Most vehicles today come with an alarm system and keyless entry. Some even come with remote start. But most don't come with smartphone connectivity. DroneMobile is a Firstech company that's focused on connecting you to your vehicle via your smart device. The DR-5400 is their latest device that integrates into your existing remote start, alarm system and keyless entry – both OEM and aftermarket. Connected by an AT&T LTE/3G data plan, it links you to your vehicle from almost anywhere at any time.
Firstech was founded by Jason Lee in Anchorage, Alaska in 1995. Best known for their flagship brand, Compustar, they own a number of brands including DroneMobile, Compustar, Momento, Arcticstart, Firstech Expeditor. Relocated to Seattle, Washington in 2003, they've lead the automotive electronics industry with a number of first-to-market products. With the DR-5400, they're continuing to push the boundaries in automotive tech.
We recently had the DR-5400 installed in a 2014 Ram 1500 and were able to test the functionality and features. Here's the configuration that we went with:
- iDatastart THR-CH10 T-Harness – This is what connects everything together so that you don't have to splice any wires. Simple harness and connections.
- Compustar FTC-DC3-LC Remote Start Module – This is the universal remote start module.
- Compustar PRO R3 Remote Kit – 2 mile range remotes for the remote start module.
- DroneMobile DR-5400 Connected Car Unit – Ties all of the pieces and functionality together and connects you to your car via a smartphone app.
What is the DroneMobile DR-5400?
The DroneMobile DR-5400 is an added module that uses LTE connectivity (via a data plan) and a smartphone app to connect you to your vehicle's alarm, keyless entry and remote start. You can use this module with your existing OEM system, aftermarket system, or install it alongside a new aftermarket system (like we did).
The DR-5400 is universal. It's wired between your vehicle's computer and its alarm, keyless entry and/or remote start. Any setting that you select on your mobile device is communicated to the DR-5400 via the internet, which in turn commands your vehicle to do things like start the engine, lock or unlock the doors, sound the alarm, and much more. It's LTE connected, it means that you can connect to your car from anywhere at any time as long as you and the vehicle are connected. And since its powered by an AT&T data plan, you can count on it to be fast and reliable.
Remote Start – In hot or cool weather, you can start or shut your car off from anywhere, without a range limit. Starting your engine in advance means your car is heated/cooled to the perfect temperature by the time you get in it. Starting and stopping the car is pretty straight forward. Just tap and hold the “Start / Stop” button. You can choose from one of the units on our list of best remote starts in order to enable this with the DroneMobile control unit.
Keyless Entry – Similar to remote start, you have easy access to locking and unlocking your car from the same “Controls” screen.
Family Sharing – On the left (or above if you're on a mobile device) is a picture of the home screen when you open up the app. One of the first things you'll notice is the “Drivers” section. We thought this was a pretty cool and unique feature. The app will allow you to share your vehicle with additional people. This way, if your loved ones need to start or get into the car, they can just open up the app and get direct access to the lock/unlock or start/stop features.
Additionally, you can see other stats about your vehicle like the status of your doors, engine, trunk and more.
GPS Features – The DroneOne mobile is pretty packed with nifty GPS features for parents too. You can a number of things with the app, including:
- Set a curfew for your car: Set alerts and log the times when your vehicle is driven after your set curfew hours. For safety/emergency reasons, it doesn't prevent the vehicle from being started and used after your curfew though.
- Speed limits: You can also set a speed limit and alert or log when the vehicle is driven over the speed limit you set.
- Real time location: As expected with any GPS functionality, you can also track and see the live position of your car on a google-like map.
- Geofences: In the app, you can set digital boundaries for your car and get alerts if the vehicle goes beyond the geofences that you set. Yet another great parental tool!
Maintenance Tracking – If you're like me, tracking the normal oil change or maintenance of your vehicle is really important. Writing it down or posting one of those stickers on your windshield isn't ideal. One of the unique little features we found in the app was tracking maintenance for your vehicle. It tracks the number of miles that you've driven, allows you to set the number of miles you'd like a reminder to service your vehicle, last service mileage and more. Simple tracking but convenient and easy.
Activity Logging – The DR-5400 logs all of the events of your vehicle. From location, locking and unlocking of doors, GPS tracking, curfews and speed limits, and more. All in an easy-to-read feed that's broken down by day.
Security – The DroneMobile DR-5400 supports the following security functionality. Note that you'll need a separate car alarm device in order to enable these types of features within your DroneMobile app. We've assembled a list of best car alarms that are compatible with the DroneMobile app.
- Door intrusion
- Trunk intrusion
- Hood intrusion
- Forward motion
- Impact (two stages, warning and shock)
The DroneMobile DR-5400 is a great add-on to any vehicle that has (or you plan on adding) a remote start, alarm or keyless entry. What we really like about the unit is that it's universal (they claim to be compatible with 90% of vehicles), and adds ‘connectivity' to your vehicle from your smart device wherever you are (as long as you and your the unit have service). It's SUPER easy to use with a great app and has all of the staple features that you'd want in a car alarm or remote start, just with the convenience of your smartphone's touchscreen. And with the DR-5400, you can get rid of the bulky extra remotes that you currently have for your aftermarket alarm or remote starts and use your phone instead.
For parents, this is the ideal unit. This is the modern “LoJack” equivalent and you can just use it for the tracking functionality alone, keep an eye on the activity of your vehicle with customized alerts.
The only downside to the unit is that if you want connectivity for any long period of time, you'll need to get a data plan. It comes with a 30 day free trial but after that, you'll need to pay. Their pricing is affordable, but if you want the advanced features like GPS tracking, curfews and etc, you'll need the more expensive plan. You can find their latest pricing here.