SmrtGuard for BlackBerry Review

CrackBerry Idol - Alex
By Kevin Michaluk on 8 Jul 2010 09:48 pm
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Review of SmrtGuard for BlackBerry Smartphones

Have you ever misplaced your Blackberry? You start back-tracking in your mind, thinking to yourself, "Where do I last remember using it," while the sweat starts to form on your skin. The next thought on your mind might be, "When did I last back up my data, and why did I keep putting off adding password protection to it?"

I had an experience with one of my first cell phones where I lost it in a snow bank and ended up finding it a week later. Fortunately all I really had lost were the contacts on it, and there weren't that many on there at the time. Now with my Blackberry, I know how much information I have on it, and how much I'd hate to lose it. Fortunately for cases like these, SmrtGuard brings us some assurance.

I first learned about mobile tracking through a service called GoTrax when I worked for Bell Mobility. It's Bell Mobility's fleet management tool that lets businesses track their fleet. So for instance if a company has a fleet of 5 trucks, they can track where they've been and how far away they are from their destination via their cellular phone. Most cellular providers have similar tools available for businesses.

After I learned about that tool and started using it, I felt that if anything were to ever happen my Blackberry, I could always trace my tracks back via the hourly tracking that I had set up for myself via GoTrax and hopefully end up locating it. When I left my job at Bell Mobility, I left GoTrax along with it since it was a business feature and I switched my Blackberry to a personal account. I rustled through what I would do if I were to ever misplace it, and I came across SmrtGuard. After testing several similar apps, I fell in love with SmrtGuard. I never managed to get it working with the continuous tracking, however most of the SmrtGuard features trumped what GoTrax had to offer, and the best part is that most of the core features are free forever.

SmrtGuard is an extensive backup, recovery, and security tool. Here's a list of things you can do with it:

  • locate your lost Blackberry
  • back up your information manually or on a recurring basis (either via your phone or remotely via the SmrtGuard Dashboard)
  • track loved ones, with their permission
  • lock and/or wipe your device remotely
  • allow you to listen to the surrounding area from your phone remotely by having it call a phone number of your choice
  • scan your Blackberry for viruses
  • control calls coming into your Blackberry
  • quickly and discretely call for help in an emergency
  • remotely send an audio ping to find your phone if you have it set to silent
  • send notification if the registered SIM card is changed
  • following your location so you can map where you've been
  • access backed up data via the web portal, using a computer

So how does it work? I'm glad you asked. After installing and activating the SmrtGuard app on your phone, you would configure your settings within the app using your phone. Within the 9 buttons on the main page of the app, you'd use the following to configure it.

Backup (pro): This is where you would configure what information to back up off of your phone, and how often you'd like to back it up if you choose to back your info up on a regular basis. You can also perform a manual backup from here.

SmrtGuard Backup Menu

SmrtGuard for BlackBerry

Personal Guardian (free): Here you would configure your phone to send out a Tweet, SMS (text message), e-mail, and/or make a phone call in the case of an emergency. The way this feature works is by pressing and holding your left convenience key for a set amount of time until your phone vibrates at which point it will perform the action(s) specified within this screen.

Personal Guardian

SmrtGuard for BlackBerry

SIM Guardian (free): From here, you would register the SIM card that is currently in your phone, and configure SmrtGuard upon the insertion of a foreign SIM card to send out a notification via e-mail and/or SMS (text message) with any information that SmrtGuard is able to provide including current location of the phone. This feature is also included on the free version.

SIM Guardian

SmrtGuard for BlackBerry

Anti-Virus (pro): This is used to configure a virus scan at a regular interval or a manual one can also be started from this screen. This feature can only be used for the 30 day trial, and is past that point part of the Pro package.

Anti-Virus

SmrtGuard for BlackBerry

Anti-Spam (pro): From this screen, you can create a blacklist of e-mails as well as enable a call blocker that can block specific phone numbers and/or Private/Unknown Callers.

Anti-Spam

SmrtGuard for BlackBerry

NOTE: The features marked as "free" are included in the free version, and they're free forever. The ones marked as "pro" can only be used for the 30 day trial, and are past that point part of the Pro package.

Once your phone is lost, the Dashboard can be used to track it down and hopefully locate it assuming it's still turned on.

SmrtGuard Dashboard

SmrtGuard for BlackBerry

My favourite part of SmrtGuard is how similarly to GoTrax, it's able to show you where your phone has been within a regular interval within up to the last 200 hours (just over 8 days). You can configure how far back it saves your location history. This screen also allows you to plot each of the entries from the list onto a map which among other things displays how accurate the reading is.

