Advantages and disadvantages of using GPS trackers with metal and plastic shell

When purchasing GPS trackers, it is common to see that some suppliers provide devices with plastic shells and metal shells. Some customers can’t help wondering what is the difference between these two kinds of GPS trackers, and which is better and which is worse?


In general, the GPS tracker with metal shell is wear-resistant, heat-resistant and flame-retardan, and its external antenna signal is good, but the device is relatively heavy, which will increase the transportation cost. While the GPS tracker with plastic shell is cold resistant, small in size, light in weight, and well sealed, but easily deformed at high temperatures.


GPS tracker with metal shell, for metal shielding signal reason, can only use external antenna to acquire strong signal, which virtually increased the cost of the product for adding the extra accessories, and because of the metal material is relatively heavier, the international transport cost is higher, but in the high temperature regions, the users had to compromise the cost, and choose the heat-resisting and flame-retardant metal shell in case the device is deformed by high temperature.

If the signal and the ambient temperature are stable, there is no difference in the function and operation between these two kinds of device. Most of users would prefer the GPS tracker with plastic shell, not only because it can be hidden well in vehicle, but also can save much cost in accessories and freight. In addition, the plastic shell can be made waterproof and used in some projects that need it to be placed exposed.


Again, it depends on where your device needs to be used to select the appropriate one based on the characteristics of the shell materials, or you can ask the supplier to recommend the best GPS tracker for you.

What problem will you meet with after purchased GPS trackers?

There was a customer, who imported a batch of GPS trackers and used them for a period of time, but he wanted to transfer the GPS trackers to his own tracking platform, but the supplier did not cooperate with him. Moreover, their products were also very expensive, and the customer had to buy high-priced products from them all the time because of their dependence on the tracking platform. From this case, we can see that the supplier is not active in solving the after-sales problems, or plays fast and loose, which will undoubtedly cause huge losses to the purchaser. Therefore, as the purchaser, we must know what problem you will meet with after purchased GPS trackers. In this way, we can avoid the loss in time.


GPS trackers, like other products, have some hardware issues. While the hardware issues are not the main problems, but the software tracking platforms.


  1. What are the majorhardware issuesof GPS trackers?


With the development of this industry, the hardware and firmware design resources are almost under sharing environment. No matter big or small companies, they can make out relatively stable products. The factor that impacts on the quality of product is how to save the cost. Big company has the advantage in sales quantity, so they have the ability to keep IC component in a certain sale, and can request financial support from supplier by credit terms. While small company may simply compromise to the IC component price, for example, they may choose cheaper IC or second hand materials. No matter what materials they are using in product, it won’t affect too much in the performance of product, while only affect the product’s life. As we can image, there are won’t much hardware or firmware problem currently except the device was coincidently under the faulty rate of production, artificial damaged without carefully checking instructions or accidents.

We can see if you find any of the devices is not working properly, you should firstly check the parameters like APN, Server IP and Port, and ID are configured correctly or not, if all parameters are fine, then you can check the connection of each wire and antennas. To the worse situation, you may then confirm if the device is burnt or damaged.


  1. After-sales pain point of GPS tracker lies in the softwareplatform.

Even though there is faulty rate in product hardware. We may get one or two or few devices faulty. Or Even though there is artificial damage, we may finally get few devices broken and then avoid it happens again. But if software platform have issue, your entire purchased devices won’t work. In spite of the development of the industry, the researching ability in software platform is still uneven. Due to the software platform hosting cost is increasing (because map is not free during these years), a lot of software platform suppliers are going to charging the service fee, and they are trying to use the software platform to bind the customer future business.


A lot of the customers may be afflicted by platform issue in this business. Because when you start the business, you may not have enough fund to host your own server platform, and choose to using the supplier’s, while later you want to host your own server, the supplier refuse to move your devices, and force you to order more and continue in paying service for their platform. In this case, we may need to know how to avoid this platform issue becoming your bottleneck. Please check our suggestions below:

1) Confirm with supplier whether the GPS tracker can be configured with different server IP and port and its SMS command.

