Pressy Review: hijack your phone’s headphone jack

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Back in the early 2000s, it was customary to cram every last possible hardware button on a phone. These days, it’s all about being as streamlined and as beautiful as possible. Goodbye, hardware keys!

While most everything can be replicated by on-screen controls, eliminating all the hardware buttons doesn’t exactly help the user experience at all. In fact, it often makes it worse, turning a one-step process into a five- or six-step process – sometimes even more than that. That’s where Pressy comes into play – well, for Android users at least.

Pressy started last year as a Kickstarter project – just as many others. The creators came to the Internet asking for a little crowd funding help to get things going. Unlike most Kickstarter projects, though, Pressy was funded in under a day. The team was asking for $40k and raised nearly $700k by the end of the funding period with over 28,000 backers.

Our Kickstarter green Pressy arrived at the end of June and we’ve been using it ever since. Here’s our take on the almighty Android button.

First of all, what is it? Pressy is a simple button that takes advantage of your standard 3.5mm headphone jack – something every Android smartphone and tablet has, which is why it’s actually quite clever.

That’s the very same reason it can be rather annoying at times. One, if you want to listen to music through headphones, you’ll need to remove Pressy first – unless, of course, you use Bluetooth headphones.

pressy-button

Also, Pressy juts out from the headphone jack approximately 0.7mm. It sticks out like an abscess on the bottom of the One M8. Fortunately, it’s not so bad with a case.

pressy-appThrough free app in Google Play, you can create different tasks to perform with Pressy using different combinations of presses. You can launch the camera, record a phone call, turn on the Torch function, or even launch custom applications. You can also program Pressy to perform calls or send preset text messages to someone with your location – all at the press (or two) of a single hardware button.

It’s quite novel, actually. And so far, we’ve really enjoyed having the extra button do … well, whatever we want.

We found creating new actions and shortcuts to be extremely easy. Choose your action, tweak it to your liking, and select a trigger (or a button press combination). The most difficult part of using Pressy was remembering which button presses triggered which actions, but with a little repetition, it grew easier to remember over time.

We haven’t gotten too crazy with Pressy yet, but you can do even more specific things, like integrate Pressy with Tasker to get even more technical with your button presses. We’re hoping IFTTT support comes at some point – Pressy and IFTTT would be a match made in heaven.

The battery life of our HTC One M8 was not affected by Pressy at all – or not as far as we could tell. This is due to the Pressy application only running when the button is pressed. The unfortunate part of that particular quirk is that there is a one- to two-second delay after a button press before an action occurs. That latency becomes less of an issue when you can launch your favorite apps from standby.

pressy-silicon

Pressy comes with a silicon holster for storage when it isn’t in use. It can be attached to a keychain or you can thread your favorite headphone cable through it. Pressy snapped into the silicon holster quite snugly and never slipped out in our use, but we’re not sure how well the silicon will hold up over time.

pressy-m8

Pressy also isn’t without issue. Sometimes it muted our in-call audio, and the only way to fix it was to remove Pressy. And other times, despite telling the app Pressy was plugged into the 3.5mm jack, Pressy would be confused with a remote Play/Pause switch. Those glitches certainly don’t make the $27 pre-order price any easier to stomach, especially when there are $1 knockoffs flooding the Web and software alternatives for much cheaper (or even free).

In all and despite some of the shortcomings, we’re quite pleased with Pressy. The build quality is impressive and it adds a host of utility to your phone from standby. We just hope the developers can iron out some of the kinks and overcome the action delays and other bugs.

Although it isn’t exactly cheap, if you’re looking for a way to take advantage of the unused headphone jack on your phone, Pressy is a sound investment.

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About The Author
Taylor Martin
Based out of Charlotte, NC, Taylor Martin started writing about technology in 2009 while working in wireless retail. He has used BlackBerry off and on for over seven years, Android for nearly four years, iOS for three years, and has experimented with both webOS and Windows Phone. Taylor has reviewed countless smartphones and tablets, and doesn't go anywhere without a couple gadgets in his pockets or "nerd bag." In his free time, Taylor enjoys playing disc golf with friends, rock climbing, and playing video games. He also enjoys the occasional hockey game, and would do unspeakable things for some salmon nigiri. For more on Taylor Martin, checkout his Pocketnow Insider edition.| Google+