KIWI P1 review: Accurate laser measuring in a compact package

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KIWI-P1-review

The KIWI P1 laser distance meter is a well constructed, sturdy, handy, compact, and — most importantly — accurate laser distance meter.

TA-ratings-95A few weeks ago, we took a look at the KIWI P1 Indiegogo campaign. Promising to be “a highly accurate, fast and easy-to-use laser measurement tool,” the company sent us one for review. Our KIWI P1 review takes a look at this compact laser distance meter and puts it through its paces to see how it performs both in and outdoors.

Specifications

The KIWI P1 has the following features and specifications:

  • Accuracy: 1/152ft (2mm)
  • Range: 0.6-130ft (0.1-40m)
  • Laser Class: 2
  • Laser Type: 650 nm, <1 mW
  • Battery: 2x AAA
  • Dimensions: 4 x 1 3/8 x 11/16″ (100 x 35 x 18mm)
  • Weight (with batteries): 68g (78g with optional Smart Switch)
  • Auto Fetch: Yes
  • Smart Switch: Optional
  • One-button function

What’s in the box

  • KIWI P1 laser distance meter
  • Smart Switch (optional)
  • User Manual
  • 1-year warranty
KIWI-P1-review-01

What’s in the box…

Design

The KIWI P1 laser distance meter from Myantenna Tech is a bright green rectangular box  4″ long by 1 3/8″ in height and 11/16″ in width with a nice weight to it. One side has the P1 logo while the other has a 10cm (100mm) ruler along the bottom edge.

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A handy 10cm (100mm) ruler adorns one side of the KIWI P1.

The front edge is where the laser is located while the digital readout and button are located on the top edge. Both the front and top edge are black with green accents. Finally, the back edge has a removable cover which is where the AAA batteries are located. As we’re talking about the display here I will mention that when measuring using feet, the distance still returns a decimal. Given the way imperial measurements are recorded, I do think the KIWI P1 should display this distance in feet and inches and not as a decimal — quick, what’s .534′ in inches?

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The laser is located on the front while the digital display is on the top edge of the device.

It has a simple enough design and given its bright green colour, you’re going to have a hard time losing it in your toolbox or around the house. It’s also small enough that you could easily store it in your pocket or a pouch.

Ease of Use

The KIWI P1 couldn’t be easier to use. Simply hold the button on the top of the unit until it turns on and you’re ready to begin measuring. Place the back end of the P1 at the point where you want to start measuring (the displayed measurement includes the length of the P1) and then press the button again briefly to freeze the measurement on the display.

Pressing the button three times quickly will switch from meters to feet. Pressing the button twice will start a 10-second countdown timer which allows you to place the P1 in one spot and give you time to move to where you want the distance measured before it freezes the measurement display.

While it’s not really mentioned anywhere, you will want to measure towards a surface that is at a 90° angle from the edge you want to measure. When measuring walls, you’ll have no issues if you measure towards a corner, but if you are measuring out towards an edge, you’ll want a small piece of cardstock or even a piece of wood for the laser to bounce off of to report the actual distance.

Performance

According to Myantenna Tech, the KIWI P1 measures distances from 0.6-130ft (0.1-40m). During our testing, we found that the shortest distance it could measure before throwing an error code was 0.15m. That being said, you can use the ruler on the KIWI P1 itself to measure distances less than 0.1mm. For distances over that, the company claims accuracy to within 2mm. During our tests, when compared to measurements from a tape measure, we found that the P1 laser distance meter is very accurate.

The P1 was easy to use both in the house and outside. Making sure pictures were hung straight was a favourite use inside while being able to accurately measure the deck and the back fence without having to add two or three tape measure lengths together was just as easy. It was much quicker as well being able to measure a distance of just under 100′ in one go.

Battery Life

The KIWI P1 laser distance meter uses two AAA batteries. The Indiegogo campaign mentions that they should last you up to 5 hours of continuous use before needing to be replaced. We’ve used our review sample for about an hour and a half and the battery indicator still shows that it is full. While it would have been nice to have a rechargeable battery solution, it appears the AAA batteries provide ample power, not to mention are easy to replace once they do eventually wear out.

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The AAA batteries should last through many uses and are easily replaceable.

The P1 also has an auto shutoff which turns the device off if it hasn’t been used for about a minute, further conserving battery life.

Accessories

The optional Smart Switch is also bright green. It has an angled shape and houses a mirror at a 45° angle on the inside. Simple mathematics indicates that this mirror allows the laser to reflect at a 90° angle for vertical measuring — more on that later. The Smart Switch attaches to the laser end of the KIWI P1 by way of magnets and only “snaps” into place when the mirror is facing the side of the device that has the ruler along the bottom edge. It’s an easy system and while the Smart Switch stays on while measuring, a slight bump will move it out of place and, if hard enough, can knock it right off the P1.

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The optional Smart Switch allows you to take height measurements as well.

When attached though, it lets you take height measurements of objects easily. Simply place the flat side of the P1 on top of the object (or person) you want to measure and proceed as you normally would. I mention people as the Indiegogo campaign has an image of it being used to measure a child’s height, and while it does work a bit of fiddling is required to make sure the laser isn’t hitting a shoulder or back or another body part. Aside from that, you should be able to measure the height of most objects with ease.

Price/Value

The KIWI P1 will have a retail price of $48USD once the Indiegogo campaign ends. If you want the Smart Switch as well, it’ll cost you an extra $10. As it currently stands, the P1 can be pre-ordered for $34USD and the P1/Smart Switch combo can be ordered for $49USD. If you do a lot of measuring, especially measuring past what a standard tape measure allows, the KIWI P1 is a handy, compact, and accurate laser distance meter.

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The KIWI P1 with optional Smart Switch is a decent value at the current Indiegogo pricing.

Wrap-up

The KIWI P1 laser distance meter is a well constructed, sturdy, handy, compact, and — most importantly — accurate laser distance meter capable of measuring distances and heights of up to 130′.

*We were sent a sample of the KIWI P1 with optional Smart Switch for the purposes of this review.

KIWI P1 with Smart Switch

$34+ USD
KIWI P1 with Smart Switch
9.5

Design

9/10

    Ease of Use

    10/10

      Performance

      10/10

        Battery Life

        10/10

          Accessories

          9/10

            Price/Value

            9/10

              Nailed it

              • Compact size
              • Easy to use
              • Accurate
              • Optional Smart Switch works great for vertical measurements
              • Digital readout nice and bright
              • Quality construction

              Needs work

              • Displays feet measurements as a decimal
              • Always starts in meters
              • Rechargeable battery would have been a nice feature
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