2) Confirm with supplier whether the GPS tracker can be configured with ID or using device’s own IMEI number and its SMS command for configuring ID or acquiring IMEI number.

3) Request the communication protocol of the GPS tracker from supplier.

Why is the cost of wearable GPS trackers higher?

When it comes to wearable GPS trackers, the first thing that comes to mind is the common GPS phone watch. These types of trackers usually cost several times more than car trackers. Do you know why? Let’s take a look at the detailed reasons below.


  1. Chipset

Let’s say for example, a car GPS tracker is a screenless phone, while a GPS phone watch is a mini version of a smart phone. Normally, car GPS tracker only needs to fulfill the positioning and communication purpose, but GPS phone watch can realize all the features that smart phone has based on android system. As you can imagine, GPS phone watch would request relatively high performance chipset. Meanwhile, because of the size limit of watch, the chipset size should be small enough so to not occupy too much space in PCBA as there are several chipsets like MCU,GPS,GSM,WIFI, Bluetooth, G-sensor, camera, etc. designed in the same board. Generally speaking, high performance while small size chipset would cost more.


  1. Screen and camera

GPS phone watch has one more touch screen component than car GPS tracker, which in itself adds to the cost. Due to the fragility of the screen, tempered glass and protective film should also be considered. Considering the waterproof problem, the screen back glue is also very exquisite. Nowadays, with the development of technology, more and more users need video call and photo taking functions, which not only requires clear screen quality, but also increases the cost of the camera. Moreover, the quality requirements of the camera will be updated with the needs of users, and the cost will gradually increase.


  1. Antenna

Unlike car GPS trackers, users can attach external antennas, or even for devices with built-in antennas, which have fewer size restrictions and less internal chip interference, making antennas easier to place. The size of GPS phone watches is very small, and there are many different chipsets with antennas in such a small space. If they are not well arranged, they will interfere with each other, their working performance will be very poor and their emission will be high, so it requires the use of high-cost antenna materials and arrangements, such as radium carving.


  1. Battery

Car GPS trackers don’t need to worry too much about battery life of their built-in batteries because they can connect to car batteries. But the GPS phone watch is not the same, it can only rely on the internal battery, and most users expect it to last longer time, but it is just its battery size is limited, so it needs to choose a small and high capacity battery, the cost is naturally very high. Moreover, the watch is worn by users for daily use, and the safety of the battery should be fully considered to avoid explosion, burns and other problems. These require a high quality battery, predictably, which would cost higher.


  1. Shell Materials and other components

Generally, GPS phone watch will be closely touched with user’s skin, so its materials are very important for the health of human body. In the design process of watch, engineer will also consider material the comfort level as much as possible. As for the requirement of waterproof feature, the mould structure design of the GPS phone watch is quite complicated, the shell production faulty rate is relatively high, it’s not hard to see that the mould cost and unit price of shell materials will be high, Due to there are slots for microphone and speaker, it need to apply it with waterproof breathable membrane, or waterproof accessories, additionally in the production procedure, it will need to apply glue drip process to ensure sealing. So whether it is material selection or production, the cost is very high.

  1. APP value-added service

In addition to providing basic functions such as location, alarms and safe zone, the user APP of GPS phone watches also needs to realize more practical functions such as telephone or video call, voice and photograph. The realization of these functions itself requires relatively high researching cost, plus the debugging and verification steps in the later stage, the cost will be higher. Meanwhile, the user APP will also have some additional functions, such as interaction, games, supporting knowledge chain and reading materials, which need a lot of time and labor cost to develop and organize.

In a word, you get what you pay for, and an expensive product must have its value.

What’s the role of GPS tracker in logistics?

With the continuous development of e-commerce, the logistics industry presents a continuous expansion of market size, diversified development modes of competition pattern, and a large number of entrants favored by capital. There are many small and medium-sized logistics companies in this environment lack of competitiveness, resulting in bankruptcy. While well-managed logistics companies are bound to try their best to improve operation efficiency, save costs and improve customer service experience. They are indispensable to the monitoring and management of the fleet. It is conceivable that the application of GPS tracker plays a crucial role in this process.

