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(Pocket-lint) - Have you ever left your computer alone while you pop off to the kitchen to make a cup of tea, and spent the entire 5 minutes worrying about someone nipping in and stealing your data or planting a Trojan horse application while you are away?

No, neither have we. Like the vast majority of people the simple act of logging-off if we are away for any length of time works surprisingly well enough. The addition of a screensaver that kicks in after a minute of inactivity and requires a password to resume operations covers us for those emergency dashes to the loo.

For some people, apparently, even having to type a password is too much effort and they need a totally automated solution. Which is where the Xyloc Solo comes in.

This remarkably simple device simply consists of a small radio frequency transceiver which plugs into a spare USB port and sits listening for a signal from the credit card sized transmitter key-come-name tag affair that you clip upon your person.

All the time that there is a connection between the two your computer works normally. Move out of the configurable range, usually the immediate vicinity of your computer so a couple of metres or so, the computer goes into secure lockdown mode. Only when you move back into range does the totally secure, 32-bit encrypted ID code stored within your smart name tag kick in and unlock things.

It certainly works as advertised, and if the key were a little smaller and less geeky might even be rather cool. Assuming you completely ignore the fact that you’ve coughed up £150 for the pleasure.

Do you know what we’d do if we really, absolutely, just had to have the lazy login? We’d buy a no-brand ‘Wireless PC Lock’ instead (www.prezzybox.com).

It’s cheap and cheerful, doesn’t provide the same levels of serious security that the Xyloc does, but works within a range of 2 metres and does the "computer turns off, computer turns on" trick perfectly well. As for cost, knock a zero off the price - yep you can buy them for just £15.


Very secure, very clever, very expensive. The Xyloc is for those on a business budget only, everyone else who needs the functionality should buy the cheap gadget toy version instead.

Writing by Davey Winder. Originally published on 17 January 2006.