Samsara ELD Device Review – Best ELD Devices

Posted in ELD Reviews
(Last Updated On: November 30, 2018)

Samsara ELD device review is a new entrant into the ELD market when compared with Garmin and Rand Mcnally ELDs. Samsara ELD Device Review

However, According to drivers and owner operators , Samara ELD Device review is by far the best ELD (Electronic Logging Device) out there.

It is affordable. It is incredibly functional, and it does just about everything but the dinner dishes. It is user-friendly, with technological help that is reportedly superbly efficient, knowledgeable and friendly, and is only a phone call away almost all the time.

I must say that the buzz surrounding the Samsara ELD device seems to be both well-deserved and completely understandable. 

In this article, we will explore all the pros of samsara ELD and the very few cons of samsara electronic logging devices.

Why Samsara ELD Device?

The Samsara Electronic Logging Device (or ELD, by which it is more commonly known), is a fairly new, mandated compliance device in the world of professional transportation companies, such as trucking firms and school (or commercial) bus companies, particularly those with larger fleets of vehicles.

This ELD device is considered one of the most versatile electronic logging devices available on the market right now. Basically, it is the ultra cool new kid who just moved in on the corner, and she has all the latest cool stuff that all the other neighbourhood kids want.

General Features

Samsara ELD is cloud-based and supremely reliable.  Samsara is user friendly, a snap to adapt to despite her plethora of useful and utilitarian features. Samsara ELD might be the new kid on the block, but it is quickly becoming the Microsoft/Apple of the mandated compliance device field.

I mean, lets face it: if you are an intelligent, well-informed fleet manager or driver here in the grand old country of the U.S. of A., you need to find yourself a cloud-based ELD BFF For Life.

And I am here to tell you, the best candidate is named Samsara. She has got it going on, for real, She’s dynamite in a tiny package, like all the best and funnest small ones always are.

Allow me to touch on just a few of Samsara ELD’s many outstanding qualities, and I think you will find yourself agreeing with me in no time at all.

A Bit of History

Samsara ELD was born in 2015 (don’t worry, that makes her about 25 in computerized technology years). Samsara ELD Device Review

Almost immediately, Samsara began helping trucking companies advance at an astounding rate, by enhancing the efficiency and company safety issues inherent in their inner function and practices.

In short, Samsara has been innovating and improving the field of electronic logging devices for several years now. In that time, they have both built up a stellar reputation for quality services, and fine tuned their technological goals as a company.

Tools and technology

The modern Samsara ELD device is packed with tools and capabilities that focus hard on enhancing the safety and efficiency of the clients’ vehicle fleet. Despite the challenges inherent in the meeting of those goals, Samsara still manages to save the client money on costs.

So let us get realistic. From transportation and logistics firms, to food production and transportation businesses, and construction companies, ELD systems are a must.

The Samsara ELD will not only save you money, in comparison to its many competitors, but it will still manage to provide access to the very best sensor data possible for your vehicle fleet.

Between the ELD hardware and the office tools provided by Samsara to its customers, what you will be receiving is a proven solution for increased organization within your company, as well as higher quality safety measures and more efficient operation within your fleets.

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Pros

What would a product review be, without a comprehensive list of pros vs. cons? Entirely one-sided, that is what it would be. So we will start off with a list of positives associated with the Samsara ELD.

  • Comparatively easy to use
  • A modern and intuitive design
  • “Plug and Play” hardware
  • Easy to install
  • 24/7 U.S.-based phone support service
  • No need to install complex software, ever
  • Cloud-based
  • Sealable and secure
  • For fleets numbering up to 10,000 vehicles
  • Custom hierarchies
  • Goes far beyond basic, simple logging
  • Makes everyday management tasks easier
  • Makes planning for your fleet a snap
  • Comprehensive hardware portfolio
  • Many, many other features to explore
  • Back-office tools

Cons

In the interest of fairness and full disclosure, here are a list of cons, or drawbacks, that are commonly reported among clients of the Samsara ELD system.

Some of them seem to directly contradict certain aspects of the Pros list, but this is a review, and we are in pursuit of objectivity, after all. Here are some of the problems users experienced with Samsara.

