The saga that is the Keyport key fob has finally come to a conclusion; and yes, it’s a successful conclusion at that.
After months — years, actually — of waiting, several revisions, updated philosophy and updated direction, Keyport launched its brand new web site today, and most importantly is ready to begin accepting orders for their key fob.
If you need some back story on what Keyport’s gone through over the last 3 years to get to where they are today, head here.
I’ve been lucky enough to be part of a select group of individuals who were included in a beta test of both the new design and the new ordering process.
With today’s launch, I’m ready to offer my full review of the all new Keyport Slide.
Chances are, if you’re like me, your key chain is a tangled mess. At times it’s difficult to remember what key goes to what and it’s uncomfortable in your pocket. Keys are jagged, the poke your thighs and sometimes their shape edges cut.
I’ve tried different color coded key covers, different sized keys and other solutions in an effort to help distinguish them mostly failing.
Does your key chain resemble this:
The goal of the Keyport Slide is to combine up to 6 keys into one universal device that not only functions well but looks good too.
Many years ago the Keyport Fob was just an idea created by its founder Josh Downes. Josh created the idea for the Slide but ran into issues developing and manufacturing it on his own. With the help of a new “team” Josh and the rest of the Keyport group are working together on every aspect of the product, from design to manufacturing to delivery. Coming up with an amazing idea for a product sometimes isn’t enough. Josh’s needed support and it was through this realization that the new team behind Keyport was born.
The Keyport slide is made from high grade materials like stainless steel, nylon and Lexan Polycarbonate.
The entire process of getting your Keyport slide made has been overhauled. Initially, when the company first launched, the plan was for you to send the keys you wanted included in your slide to Keyport, where they would then custom cut all your keys and place them into the slide. There was of course, concern from the general public over security and sending your keys back and forth through the mail, as well as logistical issues on the manufacturing side getting the keys cut properly and tested.
With new direction comes new processes. Now you take care of ordering your Slide via Keyport’s new web site.
Keyport compatible keys are called “blades.” The Keyport needs to use these specially designed keys since your regular keys won’t fit into the slide. The blades function like a traditional key, but they feature a unique head that makes them smaller and allows them to fit into the slide.
For its initial launch Keyport is offering its new Slide in the United States by invitation only. They’ve contacted all of their previously interested customers and explained their new concept, cost, delivery and process. If you’re one of the lucky ones who has been offered a chance to order a Slide you’ll follow a modified version of the process below. Instead of using the ordering system Keyport has in place you’ll fax or e-mail your order form. Keyport wants to put their hands on every order that initially comes through and make sure it gets followed through error free.
Here’s what the future of Keyport looks like:
Step one of the ordering process is to print out the special locksmith’s form they’ve developed. At home you select the 6 keys you want included in your Slide. You then take those keys, plus the form to your local area locksmith. Each key has a specific manufacturer’s number on it which your locksmith can identify. He puts those numbers in the box with the key’s corresponding number, and you take the form home.
If you don’t know of a local locksmith in your area, Keyport even has a locksmith locator tool to assist you in finding one. The locksmith may ask that you pay a small fee for this service, but chances are if you inform him/her that you’ll be back to have the keys cut when the blades arrive, they’ll do it for free.
See what you’ll be ordering are blank blades which, when you receive them, you’ll be taking to your locksmith to have them cut into keys. No more sending keys all over the world and worrying over their whereabouts.
Once you have your codes, you’re ready to place your order on the Keyport web site.
The next step is to choose a color for your Slide. There are two color options from which to make your selection.
Each color is stamped with the Keyport logo but more importantly each is also stamped with a special serial number and an offer of “reward if found.” If someone finds your Keyport Slide they simply contact Keyport’s customer service who arranges recovery of your slide.
Once you’ve completed your initial order you wait. Your starter bundle will arrive containing your Slide color of choice, 6 colored nodes, 6 blades (based on what you’ve chosen) and an optional hand release lanyard.
Oh did I mention the price? When Keyport launched they planned to charge upwards of $300 per slide. The new Keyport will cost you only $79 for the entire starter bundle; this is obviously a much appreciated and much more realistic asking price.
Each blank blade is coded so what when you take it to the locksmith to be cut he/she will be able to identify and match it with your corresponding key. Each blade is different in size from the others based on the type of key it’s meant to be cut into. I had no issues having my local hardware store cut my blades to match up with my various keys.
