MINT Wireless Key Finder REVIEW Great Concept but Limited Utility
Can you imagine the emotional turmoil when you are running late for work and you cannot find your keys? What about the anxiety when you want to simply relax after a long day and someone misplaced the remote? Other than walking into a room and forgetting why you went into it, struggling to find an item is perhaps the most frustrating feeling. It does not matter that I set the cable, television and sound bar remotes in the same place every time, when my three-year-old, seven-year-old and nine-year-old accidentally play hide-and-seek with them. I seem to ask them every day, who had the remote last, has anyone seen it? I do not know how they can still find so many creative ways to hide a 5 1/2 inches long by 1 3/4 inches wide TV remote. Frustratingly, this process still requires more time than I care to admit.
Having previously tested numerous finder type devices, I was excited to review the Key Finder device. The product arrived in a 4 1/8 inches wide by 7 1/4 inches tall by 1 1/4 inches wide retail box. I was pleased with the elegant simplicity of the packaging. The top, bottom, and side panels were unadorned and the cover displayed a vibrant, two-inches tall, central receiver and four color-coded receiver buttons. The reverse panel displayed eight 5/8 inches diameter circles surrounding a central remote. Each of the circles contained a different type of tech. Use the transmitter to find your remote, keys, wallet, purse, cane, MP3 player, glasses and other electronics. Beneath the circular display, the company provided a small paragraph detailing the usage of the device. Essentially, press the button on the remote and follow the visible and auditory cues. Within the packaging, I found a thin clear plastic tray with four 1 3/8 inches wide by 1 7/8 inches long by 3/8 inches wide receivers, a 4 1/8 inches tall by 1 13/16 inches wide by 1/2 inch thick remote, four button batteries, a 3 inch diameter base, an instruction manual and an accessory bag with four key rings and four 1/2 inch diameter double-sided tape. To start, use a quarter to unscrew the battery cover from each of the 0.31-ounce receivers. Insert the button batteries into each of the devices with the “+” icon facing upward and toward you. Realign the battery cover and use the quarter to tighten the screw. You will need to provide two AAA batteries for the transmitter, as there were no batteries included within the packaging. When I installed the batteries, the light illuminated and never went out. If you look along the left side of the remote (toward your top right), you will find the light on/off toggle.
With setup complete, I attempted to use the adhesive tape and key rings to attach the receivers to my remotes and keyrings. This was where I found a few limitations of this product. First, there is no smartphone app, there is no GPS location and there is no way to know the last coordinates of the device. You have to trust that you are in the correct room when you push the appropriate color-coded button. With devices like Tile on the market, the Key Finder tech seemed outdated. The tiles are thinner, easier to hide, easier to attach to devices and work both at home and away. The bulky Key Finder devices, with rounded edges, did not effectively attach to other devices. I first attempted to attach one of the receivers to my Sharp Roku TV remote but found it to be too big and rounded. The width of the receiver was the same size as the width of the remote and was just about 1/2 the thickness. Despite the sizing issue, I attempted to add the device to my remote and found that it would not stick to the surface of the remote. The instruction manual suggested using two of the disks but the rounded shape and tape positioning would not allow the receiver to stick to the Roku TV remote. If you use two pieces of tape on each receiver, you will only be able to use two of the receivers because the company only provided four of the disks. If you add two of them to each remote, you will have to obtain your double-sided tape for the remaining receivers. I tried moving a disk to the center of the receiver, but the double-sided tape would not stick to the surface of the remote. It stuck very well to my Xfinity remote but only temporarily. It would not stick to the back of my Blu Ray player remote, sound bar remote or Roku remote.
I was impressed with the range of the transmitter/receiver. I was able to stand in the middle of the room, to press the transmitter button and to activate the individual color receiver without issue. Once you press the button, the receiver will quickly beep ten times, will pause for a fraction of a second and then beep another ten times. I hid the remote under three pillows and a blanket and was able to hear the beeping with my television on standard levels. I even activated the button from one room over, and the transmitter sent the signal to the receiver. It may take a few tries, but I was able to find the receivers every time. The individual color keys made the test easy and foolproof. My 3-year-old could understand the point of the device and the large, colored keys were easy to visualize. For my second test, I had my seven-year-old hide one of the receivers in my two-story home. I was able to find the receiver within a few minutes. If needed, flip the power toggle on and use the bonus light to illuminate behind furniture, under a bed or a dark room. I would depend on this light as your sole source of emergency light, but it was bright enough to light up the area before your feet. In an emergency, this would provide an extra backup light.
Besides the “find-it-now” transmitter/receiver function, the product did come with a standup base. I was disappointed that the base did not have a button to find the transmitter. Should you misplace the transmitter, you will lose the option to find both the transmitter and all of your tagged and potentially lost items. As noted above, the Tile devices have spoiled me. One of my favorite features of the Tile is the ability to press the Tile button to cause my phone to play a chime. Basically, you can use the device to find your phone or the phone to find the device. For this kit to compete with other devices, the base needed to have a button to activate the transmitter.
To summarize, the packaging was well designed, the flashlight was a nice bonus and I liked that there were four receivers included in the kit. However, the kit needed four more pieces of double-sided tape, each of the receivers needed to be smaller, there needed to be a way to find a lost transmitter and other there are other devices that will work better to find my things. For those without smartphones or those looking for a lower tech way to find items in your house, this kit may work perfectly. The bigger buttons may be ideal for the geriatric population.
For more information, visit themyntai.com.
Find Slightech (product designer for MINT) on Facebook and Twitter.
Originally published at macsources.com on September 20, 2018.