- Review Price: £44.99
A couple of years ago we looked at a tidy little gadget called the Loc8tor Plus, which was designed to ensure that forgetful people didn’t lose important possessions. The Loc8tor Plus worked pretty well, but the handset was quite large and resembled something that someone knocked up in their shed. Now however, I have the Loc8tor Lite and it’s a definite step forward when it comes to size and design.
The basic premise of the Loc8tor products is to ensure that you never lose your possessions, whether that be keys, phone, pets, children etc. The system is made up of two parts, the Loc8tor handset and the tags – the basic Lite package includes one handset and two tags. The handset can be paired with up to four tags, so extra tags can be bought separately. As I’m sure you’ve already guessed, the Loc8tor handset will track each of the tags, and more importantly, anything that said tag is attached to.
The tags are very small and light, and thankfully the ones that ship with the Loc8tor Lite are matte black, rather than silver, as seen with the original Loc8tor Plus. It’s a small thing, but the colouring does make the tags far more unobtrusive. To pair the tag to the handset you simply place them near each other (ensuring that no other tags are nearby), then select the button that you wish to correspond with that particular tag. From then on, every time you select that tag button, the handset will track that tag.
As well as the Loc8tor handset and tags, you’ll also find two keyring bands in the box, making it easy for you to attach a tag to your keys, even if your keyring is large. There’s also some sticky pads, so you can attach a tag to any flat surface, and a wall mountable holder for the handset – after all, if you lose the handset, you’re not going to get any help finding it!
Operation is incredibly simple, you just switch the handset on, select the tag you want to track, and if it’s in range, you’ll get audible and visual indications of where that tag is. It’s a bit like those basic bug detectors you used to see in 1960s spy movies – walk towards the tag and the beep raises in pitch, while more indicators illuminate, walk away from the tag and the opposite will happen. It’s basic, but it works very well and it really is the simplest procedure to track down your lost item.
To give the Loc8tor Lite a good field test, I slipped a tag into my wife’s pocket (well I asked her if I could put it in her pocket), then we went out shopping. While we were out, I let my wife and daughter wander off without me, and then tried to track them down with the Loc8tor Lite. The result was very impressive, with me managing to find them very quickly, without having to resort to the usual method of phoning her mobile and asking where she is. Of course you look a little odd wandering around M&S with a beeping Loc8tor in your hand, but if you can live with that, the benefits are clear.
One of the major benefits that Loc8tor would have you believe is that it will help you locate items that you lose frequently, such as keys. Now, I appreciate that a great many people misplace their keys or mobile phones regularly, and I also accept that if those items had a tag attached, it would be easy to track them down using the Loc8tor Lite. However, I can’t help thinking that anyone who regularly misplaces their keys or phone, is just as likely to misplace the Loc8tor handset – call me cynical, but it seems like an obvious train of thought to me.
The other issue with the Loc8tor Lite is range. The documentation states a range of 122m which is pretty impressive, until you realise that the quoted figure is in an open environment, so unless you’ve dropped your keys in a field or a park, you’re not going to get anywhere near that. In fact, if you’re trying to use the Loc8tor Lite in a busy shopping centre, as I was, you can probably cut that figure in half – especially when you consider that your wife/child could be on a different floor.
To be fair to Loc8tor, the company does stress that this device is for finding items rather than people, and although it’s useful for the latter, the limited range and the fact that people move about means that it’s not as useful as it could be.
With a price of £45 for the package, the Loc8tor Lite isn’t overpriced, but it’s not what I’d call an impulse purchase either. Considering that the Loc8tor Lite handset is wafer thin, and sports a tactile rubberised finish, at least you can see where some of the cost has gone this time, compared to the original Loc8tor Plus.
Despite its limitations, I can’t help but like the Loc8tor Lite. Its simplistic brief and much improved design over the previous version did win me over to some extent. That said, the Loc8tor Lite really has to be viewed as a fun gadget more than a truly useful tool.
I really like what Loc8tor is doing with its devices – they’re simple to use, small enough to be unobtrusive and pretty much do what they’re supposed to. However, the operational range limits the usefulness and I can’t help feeling that anyone who loses their keys regularly is just as likely to lose the Loc8tor handset.
If you view the Loc8tor Lite as a gadget, you’ll get a lot of fun out of it and probably find it very useful once in a while. Just don’t go thinking that it’s the ultimate solution for the absent minded.
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