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I constantly lose my phone. And my keys. Sometimes they're under magazines or jackets around my apartment. Most of the time, they are hiding in my cavernous bag.
Common sense suggests several solutions. I could consistently deposit my keys into the same pocket of said giant bag. (It doesn't happen.) I could locate my phone by calling it. (Except my phone is perpetually on do not disturb.) But why would I solve a problem with personal responsibility when I could use technology? My new solution is a coined-sized device called TrackR Bravo, a gadget that solves both my lost phone and lost keys problem, as long as I don't lose both at the same time.
I'll admit that I had my doubts when the company handed me a Bravo and told me to take it for a whirl, but —after using it for a few days– I'm impressed. (What's more, all of my friends now want their own. I guess scatterbrains gravitate toward one another?)
Here's how I'm using this device. I attached the TrackR to my keychain and synced it to my iPhone through the TrackR app. (It's compatible with iPhone 4s and later, iPad 3rd Generation and later, and Android 4.4 and later.) Within a 100 foot range, the TrackR app uses Bluetooth to detect if I'm getting closer to or further from my keys. When the distance indicator in the app shows that I'm close to my keys, I can ping the TrackR, which emits a high-pitched beep. I would prefer if that beep were a little louder, but it's still pretty cool.
It also works in a reversed scenario: When I have my keys in hand, but I've misplaced my phone, I can tell the app to ring my phone for me. What's great about this function is that it overrides the silent and do not disturb modes on my phone, so I can stubbornly continue in my inaccessibility.
If I leave my keys at the gym or the office —it wouldn't be the first time— I might not have to spend the entire day in a panic trying to remember where they are. When someone else with the app comes within 100 feet of my keys, I'll get a ping on my phone with my TrackR's GPS location. Currently, this is the least compelling of the features for me, because it requires someone with the app to walk near my lost keys. Though the company has a coverage map, (similar to what you see for phone coverage), I'm not particularly confident that the crowdsourced information is going to find my keys faster than I would. But if it works, I'll have a good story to share.
The TrackR is available for pre-order in four different colors for $29 each, with a discount for ordering multiple devices. The replaceable battery lasts for a year, so there's no need to bother with recharging. The app will tell you when the battery is low: it won't die unexpectedly, and it's really easy to change the battery. (No special tools/skills required.)
If you're super responsible and you never misplace anything, then you really don't need this. But if you (or your kids) tend to misplace things like keys and wallets, the TrackR could spare you from the stress of the daily search.