After reviewing the Gerber Shard I found myself getting really into small multi tools and widgets as a viable concept for everyday carry. The Nite Ize Doohickey is the latest addition to my widget roster, but there are definitely more to come. I primarily was fascinated by the Doohickey because of its incredibly sleek appearance, and the fact that it brags quite a few different functions for such a small key tool. Lets see how it holds up as a working tool.
Nite Ize Doohickey Keychain Multitool – Amazon / eBay
The first thing to note about the Nite Ize Doohickey is how well finished it really is. Nice machining with no visible burrs or defects paired with clean laser engraving really bring home that this is a well conceived tool, at least in appearance.
The most obvious tool besides the pry tip and bottle opener are those 3 hex bolt cut outs. Their sizes are 1/4th , 5/16th and 3/8th of an inch. I didn’t have any hex bolts on hand in those sizes so I didn’t get to test these out myself, but to be real honest, I think that with the size of the Doohickey, you are going to be faced with a real lack of leverage to screw or unscrew anything sizable. This is clearly and emergency-only kind of tool, and I have never been faced with a hex bolt emergency, so I can’t really comment on how useful it is.
That being said it’s nicely integrated as extra space for the carabiner, and a mediocre tool is better than no tool, so +1 for the Doohickey there.
The Doohickey features a laser engraved ruler, both metric and imperial, on its front. I am not sure how handy 2 inches/40 mm of measuring area is, but it’s a nice touch that adds no extra weight.
It has a somewhat (ok, barely) sharpened area, towards the corner of the prying section. I can’t say I am a huge fan of having any cutting implement exposed, especially on an object that’s supposed to dangle freely inside my pockets, but in real world use I didn’t notice any discomfort, and since the box cutter section is by no means sharp enough to ever become a safety risk, this feature seems fine to me.
To put it bluntly (heh) it doesn’t cut: it tears. Pretty useless. I’d imagine a credit card would have the same result. I will say that with some later testing, I did find it useful for scoring pine wood and drywall.
Small Phillips screw heads were just too small for the Nite Ize Doohickey, and using the box cutter area to attempt to tighten/loosen these screws proved completely unsuccessful.
Kershaw Emerson CQC-6K Folding EDC Knife – Amazon
However, with flat head screws, like the ones featured on all Emerson knives (including the CQC-6K, which is the knife being used in these photographs) the Doohickey sorta worked for adjustments.
I say sorta worked because it did leave pretty heavy marks on the pivot/screw head. Not impressed, but in a pinch/emergency, it does work.
Since the Nite Ize Doohickey proved pretty much average at most tasks, I was really hoping it could easily open a bottle.
And finally, some success! Better “performance” than the Gerber Shard at this particular task.
The Nite Ize Doohickey does mangle the cap quite a bit, but with my experience, it seems most of these tiny tools do. Of course there’s just no way a widget multi tool will match up to the real thing.
When I received the Nite Ize Doohickey, I was shocked by how tiny it is. Definitely was expecting it to be a lot bigger, but I was pleasantly impressed by its smallness. The Doohickey is actually pretty much the same size as the Shard. It measures a miniscule 64.8 mm (2.6 inches) long and 17.2 mm (0.7 inches) wide.
Around a keyring, I found the Doohickey to be superior to the Gerber Shard based purely on its perfect flatness. It takes up roughly the same amount of room as a key. The trade off is that the Shard’s curve does offer it better leverage for prying.
As a carabiner its pretty terrible. Far too small to be useful.
It is a very good looking mini tool, however. So far, it’s the most handsome widget I have. That being said, I’m not altogether impressed by how it functions in a practical sense, so I’m not sure it will see very much use with me.
The Nite Ize Doohickey is pretty mediocre keychain widget all around. Its sleek design is definitely one of it’s most compelling features, but the Doohickey is ultimately a bit of a let down in terms of function.
Tools on the Doohickey don’t work anywhere near optimally. Ultimately, it feels like Nite Ize designed the Doohickey with form over function in mind. Yes, it’s actually hit the perfect mark with me aesthetically, it’s got a very sober industrial look that I really do fancy, but that’s just not enough for me to feel compelled to carry it everyday.
As far as keychain tools go, I would pick the Gerber Shard over the Nite Ize Doohickey in pretty much every situation. Unless I had a regular need of hex bolt adjustment tools, that is, but even then I would get a dedicated tool instead of fiddling with a tiny little slab of steel.
Sorry Nite Ize, just not doing it for me this time.
We are prohibited from carrying pocket knives, open blades, or multi-tool assemblies at the construction sites and power plants I work at most days of the year, and the “safety retractable” knives they issue us per the OSHA psec’s are useless at even cutting masking tape and packages, much less plastic sheets, shrink warp or cable ties. The Doohickey 6+ is similar to this reviewed item, but works adequately for opening packages and cutting plastic wraps. It stays with me all the time (even through TSA inspections).
