Top positive review
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Actually works (unlike some competitors!); has some limitations.
on October 31, 2012
You know if you want something like this -- maybe you have an elderly parent, or kids/pets/spouse that constantly rearrange everything, or (like me) you would lose your head if it wasn't screwed on. If you've ever joked "I wish there was Google for real life, so I could Google my car keys" then you're one of us!
There are a variety of "remote-finder" or "key-finder" products, mostly from no-name brands (like this one), and they all have vaguely infomercial-like pitches. It's mostly the same idea -- a widget that beeps when you press a remote locator. I've tried several, and this is my favorite. Here's why:
* It actually works. Many of the competitors basically won't beep unless the remote is within a couple feet, which is useless. Some of the competition was DOA and wouldn't activate at all. This product works reliably (see below for range notes).
* The battery life is reasonable (see below for analysis). Many of the competitors started dying after a week or two. In many cases they died silently (instead of giving alarm chirps), which is worse.
* You get four receivers for a reasonable price, and they're not too huge. Competitors are often more expensive; some only give you one beeper.
There are definitely some limitations!
* Battery life: After 7 weeks and counting, they haven't run out yet (unlike some competitors). I work with engineers that have good test equipment, so we measured the tag's current consumption. It's normally quiescent (~80uA), and every 5 seconds there's a pulse of current (~800uA) as it checks the radio. (This is why it takes up to 5 seconds to start beeping when you first hit the button.) Measured average draw is ~130uA. The battery is a CR2032 ([...]). Typical capacity is 225 mAh. That adds up to an idle lifetime of 72 days -- of course this is a theoretical computation, actual performance will vary. Two months isn't _too_ bad, I guess. It's supposed to chirp (smoke detector style) when the battery is low, I haven't experienced that yet.
* Range: I ran a bunch of experiments where I asked my girlfriend to hide remotes in obscure spots, and then I would try to find them. (An oddly fun game!) It would consistently beep if I was in the same room, or the next room over, but wouldn't necessarily beep from the other end of my medium sized house. So realistically you need to walk through your house with your button on the remote until you hear it. In practice this doesn't take long.
* Sound: Like most competitors, you have to be able to hear the beep. It's a high pitched beep (piezo oscillator). It's pretty piercing but if you have high frequency hearing trouble (like my dad) that might be a problem. I was able to hear it clearly under cushions but I had to be in the same room. And it won't help you if you've left the object at work or something (though it will help you prove that it's not at home). It's just a beeper, not _actually_ "Google for your car keys".
* Size: The beepers (and the master) are about the size of a modern (electronic) car key fob. It's a little bit too bulky for a wallet or a phone. (Fortunately phones can be located by calling them.) Fine for a keyring, a badge, a purse, or the titular TV remote.
* Master: It comes with one master with buttons to locate the other 4. Don't lose that one, ha ha! Another product ("Find One Find All") has buttons on every remote, but I found that product much less effective in other ways.
That all said, to the best of my knowledge, no other product does better. As others have noted, the seller (clearly a small, one-person shop) tries very hard to make sure you have a good experience.
Update: They lasted 12 weeks (3 months) before the first one started running low on battery. And yes, they start beeping intermittently when that happens.