Oct 15

Peculiar Product Review: PocketMonkey

pocket monkey 1
Once in a while, a product is released to the world that is a little unusual. Some times, these things are superfluous gimmicks. Other times, they’re a great new thing that exists! This peculiar product I review is a multitool.

The PocketMonkey. The name alone has brought responses of curiosity from those who heard the name. Why the is ‘pocket’ in the name? Well, it is a multitool that comfortably fits in your pocket. Specifically, in your wallet. Why is ‘monkey’ in the name? My guess is that it’s not just a tribute to the likeness found on the tool. There’s another tool out there named after a primate – the monkey wrench. But while that one is just one tool that adjusts (that doesn’t look like a monkey, but could grab a banana), this is a versatile tool that can be stowed away until without a thought until needed (that looks like its eating a banana).

I’ve been given a PocketMonkey to review, and have tried it in a variety of applications. To sum up my experience, it’s a useful tool to keep among between my library and membership cards in my wallet, that can accomplish most of the tasks I’ve given it. It has not proven itself to be the best choice of tool for any specific task, but then again, what multi-purpose tool can claim this honor? What the PocketMonkey does well is what it sets out to do: be the thing I can recall in a pinch.

What the PocketMonkey claims to do is twelve things. These range in usefulness, so I will break them down. Here is what the PocketMonkey claims to do, and my responses to them:

Phone Kickstand:

Pocket Monkey phone stand
“Insert your credit card to make a stand for your touch phone. Work on your phone at a comfortable angle and still have one hand free!”
– It’s a simple matter of slipping in a card, adjusting it to the angle that will allow the PocketMonkey to sit back slightly while providing enough room for your phone, and setting your phone on its side. It works, and makes watching YouTube videos easier.

Bottle Opener:

“Why carry a bottle opener on your keychain? That’s bulky. Keep one in your wallet instead!”
– I used it on a bottle of stout brew, and was able to pop off the cap without much hassle. You need to use the monkey’s head under your thumb as leverage or else it doesn’t feel as solid as a dedicated bottle opener. This has an advantage over traditional bottle openers, since it’s always with you and not hidden in a kitchen drawer or attached to a wall. Bonus: you could probably strike up a fun conversation about the weird metal thing you used to open your drink.

Flat Screwdriver:

“One of the most commonly needed tools – now in your back pocket! Need we say more.”
– I tightened a loose cabinet knob just fine with the corner of the Pocket Monkey. This is one of the best features, along with the phone kickstand, the bottle opener, the micro screwdriver, and the door latch slip.

Micro Screwdriver:

“They’re on eyeglasses, keyless vehicle dongles, and kids’ toys. Tiny screws are everywhere. Prepare yourself for when you are on the go!”
– This worked on a tiny screw that came with an outdoor barometer I tried to attach to a 2×4. I wasn’t able to hold the screw against the wall, but keep in mind I was trying to do more than I’d expect from the mini monkey-shaped multitool. I tried using the micro screwdriver, but couldn’t apply enough torque. I’d likely get the same result from the tiny screwdrivers found in pharmacies, provided I ever found one. The good thing about this is it would work fine for glasses and the toy battery compartments, and always be found in my wallet. I ended up using adhesive tape for that barometer, and now that I have a PocketMonkey, I don’t have to use tape for the back of my child’s LeapPad. What looks like the tail of the monkey (who I call Pocky), is now the answer for when I rarely need a tiny screwdriver but always wish I had one when needed.

Door Latch Slip:

pocket monkey door latch slip
“Locked your keys inside? That means the deadbolt isn’t thrown! Use this latch slip to open locked doors without protective edging or specialty latches.”
– This actually worked! I was able to jostle loose a door. Of course, this can be done with a credit card, but hey – this does what it says. It’s probably not good to use a credit card, too, because you might break it. That said, it’s probably not good to break into locked doors.

Letter Opener:

“Talented letter-openers are in short supply. Chances are, you struggle to even shred open your mail. With a letter opener stored in your wallet and always within reach, you can now make quick work of your mail pile.”
– It works, but is lacking one thing to make it work well: a long, angled edge. The inner portion is angled, but it’s also curved. This makes it less effective at running the length of paper, as you’ll get about as far as the monkey’s tail until it catches. Although, I don’t know why you’d need to keep the envelope pristine. The creator of the PocketMonkey does it well, so I might just need more practice. It does do a good job cutting through box tape, though, and does so without being sharp. This is something that needs to be mentioned when one might be carrying a tool. The PocketMonkey is TSA-compliant, so there’s no worries of having to leave this at the airport.

