I’m a home automation junkie, so when I was asked to try out the new line of Master Lock Bluetooth Smart Padlocks I was like “absolutely”.
Because I’m exactly the kind of person that would spend money on something with smartphone compatibility but questionable usability. I mean, sure—I can remember three or four numbers. But now I don’t have to. Plus, I hate carrying around keys with a passion.
So, I spent a couple weeks using both the outdoor and indoor versions, and discovered a few reasons why Master Lock Bluetooth padlocks aren’t a completely frivolous purchase.
Do They Work?
Yes. I have the outdoor version set up on my backyard gate and I use the indoor version at the gym. They both worked reliably. All you need to do is have the app on your phone open and press the button on the lock itself. The bright blue LED turns green and you’re in. You can also initiate an unlock with a swipe on your smartphone (beta – reduces battery life) or by using a Konami-style directional code on the lock itself (no smartphone required).
Both locks are also sturdy and high quality. Where I live it’s been warm one day and freezing the next—with plenty of rain. I suspect the outdoor lock won’t have any issues handling the weather day in and day out.
While these features are certainly convenient, they really fall under the “frivolous” category. They represent the minimum requirement of a Bluetooth padlock, and that isn’t enough to justify the premium price (unless you have a terrible memory). The security and access features are what really make it interesting.
If someone tampers with your lock, you’ll get an email warning and it will show up in the lock’s history.
You can grant guest access to the lock and revoke it at any time. All activity is recorded and available to view inside the administrator’s app. Naturally, this feature would in handy at job sites, or when you want to make it easy for the lawn guy to open your gate when you’re not home.
What If The Battery Dies?
You’ll get an email and app warning when the battery is low, but if you can’t replace it in time then it can be jumped using an external battery (a CR2450 for the Indoor and a 9V battery for the outdoor version will do the trick). Speaking of battery life…
The 4400 (Indoor) series battery should last at least 2 years in Touch Unlock Mode and 4 months in Swipe Unlock Mode with regular use.
The 4401 (Outdoor) series battery should last 5 years in Touch Unlock Mode and 2 years in Swipe Unlock Mode with regular use.
You can check out their FAQ page for answers to other potential concerns.
1. I’ll admit that I was a little worried about locking up my car fob at the gym at first, but opening and closing the locks with my smartphone has proven reliable.
2. The locks appear to be very well made.
3. Guest access, access history and tamper alerts are practical features that make these locks more than just a cool toy for gadget nerds.
4. Long battery life
5. There are suitable safeguards in place to prevent you from locking yourself out.
1. Setting up the locks and adding guests is a straightforward process, but there were hiccups. It was a bit on the clunky side.
2. The app requires you to enter a digit-based password to access lock history and option settings. It’s an inconvenient requirement that defeats one of the main functions of the lock. It should be accessible with a fingerprint scan or, at least, a quick four-digit passcode.
3. The locks aren’t cheap at $59.99 for the outdoor lock and $49.99 for the indoor lock.
The bottom line is that if you’re a gadget nerd like me that’s into this sort of thing, you’ll be happy with the Master Lock Bluetooth Smart Padlock. If you have something under a padlock that requires access by several different people, this is definitely an upgrade worth considering for practical reasons.
Product Page ($49-$59)