Thomas Xavier says
Hold on a minute…you can’t carry blades on a construction site? What on earth… whats the reasoning behind this ridiculous policy?
For the price, I consider this to be one of the more useful, lightweight tools I’ve owned. It is unobtrusive, but there when you need it. I principally use the doohickey for opening packaging (which, recognizing that this is NOT a knife blade), it does fairly well with cardboard boxes and even doing a pretty good job with plastic clamshells. I also use the flat end for scraping, prying, etc – small day-to-day tasks. Last, I use it now and then as a bottle opener – not great, but it does work. As I do a fair bit of air travel, the doohickey is reasonably safe from confiscation, and if it does happen, then its the loss of a $4 tool, and not a $30 Leatherman Micra. All in all, a decent purchase.
Thomas Xavier says
Agreed Jim, I think its a damn fine widget, especially taking into account the price.
I carry a Doohickey. I do find it comes in useful, but it can self unclip from a keyring and fall off. To remedy this I slip a short length of silicon tubing over the spring clip, which has to be retracted when I want to unclipped it.
The hex wrench got me out of a jam once, when trying to tighten some very hard to get to bolts when installing a heater on a wall.
The box cutter gets regular use and saves blunting a knife blade (cardboard is terrible for this)
It’s also super useful for opening paint cans.
Unobtrusive enough to be carried everywhere, this sits nicely alongside my Leatherman Style with my house keys.
Thomas Xavier says
Howdy Dell, that silicon tubing trick is a fantastic idea, thanks for sharing!
I guess these sort of tools are useless until you really need them and then they can really save your bacon!
I’m not sure if I saw this one in particular or a very similar model at Walmart, but I basically looked at it and figured it was more or less a piece of crap. As a small framed female, I find that most of these novelty survivor tools are probably too cumbersome to work with for a male with generally larger hands, and for an average female who does not have the strength to compensate for the lack of leverage, simply a chore to work with. I would also like to mention that I am a regular gym rat and that I generally have more strength and resilience for physical tasks than your average female. I would simply rather carry around more weight and have the right tools than have less weight and all of my tools miss the mark.
Thomas Xavier says
Pretty much. These days I EDC a Leatherman Skeletool CX as I find that even though its bulkier, its flexibly & performance make it worth the investment in weight.
I hear you! It bothers me no end that some of these tools promise a lot, yet when its time to pick up the pants and pull some weight, they just sit pretty.
I have a curated EDC that took me several months to get right. And the only pocket tool that I can recommend blindly is the Munroe Mega Dangler. Actually a $1 clone. Because like you said, I’m not going to pay fanboy levels of $ for what is essentially a bent piece of metal.
The bottle opener works great and so does the pry bar. And it clips with such authority that you know it’s not going to fall off someplace.
I would encourage you to give it a go, if you haven’t already. If you hate it, it’s just $1.
I also carry my car key in a Tec P7 Suspension Clip. Again a clone. $1 for three on ebay.
Oh and my usual EDC is as follows:
Left Front Pant Pocket : OnePlus One Cellphone. I eat with my right and this way, I can answer urgent calls in the middle of a meal if needed. Nothing else in here for fear of scratching the screen.
Right Front Pant Pocket: Victorinox Pioneer Alox, Fenix E05 AAA 85 Lumen, Victorinox Classic and Keys on a ring attached to the mega dangler.
Car key on the Tec P7. This way, nothing heavy hangs on them when in the car.
Left Back Pant Pocket: Wallet/Money.
Right Back Pocket: Rotation amongst the following: Spyderco Paramilitary II (Not on office days), Spyderco UKPK or Dragonfly, Sebenza 21 Small (on special evenings), Buck B41 cheapie or Mayo Northshore. If I’m on my motorcycle then a Leatherman Wave or Wingman.
I always carry a Victorinox Explorer in my car. And a Forester or Spartan in my backpack. The backpack also has a small but effective first aid kit, external battery backup and a Fenix T1 or a custom Solarforce flashlight.
I know I don’t need to remind you this, but this right here is a great website! Very informative and love the pics! I enjoy it that you are very honest with your reviews. Looking forward to more!
Thanks for sharing!
Thomas Xavier says
Howdy Tassem! First of all, thanks for giving us such an in-depth comment- its really nice to have such a detailed analysis of someone elses EDC. Gotta say its giving me some pause and I shall check out the Tec P7 Suspension Clip & Munroe Mega Dangler for sure!
I do find that the multitool/widget craze is tapering off somewhat, after giving so many of them a shot at real world usability I find myself jaded and I tend to dismiss them as gimmicks as opposed to tools and thats a damn shame. I look forward to having my mind changed! ;)