REVIEW – If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that we need to be prepared for anything. As a means to help simplify emergency preparations, BogyGuardz has introduced a new 5-in-1 portable emergency hub. Let’s see how many issues it can help with.
What is it?
The BodyGuardz 5-in-1 portable emergency hub is a combination device that helps you deal with emergencies. It is a weather and civil alert system, FM radio, flashlight/nightlight, siren/alert system, and USB power bank.
What’s in the box?
- 5-in-1 hub
- Quick start guide
- Information guide
- Dimensions: Height: 1.1” Width: 3.2” Length: 5.7”
- Weight: 6.5 oz
- Power: Rechargeable battery, 6600 mAh
- Weather resistance: IP65 weather resistant
- Notifications: Local weather, emergency, civil, etc.
- Wireless: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac plus Bluetooth
Design and features
The hub feels solid in the hand.
The upper half is translucent white plastic and houses the nightlight and flashlight. The lower half is matte gray and houses the speaker and the battery charge indicator.
On the back, we find the flip-out 110V plug.
On top, we find the red emergency button and the flashlight lens.
On the bottom, we find the USB-A power bank port, under a sealing flap.
Along the side, we find the flashlight power button.
This is also the overall power button, requiring a ten-second press to power the hub up/down.
Setup is typical – add the app to your phone and set up an account. Then, you connect to the device and connect it to your WiFi.
It starts by pairing with the hub – so far so good…
Then, it configures the device to connect to your WiFi.
And finally, it tells you you’re good to go. Or, that’s what it is supposed to do.
No matter what I did, it kept coming up with the above error and wouldn’t finish the configuration. I thought perhaps it was trying to use my 5GHz WiFi, so I restricted my eero mesh router to 2.4GHz, and still, I got the error. I finally gave up and clicked the Contact Customer Care button. I can only describe what happened as the app “weirded out”. Then, mysteriously, the hub showed up as a configured device. I have no explanation of what happened, but the hub was now configured, so, OK.
Once I got through the painful setup, I was ready to test out the hub.
Pressing the flashlight button on/off the side turns on the flashlight.
It’s not exceptionally bright but will light your way in the dark. Because it isn’t overly bright, it shouldn’t use the battery too quickly.
If the power goes out or you unplug the unit, the nightlight automatically turns on.
It lights up very dim – perfect as a nightlight and to allow you to find the hub in the dark.
You can manually turn the nightlight on/off in the app as well as turning on the radio and activating the siren.
The siren goes off when you press the alert button. You can also set alert conditions to sound the siren and provide app push notifications for any local storm, civil, fire, disaster, and flood emergencies based on your zip code.
In the app, you can scan the FM band and locate your local stations. You can then tap on the individual frequencies to tune to that station. You can also enter a frequency directly.
We are in an area without a lot of FM coverage and it could only pick up two local stations.
Siren alerts also show notifications in the app.
You can share the app with other users. You can then configure who will receive siren notifications. This is great for someone who lives alone as they can press the emergency button and automatically notify family members of an emergency.
If the power is out, obviously, your WiFi will be out as well. In that case, the bub will automatically connect to your phone via Bluetooth to provide emergency notifications.
If the power is out, with its 6600 mAh battery, the hub should be able to give most phones a nearly complete charge.
What I like
- Solid build
- Auto nightlight upon power failure
- Nice all-in-1 emergency notification and safety tool
What I’d change
- Clean up the pairing process
- Improve the FM radio reception
Emergency preparation is important, but typically involves a slew of emergency tools. With both an inbound and outbound emergency notification system, FM radio, power bank, flashlight with a nightlight, the BodyGuardz 5-in-1 hub is a compelling tool to simplify your emergency kit. Having it plugged in keeps it ready to both provide warnings and be ready to provide light and power in an emergency. This has found a permanent home in the Kastle.
It’s always interesting when a manufacturer reads your review, especially after you reported issues with their product. BodyGuardz did just that and reacted. Here’s a response we received from BodyGuardz after posting the review.
I just wanted to address the issue of the Hub having an issue connecting to your phone + app. We reached out to our product team and let them know about the issue and they got back to us and let us know the following.
“We did 3 things to improve the “adding a device” process:
1) In the apps, we increased the amount of time from sending a request to add a device and the acknowledge response from the backend systems from 30 to 60 seconds. This fixes the premature display of the error screen when the device is in fact added a few seconds later
2) We found an exception error in the cloud that was hanging up the provisioning and registration process;
3) Improved the processes that handle requests from users and the responses they receive. All of these changes have helped resolve all the open issues we have with adding devices. We will keep monitoring and fixing any issues that occur.”
I decided to put their work to the test. I deleted the hub from the app and attempted to add it again to see if the process is improved.
The initial pairing process went perfectly. I provided my WiFI credentials and it started configuring the hub.
I got a variety of errors. I kept trying, and the errors continued.
Then, I got a timeout issue.
I was never able to get the configuration to work.
Eventually, I deleted the app and installed it again on my Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, just in case the app needed an update that I had not received. I tried again and the errors continued. After about eight attempts, and for no apparent reason, the hub configuration worked and the hub appeared in my app again.
I applaud BodyGuard for the positive reaction to reported issues. The result, however, was less than stellar. Even with those issues, if you’re patient, adding the hub eventually seems to work.
Another update – I can report that the alerts do work. Since my original review, Hurricane Eta passed to the west of us, bringing potential significant wind, rain, and flooding. While we received none of those things, we were in weather alerts, and the hub dutifully sounded its siren and provided alert messages in the app. Unfortunately, that happened at 4:30 AM but still, it’s better to be warned.
I can guardedly recommend the BodyGuardz 5-in-1 hub. If they fix the configuration issues, it will become a hands-down recommendation.