For as long as I can remember, my husband had the most annoying habit. He hung his bunch of keys on his belt loop like a Texas cowboy does his guns. His carabiner was so big you’d think he is a school custodian. The most annoying bit was how his keys clinked and clanked with every step. I kid you not, I could hear them rattle a mile away. It got so bad that our kids nicknamed him jingle-jangle.
As much as I detested the sound, I knew the keys kept us safe. It’s not like I could tell him, “Hey big guy, maybe just don’t lock up stuff anymore.” Even so, I didn’t understand why he couldn’t be like the rest of us. Why couldn’t he dump his massive set of keys in a wallet or a back pocket and leave them to their own devices?
Is there a right way to carry keys?
With time, I understood why he shied away from the traditional method of carrying keys. Every time I complained about his noisy carabiner he’d answer, “Don’t you know keys have teeth and they bite?” He once told me that he’d rather walk naked across town square than place his keys in his back pocket. He couldn’t stand having his keys gnaw at his trousers or worse still tear his adored Italian leather (aka wallet). Such betrayal!
To be honest I’ve also suffered at the hands of my keys. Being a modern lady with a million errands to run, I often toss my keys in my bag and forget about them till it is time to unlock a door. Sadly, these not-so-little suckers are quite the experts at scurrying out of sight when needed.
I have to rummage through my bag for a good minute or so before I get a hold of them. Sometimes the scuffle is so intense it leaves scars behind. My phone case ends up with scratches while the bag itself will suffer a slight tear.
I bet I’m not the only one who’s gone through this struggle. Maybe you’re tired of all the scratches. Could be you are not a fan of how your keys bulge in the back pocket turning an otherwise graceful silhouette to a distraction. Is the jingling getting to you?
But how else are you going to carry your keys? Carabiners are too noisy. Pockets get torn. Thighs are poked while the contents of bags get scratched. Is there really a right way? I asked myself the same thing for a long time till I came across KeySmart.
What is KeySmart?
KeySmart is a Swiss Army style key holder. Its design allows standard-sized keys to be sandwiched between two metallic posts.
The thing that really attracted me to this product was its captivating story of conception. It was founded by an engineer dubbed Michael Patrick. Mike was tired of damaged pants, thigh pokes and key jingling. He wanted a product that would save the world from annoying bulky keys.
After months of toiling, prototyping and testing, KeySmart came to life in 2013. Being a regular nine to fiver Mike opted to seek funding from Kickstarter. On the night of its launch, the product garnered an impressive number of supporters. This right here is a clear indication that I’m not the only one annoyed by jingling and poking keys. That’s not all, by the end of the campaign, even more people showed their KeySmart approval!
I really I’m a sucker for crowdfunded products. They almost never disappoint. Once I read about the history of KeySmart, I knew I had to get a hold of one. Here’s my honest KeySmart review.
My KeySmart Experience
I wanted to get the real KeySmart experience so I decided to start with their flagship product KeySmart and work my way up the ladder. This KeySmart review however only features 3 of their products.
When I first glanced at this product I was quickly taken back to my roller derby days. Its design was reminiscent of grind plates strapped on a pair of roller blades but way smaller. How small you ask? Well, let’s just say a pack of gum is bigger than the KeySmart 2.0 extended titanium.
The tiny frame made me doubt it for a second. How was this teeny weeny thing going to carry the weight of all my keys? Wouldn’t it break?
Build and quality
I scooped it up for a closer assessment and I was pleasantly surprised. This nifty gadget had an incredibly sturdy build. I mean what else would you expect from a product machined from titanium, stainless steel hardware and aircraft aluminum? It also featured a laser engraved logo that looked so classy.
I’ll be honest with you, assembly was no mean feat. I fiddled with it for a whole hour before I completely got the hang of it. The main reason assembly dragged out this long was because I did not receive any manual and was mainly doing a guessing game.
In the end, I had to seek advice from the internet to simply have my 6 keys, and 1 USB appended to the KeySmart 2.0 extended titanium. With the right instructions, assembly only took a few minutes.
My research on the net revealed that the product could host upto 14 keys and 2 USBs in its primal state. However if you happen to have more than the stipulated, an expansion pack would be provided that fits up to 100 keys. How cool is that?
In my initial runs, I had a bit of an issue with the gadget. I had not screwed the posts tightly enough, so the jagged part of my keys would still pop out. Kind of defeats its purpose won;t you agree? With such a mishap my trousers would still feel the wrath of my keys’ teeth. Luckily my hubby caught this in time. I’m pleased to say there were no casualties.
