The more I review tech accessories, the more I find that I’m less inclined to use gadgets that rely on app-gimmicks than ever before. What I mean by that is, if there is something that lends itself to having a specialized application great. But if the inclusion of an app is a little more than a gimmick that differentiates the case from the other players in that space, I’m not interested. That’s why I wanted to check out some of the cases from Findables; Findables describes itself as offering the first cases that come with an app.
Findables makes a line of cases that not only protects your smart phone, but also has the ability to easily share your existing social and business profiles with a simple scan of a unique QR code that’s built into every Findables case.
Key Features Include:
A high quality case for protection
A free mobile app (iOS, Android, HTML5)
A unique QR code built into every case
Three app modes – business, social, lost Simple set up and easy-to-use app Great design in cool, fashionable colors
Clearly there’s a gimmick dimension to this line of cases, and I was left wondering if this gimmick was worthwhile? Only by using their cases would I be able to determine that. So I asked the company to send a few of their products to me. A short time later, I received a Findables case for my iPhone 5 and one for my iPad Mini.
First, let’s take a look at the cases … as cases.
The Findables iPhone Case
The case is a simple snap on back cover for the iPhone. It has a soft touch material that feels great and it has a sturdy design.
The bottom and top cover the corners but leave the majority of both open and exposed.
Because the corners are protected, I don’t have a problem with that much of an expanse being exposed.
If I bump the phone, it’s likely that the corner will take the blow, and the case looks like it would be plenty protective.
The same holds true for the expanse between the volume and mute toggle on the side. It is completely open allowing for easy access to each of them, but the case position is such that there is still decent protection.
And while this case doesn’t offer significant lay-on-the-table protection, the design is such that there is just enough for those occasions when you place the phone face down. In all, as a simple case this does quite well and I am enjoying holding and using it.
The Findables iPad Case
The case for the iPad mini is good. It looks and feels like it’s made from quality materials, and it is crafted quite well. It isn’t a luxury case, but it certainly doesn’t look or feel cheap.
The iPad mini simply snaps into the back cover and the case since on top. It includes the auto sleep awake functionality that has become so important to many of us carrying our iPads.
The three segment design of the cover is familiar to anyone who used Apple’s first smart cover. It allows you to create a stand by folding over the cover and flipping to the back.
The cutouts are nicely positioned, and everything comes together into a tight, well-designed package.
This case won’t give you much drop protection, but it will allow you to keep your iPad free from scratches. Would I use it as a case sans the extra functionality? I’m not quite sure. It’s nice enough, but it doesn’t have the luxurious look and feel that comes with a high-end case, and it doesn’t offer a tremendous amount of value added features that cases like the RokForm have. If it was my only option when it came to iPad cases, then I could be perfectly happy; because I have so many options available, I don’t think this is the case I would choose. That becomes important when we come to my summary statement about the over-all Findables system, so let’s dig into that.
The unique feature of each case purchased from the company is the small QR code in the lower back corner of the case.
Each case has a unique QR code and can be made part of a larger, interconnected system powered by the Findables software. There is one on the back of the iPhone case I received.
And there is one on the back of the iPad mini case.
Zap the first QR code with a QR reader app and it opens the Findables account page.
Creating an account is quick and easy, and from there you can begin populating the various fields offered by the software. There is a profile for business, one for social media and one that is specifically targeted at helping you recover a lost device.
Filling out all three profiles gives you the maximum functionality from this system. I filled out my profiles and then zapped my iPhone case QR code with a QR reader I downloaded to my iPad mini. It immediately opened up the Findables page and my information. That’s a good trick. Here’s another. Once you’ve set up your account, you can add additional QR codes to that profile. For example, when I zapped the QR code on my iPad mini with Findables app on my iPhone, it opened up the Findables page and asked if I wanted to add that QR code to my list of cases. I did and, after doing so, any time either QR code is zapped with a QR reader, it pulls up my information. I can add as many cases to my account as I want.
So my first conclusion is that the Findables application and system does exactly what it sets out to do. It allows you to use cases that are connected to profiles and it allows those profiles to be managed remotely. That’s all good and well, and I can’t criticize any aspect of Findables from that perspective. There are however areas of critique that stand in the way of my recommending this system with enthusiasm.
First, I thought that QR codes were on the way out. Maybe I’m wrong, but they never seem to have caught on in a big way. That means using a QR code to give someone your information won’t be second nature to the vast majority of people; in and of itself that is an issue.
Then there is the issue of the location of the QR codes. I’m not sure the back of a device case is the best location for a personal information QR code. It’s one thing if you have a QR code on something like a business card. You hand the person you meet your business card, and they can see basic information right on the card. If she wants more details about you, then she can use a QR reader at the later date, zap the card and access your complete profile information. That makes a good deal of sense. Now let’s look at how it would work if that QR code was on your phone or tablet case …
Let’s say that I’m on the show floor at the Consumer Electronics Show 2014. I want to give someone my information.”Hi, pull out your smartphone and load your QR reader app so I can give you my information. If you don’t have one, then please download a QR reader application. I’ll wait. Okay, now please scan the QR code on my iPhone case with your QR reader, and you’ll get all my information. Oh, and please make sure to save the information when it pops up, so you don’t lose it.”
It is complicated, lacks being a universal solution, and it takes too much explanation to be effective during a busy meeting or conference.
And there’s another issue I have with this system. To take advantage of it, you need to use the company’s cases. That’s fine if you like all their cases, but what if I love their iPhone case but want to use a different case on my iPad mini? Were I able to purchase stickers with the company’s QR codes, then I could affix them to non Findables cases or to my device itself. Sadly they don’t offer such an add-on. I get it. Cases are a lot more profitable than stickers, but the lack of stickers makes the system exceptionally limited. If, however, the company made additional stickers available for purchase – in order to build their business they could even go the route of requiring you to initially buy a case from them before allowing you to purchase the less-expensive stickers – then they might have a great solution. I could then use one of their iPhone cases, but then place QR code stickers on my other devices or even on a variety of my business cards for distribution. Now you’re talking about a system that I could really get behind. Sadly that is not the case, and if you want to use the Findables system you need to use Findables cases… and only Findables cases.
That’s really the situation I find myself in. I really like the Findables iPhone case, but I’m less enthralled with their iPad mini case. And I’m not reprinting my awesome plastic business cards. So I would end up using one, but not the other, and that — to a certain extent — kills the potential of Findables working for me as a system.
You can check out the current, and limited, selection of cases here on the Findables website.
MSRP: iPhone 5 case is $29.95; the iPad mini case is $49.95
What I Like: iPhone case is great, iPad mini case is good; QR code system works well; Findables App is refined and works as promised
What Needs Improvement: To make use of the Findables system you have to use their cases and only their cases; QR codes on cases strike me as rather limited and cumbersome in use
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample