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Pros / You can track your car if it's stolen.

Cons / It's expensive.

 Verdict / The Viper SmartStart GPS is better than a car alarm in many ways, but it's very expensive compared to other car tracking devices and it requires a compatible car alarm.

The Viper SmartStart GPS is a car tracker made by one of the most popular car alarm manufacturers, Directed, Inc. This device plugs into your car’s OBD connector and works very much like CarLock by providing car tracking and car monitoring data on a smartphone app. With it, you can receive alerts for strange vibrations and driver habits. It also tracks your car if it’s stolen. Unlike other car trackers, this device also provides keyless entry and remote start capabilities, but it requires a compatible car alarm and remote-start system. It doesn't work as a stand-alone car tracker like CarLock.

This Viper car security system is one of the answers to traditional noise-making car alarms because it prioritizes alerting you over alerting your neighborhood. Of course, since it requires you already have a compatible Viper or Python car alarm or remote start system, it doesn't necessarily eliminate the siren. Still, since it connects to a cellular network, the alerting range is virtually unlimited. For example, you are alerted to a break-in even if you're on vacation across the country.

The SmartStart plugs into your car’s OBD connector. Then it connects to a cellular signal to provide GPS locations and other information to an app on your smartphone. It can sense unusual vibrations and alert you to break-ins. It also connects to your car’s electrical system to provide keyless entry and trunk release capabilities from your phone.

The downside to car trackers like this is the monthly subscription required to connect to a cellular network. Most car trackers cost around $25 a month, but the Viper SmartStart costs less than $10. However, the initial cost is nearly $200, plus you must account for the cost of a compatible Viper or Python system ($200). To put it simply, there are more affordable options.

The SmartStart GPS provides driver tracking, though not nearly as extensive as its competitors' monitoring abilities. For example, it lacks a driver scoring system and alerts for dangerous driving, such as sharp turns and unusual acceleration. You can set it to alert you when a driver of your car has exceeded a certain speed. The SmartFence feature lets you set parameters for the vehicle, alerting you when the car leaves the specified area. In addition, the HotSpot feature sets no-go zones to alert you when the car enters a restricted area. Basically, this is designed for parents with teenage drivers. You can make sure they aren't skipping school or going to their crush's house on school nights. It won’t make you the most popular parent, but you’ll know where your kids are and how safely they’re driving.

As the name suggests, the SmartStart also comes with a remote start controls, but this requires you already have a remote start system installed. Rather than relying on a two-way pager, you can start and unlock from the comfort of your living room or kitchen, or even from halfway around the world.

The Viper SmartStart GPS is a good car tracking device and a great addition to a Viper car alarm, but it requires a compatible alarm with a remote start system, and this adds to the overall costs. Compared to other car trackers, it lacks the tracking detail and may not provide you with the alerts you need. That said, it’s a great way to keep tabs on your teenage drivers.

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