Under the Radar

Keyport Slide Replaces Your Bulky Keychain

The Keyport Slide 2.0 aims to replace your keyring, lightening the load and preventing your keys from scratching your phone or whatever else your carrying in your pocket or bag. The device is customizable and offers an array of gadgets that you can use to fill out its six slots if you don't have that many keys.

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I tested a black one with a carabiner clip: if you've got a keyless fob for your car, the Keyport can't replace that. It can replace any other auto key, including ones that require a security chip to start your car. It also replaces a wide variety of motorcycle keys, house  and office keys (including branded high security keys), mailbox keys and padlock keys.

Keyport uses a series of blades that slide in and out of a box that's about the size of a Tic Tac mints container. When ordering, you photograph the keys you want include in your device, covering the edges of the teeth so you're not revealing your exact lock configuration. Keyport uses the photos to send you the appropriate blades, which you then take to a locksmith (who may or may not charge you the cost of an additional key) to cut the blades to match your exact key.

 

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There are several options besides keys. You can use a slot for a blade that includes the above-mentioned auto security chip if needed or you can replace the Keyport side plate with one that includes the chip if you want to use the slides for something else. Those options include a bottle opener, a mini-flashlight, a USB drive (4-, 8- or 32-GB) or a barcode insert that lets you glue a barcode from a rewards card or a gym to each side.

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The black Slide 2.0 that I tried out came with a 4-GB USB drive, a bottle opener, a flashlight and a ballpoint pen that the company is considering adding as an option. I had keys cut for two door locks and a mailbox. The device came with white side panels but I also received the standard black panels. The key blanks arrived a couple of days after I sent in the images; inserting the cut keys and swapping out the side panels wasn't difficult once I figured out how to remove the end cap.

The USB drive isn't the fastest one on the market, there are bottle openers that feel sturdier in your hand and there's probably a brighter flashlight on your phone, but everything works well and incredibly convenient to use. I've had several USB drives break off my keychains over the years; this solves the problem. Having a light this close to your key is incredibly convenient when trying to open a lock in the dark. And the bottle opener definitely does the trick.

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The Keyport Slide is available in black, white or clear "ice." The unit itself costs $29 and you have to then purchase all the inserts. The standard key blades go for $5 each, the bottle opener costs $6, the flashlight $10 and the USB drives cost $15, $25 and $40 (for the 4-, 8- and 32-GB sizes). The barcode blade is $4 and a transponder chipped blade or side plate goes for $25.

All of which means the Keyport is more than a casual purchase. The version I tested (3 key blades, flashlight, bottle opener and 4-GB USB drive -- no price on the pen) sells for $74.94 + shipping. Something this customizable from a small company is never going to be as inexpensive as something mass-produced in China. There's a labor expense is figuring out which key blanks to send with your order.

My only potential issue with the Keyport Slide might be durability. The plastic case doesn't feel cheap, but it's not going to survive getting run over by a car (for example). I'm sure the company thoroughly researched their price points, but it would be nice to see a sturdier version if it cost $10-$20 more and added a bit of weight. The blades are replaceable and replacements are easily ordered for the website. A crushproof one of these could outlast several cars and see you through several house moves.

If the idea behind the Keyport appeals to you, the device gets the job done and it's definitely the kind of elaborate gift that works for Mother's or Father's Day. It's worth a look.

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