Hex Wrenches:

pocket monkey hex wrenches
“5 sizes of standard English hex-bolt/nut wrenches nested into one another. Slip the tool over a bolt-head and slide sideways until you find the right size. Convenient and easy to use!”
– This seems like it would work well, provided the bolt is either raised or have enough room around them for the Pocket Monkey to surround it. The only times I had the need to remove a bolt lately, however, has been when they were recessed. This requires another tool, limiting the functionality.

Phillips Screwdriver:

“A flat phillips screwdriver?? That’s right! The cross blade isn’t the key to the phillips head pattern. It’s the angled tip. This novel 2-D phillips screwdriver works!”
– The phillips head portion is long enough to work in larger screws, but defeats itself when attempting to work in smaller screws where it would seem ideal. The lack of four sides to grip at once and depth at which it connects to the screw means it turns within the screw. This worked on a phillips screw that came loose on a door handle with a larger screw, but didn’t work on the back of a garage door opener with a smaller screw.

Orange Peeler:

“Three in four adults struggle with a chronic condition known as cannot-peel-an-orange-itis*. This debilitating condition is the cause of much embarrassment. Say “no more!”. PocketMonkey is a proven cure and peels oranges with ease!
*we just made that up”
– OK – this is when the “Twelve functions packed into one millimeter of stainless steel” start to get silly. I tried this feature, and yes, it works. I lived in southern California and have adequate experience peeling oranges, but maybe there are people out there who would like a tool for such a task. I was able to peel a “cutey” orange with the PocketMonkey. I then wondered if it was clean prior to and after it touched the orange.

Banana Knicker:

“Ever tried quickly snapping the top off a banana to start peeling? It usually gets mushed instead. Use the peeler to nick the top and peel with ease.”
– A banana is the perfect fruit! It comes wrapped, and has a knob at the top for unwrapping it. Why mess with a good thing? Also, my household ran out of bananas before I was able to try this. This feature is probably listed because this product is well, a monkey. Moving on.

Ruler:

“Sometimes all you need to know is the difference between 3/16ths and 1/4 of an inch. Now you can measure those small details that life throws at you.”
– I suppose this would be useful if you were playing a tabletop game. I walked into one of those stores to buy some dice, and it seemed like they were measuring distances. Does tabletop game battling get this precise?

Straight Edge:

“Draw with it. Scrape with it. Chop with it? What uses can you dream up?”
– This needs to be stricken from the website. What should be listed, instead? The suggestion they mention in their product video, that they even have printed on the face of the product – a headphone wrap! Sure, I guess you could scrape things with this, as I could also do to a lesser extent with my library card. I’d rather they flex those monkey muscles and show how they can hold pesky headphones. I wrapped mine around this, and supposed I went on a trip, could toss this in my bag and prevent them from strangling themselves (as headphones tend to do).

If I were to compare it to the competition, I’d suggest that the makers of PocketMonkey do a couple things to make it fare better in my imaginary miniature multitool market. First, lower the price a bit. When up against a similar product, it does less for more money. Second, use the advantages of the monkey! The tail can do more than advertised. There’s times when a metal peg can be used to do things like press a reset button, or pry something when nails won’t work. A lot of real estate is lost on the portion dedicated to the tail; market this area more to show its use. Also, for those curious – the tail does not poke through or in any way interfere when stowed in a wallet.

What would I do, if I were asked to help make the PocketMonkey 2.0? Why, I’m glad I asked! Expand upon the silliness. Pictures and words can be found all over, on both sides. The pictures are all to aid the user in the uses of the tool. Most of the words are also informative, with some exceptions of odd thoughts. I say, take this a step further add silly pictures. I see things that could be traced, if slight changes were made to the design and pictures were added. The tool could teach someone how to draw a monkey head, a sitting dragon with jagged teeth, a unicorn, a rabbit with big ears, and a video game controller. There’s also a hole in the middle of the multitool, for reasons unknown. I tried using it with two pencils to make a perfect circle. Other than that, I don’t know why it’s there. Then again, there is a portion cut out of the monkey’s mouth to resemble a banana, so I shouldn’t think too hard. This portion and other blank areas could be used instead as a surface for printing conversion rates, since I never seem to remember those. Anyway, these are all just suggestions to improve a good tool with the potential for more.
pocket monkey 2
The PocketMonkey is a novel idea and a useful addition to wherever someone keeps their cards. While it isn’t the best choice for any of the things it can do, it is the most convenient for when you need to do what it can handle. When considering multitools, convenience is a factor that the PocketMonkey can certainly claim.

The Zarf logo review score good

Reviewed on 15OCT15
Provided by Zootility Tools
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