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Proximo lets you use your iPhone to find your keys

Lex Friedman | Jan. 8, 2013
Kensington will formally unveil its new Proximo product this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, but the company shared a $60 Proximo Starter Kit with Macworld early. I've spent a few days with the device, which is meant to help you monitor the whereabouts of your iPhone 4S or iPhone 5, along with your keys and potentially other valuables.

Kensington will formally unveil its new Proximo product this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, but the company shared a $60 Proximo Starter Kit with Macworld early. I've spent a few days with the device, which is meant to help you monitor the whereabouts of your iPhone 4S or iPhone 5, along with your keys and potentially other valuables.

I'm in the target audience for Proximo, I think. I lose my keys inside my house with alarming frequency. I rarely abandon my valuables in public places, but even if Proximo could help prevent it from happening just once, that would seemingly be worth it. Proximo is meant to help you stay close to your keys and other valuables, and find them again if you do become separated.

Here's how it works. The Starter Kit includes a key fob and a tag. The fob is about 2 inches long, 1 inch wide, and 0.25 inches thick; it unsurprisingly sports a small metal loop with which you can snugly affix it to your keyring. The fob sports one big button.

While the fob is oval-shaped, the tag is instead a circle, about 1.5 inches in diameter. It too can be attached to a keyring with its slim metal loop. The main difference between the tag and the fob is that the tag lacks a button. Both dongles include tiny integrated speakers.

The two devices work in tandem with a free iOS app also called Proximo. Both the tag and the fob connect to your iPhone via Bluetooth. (They work only with the iPhone 4S and newer because of their use of Bluetooth 4.0 and Bluetooth Smart.)

Once you've paired your devices with the app, you can configure a few moderately confusing settings. You can name each fob/tag, tweak its icon (including using a photo of your choosing), and configure a slew of sounds: the sound the fob/tag makes when it's found by the iPhone, the sound your iPhone should make if it gets too far away from the fob/tag, the sound the fob/tag should make when it gets too far from the iPhone, and "proximity alarm sensitivity."

That last setting is meant to dictate how far apart your iPhone and your fob- or tag-bearing devices can be before the alarm sounds on each. Though there are several options to choose amongst regarding how broad a range the Proximo app should allow before it sounds its alarm, none were broad enough in my testing: With my keys safely on the hook by my garage door, and the family sitting around the kitchen table one room over--a distance of slightly more than 23 feet--my iPhone and the key fob kept sounding the alarm.

 

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