I don't know about you, but I have a heck of a time trying to keep my little brother out of my journal, that little scamp will do anything to discover my dark secrets, my obsession with hair ribbons, my love of pixie dust and my crush for that local boy which I keep buried deep within my heart. Ok, so I don't have a little brother and as far as I'm aware, I'm not a girl but that still doesn't make me unqualified to review the Girl Tech Password Journal, the latest girl-specific product to pass through the GoodGearGuide test centre. At its core, it's driven by technologies we understand very well but the frivolity of the device lends us to a somewhat gleeful approach to the review as well as some rather uncomfortable confessions.
The Password Journal is essentially a notepad locked up tight within the fortress of a voice recognition locking mechanism. Once switched on it prompts the user for a password in a grating female voice with a British accent. It then asks for the password again and once recorded, the device refuses to open without the correct password.
We attempted various password combinations and found that single word passwords work rather well. Multiple words tend to confuse the device and result in the intruder alert blaring uncontrollably at your unduly assaulted ears. When the device finally accepts the password, it opens, unfolding like a flower revealing the notepad contained within. The notepad is fairly substandard and won't keep anyone's secrets for long. It's not a diary, with dates and times and whatnot; it's just a pad, a blank white pages pad with no outstanding features and only about 90 or so pages. There is a compartment for storing pens and various other items and the journal also has a small retractable light so the journal can be used at night. When the unit opens, it also tells you how many intruders have attempted to access the journal. Despite the fact that the British woman's voice burns holes in our brains we still found this feature to be rather useful.
The voice recognition within the device is hit and miss. At times, it works really well, so long as you keep the passwords or commands simple. Complicated passwords or high ambient noise tends to result in repeated intruder alerts, a klaxon alarm crackling from truly substandard speakers coupled with the woman continually saying "intruder" ad nauseam.
The Journal is powered by 3 AAA size batteries which are inserted in the rear of the device protected rather haphazardly by a single screw. While this device is a good idea, it clearly is not a hardcore security device, it's a toy and isn't the most reliably secure device on the planet. Young boys are crafty, and the latest generations are also tech savvy. It doesn't take much to unscrew the battery mount and press the reset button, thereby allowing unopposed access to the journal. Also, the more evil boys may decide to put their own password on there laughing maniacally as their sister tries in vain to enter her password. Even if your little brother doesn't know his way around a toolkit, we imagine the journal could easily be pried open with very little force. Obviously, we didn't attempt this for fear of breaking it but judging by the overall construction we can't imagine those secrets remaining secret for very long around a properly motivated brother-type. Girls will find this device fun but if they are truly committed to keeping their journal safe we can do nothing more than recommend they construct a labyrinth of Doom beneath their house, populated with all manner of deadly beasts and containing the journal in the centre. If your brother survives the maze, he deserves to know your secrets.