My mooltipass arrived today. I have been excitedly waiting for it for months and it’s finally here!

So, first of all, a physical review. I have the ABS version, although I’m waiting on an aluminium one which will be my pocket mooltipass soon. It’s a very nice size and weight, it is light enough to carry around easily but still has a solid enough construction that I’m not worried about it getting destroyed easily. I have two very minor concerns, the first is that the corners are much more angular than I was expecting. Maybe I’m just used to devices made by a certain fruit vendor, but I guess I’m more used to more rounded corners. The second worry is the front panel, it is glued to the device and at the moment appears to be quite solidly so. I’m just a little worried that if I do start carrying one of these devices around, it might get loose. I have no idea if these worries are founded at all, I’m just a little conscious, but I knew about the glued cover before I pledged to the IndieGoGo campaign, so I cannot really complain about it at all.

The screen is bright, legible and very fit for purpose. You can easily see the pixels on it, but I don’t think this is a problem at all. There are little sliding animated menus which show what each of the buttons do in that mode. The text is large and clear so I think I’d need particularly bad eyesight to have an issue with that. The device was shipped with a standard clear plastic protective film on the front, while satisfying to actually take pff, it was particularly well stuck down so a pain in the neck to get started

The buttons themselves are touch sensitive. I don’t know the precise reason for this, but I assume it’s to reduce the amount of moving parts to being only the micro USB cable, rather than physical buttons. Personally, I’m a fan of buttons, the more clicky the better, but the touchpad serves the purpose for this, and if it increases the usable lifetime of the device without increasing the production costs, I have no problems at all with the choice.

Having said that, I do appear to be having a hard time with the touch panel itself. It’s arranged in a circle, there seem to be six touch zones, four of them are arranged on the diagonals which are mainly used for traversing menus. Then there are touch pads on the left, and right of the circle which are used for yes/no messages. For text or pin input you use the circular section as a “wheel” to cycle through values. I don’t know whether it’s just my fingers, but the device isn’t as responsive as I’d like. It often takes a full time around the circle to progress one entry in whatever I’m selecting, and then it skips 3 entries in the next quarter turn. I believe it just loses my touch input because sometimes it also picks up my fingers as touching the side buttons. What this means in practice is, while I’m trying to input my pin, it’s quite frustrating, but also I’m sure I will at some point enter it incorrectly because of mistaken inputs. As I’ve said, I’m still unsure whether this is my fingers, or the device, but I will investigate further. On further investigation, it appears that the touch areas are smaller than I expected and I have to move my fingers around inside the little circle. As I have quite large fingers, this is a little frustrating, but I can definitely work with it.

The smart cards are nicely designed and there’s not much I can say about them, apart from it looks like they’ve been printed backwards. I believe I saw this mentioned somewhere. A slither sticks out of the side of the device and there appears to be a matching mooltipass logo, but it’s printed on the side of the card that gets pushed into the device, so all I see is a corner of the larger logo. Other than that, they’re credit card sized and just work. Nothing much to say otherwise.

At this point, I’ve only used the device on a Windows 7 PC, but I will shortly be also testing on Mac OSX and maybe some random Linux distros to see how it fares on them. Plugging it in initially started the setup sequence. It asked me to insert a card and enter a pin to create a new user. I failed the first two times because of the touch issues mentioned above. Windows picked up the device straight away and was happy with it. At the time I didn’t try the HID emulation mode because I didn’t have any accounts set up but I’ve since tested it and it just works with one caveat. You select login from the main menu, then choose the account you want to log into, followed by confirming to type the data. The issue is that the HID emulation is set to, I believe, US layout, whereas I’m using a UK keyboard, so the @ symbol becomes “, which for email logins could obviously be a little frustrating.

I quickly installed the chrome app and extension and had a little play around. My first thoughts were “How do I add an account to this?”. I haven’t looked up documentation online for a while, and I wanted to see how easy it was to just use. After poking around the settings and app a little bit, I gave up and tried to log into google, then I got a little popup saying “Do you want to save this on the mooltipass” (or something to that effect) and… it just worked. It saved, I logged out, I used the mooltipass to log back in. I was happy.

My goal for the mooltipass is to have two devices, with shared credentials on both of them. Then I want a pair of accounts on them, one which contains my personal passwords, and one with the passwords I use for work. At this point I only have two cards, and I want to have one backup card for when I inevitably lock one out, so I’ve not yet tried using two sets of credentials on one device.

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