26
Sep
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Landing at number 16 in the Mobile Security App Shootout is XtraSEC Mobile Security, from developer wedjohn57. XtraSEC is dedicated specifically to loss and theft protection, providing a clean, no frills experience, an intuitive interface, and support for multiple devices.

At A Glance

XtraSEC is certainly a lightweight app, housing most of its power in the app's online interface. XtraSEC comes in both free and paid flavors. The free version lacks Remote Locking, Data Wipe, Battery Info and on demand SIM information, but the paid version comes in at a modest $1.99/year. The app's design is straight-forward, and the online interface is convenient and intuitive, offering up all your options in only a couple of screens. While XtraSEC employs a very basic feature set, there are a few unique touches that add nice functionality to the app.

Features

The device-side app is very basic, allowing the user to turn on and off various functions (upon entering a PIN code), and see various security options. Really all of XtraSEC's features are online, however, so there's not much to discuss here.

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Upon logging into xtrasec.com, the user is greeted with a large Google Maps pane showing the approximate location of their missing device. When I say approximate, I mean that the control panel thought my phone was several blocks away at a nearby Chinese restaurant when in fact I was holding it in my hand (with GPS on). One good thing about XtraSEC's tracking feature, however, is that you can refresh on demand, and the app automatically toggles the GPS service if it's not currently running.

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Other features can be accessed by clicking the large photo of your device to the right of the Google Maps pane. This opens a pop-up pane, which contains all of your security options. The first of these is the Scream function, a familiar feature which triggers a full-volume siren and a dialog box on your phone to switch off the loud noise.

Next is an interesting feature which allows the user to check on the battery status remotely, including other information ranging from battery type, temperature, and voltage. While not entirely practical, this is definitely is a nice touch.

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The next button displays phone information including IMEI, subscriber ID, SIM info, etc. This is a convenient feature allowing the user to check whether their SIM card has been replaced, but otherwise this information isn't entirely useful when tracking down your missing device.

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The lock icon, as you may expect, locks your device, requiring the user's custom unlock code and allowing the addition of a custom message to the lock screen. The app also allows for an automatic data wipe if the thief attempts to unlock unsuccessfully too many times. This is a useful twist on the typical remote lock.

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The bomb icon causes a complete factory wipe, which, as XtraSEC warns up front, will wipe all data including the app itself, meaning your phone will be vulnerable and you likely won't be able to get it back.

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Finally, the online control panel offers a refresher on what your SMS command options are. Conveniently, one of the user's options is to turn on Wi-Fi remotely, so that the online control panel can be used instead of SMS,  granted the phone is in range of an open Wi-Fi network.

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Final Thoughts

As you can see, XtraSEC offers only the most basic features. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially considering how inexpensive the app is, but it's always nice to have more functionality. That being said, XtraSEC executes its features quickly and smoothly, without a hitch.

Pros

  • Free Functionality / Price - XtraSEC Mobile Security has a free version with the most basic of the basic features, and a subscription is very inexpensive at just $1.99/year.
  • Ease of Use/Interface - The online controls have a smooth, simple interface that's very intuitive and easy to use.
  • Support for Multiple Devices - Users can add as many phones to their account as they like.
  • SMS Support - Your device can be protected even when data is turned off thanks to XtraSEC's support for SMS commands.

Cons

  • No Tablet Support - While XtraSEC allows for multiple devices, it is not yet compatible with Honeycomb tablets, meaning the multiple device support is useful for those wishing to protect an entire family of phones, but not those with one phone and one tablet.
  • No Root Presence - XtraSEC cannot be installed as a system app, and has no root presence, meaning that - as the online controls warn - a factory reset will leave your phone vulnerable.
  • There Could Be More - While the app and online controls perform well, I would like to see more features integrated to make the app more competitive with bigger names in mobile security.
  • Location Seems To Be Rather Inaccurate - As I said, the control panel thought that my phone was at a Chinese restaurant while I was testing it at home. That's kind of a let-down since the whole object of remote location is being able to actually locate the device accurately.

Overall XtraSEC is a capable app, offering basic protection at an exceedingly affordable price. This app is good for those who are not super concerned about loss and theft protection, but want to have some semblance of security for their Android phones. For those looking for more functionality, there are certainly better options out there.

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • CJ

    Hi Liam,

    Having recently bought Galaxy S2, I having been looking at a solution to recover it in case it is lost or stolen.

    I have skimmed through the entire shootout series to hit upon the right solution for me, but your review always seems to end on a mixed note (maybe I am not getting the subtle message).

    Would you be able to pick out:

    -- The best free solution.
    -- The best value for money solution.
    -- The ultimate solution money can buy.

    for tracking lost/stolen phone?

    Thanks.

  • Bobby

    Hi Liam,

    I too am looking for the same questions to be answered that CJ asked. Been a month and no more info on Mobile Security. So is that it???

    • http://www.liamspradlin.com Liam Spradlin

      We aren't done quite yet! I will be answering all those questions and more in a giant Security App roundup at the end of this series, which should be some time soon.

  • Chris

    I'm still waiting for your review of Theft Aware. Surely it's on your list.

  • Charleyboyd18

    finally lost my phone and the dang website is down for xtrasec