1. Improve the fleet management
Besides the vehicle security purpose, GPS tracker could help the logistics company acquire the precise location of vehicles to allocate the task to the appointed area, meanwhile, with the driver Identification feature, it can record each driver’s working status and driving behavior such as harsh acceleration, harsh braking, and sharp cornering etc., which could help driver efficiently arrange their work every day and could definitely reduce the traffic accidents, and the good driving behavior of driver would also save the fuel cost and vehicle maintenance cost.

2. Satisfy the customer
Logistics company could add all details and files to task online via the powerful tracking platform, turn customers order into clear tasks and routes, which would provide customers with controllable experience and give customers peace of mind with utmost security of their cargo.

3. Advanced telematics
GPS tracker can be attached with sensors such as fuel sensor, temperature sensor, humidity sensor, tire pressure sensor, weight sensor, cameras and ADAS etc. for remotely diagnose the comprehensive status of vehicle performance and cargo so to protect the safety of driver and asset, and save the management cost. For example, fuel status control can not only prevent the vehicle fuel from stolen, but also help company plan their expense in petrol from the statistics of the daily report; temperature and humidity status would well keep the cargo fresh in cold-chain transportation; weight sensor, tire pressure sensor and ADAS system can make sure the loading vehicles never overload and running in the road safely.

In a word, the GPS tracking solution are quietly changed the logistics industry and brought us a better customer experience now and in future.

What customization can be done for GPS trackers?

If you’re already in the GPS tracker business and want to build your brand locally, you’re probably thinking about how you can talk to suppliers about customizing your product so that you can stand out in front of customers. So what kind of customization can be done for GPS trackers?

GPS tracker is a relatively complex product, which includes hardware and software, so product customization involves hardware customization and software customization. These two aspects refer to a lot of professional knowledge, which we will sort out for you one by one.

1. Customization based on existing GPS tracker or GPS tracking platform.
1) The customization of finished hardware is generally based on the existing product to do some surface technology without changing the shape or mold, such as external label stickers, silk printing or radium carving trademark logo. Or otherwise, to increase the new features based on the existing product firmware, for example, some GPS tracker contains reserved RS232 serial port, these serial ports can be connected to different accessories with RS232 connectors, such as fuel sensor, RFID, camera, scanner and so on. You can imagine when you purchase GPS tracker from supplier A and fuel sensor from supplier B, and later you want to integrate them together which is a kind of customization that the GPS tracker supplier A should program their firmware to compatible with the fuel sensor provided by supplier B.

2) The other situation is that you only request slightly change in the PCBA design of the hardware to achieve the features and the mold has more room so you don’t need to change it, In addition to redesigning the PCBA, this process must also involve rewriting firmware code, which may refer to some researching cost.
3) The customization of the GPS tracking platform is mostly based on the existing platform, such as customizing login interface and domain name, adding reports, integrating maps, integrating protocols, integrating email, integrating SMS API, and other functions that can be triggered by the platform. Some of the customization like data transfer between servers and application development based on the API of the platform, which would request your own engineers and supplier’s to work together.

2. Develop a brand new GPS tracker
1) Generally if you need to change the mold of the product, even it’s small change, it is equivalent to develop a brand new product. In this case, you need to follow the certain procedure as below and ask supplier to offer you quotation accordingly.
a) ID (Industry Design) and MD (Mechanical) design;
b) Hardware (PCBA) and Software (Firmware) design;
c) Project management (Coordinate designers, engineers, mold production and product manufacturing arrangements until finished product comes out);
d) Sourcing (Evaluate and audit suppliers of materials, price negotiating)
e) QA (Ensure product quality)
2) The workload of developing a new tracking software platform is also huge. It usually goes through five stages as following.
a) Software definition and planning. In this stage, it mainly determine the goals and feasibility
b) Requirements analysis. In the case of determining the feasibility of software development, detailed requirements analysis is carried out for each function that the software needs to achieve.
c) Software design. According to the results of demand analysis, the whole software system is designed, such as system framework design, database design and so on
d) Program coding. This stage is to translate the results of software design into computer executable program code.
e) Software testing. After the program coding is completed, rigorous testing should be carried out to find existing problems and correct them.