Disclaimer: This is my Meso Customs Flipfob Tacoma key review. Meso Customs is not a sponsor and I bought the key myself.
I drive a 2017 (third-gen), 6-speed manual Toyota Tacoma. For whatever reason, Toyota decided all manuals would be their old style key fob with the key blade exposed on top of the fob and buttons. This makes for a long, poking key in your pockets that tend to stab at you. The automatic Tacos received the more premium Toyota touchless key fobs with the blade tucked away. This lead me to buying aftermarket keys such as the Meso Flipfob.
When I first got my truck, I almost immediately invested in a key conversion kit from China. Coming from cars that had flip keys/tucked away keys, it felt very odd that in 2017, Toyota still used a very dated key. Even today in 2020, the manual key hasn't changed.
Like the Meso Customs key, the Chinese key takes the internals from the stock key so that you can move it over to a flip key fob. This means cutting open the stock key to remove the chip and the button's internals.
It's a bit scary considering a replacement key could cost you several hundred dollars, but the only other option would be to buy a stock chip from the dealer and having it programmed for you. So run the risk of destroying your spare key or paying for a new programmed chip.
2 years ago, based on the guides available, I ended up using a Dremel to remove my chip. In Meso's video, he removes the chip using a box cutter. I liked the Dremel because it was faster but if you don't have one, it's still appears very doable with a knife.
The Chinese kit cost around $15 on Amazon but was well worth it in comparison to using the stock key. It had a nice profile and didn't poke me. However, you get what you pay for. The quality was abysmal and had issues of its own. The spring that allowed the key to flip open was manually twisted by you, the user, which caused it to be inconsistent. The key blade would sometimes flip open in your pocket as there isn't much resistance to the flip button. The rubber buttons were also cheap as they began is crack after 2 years of use. The screw holes were exposed and did not look very nice as an upgrade in comparison to stock.
Meso Customs is a well-known aftermarket manufacturer on tacomaworld.com. Known for making custom parts that Toyota owners wished their trucks came from the factory with. Meso came up with a key replacement that can finally be an upgrade over the stock key.
The Meso Customs Flipfob feels premium. You can choose the fob colors to match the color of your truck. Although, I decided to buy the olive drab key for my white truck. The buttons have a nice action to it. The best way to describe it is a firm, crisp click. The spring action for the key flip is self-contained and does not need to be messed with.
The product comes in a very nice box and the small parts are kept in an Altoids-like small tin. There's a premium feel to the product unboxing, however, I wouldn't mind a cheap plastic zip-lock if it meant lowering the price. At $81 shipped to my house, the price is pretty steep for mostly plastic pieces and a key.
Since I had already had an aftermarket flip key, making the switch to Meso's was easy. All I had to do was unscrew everything and move my internals over to the new Meso key. I had my local locksmith cut the new key for $5.
My only gripe was that the paint on the fob somehow got scratched after a few days of use in my pocket.
Do you need this key? Only if you hate the stock key jabbing your thighs. It's pretty pricey for a key and you definitely don't need it but it's very nice to have.