Fuze Card Saga Pt. 1: Unboxing & Trying to Add Cards

November 8, 2017: The Fuze Card finally arrives.

First impressions

It’s thin. Like, credit-card thin.  No idea what wizardry was used to fit a battery inside the thing, but they pulled it off.

It’s soft(?).  The matte plastic feels soft – at least softer than a rigid credit card.  It doesn’t seem bendier or in any other way more deformable than a regular card, but it somehow feels like it should be.  Go figure.

The buttons are raised, which does create worries about wallet misfires.  I keep my wallet in my back pocket, where it’s often sat upon by a profoundly bony backside. The buttons do require a decent amount of pressure to push, though, so this may not prove to be a problem.

Getting it Connected

Cards are added via the companion app, which loaded up with no issue.  The card connects automatically via Bluetooth Low Energy, though you can also force it into pairing mode by holding the Power and Multi buttons simultaneously.

Once connected, the app instructs you to set up a passcode, which is just a 6-button sequence created by the three hardware buttons.  At \(3^6=729\) possible combinations, the passcode isn’t exactly guess-proof, but then again neither is a stolen credit card.  And the Fuze card has other security measures as well.

Adding Cards

This was a pain in the ass.

Cards have to be added using an off-brand Square reader which connects via the headphone jack.  First problem: I bought an Essential phone yesterday, and it doesn’t have a headphone jack.

The card reader (right)
and the Fuze charger.

The Essential does, though, have a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter, which is nice.  Problem is, I can’t get it to scan for anything.  Worse, I don’t actually own any wired headphones, so I can’t diagnose whether the culprit is the app, the reader, the adapter, or the phone.

Fortunately, I still have my old Nexus 5X, which does have a headphone jack.  This would be an opportune time to troubleshoot the USB-C adapter, but no. I just want to load my blasted credit cards.

Edit: The USB-C adapter also failed on the Nexus, so either it's defective or I'm doing it wrong.

Speaking of loading those cards:

Why can’t I just photograph the card, or manually enter the information into the app, a’la Android Pay?  Maybe requiring the reader is a form of fraud prevention, forcing you to have the actual card?  But even then, I could just use a card writer to make a physical copy of a stolen card – and I’m sure emulators exist as well.

Mercifully, the Nexus can read the cards and add them to the app, which syncs them to the Fuze card.  At least that’s out of the way.

With the cards added, the next step is to test basic usability.  Hilarity ensues.

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