker perform? Is it easy to assemble and use? What are its distinguishing features? Let us find out.
The OBD tracker is conveniently sized and lightweight. Its dimensions are 53mm x 46mm x 23mm, and it weighs about 1.5 ounces. It supports GSM and GPRS networks.
One end of the device will be connected to the OBD port. You will find the SIM card slot, USB port, and network indicator lights on the other end.
You will receive only the device and an instruction manual in the package. You must buy the SIM card, USB cable, and car charger separately.
OBD trackers draw power from the vehicle’s battery. So, you can plug the tracker in and forget about it. The tracker will continue to function as long as the vehicle is moving or the engine is on.
But what happens when you turn the engine off? In some cases, the OBD trackers enter the offline mode and stop working. But what if your vehicle gets towed, bumped, or stolen in the meantime?
The TKSTAR 4G GPS tracker has a built-in battery to overcome this issue. It has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery with 3.7 V and 80 mAh capacity.
Depending on the application and mode, the battery can last about an hour after turning off the engine.
TKSTAR offers two sleep modes to extend the battery life: sleep by time and shock sensor.
In the time mode, the tracker will work for 5 minutes and go to sleep. It will switch from GPS to a GSM network. You can wake the tracker by call or SMS.
In the shock sensor mode, in case of no activity for 5 minutes, the tracker enters sleep mode and switches to the GSM network. Vibration, call, or SMS can wake the tracker.
With OBD trackers, the battery is never an issue when the vehicle is moving. The built-in battery is a good feature, but its capacity is low. I recommend using any one of the sleep modes, without which the tracker will hardly last for an hour with the engine turned off.
You will first need a compatible SIM card to start using the tracker. The SIM card needs to be capable of making calls and sending texts. It should also have internet access. On average, the device uses 30 MB of data monthly. If the SIM has a pin, ensure it is removed.
Once the SIM is activated, insert it into the tracker. Then, you can configure the device using SMS commands. For example, you can set overspeeding alarms or activate sleep mode. You can get the list of SMS commands from the TKSTAR website.
You need to insert the device in your vehicle’s OBD port. The port is typically available under the driver-side dashboard. However, depending on the car model, the port may be under the passenger-side dashboard.
For real-time tracking, you can download the TKSTAR GPS app. Or you can use the web online tracking platform. For the online platform, you will need the IMEI number of the device to log in.
The app has several features, but the UI and performance are not at par. There is limited documentation, so you will initially spend time exploring features and how the app works. This can take you a good couple of hours.
Overall, the assembly and usability of the TKSTAR OBD tracker are fairly easy. But be prepared to surf through multiple information sources and troubleshoot by yourself.
In terms of features, I would say the TKSTAR OBD tracker is a basic model. It lets you set geofences around an area. This area could be your home, office, school, college, or a family member’s place.
The radius of the fence is adjustable from 0 to 5000 m. You can configure the device to send alerts when the tracker enters or leaves a geofence.
You can set an overspeed alarm. Here you can preset the maximum speed for your vehicle. If the driver exceeds the preset speed, the tracker will send alerts to the administrator number.
With the vibration alarm, you will get an alert if the tracker moves for about 3 seconds from a stationary position. Please note that for the alarm to work, the tracker must be stationary for at least 5 minutes.
Another alert type available is low battery. You will be alerted when the tracker’s backup battery falls under 20%.
Overall, these are entry-level features you can find in most car GPS trackers.
The TKSTAR OBD tracker is a basic and budget-friendly device. So, its performance is a reflection of its price point. If you need location updates but do not want to worry about charging the device or monthly subscription plans, consider buying the tracker.
I am torn about its performance rating because, in most cases, the device offered accurate location information. But in some cases, the location updates were incorrect.
This could be because of the device switching from GPS to LBS mode.
According to TKSTAR, the accuracy is 5 to 10 m in GPS mode, but in LBS mode, the accuracy falls down to 100 to 1000 m. This could mean the location could be off by over half a mile.
You get a Google Maps link for real-time tracking, so that is a plus.
Considering its price point, I would rate the device’s performance a 3.7 out of 5.
What Sets The TKSTAR 4G GPS Tracker Apart From Its Competitors?
One of the distinguishing features of the TKSTAR tracker is that you get lifetime free access to the app and web platform. You do not have to pay monthly or annual subscription fees to use the online tracking service.
You do have to pay for a SIM card, but a basic plan should suffice.
It supports GPS and LBS dual positioning mode. In case of a poor GPS signal, it will switch to LBS mode. But as mentioned above, the accuracy and performance can be inconsistent.
Should You Purchase The TKSTAR 4G GPS Tracker?
If budget is a priority and you are okay with basic tracking features, the TKSTAR OBD tracker can be a decent buy.
It has a built-in battery. You can set alerts for speed and movement. You will have to spend time understanding how to assemble and use the device.
Read the pros and cons below before adding the tracker to your cart.
- You can get real-time tracking details with Google Maps.
- You can set geofences and receive alerts when the vehicle enters or leaves.
- It has an 80 mAh built-in battery.
- You get lifetime free access to the app and web platform for online tracking with no monthly fees.
- You can check historical routes for up to 6 months.
- You need to buy the SIM card separately.
- The app needs significant improvements.
- Accuracy can be off in the LBS mode.
The TKSTAR 4G GPS tracker is priced at $59.98.
You do not have to pay any monthly or annual subscription fees. However, you must buy a SIM card supporting calls, texts, and the internet. It will use about 30 MB of data monthly. A $5 to $10 monthly plan should be enough.
No. When you buy the OBD tracker, you only receive the device and an instruction manual in the package. You need to buy a compatible SIM card separately.
No. The OBD tracker can only be attached to the OBD port inside the car. If you need a tracker that can be placed under your vehicle, look for portable trackers with built-in magnets like 4G TK905 or TK820.
Yes. It is possible to track multiple trackers under one account. Please email the customer support team the IDs of all your trackers, and they will create an account for you.
The TKSTAR 4G GPS tracker is a pocket-friendly product that does not have a monthly fee. It can help you track your loved ones when they are driving. As a business owner, you can better manage your fleet.
It offers real-time tracking with Google Maps. You can set geofence, speeding, and vibration alerts. It has a built-in battery that can last for about an hour. To extend battery life, TKSTAR offers two sleep modes.
You can configure and use the tracker through SMS, the TKSTAR GPS app, or the web platform.
Overall, the tracker has a decent design, performance, and accuracy for its low price point.
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Carson Harris is a highly qualified author and expert in GPS tracking technology. With a background in electrical engineering and machine learning, he has established himself as a trusted source of information. Carson’s work experience at Garmin and Panasonic has further enhanced his expertise. He possesses creative skills in website design and AI applications. Known for his clear and concise communication, Carson’s articles on Trax Family’s website provide valuable insights on GPS trackers.