Once your keys have been cut you’re ready to assemble your Slide. But before doing so it’s a good idea to check your keys in their corresponding locks to make sure they were cut correctly. I went around to each lock and tested the blades. This is my only complaint about the Keyport system. If the locksmith makes an error in cutting your key (and I’ve had this happen with other keys) and the key doesn’t work, you’ll need to order an entirely new blade, take it back to the locksmith and have the blade re-cut.
However Keyport has vision. As a company their new leadership is looking towards the future. They are looking at ideas that could help them create a worldwide network of locksmiths that actually possessed the Keyport blades. This way getting a blade cut for your slide would be just like getting a copy of any other house hold key made.
As long as all your cut blades work, you can begin assembly. To do so you take one of the color coded nodes and place it into the cut blade. You can insert the node into the blade on either side allowing you to align the key in whichever orientation you prefer.
The node acts as a button to release the key when you’re ready to select it, as well as being color coded so you’re able to identify which key is which. The nodes are paint filled with each color to insure durability.
To insert your blades you click off the top piece of the Slide and one by one insert them all the way into the 6 slots or channels (3 on each side.) You can orientate the blades in any manner you wish.
When you’re finished you’ll should have 3 nodes visible on each side of the Slide. You’ll then replace the end cap by clicking it into place. This secures your cut blades inside the slide and prevents them from falling out the top of the slide.
Here’s the fully assembled slide with all my blades inserted.
The opposite end of the Slide features 6 slots from which your keys will emerge when you’re ready to use one.
To select a key you simply push down on the node and slide the key up the slide and out the slot until it locks in place. Keys slide back and forth quite easily, but not so much so that you might feel that they’d do so on their own. Keyport made the fit just right so that you get the proper amount of tension when sliding each blade back and forth in the channel.
Although I’m not sure why you’d ever need to, it is possible to have more than one blade extended out from the slide at any given time.
If you choose, you may use the included lanyard by placing it through the holes on the end cap. You could then secure the slide to your bag, inside jacket pocket etc.
Some automobile keys contain special transponder chips inside the keys themselves. Without this chip the vehicle’s engine is impossible to start.
The current process for transponder chipped keys is a bit more complex and requires a working copy of the auto key which the customer mails to Keyport and which Keyport custom converts to fit the Slide. Converting a chipped auto key requires two channels in the Slide – one for the chip and one for the Blade. Once Keyport receives the key, a skilled technician removes the transponder chip from the key head and places into a plastic chip insert designed specifically for the Slide. The technician then removes the plastic key head and custom fits the shank with Keyport’s proprietary universal head. They have this to say about specialty auto keys:
If we receive an auto key that contains buttons in the head itself (e.g. lock, unlock, panic, etc.), it is important to note that we are currently unable to salvage the buttons on the key to be converted, nor can we integrate those buttons into the Slide at this point. Converting a chipped auto key will allow you to open your car door and to start the engine.
The special chipped keys are not included in the price of the Keyport starter bundle. Keyport currently charge a separate flat fee of $29 to convert a chipped auto key.
The Keyport Slide is very usable. When inserted in your car’s ignition it fits naturally. It doesn’t stick out in such a manner that it’s intrusive. If you’ve ever driven a car that uses a key fob style key as apposed to the traditional cut key, the experience is quite similar.
Same goes for using the Slide in doors. It’s sturdy and when you’re using it you don’t feel as though it’ll break. Since the node locks the key into the fully extended position you can use it knowing the key’s not going to be re-inserted back down the channel.
It’s important to remember this is just version one of the Keyport Slide. The company has plans to add additional functionality to the slide. Options like flashlights, USB storage, multi-tool functionality are all being considered.
So what’s the bottom line on the Keyport Slide? Yes, it took what seems like forever to reach the market. But I see the value and importance of waiting until something is right before releasing. Sure they could have started selling their original version of the slide years ago at an inflated cost but who would have benefited from that?
In taking their time, perfecting both the ordering process and the finished product, Keyport has not only done the end user a service but themselves as a company as well. This version of the slide functions and feels great.
The Keyport slide is now an affordable, high-tech solution to what’s a common household problem.
You can learn more about the Keyport Slide and even order your own by visiting the company’s new website.
M.S.R.P. – $79
What I like – quality materials, affordable, safe.
What I don’t like – locksmith only gets one chance to cut key.