The other thing that threw me off a bit was how hard it was to draw a key from the tightly packed layer. After a few days of handling it, I realized that it was easier to pull it out with two fingers than with one.
KeySmart 2.0 extended titanium simplified my life tremendously. There was no more rattling sounds coming from my hubby’s carabiner. The contents of my bag were completely scratch free. Guess what? I could place it in my back pocket while riding my motorcycle and not get jabbed! Even though it took me a day or two for me to completely figure it out. I’m glad I bought it.
- Saves on space for storage
- Slim frame that’s easy to carry
- Can accommodate many keys thanks to expanders
- Includes accessories like split ring and keyring loop that can support car keys and USBs
- Keys don’t tumble and dingle around
- Harder to draw keys when opening doors
- May be impractical for keys less than 4.
To me, KeySmart Rugged looked like a more seasoned elder brother of KeySmart 2.0 extended titanium. It had the basic premise of the flagship product plus a few more bells and whistles.
Build and quality
Even though it’s also constructed using titanium, stainless steel and aluminum I noticed that this one aged more gracefully than KeySmart 2.0 extended titanium. I really loved that I did not have to handle it with kid gloves. You need not fret over daily wear and tear with this product.
KeySmart rugged also looked beefier than its counterpart. Don’t get me wrong. While it had maintained the small gum-like frame, it added on thickness. The thicker front and back plates allowed it house 2 to 14 keys. With expanders, this rugged beauty could hold up to 100 keys.
KeySmart Rugged assembly was a piece of cake. I simply unscrewed the posts, placed my 6 keys and 1 USB then re-screwed and voila! I must have done this in under three minutes. Practice truly does make perfect.
By the time I was taking this baby for a spin, I had figured out all the kinks and tricks for easy utility. I knew not to screw it too loose lest they hang loose. I also did not screw it too tight making it hard to draw a key.
Talk of stealth mode! The gadget kept all jingling and rattling sounds at bay. My pockets were safe and so were the contents of my bag. My husband also loved the additional bottle opener accessory. He is a beer man through and through. This to him was the height of customer love.
Its broader choice of colors was a big win in my books. It is offered in seven varieties.
- Completely eliminates jingling
- It is more durable
- Has added accessories
- Easier to handle
- Can hold up to 100 keys
- The bottle opener swivels around for 180 degrees making it hard to open a bottle
- May be a tad difficult figuring out the optimum arrangement for your set of keys.
The only thing that annoys me more than jingling keys is losing my keys. Unfortunately, I am a big klutz. I am always leaving my keys in the most bizarre of places. Inside my own bag, the fridge, my car, behind sofa cushions, anywhere imaginable.
Wondering why I am digressing? Well because KeySmart just got smarter with this new gadget. Ever since I purchased it. I’ve never worried about losing my keys.
Tile technology and build
The biggest change with the KeySmart Pro is the Tile tracking integration. This new technology demanded the use of plastic as opposed to metal. I’ll admit that I wasn’t quite ecstatic over this new change but if it’s the price I have to pay to find my keys, I’m sold!
My geeky husband explained to me that metal and radio waves don’t play well together. There’s no way they would be able to cram a Bluetooth radio, LED flashlights, a battery, a tiny speaker and a Micro-USB Charger, in a metallic frame. You can clearly tell there’s a lot going on in this nifty gadget.
How to find your keys with tile tracking
I bet you’re wondering how a key organizer can find your keys right? Well it has inbuilt tracking system dubbed Tile. Before I go into the technical part, let me walk you through the setup. This is how to do it
- Download the Tile app from iOS App Store or Google Play Store
- Log in and load all relevant details
- Sync your KeySmart pro to your tile account in the view all partners section
- Loose keys
- Find them
How does tile tracking app work?
As exhaustive as the KeySmart Pro manual is, it doesn’t explain the inner workings of the technology. Being the overly curious character I am, I had to dig deeper. If you’re not up to date with all this tracking stuff, here’s the lowdown.
I have to point out that this technology will only work if both your location services and Bluetooth are activated on your phone. Trust me I learned this the hard way. Bluetooth will allow the KeySmart pro to sync with your phone while locations services allows the tile app to track it in real time.
There are two ways you can look at this kind of technology. The first is what I like to call the short range version. Let’s say you’ve misplaced your keys in the house. You’ve looked in the usual places-behind the cushions, under the bed, maybe even the fridge- but the damn things still can’t be found. All you ought to do is seek the help of the tile app and your KeySmart Pro will play a faint 8-bit tune.
