Although this GPS monitoring device is geared toward children with disabilities, anyone can appreciate AngelSense’s tracking functions and voice features that provide an extra layer of comfort for kids and parents. We tested it for a week and discovered it was helpful for a wide range of ages and needs, from anxious middle schoolers to aging parents with dementia.
AngelSense was born when co-founder and parent Doron Somer realized that technology could provide the safety and reassurance his son with autism desperately needed. This GPS monitor is essentially a customized Verizon cellphone that uses geofencing and tracking to broadcast the location of the device to a mobile app. Housed in a water-resistant case, the device attaches to your child with special fasteners that can unlocked only by the magnetic parent key.
I’m the parent of two kids, one in kindergarten and the other a preteen in middle school. While neither of them has been diagnosed with autism or another disability, both my children have anxiety issues that arise when we encounter a sudden change in plans or schedule. I tested AngelSense on both of my kids in various situations over the course of a week, putting the features through rigorous testing and a wide range of scenarios we encounter in our everyday hustle and bustle.
AngelSense GPS Tracker Features
We rated each of the following AngelSense features on a scale of one to five, including not only industry ratings and reviews but our own assessment of how the functions and features of this GPS monitor performed under product testing.
Carefully designed listening and calling capabilities make AngelSense an essential safety device for families with children with disabilities.
Children with autism and others with disabilities can wander and place themselves in danger, but younger children do this as well. AngelSense’s Listen-In function allows you to silently eavesdrop without alerting your child, ensuring they’re safe and sound. It’s also essential to help determine a specific location if your little one runs off without supervision. The audio you hear may alert you to traffic nearby, anyone who is speaking with your child, or other clues that could help you zero in on the area.
Sometimes just listening in isn’t enough, so this GPS monitor allows you to call and speak to your child. It sounds like a normal phone call on your end, but your child will hear a beep and then the comfort of your voice. It can be an essential tool for calming anxiety or providing reassurance that help is on the way.
In using Listen-In mode, we did discover the call quality was a little rough, perhaps because the speaker is muffled not only by the case, but also by the additional belt or cover. Listen-In mode also picked up some ambient noise from rustling clothing, making it difficult to discern specifics of the conversation. Note that if you don’t have good Verizon reception in your area, you can ask AngelSense for an alternative model that’ll work with a different provider.
Surprisingly, I found myself utilizing the voice capabilities quite often with both my younger and older child. For my kindergartner, I was grateful to be able to alert her to changes in our school pick-up plan and avoid the inevitable conflicts and tears. My middle schooler occasionally has transportation problems getting home from the bus, and it was a comfort to be able to contact him and reassure him I was on my way. While I could have solved some of those issues by providing my kids with a cellphone, neither of them is old enough or responsible enough to be in charge of a mobile device, so AngelSense was an excellent solution. Learn more about AngelSense’s Listen-In mode here..
While the AngelSense Guardian might be a bit bulky, the ability to attach securely to your child is essential so the product doesn’t get lost or inadvertently left behind. Because the device can only be removed by someone with the parent key, it provides an additional layer of security and reassurance. The heavy plastic case is also super durable and stands up to plenty of abuse from messy hands and jostling during activity.
The fasteners are a bit difficult to figure out at first, but you’ll quickly get the hang of it. Magnetic pins help you attach AngelSense to clothing and backpacks, or you can use the belt that secures around your child’s waist. Either way, your little one won’t be able to remove the device without your assistance.
Messes happen, and kids are no exception to that rule. AngelSense encases the device in a sturdy, water-resistant case to ensure even the worst of accidents won’t be a problem. This GPS monitor is designed to take a few hits and keep on running.
Because AngelSense is a bit bulky, your child may take some time getting used to it. Try different methods of attachment for a few weeks and be patient. You’ll both get the hang of it.
My kids are a bit older and didn’t seem to find the size of this wearable device intrusive. In fact, for the most part, both kids reported they had forgotten the device was even attached and found it fairly comfortable. AngelSense is small enough to slip into a back pocket, so it’s no more distracting than carrying a cellphone or wallet. I will say that my daughter got comments and questions from classmates at school about it, so if you’re worried about it being an issue, you can attach it to the inside of your child’s clothing. Take a closer look at AngelSense’s belt and other attachment accessories here..
Ease of Use
While some of the set-up and functionality isn’t precisely intuitive, AngelSense has such a strong library of resources on its site that it’d be difficult to get lost or frustrated for long.
User Error Alerts
AngelSense has a few alerts that let you know if something is wrong, including failure to charge and tracking errors. And there are other notifications that help you figure out how to fix the problem.
Robust Website Resources
If you have a question, chances are AngelSense has answered it. Their library of FAQs, articles, and videos doesn’t leave much guesswork about the product or how to use it.
The fasteners and magnetic parent key take some getting used to, but once you have the hang of it, AngelSense is pretty easy to use and attach.
The first week or two you’ll need to invest some time naming places, setting up alerts properly, and making sure you get the errors down to a minimum. It’ll be well worth it to save time down the road.
AngelSense didn’t have many hiccups in terms of setup, and its online resources addressed every question I had. While I did have to spend some time addressing errors as I learned to set boundaries, it was easy to accomplish on the go with the mobile app. See more about how to set up your AngelSense GPS Device.
Because AngelSense is not your typical GPS monitor, the cool features cost a little extra. However, you’ll get a pretty big break on the up-front cost of the device if you opt for a longer-term contract.
Low Up-Front Cost
If you opt for a one-year commitment, you’ll get not only lower up-front equipment costs but also a cheaper monthly fee.
