I recently bought a Kensington WiFi Finder from ThinkGeek. It’s a little gadget with a button and some LEDs that claims to be able to detect 802.11b/g signals at a range of up to 200 feet, while filtering out interference from microwaves and cordless phones. Sounds great, but in reality, the thing is a big piece of shit. Here’s the email I sent to ThinkGeek today in the hopes they’d stop selling it:
Howdy. I recently bought a Kensington WiFi finder from you guys, and I thought I’d share my thoughts with you. They go something like this: “Oh God what a crappy piece of crap, I can’t believe this thing sucks so much, ow ow my head ow.”
I’ve always been a big fan of ThinkGeek, and I have the utmost respect for you guys (you’ve made my Christmas shopping easier than stealing donuts from a big pile of unguarded donuts), so it pains me to see you selling a product as crappy as this one. It sure looks nice, but it definitely doesn’t work as advertised.
For one, it certainly doesn’t filter out interference from cordless phones or microwaves. You use this thing near anything that spits out radio waves in the gigahertz-plus range, and it goes nuts thinking there’s WiFi. This means that half the time, it’s detecting WiFi that isn’t really WiFi.
The other half of the time, it’s not detecting WiFi that is real WiFi. And even when it does detect something you want it to detect (which, by the way, you have to verify using a laptop or PDA with a WiFi card, since this thing is so untrustworthy), it just flashes those green LEDs for a second and then goes back to searching, then maybe flashes them again, then searches some more, and it does this for several minutes.
So, to sum up, the Kensington WiFi Finder:
* Doesn’t detect WiFi reliably at any range.
* Does detect WiFi when there is no WiFi.
* Detects microwaves and cordless phones like a champ.
* Is a usability nightmare.
Given ThinkGeek’s reputation for pleasing geeks and selling quality products at reasonable prices, I recommend that you drop the Kensington WiFi Finder before too many other people get their hands on it and have the same bad experiences I have.
I got a quick response from a real person assuring me that my comments would be forwarded to the appropriate buyer for consideration. Hooray for ThinkGeek!