BlueLounge has been best known over the years for products focused on advanced cable management, such as its Sanctuary 4 charging tray. So at first glance, the company’s latest product — a smart labelling system — may seem to be a bit of a departure from its core product base. Having followed BlueLounge over the years, however, their cable management products and docks are simply part of their larger vision: to help keep you organized and remove the clutter from your life. Looked at from that perspective, BlueLounge’s new Quick Peek smart labels fit right into that philosophy — a system that helps you organize the “stuff” in your life in such a way that you can easily find it. If you’re the person who is always digging through boxes in your garage, attic, or basement, trying to figure out exactly where you put that widget spanner or scarf that you wore to the ball three years ago, Quick Peek may be exactly what you need.
The premise behind Quick Peek is actually pretty straightforward: Stick a label on the side of a box or other container of items you have stored, scan the label with your iPhone camera to add the box to your inventory, and then take pictures of what you’re putting into the box so that you have a visual record of what’s stored there. The basic concept isn’t even entirely new — barcode-scanning apps have been on the App Store pretty much since it debuted, and we’ve seen a few other apps over the years try to accomplish this type of inventory management — however there’s a lot to be said for doing this right, and we think BlueLounge has accomplished that with the Quick Peek app. The process of labelling, scanning, and adding items is about as easy and intuitive as we could imagine, and it took us less than a minute to get up and running and add our first box. How long it takes to add boxes into Quick Peek will largely depend on how much effort you want to put into capturing photos of the contents; in some cases, a simple snapshot of the top of the open box will do, while in others you might want to take individual photos of everything contained in the box. That part is up to you, but Quick Peek will work well in either case, and the workflow of adding items is streamlined and intuitive.
However, adding all of this information into a database is relatively pointless if you can’t find it agian, and that’s where the real benefit of Quick Peek comes in. Scanning a label that’s already in your database will immediately pop up photos of the contents of that particular box, and it’s remarkably fast and responsive. If you’ve ever looked at a stack of boxes with inscrutable descriptions scrawled on the sides trying to remember which one a specific item is in, you’ll understand how much easier it would be to just quickly scan the boxes and immediately see photos of everything stored in each one.
Quick Peek works in the other direction as well. You can browse through photos of your items to find out which box they’re stashed away in. Boxes and items can also be assigned names to help identify and search them in the app, and boxes can be assigned to locations so you can figure out later where you put a given box or container.
The Quick Peek app is a free download from the App Store; BlueLounge makes its money here by selling the labels themselves, which can be bought in packs of either 32 ($10) or 100 ($25), or printed yourself by purchasing bundles of “label credits” from inside the app, at prices ranging from $2.99 for 10 label credits to $18.99 for 100 label credits. Buying label credits in the app unlocks the recognition of the labels, as opposed to the ability to print them; BlueLounge makes both letter and A4 sheets of up to 100 labels available as a free download, but the app won’t actually recognize these labels unless the necessary number of credits have been purchased. We received a 32-pack for our review, which consists of eight four-label sheets. Each label is approximately 1.5” x 2” and includes a 2D barcode and alphanumeric identifier.
Based on how BlueLounge has numbered its labels, there appears to be no way to stack multiple label packs. In other words, you wouldn’t be able to buy two 32-packs to get 64 labels as they would have the same barcodes and numbers. Similarly, the self-printed label sheeets max out at 100 unique labels. This means that right now Quick Peek only supports a maximum of 232 labels. Of course, the company can easily expand this by offering label packs with new numbering schemes, but it’s probably fair to say that 232 labels should be more than sufficient unless you’re in the personal warehousing business.
We should also note that although BlueLounge promises the app can be used on multiple devices sharing the same iCloud account, when we opened the app on our iPad, it resulted in everything disappearing from the Quick Peek database on our iPhone; running the “Migrate Database” option in the app’s settings brought back all of the locations and individual items, but not the actual boxes. We couldn’t reproduce the problem, but the fact that it happened even once was enough that we were a bit concerned; we’d recommend users avoid using the app on a second device — especially once you’ve entered a lot of data — until BlueLounge can definitively confirm they’ve fixed this issue. Ultimately, we’re not sure how useful the multi-device support is right now anyway, as multiple family members can’t share the database unless they’re all using the same iCloud account; it’s also worth noting that the app also currently doesn’t provide native iPad support. Ideally, we’d like to see BlueLounge build their own sync solution here to get around the limitations of using iCloud between multiple family members. Without that, we don’t really see the multi-device support as anything more than a niche feature that most probably won’t have much use for.
BlueLounge’s Quick Peek is a really useful and well-designed system, and with some of our team members having been through big moves recently, we found ourselves wishing that it had existed a year ago. While you’ll obviously have to buy the necessary labels one way or another, we think they’re very reasonably priced for what the app offers. If you’re packing for a move, or just going through spring cleaning and organizing your stuff, this is a great time to use Quick Peek to make sure you can keep track of where everything is later. On the other hand, if you’ve already been living in a sea of boxes, Quick Peek may be a bit more daunting as you’ll have to invest the time to open up your boxes and add everything into the database, but in our opinion it’s still worth doing for the time you’ll save later in tracking things down — let’s face it, it’s easier to get everything catalogued in a few hours on a rainy Saturday afternoon than it is to be frantically digging through boxes for those missing fondue forks two hours before company is scheduled to arrive. Quick Peek solves a very real problem that most people have, and does it in an intuitive and cost-effective manner.
Company and Price
Model: Quick Peek
Price: $10 / $25
Compatibility: iOS 8.0 or later