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
Get a full refund as long as you return the product within thirty days, no questions asked.
Unless you catch it on sale or you lock into a longer commitment, AngelSense can be a decent chunk of change up front. We recommend the popular Yearly Saver Plan, which offers a discount on both equipment costs and the monthly fee.
While the price tag is larger than other GPS monitors, AngelSense is far from a standard wearable. When it comes to equipment, this is a great example of the saying “you get what you pay for.” In terms of monthly cost, AngelSense’s Guardian is similar to having a cellphone plan, so you’ll want to budget accordingly. Check AngelSense packages and prices.
AngelSense is staffed by a team of parents who have hands-on experience with kids with disabilities, and they are eager to jump in and help with anything you might need. I’m serious about this—anything you need!
Excellent Customer Service
Soon after I received my device, I had personalized offers of assistance and lots of useful tips via email. When I did have questions, the team was quick to respond with thorough, helpful information and a phone call to ensure everything was resolved.
Lots of Online Resources
In both the mobile app and online, AngelSense has a large library stacked with tips, frequently asked questions, and how-tos. The AngelSense blog is also a great place to get advice about general parenting topics and disability support.
Minimal Instruction Manual
The printed instructions that come with the AngelSense Guardian device are a bit thin and don’t provide all the necessary guidance you might need to get started.
It’s hard to complain about a team this passionate and engaged. Not only did I receive multiple offers of assistance both via email and phone when the device arrived, but when I did report a problem (AngelCall had not been initiated on my model), the response was swift and the problem was resolved in a matter of minutes. I would, however, have preferred a more robust instruction manual rather than relying on the website to get started. Read what other parents have to say about their AngelSense experience.
AngelSense has a shorter battery life due to its larger size, but the inconvenience has been minimized with several features. This is especially important for parents of children with disabilities, who use AngelSense daily to coordinate care and ensure their child’s safety.
Alerts and Notifications
AngelSense sends you email and text alerts to remind you to charge your device every night, and it also has a voice alert that lets you know the device is plugged in and charging.
Short Battery Life
Unlike some wearables with fairly small, watch-sized batteries, AngelSense is more like a cellphone, and you’ll want to plug it in nightly to recharge for a full day of use.
To be fair, I never had an issue with the AngelSense device holding a charge, but I did notice that predictably, the battery went down faster as I used some of the more advanced functions. Plugging it in every night definitely gave me the reassurance that we’d be good to go in the morning, and I LOVED the email and text reminders letting me know it needed to charge so I didn’t have to mentally manage it. Learn more about AngelSense’s battery life here.
The GPS tracking and geofencing capabilities of AngelSense make it a precise and detailed way to monitor your child’s day from location to location. And if you’ve ever got a lost little one, you’ll really feel like AngelSense is your guardian angel.
Precise and Responsive
Between the basic GPS capabilities and the geofencing that allows you to pinpoint the device in large indoor spaces like malls, AngelSense has every possible angle covered.
AngelSense easily discerns the difference between when your child is in transit versus when they have arrived at a location, and you can watch the tracking in real time on the mobile app.
If you don’t set the boundaries wide enough to include the area around the building, such as the backyard, you’ll often get alerts that your child is in transit when that’s not the case. Setting boundaries appropriately will eliminate that issue, but it’s a learning curve in the beginning.
It was interesting to learn details about my kids’ day simply from seeing their path of travel. I could tell, for instance, that my daughter had gone out to the garden during school and that my son took a ride around the block on his bike. Other surprises were a little less pleasant, like finding out that my babysitter is a speed demon and the bus driver has a lead foot. While being able to see your child’s every move in real time might feel a little creepy at first, I was grateful to have the opportunity to see risks I hadn’t considered. See the technology behind how AngelSense tracks your child.
AngelSense has an app that’s easy to use and provides access to all the basics, including a school dashboard where caregivers can coordinate schedules.
The mobile app does a great job of specifically pinpointing location within several feet and quickly relaying changes in real time. It maintained responsiveness even when there were Wi-Fi or reception issues, and it never went offline.
Easy to Use
While the app appears to be a little sparse when you first load it, AngelSense covers all the bases with a simple, easy-to-use design that focuses on functionality first.
On the mobile app, the formatting of the list occasionally encounters some problems with the type overlaying on itself in some spots and preventing clear legibility. This is likely due to some justification issues between sizing on mobile versus desktop, but it’s an annoyance worth addressing.
I liked the ease of use and responsiveness of the app, and I was impressed that it never needed to be reloaded and didn’t choke under challenging circumstances. After initially being surprised at the minimalist design, I came to appreciate it with use and discovered everything I needed to manage the device. Find out more about how to download the AngelSense mobile app here.
AngelSense has marketed this as a wearable GPS device geared toward children with disabilities, but in our testing we encountered a wide variety of uses that might appeal to parents and families in other situations. Checking in on aging parents with dementia, reassuring kids that help is on the way, or addressing changes in schedule and coordinating support with multiple caregivers become easier endeavors with AngelSense’s advanced technology. If you’re an anxious parent or a caregiver for someone with a disability, you’ll appreciate the reassurance AngelSense can provide.
Kaz is a journalist who covers home security, parenting, and community and child safety. Her work and product testing in the security and safety field spans the past four years. You can find Kaz in HuffPost, SheKnows, Lifehack, and much more. Her degree in education and her background as a teacher and a parent make her uniquely suited to offer practical advice on creating safe environments for your family. Learn more