Tech Review: The Kenu Highline

May 2, 2014
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If there’s one thing that makes me fume it’s the sheer number of times I end up dropping my Apple smartphone. Now I won’t deny that I own various faults, but the repeated indignity of dropping one of my most prized possessions because it’s too little, brittle and slippery gets me no sympathy whatsoever.

Indeed, nothing has had me gnashing my teeth quite as much as the three times I’ve had to visit the Genius Bar on Michigan Avenue on the Magnificent Mile and piss away $200 a go to replace a spider-cracked screen after once again being unable to locate the necessary insurance forms and receipts.Worse, when I’m exhausted from visiting one kid in Santo Domingo, I hop home into Chicago to do a bit of business to earn my crust before flying off to New Delhi to see my lovely daughter and son-in-law. I arrive in New Delhi and realize that, somewhere en route, I know not where, my phone is in a taxi or on an airport bench or has been boosted out of my pocket in plain sight. At which point I have to call home and have the wife call my phone service, temporarily cut off my service and borrow my son-in-law’s naff Samsung.

Tech Review: The Kenu Highline

There are, however, a few remedies. Damage-wise, adding an ergonomically intrusive case protects against damage but still can’t guarantee you won’t lose the phone.

So here comes the $35 Kenu Highline. Simply put, it’s a coil leash that attaches to your iPhone. One end plugs into the charging port on the phone (Lightning or 30-pin), where it’s held in place by a thin, clear polycarbonate snap-on case. On the other end is a Kevlar loop that fastens to your belt loop, your jacket zipper, your sports coat lapel button hole, or just about anything else you might care to figure out

Simple and functional, the design makes sense when it’s put into practice, provided the majority of your iPhone use happens within 2 feet (give or take 30 inches if you stretch it) of your pocket, or wherever you attach the leash. For some folks, that means a little functionality is lost, and I’ll wager something longer is being created now.

Tech Review: The Kenu Highline

Moan-wise, in exchange for not breaking the delicate plastic bugger, you lose the immediate flexibility to do things like set the phone on a dashboard mount, plug it into a speaker and park. And, of course, there’ll surely be someone complaining that you have to unclip the damned thing first, but, really, releasing the Lightning attachment becomes easy with a little practice.

Most importantly, though, using Highline’s leash means being comfortable with being the type of person who feels embarrassed at being the person who needs to have their mittens clipped to your jacket sleeves, your key ring in your belt loop and your spectacles held together by a chain. Ha! Ha! As self-sacrificing critics like yours truly test safety devices for the likes of an often ungrateful you, we must often determine whether a product’s function justifies the accompanying sacrifice in dignity that is inevitable.

Having changed a baby on a flight to El Paso while it simultaneously vomited on a very old couple who were cooing at him from the two seats next to me, I no longer let trivia hinder me. Know what I mean? The very thought of never again needing to deal with a shattered screen or the hassle of device replacement or throwing away money like a drunk pissing into a live volcano is well worth having some wanker having a giggle at my expense.

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