  • When being used on a tablet, the driver app sometimes freezes. 
  • The durability of the actual hardware leaves something to be desired. Although Samara is great about replacing defective units, or units that have ceased to function, some clients report that this is far too frequent an occurrence.
  • While Samsara claims that their ELD system is designed to never lose its connection, some users have claimed that it actually does drop its data connection, and frequently.
  • Lose connection may result in loss of data entries, random and “odd” data changes to existing entries and even the spontaneous creation of entirely new data entries that never existed at all before the connection dropped.
  • Samsara’s contract is reported to be inflexible and heavily bent in favor of the company as opposed to the client.
  • Finally, clients have reported a plethora of issues surrounding video retrieval. These issues range from extremely time-consuming processes for identifying and retrieving video for specific time periods and/or locations, to the fact that only one minute of video can be downloaded at a time, resulting in a waiting period of several hours for complete videos to be ready for viewing by the client.
  • GPS tracking reports have been found lacking in important detail.
  • Video retrieval in general can be extremely unreliable.

 

Notable Features of Samsara ELD

ELD Compliance

The Samsara ELD is certified by FMCSA (The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) to meet all requirements. I don’t know about you, but to me that seems kinda essential.

But Samsara goes beyond standard compliance, providing features that far surpass simple logging to provide data that helps to streamline a company’s business operations.

Essentially, Samsara designed their ELD device to offer compliance with FMCSA regulations, at about half the cost of previous standards in the ELD market, and with more features included than could have previously been imagined.

Samsara ELD Device Review

 

Dispatch and Routing Features

With the Samsara ELD, fleet routing and dispatching is an absolute breeze. Because Samsara is superb with fleet management, there is really no need to call drivers to find out their exact locations.

The Samsara gives real-time locations on any and all vehicles, at any given time. In the same vein, users will be able to share their “live tracking” with their drivers, when and if needed.

Some clients have reported issues surrounding these features, however, which I covered pretty extensively in the ‘Cons’ section of this review.

 

Wi-Fi Hotspots

A unique feature of the Samsara ELD is that, unlike its leading competitors, it actually provides in-cab Wi-Fi hotspots for drivers who have the Samsara ELD unit attached to their vehicles. It provides 500 mb of data per month, per individual vehicle.

This wildly convenient feature serves multiple purposes, one of which is improving the productivity of drivers by encouraging them to use mobile productivity apps, such as CRM, Work Order, HD video, and messaging and email apps specific to their company.

These Wi-Fi hotspots are very powerful, but some clients have had issues with lost and dropped connections.

 

Dash Cams

Dash cams are an ELD tool and an advanced safety feature of the Samsara product.  They are the equivalent of having “computer vision” or even “artificial intelligence” aboard each one of your vehicles.

Samsara hardware includes dual-facing HD dash cams, and also features a front-facing HD dash cam. Between the two, these dash cams are capable of catching every nuance of any possible incident of interest or concern, and uploading it directly (and automatically) to the cloud storage capability.  These cams are extremely important, for several reasons. 

Samsara ELD Device Review

One reason is that these exclusive Samsara dash cams can capture essential incident footage, eliminating the problems of hazy human memories, he-said-she-said debates and suspicious-sounding stories involving accidents or other occurrences in question involving employees and company property.

How can they help?

The cams allow owners and management to review footage involving near-misses, suspected distracted driving behaviour, and to monitor collations if and when it may become necessary.  They can even automatically detect and tag signs of distracted driver behaviour, all of which ultimately goes a long way toward a dramatic reduction in the frequency of accidents.

However, life is random, at times shocking, and accidents are bound to occur from time to time. When they do, Samsara’s HD dual dash cams are extremely useful tools throughout the accident investigation process, and helping to identify the responsible party so they can be held accountable.  

Just be prepared for the process to take some time, as there have been reports of extremely long download times for this type of video footage.

Of course, it would be better if no accident ever occurred in the first place, I think that just about anyone would agree with me about that, which is why Samsara’s ELD HD dual cameras are also great for identifying risky driving behavior before it has a chance to cause a problem.  

The identified employees are then given further education and instruction on how to remain safe and behave properly when back on the road.

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Elements of Routing and Dispatch

Still more of Samsara ELD’s numerous, innovative features involves the practices of dispatch and routing. The Samsara is a superstar at fleet management, making fleet routing and dispatching an absolute breeze.

Due to Samsara’s ability to provide real-time information on the location and status of any vehicle in your fleet, at any time, there is never a need to call your drivers to check in on their location.

It does not get any more convenient, efficient or simple than that process.

However, some clients do find that the location function leaves something to be desired in terms of precision of exact location, although the overwhelming majority of clients have reported outstanding capabilities where this function is concerned.

 

Sharing and Capturing Documents

The features that I am about to explain, all having to do with what Samsara has done to improve your company’s ability to handle, share and Samsara ELD Device Reviewcapture documentation, may surprise you.

