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Review: ZOMM wireless leash for your smartphone

- May 7th, 2012

Zomm

You reach for your phone and you soon discover that you don’t have it. You ask yourself where did I have it last? Was it the bank, the bar or the bathroom? Of course, it’s also in silent mode so even if you dial your own number you won’t hear it. Sound familiar?  I’m sure it does, so the good folks at ZOMM have designed the ZOMM Wireless Leash to alert you when you get separated from your smartphone. It can also potentially save your life.

ZOMM Wireless Leash is a small round pocket-sized device with a 1.62” diameter, not much bigger than a couple of poker chips that you attach to your keychain. It’s designed to use Bluetooth technology to alert you when you have strayed a certain distance from your phone.  When paired with your phone it will flash, then vibrate and sound an alarm so that you don’t accidentally leave your phone behind. The concept is so simple I wish I would have thought of it first.

It runs off an internal rechargeable battery, which should last 2-3 days depending on use. There is no battery level indicator, but when power is running low, you’ll get a series of 3 short beeps every few minutes to remind you. To fully charge takes about 4 hours.

 

Speakerphone, Panic Alarm & Emergency Calling

It also has other features including a built-in speakerphone and a noise canceling microphone so theoretically you could talk hands-free even while driving. Plus, it can also be used as a panic attack alarm and a one-step emergency dialler. For it to perform the last item, of course, your phone must be operational.

 

ZOMM APP

Software & Apps

The myZOMM software, available free from ZOMM.com allows you to connect your device to your Mac or PC to customize it and update it with the latest features.

Customizing allows you to give your device a name.  It also allows you to turn features on and off as well as adjust the length of the leash to be longer or shorter.

There is also a myZOMM for Android app available which offers similar functionality to the PC/Mac software with the added ability of your phone to actually track the location of the leash. In essence, use it to actually help find your keys.

 

Compatibility

According to the manufacturer the ZOMM is designed to work with virtually all Bluetooth enabled smart phones with a noted exception of Nokia Series 40 models.

It does work with the iPhone, but if you want to get the best mileage, there is actually a different model, the ZOMM Wireless Leash Plus. While functionally the same, this one is designed to work with the myZOMM iPhone app which also features geo-tagging, so you can remember where you left anything you can take a picture of.

The original wireless leash will work with the iPad 2 and the fourth-generation iPod touch. The “Plus” version should work on any iOS device as well as Android.

 

Test Drive

Taking the ZOMM  for a test-drive I found it easy to use. Pairing is a fairly simple process. It’s just a matter of getting used to the steps that you’re going to use for your particular phone. There are standard instructions in the quick start guide and specific variations online if you happen to be using the Nokia, Samsung or other Android devices as well as the Blackberry or iPhone.

Because the ZOMM uses Bluetooth, if you are wearing a compatible headset or use a Bluetooth enabled car kit, you might be in for some possible challenges. It’s nothing to do with the ZOMM, but whether it works is primarily a function of how many active Bluetooth connections your phone can handle. Newer phones can likely handle multiple inputs but some of the older ones may not. In which case, what you need to do, especially if you’re in the car, is to deactivate when you get into your car and reactivate when you leave.

The process is pretty simple all you have to do is hold down the Z button to hear the 1st beat and repeat the process. However I do find this somewhat inconvenient and something you can easily forget and it can be a real pain, especially if you’re one of those people who walk around with a Bluetooth earpiece like an appendage.

The speakerphone function can certainly come in handy at times. When a call comes in, you simply tap the Z button once. If you already happen to be on a call pushing the Z also enables the speakerphone. You can also hit the button twice and will immediately send your call to voicemail.

While the speaker was certainly audible, because of its small size combined with sometimes-poor phone signal quality, sound fidelity may not necessarily be the greatest. Furthermore unless you’ve mounted or attached, your ZOMM, you might look a little ridiculous talking to your keychain.

The alarm did function as advertised. As I walked away it would at some point flash, then vibrate and then sound off the alarm. It would even eventually reset it self when back within range.

While the ZOMM performed virtually flawlessly during my tests, the system isn’t perfect. If somehow your Bluetooth connection is interrupted, your alarm may go off unexpectedly. This can also occur if you happen to turn off your phone while it’s still connected. You’ll sure learn this very quickly once it happens in the middle of a meeting or even a movie theatre.

To trigger the panic alarm you need to hold the Z button for about 9 seconds. If you continue to hold the button, at the 15 second point the speakerphone becomes enabled and ZOMM notifies you that it will be placing an emergency call to either 911 emergency services or designated phone number.

ZOMMEmergency

Save Your Life

I didn’t want to call 911, but ZOMM advises that once connected to emergency services the Wireless Leash plays a recorded message asking the emergency services operator to send help to your location immediately. So in the event you cannot speak, help can still get to you. Emergency services should be able to pinpoint your location using your mobile phone’s signal.

 

Bottom Line

Overall, the ZOMM is a neat little device. If you’re someone who regularly misplaces your phone and I know a few people that fall into the category,  then the ZOMM would certainly be an incredible lifesaver. This is especially true since our smart phones have become not only a necessity but also a place where we keep all of our personal and private information. And in the event of an emergency, features like the speakerphone, panic alarm and emergency dialing can offer a different type of lifeline.

On the downside, it’s too bad ZOMM doesn’t have a battery level indicator. It does alert you when its low, but once you’ve reached that point, your emergency features will likely not work. Also, if you have a phone that isn’t happy with multiple Bluetooth devices attached simultaneously, you have to activate and deactivate it, so it could potentially be more trouble than it’s worth, especially if you’re someone who would more often than not forget to turn it back on.

While I’m sure there is a technical limitation, I think that it would have made better sense if there was one model that worked with any device and app combination, should you switch for example from Android to an iPhone.

Nevertheless, at $89.99 US, it’s certainly cheap insurance and for the right person, worth considering.

Included in the box, in addition to the wireless leash, you’ll find a belt clip, a key ring, a micro USB cable and an AC wall adapter charger. It’s available in White Pink or Black. (Plus version, available in Black only). Visit ZOMM’s website for more details.

photos courtesy: ZOMM LLC.

Greg Gazin is the Real Canadian Gadget Guy.

Follow me on Twitter @gadgetgreg.

 

 

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5 comments

  1. Anne | May 8, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Hi Greg,

    Amazing gadget! I can’t even count the number of times I’ve misplaced my phone. I also think you did a really great job in this review.

    Thanks,
    Annette

  2. Greg Gazin | May 10, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Thanks Annette. Me too. Fortunately I’ve never lost it.

  3. Chris Vandergaag | May 11, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Greg,

    Saw the press release about this the other day, and it piqued my curiosity. Great write-up!

  4. Greg Gazin | May 11, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    Thanks Chris! Appreciate your feedback! I have the non-plus version so I can’t use the iPhone app.

  5. Edward Lambert | February 2, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    It will be perfect if the alarm can go off on my smart phone too .

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