De-Pressy

Backing a Kickstarter project can be disappointing sometimes, even if the project delivers


When I first heard of the Pressy Kickstarter project, I was immediately taken with the concept (and, let’s admit it, the funny video). I loved the idea of being able to control my phone with a single button, bypassing several screen-taps in favor of a single click. I immediately threw my $20 in, becoming one of the ~20k people who brought the project from the requested $40k goal, to nearly $700k.

The estimated delivery date (Nov. 13) came and went. The project founders kept us in the loop with interesting and entertaining updates: here they are in the factory in China, there they are showing the Android app that’ll accompany the device. They had reasons for every little delay. But hey, I didn’t order an item on eBay — I backed a Kickstarter project: delays and stories are part of every project.

In January I got the chance to meet the Pressy crew at CES. They seemed like very nice guys. They were dealing with QA issues that necessitated scrapping their entire stock and starting from scratch. The new delivery date became March 2014.

The new competitor was retailing for less than $5. Most importantly, it was available

March came and went. I was (im)patiently waiting for my Pressy to arrive. But nagging rumors of a Pressy clone started surfacing around the net. An exact replica of the gadget, with an Android app as well. And while the Pressy guys had an MSRP of $25, the new competitor was retailing for less than $5. Most importantly, it was available.

The Pressy guys tried rallying the troops against Xiaomi — one of the companies it claimed was ripping them off — in a well commented Facebook thread. It backfired, as many backers, still waiting for the Pressy, failed to sympathize. Some felt producing the entire technology in China was basically handing it over to Chinese companies to rip off.

I decided it’s worth the risk, and ordered the Klick ($4.99 including S&H). It arrived after a week, wrapped very nicely in a premium package. And while instructions on the box were in Chinese, they were easy to follow:

Klick’s packaging and box look and feel premium

The Klick app itself (free, in the Play Store) is in English, and very intuitive to operate:

The Klick app UIS is intuitive, if colorful

I’ve been using the Klick successfully for several weeks now. A couple of times it failed to respond, but overall, the experience is quite good. I use it to access my camera, or to call my girlfriend, without unlocking the phone.
I now believe Android phones can benefit from another physical button (like the camera button on Windows Phones), to be used as a shortcut button.

I shared these pictures with the Pressy guys on their Facebook page, to let them know what their competition is delivering. I almost forgot about my Pressy order, when suddenly it arrived yesterday, in a plain, unimpressive, brown box:

The Pressy plain brown box

The Pressy app, while free, requires activation (why?). The UI looks slicker than Klick’s, but why do we need 4 (!) links in the menu for marketing?

The Pressy UI is clean, and easy to use
If you ever plan on building a gadget, perhaps you should think about manufacturing it locally, rather than producing it at a place that excels at producing knock-offs

So I got what I paid for: I got my Pressy 6 months after the predicted delivery date; I paid 4 times as much as a competitor that performs exactly the same, yet looks more premium; I supported entrepreneurs in pursuit of their project (but also supported a company that may, or may not, have ripped them off). I guess if you ever plan on building a gadget, perhaps you should think about manufacturing it locally, rather than producing it at a place that excels at producing knock-offs.

Bottom line: I heartily recommend getting a shortcut button for your Android phone. It makes life easier. Sadly, despite liking the Pressy guys, I recommend getting the Klick. It’s 75% cheaper, and performs equally well.

And while sometimes supporting Kickstarter projects may not turn out the way you expect, I still recommend you try it, for the intangible value of being part of building something.