These are features that have been proven to go above and beyond to enhance customer service capabilities for your trucking business.  

They illustrate further the status of the Samsara ELD as head and shoulders above the competition in the world of professional transportation management and, specifically, the world of electronic logging devices in general.

Automatic system

The Samsara ELD has an innovative, built-in capability that allows you to eliminate the need to manually scan, sort, and file certain documents. It allows you to upload and access these documents from a central location.

It even makes it possible for your drivers to use their smartphones or tablets to document their receipts and bills of landing, making them available to you within seconds of the drivers’ documentation, no matter where their current location. Some clients have had issues with this driver app function freezing repeatedly, however.

This system also automatically uploads important documentation to the cloud. This allows fleet managers and other executives to view them from their Dashboard. This feature is useful also for processing important payroll documents, and it makes customer invoicing a snap, too.

In some cases, clients have experienced file corruption when these types of documents are automatically uploaded, although it seems to be a very rare problem.

GPS Tracking

The Samsara ELD features some of the most high quality and efficient GPS sensors available in the industry. And there is absolutely no question that access to the very best GPS sensors out there provides a serious upward boost to your business.

These GPS sensors provide you with real-time information on utilization and fuel consumption. They provide a close look at route performance, and even driver behavior. They allow you to monitor vehicle location in real-time. In a nutshell, these highly efficient Samsara ELD GPS sensors provide  all kinds of vital information about drivers and their vehicles.

Aerial view point

Samsara even offers an aerial view option, in real-time, of the actual vehicle or vehicle at its current physical location. That is some next-level GPS monitoring.

The benefits offered to fleet management by these innovative features are absolutely amazing, even when taking into account the fact that a small minority of clients have taken issue with the level of location detail provided by the Samsara ELD.

 

Reefer Monitoring

The importance of cost-effective monitoring, control and compliance for transportation companies that handle refrigerated assets cannot possibly be overstated. Visibility and control are incredibly essential when it comes to reefer monitoring.  Samsara ELD Device Review

Luckily, the Samsara ELD has all your reefer monitoring needs covered, in spades. These are unique features, unlikely to be found in any competitors’ ELD products.

The Reefer Monitoring feature is a perfect example of the Samsara ELD’s status as a superior ELD product.  

Take that absolute need for visibility and control over your reefer operations, for instance. Samsara offers a powerful combination of two-way reefer control, wireless sensors, and instant alerts to provide that essential visibility and control over the efficiency of your entire operation.

Why is it convenient?

This system features instant alerts and wireless sensors, which provide enhanced visibility and control over your fleet. It provides FSMA compliant, continuous temperature logging, eliminating the need for manual record keeping and providing temperature records on-demand.  

The sensor devices even enable you to provide temperature data on Proof of Delivery documents, which is a terrific enhancement for every companies’ customer service capabilities. The constant temperature monitoring data records will also allow you to show proof to your clients of how well you cared for their cargo.

Another benefit of the Samsara ELD’s sensors when monitoring reefers is that, if the temperature in a reefer deviates from the pre-set range, you will be notified instantly, which can prevent all sorts of problems and damage to loads that are temperature sensitive. Samsaras’s affordable reefer management solution even controls temperatures in-transit, preventing product spoilage and rejected deliveries of temperature-sensitive cargo.

Final Take

After thoroughly reviewing and examining the capabilities, features, functions, and overall value of the Samsara ELD system, there are only a few logical conclusions at which to arrive, in my humble opinion. I will mention a few of them here, although, of course, the final decision is always the consumers’ to make.

There are, of course, other affordable ELD system options available on the market, in direct competition with the Samsara ELD.  But these other options are hopelessly outclassed when it comes to the myriad of features and functions that are included as standard to the insanely versatile and capable Samsara ELD.

Conclusion

Even when taking into account the list of ‘Cons’ contained in this review, it is important to remember that those problems and issues are reported by a very small number of Samsara clients. The overwhelming majority report entirely positive experiences with the Samsara ELD system.

Competing ELD products, which are priced similarly to the Samsara ELD, simply cannot hope to compete with the quality, function, user-friendliness, and high standard of client satisfaction inherent to the Samsara ELD.

Samsara has produced an extremely high quality product in the word of electronic logging devices and transportation. After careful consideration of both the benefits and drawbacks reported by a large cross-section of clients, I recommend the Samsara ELD.  It is well worth its humble (and affordable) price tag.

 

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