Apps

Published on January 16th, 2017 | by Sunit Nandi

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Hoverwatch review: a featureful and cost-effective phone and computer monitoring solution

Introduction

Those among us who have families and run businesses will realize how kids and employees are often the ones to get into lots of trouble. While it isn’t physically possible to keep a watch on their activities, the advancement of technology has centralized most of people’s activities to their smartphone, tablet or personal computer. This is where a good monitoring and parental control application comes in. Such an application can prevent your kids from getting into unwanted trouble and being victims of cyber-crime and can inform you if your company employees are misusing company resources. Today, we will be reviewing one such application, named Hoverwatch.

What is Hoverwatch?

Hoverwatch is a mobile and PC activity tracker for Android, Windows PC and macOS. It claims to be completely stealthy, while tracking user activities like calls, SMS, chats, screenshots, internet history, camera pictures, location and SIM card replacement and reporting to the parent (in a family) or to the management (in a company). It also claims to be remotely configurable and settings can be changed without having physical control of the device. So does it perform as it claims? Read on to find out.

Getting started

First of all one needs to go to www.hoverwatch.com and sign up for an account.

Once you’ve signed up, you’ll be on the dashboard with instructions on how to add devices to be monitored.

Usage and Experience

Installing the monitor on Android phones is easy. You need to download the APK file from the link given in the panel from the target Android device. Once the APK installed, open it. You will be guided along to set it up to connect with your Hoverwatch account by signing in to it. Once the app is set up, it is locked with a PIN that is only known to you. You can now hand over the phone to your child or employee and monitor their activities from the dashboard.

The dashboard/monitoring panel is central point of all activity morning. The main tab is the ‘Reports’ tab, which displays updates about the phone. New entries get added every few minutes. The entries can be of several types, like photos captured from the Android device’s front camera when the device is unlocked, SMS and MMS messages, social media and chat messages, browsing history, etc.

The second tab is the ‘Locations’ tab which keeps track of the location history of the device. My phone wasn’t locking to any GPS satellites, so I was unable to try out that feature.

The third tab called ‘Calendar’ shows all events that are scheduled on the device’s or Google calendar.

The fourth tab ‘Contacts’ provides a searchable list of contacts saved on the phone.

The fifth and final tab ‘Settings’ allows changing monitoring settings, like what to monitor and at what intervals. It also shows options to view the PIN for the monitoring app on the device as well as to stop data collection.

Right now, I have a Mac running OSX 10.10 with me, so I decided to run the monitoring app on it. All you need to do is download the zip file and unzip it and move Hoverwatch.app to /Applications. After that, you need to launch the app and follow the onscreen instructions to set it up.

Just like the previous Android device, this computer too will appear in the dashboard.

For the Mac computer, there are only two tabs, the ‘Reports’ tab and ‘Settings’ tab. The ‘Reports’ tab gives regular activities happening on the user’s computer. It has reports of sites visited, clipboard and password information, screenshots of social media websites, IM/chat activity and program activity.

The contents ‘Settings’ tab in this case is similar to the one in the previous case, with the exception that the monitoring option checkboxes are adapted to the features of the OSX version.

Overall, I found the monitoring software to be more or less feature complete for the Android version. I felt, however, that the OSX version could be better. Website screenshots are only taken if the user views any social media website, and not others. Scheduled screenshots at regular intervals are available. In my opinion, there should be an option for screenshots to be taken if the user visits any one of the predefined list of sites given by the administrator. Apart from that, the features are more or less enough for the userbase Hoverwatch is trying to target.

Pricing

Hoverwatch comes with a 3-day free trial to try out the service. Beyond that the following subscription plans are offered:

It is one of the cheapest hosted monitoring solutions I’ve come across. That makes it appealing to a lot of home and small business users as it does not cost a bomb. You can start using it by clicking this link.

Summary

Pros

  • Easy to setup and start monitoring
  • Comprehensive and detailed monitoring for most homes and organizations
  • Discreet and stealthy to avoid detection
  • Social media usage monitoring and screenshots
  • Low cost

Cons

  • PC and OSX versions do not have the ability (yet) to take screenshots if the user visits any one of the predefined list of websites given by the administrator.

Conclusion

Hoverwatch is one of the cheapest, yet one of the most mature and comprehensive monitoring solutions. Plus, it is a hosted solution, meaning that you do not need to install an app to monitor targets. The monitoring solution is hosted on their servers and all you need is a web browser to access it. Hoverwatch works on Android phones, Windows PCs and Macs which means most used platforms are already covered. Plus, the amount of tracking options available are more than sufficient. It does require some improvement on which websites a screenshot is to be taken (as opposed to screenshotting only social media websites). But it is minor and the monitoring options are sufficient for most home and business users. It is the best available at its price.

Rating: 9.5/10

Found it interesting? Try Hoverwatch by clicking this link.

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About the Author

I’m the leader of Techno FAQ. Also an engineering college student with immense interest in science and technology. Other interests include literature, coin collecting, gardening and photography. Always wish to live life like there’s no tomorrow.



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