Automatic Location Tracking

SmrtGuard for BlackBerry

The only thing that I have found to be a bit of an issue with SmrtGuard is that the location tracking can be very far off every now and then. When I've been in Toronto, I have seen it plot me in Baltimore Maryland, which is about 750 km or 460 miles away from where I actually was (in previous versions of the software, it has plotted me as far as Spain when I was sitting at home), so keep that in mind when going through your location tracking.

The cost of the Pro package is reasonably priced at $3.99 monthly, $22.99 semi annually or $44.99 yearly.

** This review was written as part of the CrackBerry Idol 2010 competition. Click for details. **

Kevin Michaluk Kevin Michaluk "Founder, Editor in Chief " 3922 (articles) 3288 (forum posts)
7 comments

Kevin Michaluk

Kevin (aka Ryan Seacrest): Ahhh Alex. After your karaoke audition video I was curious to see how your review skills would be. Good stuff! Not just a pretty singing voice. I gotta throw out one correction on this one though.... it's not pronounced S.M.R.T. Guard.. it's pronounced smartguard. Understandable mistake I guess based on the spelling, but we've covered it quite a bit in the past on the blogs in videos and podcasts with the smartguard prnunciation. No biggie though. Let's see what the judges had to say!

CrackBerry Idol Judges

Dieter: Super strong finish to the video, Dawg, love the island and the in-person, human-wrap up. You could tried to bring some of that polish to the earlier parts, though. Your review is solid but a little light on opinion - the GoTrax context is pretty cool and shows your experience, but I would have put it *after* you explain what this app does.

Georgia: Hi Alex, I really enjoyed watching your video, it was both informative and interesting. The written review was very easy to follow and it was nice that you went through all of the various features of SmrtGuard for BlackBerry. I liked how forthcoming you were with the accuracy of the application, which is important in a review. Great job! I hope that you get to continue with us to the next round.

Craig: OK video showing the BlackBerry tracking feature. The thing about videos is that you can edit them to make them flow better which I would have liked to have seen here. Your written review was much better since it covered all features. Two questions I had was which other apps did you compare this to (and are there actually any that do the same thing), and is there a monthly cost. Otherwise pretty good effort.

MBM7881

i love smrtguard...its one of my favorite apps! i have it set up to backup daily. when i changed from my tour to my bold it put my contacts in my new phone without an issue. it set it up exactly how i had it in my old phone with call id pics and everything. i pay the 3.99/month and its worth it to me

McNibbler

Love smrtguard! After we were robbed 1 1/2 years ago, I realized a program like this is priceless! I won 6 mo free, then purchased 6 months at 1/2 price sale, then purchased a lifetime subscription. I can't imagine life without it. My hubby just got his first bb and I can't wait for him to get smrtguard. Never have a worry again!

Xopher

This was a much better video review than some of the more recent submissions that I've seen. I think the only thing that bothered me about the video was how orange you were. Definitely work on the lighting! Other than that, it was a very well put together video showing how to use the app.

The writeup was good, and covered most of the features. The number of screen shots really helped with showing what the app can do.

Solid review!

xmommyx

Isn't this fairly similar to BuddyGuard which you can get for free via BB App World?

Spiral_ouT

The free version of Buddyguard used to be quite a bit like smrtguard. In the past couple weeks it seems they have moved to a free and paid version. The free version no longer allows the user to track their device via GPS. I do keep both free versions of smrtguard and buddyguard on my device because the lock feature on buddyguard is superior to smrtguards. You can also text commands to buddyguard which isn't available with smrtguard.

Nice review. Video could use some editing and lighting changes. I believe I would have touched on the battery consumption of smrtguard. I as well as others on the forums have noticed that having smrtguard running definitely depletes the battery faster than without it.

Sashko

Thank you to everyone for your input on my review. Posting some responses to the comments posted here on my review.

Kevin,
I only went through a few of the written reviews, so unfortunately I didn't catch its correct pronunciation. I will definitely keep that in mind for future reference though, so I appreciate your feedback.

Dieter,
Duly noted on the polishing and referring to app that I used before learning about SmrtGuard.

Craig,
To be honest, I'm a tad of an amateur at video editing, and having come across some technical difficulties in the process of making the review, unfortunately what I made was all I had time to put together. Regardless, I will start playing around more with different video editing apps in order to better my video editing skills and finish up with better results in the end, so I appreciate your feedback.

Spiral_ouT,
Duly noted on the improvements I could've made in respect to the lighting, and battery consumption.

Everyone,
Thank you for your input as well. It really helps seeing how perceive my reviews, and you liked, and what could've used some improvement. Hope to be talking to you again in the next round :-)