Duet by Protag review: Another underwhelming Bluetooth tracker to help you find your keys

duet1
Credit: Florence Ion
At a Glance
  • Protag Duet

    Greenbot Rating

    Duet can alert you to forgotten items and track up to 10 tags at once, but the app suffers from some serious quirks.

If you’re a mad scientist, a comically forgetful sitcom attorney, or in some other way prone to misplacing your things, you might benefit from investing in a gadget that’s designed to alert you when you start walking away without your phone, wallet, or keys.

Just don’t bother investing in the Duet. Like so many other doodad-trackers out there, this small chiclet of brightly colored plastic is essentially a buddy system for keeping track of your items. It also syncs up with your Android device using Bluetooth. Likewise, you leave your keys behind with the Duet attached to them, your phone will alert you that you’re missing something.

duet3 Florence Ion

The Duet by Protag comes in a variety of colors. 

In the case of the Duet, the obvious comparison is with Tile—both have a similar shape and both were financed by successful crowdfunding campaigns. Protag, which makes the Duet, also makes two larger models of tracking devices: the Elite and the G1. The Duet is their smallest offering and it’s designed to either dangle from a keychain or slip inside a wallet. 

The Duet comes with an adhesive sticker to attach it to flat items, like a laptop, as well as a keyring dongle. Mine arrived with the keychain woven through the side, which made the back casing difficult to close; you might have to restring yours, too. The Duet is also powered by a CR2016 coin battery, which lasts about six months. It conveniently comes with two extra batteries in the box, so you could go about a year and a half before you have to remember to buy a battery for this thing.

duet4 Florence Ion

Duet comes with user replaceable batteries.

The Protag app isn’t terribly functional. There have been numerous complaints about the app’s finicky location data performance, as well several instances where users complained that the app would place their stuff as far as Africa.

thingsinafrica

Oh. Well, can’t help you there.

Indeed, when I closed the app and then reopened it, it opened in “crowdsourced” mode, telling me there were four other users reporting items that were lost overseas. (Good luck with your lost stuff?)

duet screengrabs

The app isn’t the best looking or the most functional, which may end up being the most frustrating part of the Duet. 

On the flip side, the app can keep track of up to 10 Duet devices, and you can set Wi-Fi Safe Zones that are exempt from alarms so that the tracker isn’t beeping at you all the time when you’re at home or in the office. 

An inconsistent utility 

duet2 Florence Ion

The Duet isn’t the most reliable tracking device out there. 

My main gripe with the Duet is that it’s inconsistent. For instance, the first time I walked away from my stuff, I didn’t hear or feel any alerts from the Duet in my pocket. Then, when I walked from the living room to the kitchen and back, roughly 25 seconds after I’d returned the Duet started beeping to warn me that I’d walked away from my belongings, even though I’d already returned to them. One time I even made it down the stairs, out the front door, and up the walkway before I received a notification that I’d left my keys behind.

To be fair, Protag does say there can be a 10-17 second delay in alarm triggers, but that’s just enough time for someone to snag your stuff if you accidentally leave it out in a public place.

All around, I was unimpressed with Duet. You can’t expect a $30 gizmo that’s barely bigger than three stacked quarters to have stellar battery life and a million features, but what’s there just didn’t work reliably. Sure, it’s easy to set up, straightforward to use, and utilizes a common, replaceable battery, but it didn’t always work the way it was supposed to. 

This story, "Duet by Protag review: Another underwhelming Bluetooth tracker to help you find your keys" was originally published by Greenbot.

To comment on this article and other PCWorld content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.
At a Glance
  • Greenbot Rating

    Duet can alert you to forgotten items and track up to 10 tags at once, but the app suffers from some serious quirks.

    Pros

    • User replaceable battery
    • Easy to set up

    Cons

    • That 10-17 second delay is almost inexcusable
    • Not a lot of differentiation from its competitors
Related:
Notice to our Readers
We're now using social media to take your comments and feedback. Learn more about this here.