Monday, 27 July 2015

finding our keys! The Beets BLU key finder

The other day I lost my keys. 

I was emptying out all the bags in the great big bag of bags, just in case I'd put it in there by mistake. I went through every pocket in both of my handbags. I pulled furniture out in places where I dump stuff. I got a little bit tetchy.

The kids were bugging me to cancel our trip out and let them spend the rest of their lives on screens... but I did not cave. Instead I sent them outside to play (or lurk while muttering, up to them), and searched the house again.

I found them, eventually, in the box where keys are supposed to live.  WHO WOULD PUT A KEY THERE!!!?

It made me think about the key fob my Mum used to have, which beeped and flashed if you clapped your hands. We were always clapping and wandering around the house looking for that thing... but we did always find it. Until the battery ran out.

I could use something like that.

So when Beets BLU got in touch to ask if I would like to try their key finder I jumped at the chance.

You need Bluetooth and a compatible mobile 'phone to use the Beets BLU key finder. Sadly, my 'phone wasn't compatible, but my husband's was, so we tested it on his (which was a bit of a palarver which I shan't be repeating). You can find details of what 'phones are compatible and buy one for yourself on Amazon, here (although at the time of writing this, there aren't any available).

This key finder would have cost me £18.95, plus £3.99 postage, but the lovely folks at Beets BLU sent me one for free to try it out. There are cheaper versions, but Kenny's tried a few and this one is better than others he's tried because it doesn't turn itself off.

As you can see from the picture it's a nice small size. Kenny said it was easy to use, but I found the controls not to be intuitive and the set up really tricky. It got a little tense as Kenny had to repeatedly, patiently, explain things to me.

The folks at Beet BLU tell me that the battery should last for about a year. Kenny said it is easy to take the battery out and replace. You have to do this to reset it, which we've done twice.

You need to connect the device to your 'phone via Bluetooth. I was concerned that with the Bluetooth linking up to the key finder we wouldn't be able to do it to play our podcasts through the radio, but happily that wasn't hampered at all. 

So there are three things this gadget can do: 

  1. find your phone or use your phone to find it; 
  2. provide an 'out of range' alarm
  3. do distance functions for your phone, for use in taking selfies etc.

Finding stuff

After you've connected your phone to the gadget by bluetooth, and provided you've got the gadget turned on, and your bluetooth turned on, you can use an app on your 'phone to find your keys, and the alarm is easy to hear. Kenny said that the app is tricky to turn off, and that annoyed him. He ended up just removing it, which meant we had to reset the gadget for it to work, but if you didn't do that, you'd be fine.

You can also use the key finder device on the keys to find your 'phone, which is great in a house like ours where we don't get much in the way of telephone service. However, again, this requires your phone's bluetooth to be turned on, and the 'phone connected to the gadget. The alarm on the 'phone is at the same volume as your media volume, so it's no good if you've recently watched a cat video with the sound off.

The out of range alarm

The 'out of range' alarm is optional, which is good because it's incredibly easy to go out of range. We couldn't, for example, go upstairs, leaving the keys downstairs. However we thought this would be really useful for putting on a handbag or laptop case when travelling. The alarm sounds on both the 'phone and the gadget, and could well put any cheeky thieves off their bounty.

You can also set it up to tell you where something was last seen. Which might be more useful if the bluetooth distance was further.

The distance function

We tried using the gadget to take a photo on the 'phone. It works, and might be OK for a selfie if you didn't mind that you'd have to go and close the picture on your phone before taking another picture. Personally I'd rather have two or three pictures to boost my chances of getting a good one, but it's OK. I wouldn't bother using it again though.

So, it works, but it's a faff. Would I spend £20 on it? Not for a key finder. Truth be told, if I was looking for a key finding device I would rather have something that beeps when I clap. I would use this on my bag if I was commuting though, or on a laptop case, I've had a couple of bags stolen and wouldn't feel the need to clamp hold of mine so tightly with this gadget, I might spend £20 on it for that.