The only drawback to this method is that it only works if the key is nearby. Note that you can also use your KeySmart pro to find your phone. Simply double tap the tile button and your phone will ring.
The second approach is long range. It relies on the kindness of strangers and also keeping track of your location in real time. Say your keys have pulled a disappearing act and you’re not sure when you last had them. They could be in the house, the car, the office ….anywhere.
In long range, the tile app will help you find its most recent location. It kind of narrows the area of search. The saving grace is that should your KeySmart pro come into range with someone else’s tile app, it will piggyback on their phone to alert your tile app. How cool is that?
Just like its predecessors, assembly only takes a few minutes. Unscrew, plop keys and re-screw.
I prefer my key organizer to be just that, a key holder. However my hubby happens to be quite the opposite. He has a bunch of weird stuff on his set of keys. Everything from bottle opener to a golf divot tool. KeySmart Pro has included all these accessories for the convenience of customers. Thank God it’s optional!
- Has a handy inbuilt flashlight
- Helps locate lost keys
- It is not noisy
- Has a compact frame
- Features handy accessories
- The body is plastic
- It is too bulky when accommodating more than 10 keys
KeySmart revolutionized the way we carry keys and it wasn’t long before other brands cashed in on the action. Some were complete flops but a few are decent alternatives. While they may not deliver all KeySmart has to offer, they come pretty close. Here are my top picks.
The design for this key holder pretty much mirrors that of KeySmart. It’s still the same Swiss army design. Perhaps the most apparent difference is the build. The manufacturers chose to use premium quality carbon fiber material as opposed to aluminum, steel and titanium. This allows the key holder to be lighter without sacrificing durability. The only issue I have with the carbon is that its finish is not as elegant as the metallic one.
In terms of comfort, Key blade ticks off all the boxes. It completely gets rids of jingling, thigh pokes and torn pants. What’s more there will be no unsightly bulge in your pocket thanks to its small frame. I also liked that it can hold up to 24 keys.
In terms of accessories, key blade pulled all the stops. They offer a bottle opener, key ring, sim card eject needle, cash stash, metal hook, carabiner as well as eight extensions and 20 spacers.
- Strong and durable
- No jingling noises
- Features a host of handy accessories
- Carbon fiber renders it lightweight
- Configuration and assembly may pose a bit of an issue but not enough to become a deal breaker
- You need to be tactful how you arrange your keys with some cars. If not carefully done, you’ll find it hard to ignite or turn off the car. The same principle applies to house keys that lock or unlock deadbolts.
KEYTEC’s body is machined from aircraft grade zinc alloy which is a very high impact resistant material. This makes it extremely durable just like KeySmart. I really love that the wear and tear is at an absolute minimum. I gifted it to a friend for his birthday and he could shut up about how sturdy it is. Apparently he accidently ran over it with his car and it did not suffer any scratch. Neither did it poke his tyres.
So here’s the kicker. The design has included an anti-loosening washers which prevent the teethy part of the keys from poking out. The result? No thigh pokes or torn trousers.
The friendly user guide was a major win for me. Unlike the traditional manual offered by KeySmart, KEYTEC provide a video tutorial. The video is sent via email so you need to be on the lookout lest you’ll miss it.
The main reason I gifted this key holder was because of its neatly packed luxury box. KeySmart came in a zipper bag which is not all that inviting especially if you are gifting it away. So if you don’t want to hustle rewrapping a gift, this is the ideal choice.
The only glaring drawback I cannot overlook is its lack of accessories. It however has a ruler which is not so practical if you ask me.
- Elegant packaging
- Features anti loosening washers
- It is very durable
- Key spacers are not as good
- Has no accessories
This is not a key organizer per se. It is a pack of three complimentary accessories for the KeySmart brand. It features a Nano wrench, a pocket clip and a Nano ruler. Of the three I’d say the Nano wrench is the most practical. It will allow you to screw and unscrew your KeySmart with ease.
How to use KeySmart
The process wasn’t exactly easy the first time I took a stab at it. However after watching a few tutorials online I became an instant expert.
You start by taking the KeySmart completely apart. Afterwards, carefully line up any extensions you have with the screws on the key holder. Gently place your keys and accessories onto the KeySmart one by one.
Once you have everything in place, you have to tighten the screw down. I would recommend using a penny rather than a screwdriver so that the screw doesn’t become damaged. However you also have the option of purchasing a Nano pack tool that has all the accessories you’ll need during assembly.