Review: Sen.se GuardPeanut
Sen.se has released GuardPeanut, a new anti-theft tag that integrates with a companion iOS app to notify you when movement is detected. A successor to its original ThermoPeanut temperature monitoring sensor, GuardPeanut is designed to be attached to items, and uses a Bluetooth connection to notify you with an alarm if the item is moved or otherwise tampered with. The company suggests GuardPeanut can be useful in scenarios such as protecting your laptop from theft when you're refilling your mug at a coffee shop or monitoring your front door to make sure your kids come home by curfew. GuardPeanut is about 2" in length and weighs in at a mere quarter of an ounce. In addition to the sensor tag, the package includes a mounting clip, keyring, and some adhesives, which can all accommodate several different uses for each GuardPeanut, from clipping onto a bag to sticking onto the back of a door or cabinet. The unit is powered by a standard CR 2032 battery which the Sen.se says will provide for about three months of normal use.
Setting up GuardPeanut requires downloading the companion iOS app and going through a quick pairing process to associate the GuardPeanut with your device. Once paired, you can choose to enable or disable monitoring either from controls within the app or by pressing and holding the button on the tag itself. When monitoring is enabled, any movement of the tag will activate alerts, which can be sounded on your iPhone, on the tag itself, or on both devices simultaneously. Multiple alarm settings are available both for the iPhone side and on the tag itself, so you can choose from more discrete options or loud continuous alarms. Interestingly, the two non-discreet iPhone alarm settings will override the ring/silent switch and sound an audible alert, which we think is actually a useful feature in a security device such as this. Users who prefer a more subtle notification can still use the “Discreet” option, which will adhere to standard iOS alert settings for on-device vibration and Apple Watch notifications.
Since the tag uses a Bluetooth connection, your iOS device has to be in range to receive the alert, although it’s worth noting that each GuardPeanut will actually keep its own internal log of movement that’s been tracked throughout the day, which can later be transferred to the SensePeanut app. Further, multiple iOS devices can also be paired to any GuardPeanut, and alerts will sound on all paired devices — even if they’re not in range. GuardPeanut uses its own free cloud service to send alerts between devices and maintain records of when movement was detected. So for example, this means that if you have an iPad at home that’s paired with a GuardPeanut and connected to the Internet, you’ll be able to receive movement notifications on your iPhone even when you’re away from home. The app also provides a way to export the activity log to a CSV file — useful if you want to track something like how often a door has been opened — and it’s also compatible with the third-party IFTTT service so that you can create rules based on when a sensor is triggered. Although, again you’ll need to have a paired iOS device nearby to bridge the connection.
GuardPeanut is a straightforward solution that makes it pretty easy to keep an ear on just about anything that you can attach it to, from purses to cookie jars, and it works as advertised right out of the box. It’s also a reasonably attractive design, and is available in eight different colors, so it’s something that won’t look too out of place visibly attached to a purse or a bag. The multiple device pairing, internal logging, and cloud-based sync are also nice, well-thought-out touches that increase the versatility of GuardPeanut, which help to justify the $29 price tag since it allows it to go beyond just monitoring your possessions when you’re nearby.