Hideez Key REVIEW Lots of Promise, limited utility

6 min readAug 1, 2017

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Ever since I watched the movie Iron Man on May 2, 2008, I have been excited about my own J.A.R.V.I.S. Similar to Star Trek, it seems that many tech advancements follow an idea/concept posed as science fiction. From smartphones to AI assistants and smart homes, many of our most cherished devices had origins in movie and make-believe. Forbes states that the average American home had 24 electronics devices in 2003 and this number increased to 28 in 2017 according to the EPA. With the increased connectivity and the advancement of IoT (Internet of Things), our devices are becoming much more interconnected. According to cantechletter.com, August 25, 2016, the average American home had 7 active internet devices and Intel projects that by 2020 there will be a staggering 200 billion connected devices, worldwide. That will be a lot of passwords, and a lot of memorization. Luckily there are devices/apps that are designed to ease the password burden.

The Hideez Key arrives in a small black and teal box with a small blue-green, square, device on the cover. The packaging states that the product will serve multiple roles. You can use it as a password keeper and RFID key, allowing you to unlock devices based on proximity. The device will serve as a remote, and it can also help with passwords and credentials. Lifting up the front flap (magnetic), you will see a clear window displaying the teal device. Above this, you will find a listing of the three main features of the device.

  1. Smart Lock “Turns your body into a password. Lock and unlock your devices just by walking away.”
  2. Password Manager. “Offers automated input and physically separated secure storage for up to 1000 passwords.”
  3. Theft Alarm. “Tracks and finds your valuables, letting you know their last location.”

The back of the packaging is very involved/busy appearing. Using Bluetooth 4.2 low energy, the device is supposed to be able to serve the above roles. To re-summarize the features, the device should be able to lock/unlock computers/mobile devices, open RFID doors, auto-input managed passwords, second factor for two step authentication, item locator/theft alarm and a remote control. This information is provided in English, French, Dutch, and Spanish. It lists support for Windows 8.1 and Android 4.4 but does not state anything about IOS. Navigating to the IOS App Store, you will find an App called Hideez Safe from Hideez Group, Inc. The app images show similar information to the packaging. The Hideez Key embodies advanced security features and has regular updates to firmware. The most recent firmware update/app update was released 07/16/17. As of the writing of this review, there were no reviews on the IOS app store for the device.

Open the app, read the two initial informational screens and then select “Get Started,” along the bottom. You will be asked to sign in, by selecting “Create Account.” You will be taken to my.hideez.com and will have to add a first/last name, email, password and then confirm the password. Once complete, navigate to your email for the confirmation login instructions. Following the instructions in the app, you will need to then register your device. Press the “+” along the top right and then press the gray button on the center of the Hideez Key. It may seem that the steps are not difficult, but this setup required jumping through multiple locations. Once the device is paired, you will hear a beeping and a visual request to pair the Bluetooth. If you wait too long, you will get an error alerting you to the failed connection. Confirm the serial number from the app to the one on the bottom of the box. Lastly, you will likely need to install the new version of the firmware. It will create a backup and then will update. The process took less than 2 minutes to complete. When done the device will change from a red LED to a green LED and will beep twice. The app will alert you to the successful installation.

I decided to peruse the app and noticed the alarm feature. The app really only has a few options from the main screen (Theft Alarm, My Passwords, More). Unfortunately, I did not set up any safe locations. When I was ready for bed on the first night, I left the Hideez Key on my kitchen table and walked about 30 feet to my bedroom and sat my iPhone 7 Plus on my bedside table. My home is set up as the main floor, second floor and basement. The main stairway is in the center of the home and the eat-in kitchen, dining room, living room and master bedroom are arranged around the stairs. Sometime early in the morning, I was abruptly awoken by the sound of a military alarm/missile incoming sound. This also woke my dog, who started barking, and my wife angrily asked about the sound. When the device asks you to turn on/off the alarm for trusted places, you may consider this important. I did turn off the alarm and went back to sleep, only to be awoken again about 30 minutes later. I placed the device on my phone and in the morning I decided to unpair the device.

If you touch the “View User Tutorial” along the bottom of the app, you will get a really good summary of how to use the device. Within the My passwords section, I chose to set up the app for google.com. Enter the name, website address, login name, password and then save. You can set up numerous sites in this manner. Within the Safari browser, you can add the login/password by touching the share button (box with an up arrow). You will need to navigate to your activities (third row of the share option), then move to “More” and activate Hideez Safe. Touch the icon and then it will enter your login information. Using the IOS ecosystem, this process is more complicated than just storing the information into the built in iPhone system. I was really excited for the device, but the native Safari password manager and 1Password may be easier/quicker. I do not have access to RFID doors at this time and thus I cannot use the feature. The passwords have to be manually inputted into the app, which is a little less than ideal. You have to have the app on the device you are interested in using, to be able to use the Hideez Key. It worked okay for my iPhone 7 plus and my iPad Air 2.

There is a CR2032 battery installed, which should last up to 6 months, without the need for charging (battery is changeable). The device is reasonably small, measuring 32.5 x 32.5 x 9.5 mm and weighing nine grams (paperclips). The device has only a single button with underlying Green and Red LED and a Keychain hole. My initial experience with the device is mixed. There is no included instruction manual, you must download the manual from the website. It seems to have more features for Android devices and wanted to get into the IOS world also. This device did not seem to provide me with much more than the native password options within Safari and the 1Password app. I wish that the device lock/unlock option would function, but unfortunately, this option is not available on Apple devices. I cannot use this with my PC as I do not have a Bluetooth adaptor. Also, without a RFID door to test the feature, I cannot know if this works or does not work. The app has a lot of promise but is not a device that I will find much use for in my life. I reviewed other sources online and found there to be similar limitations for Android and Linux as well. The device listed my last connection time as Monday, January 1, 0001 12:00 am and if I tap the information, I was able to update or unpair. If I chose to update, the app would crash. Within the Theft Alarm heading, you can choose to adjust height sensitivity. This is a glaring type, which needs to be addressed. I also was unable to find the RFID information (perhaps coming with a future update). The device did not live up to the promises and I would rate the device at 2/5 stars.

Learn more about the Hideez key.
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Originally published at macsources.com on August 1, 2017.




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