The first time we ever heard about a padlock that can be unlocked by Bluetooth instead of a key or combination, it was the Noke by FŪZ Designs. While it won't be shipping until this June, however, SafeTech Products' similar Quicklock will begin doing so next week – reportedly becoming the world's first Bluetooth padlock to actually reach consumers. We recently had the chance to try out an engineering sample unit.
First of all, using the Quicklock proved to be very simple.
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You start by downloading a free iOS or Android app to your smartphone, and charging up the weatherproof zinc alloy lock's integrated lithium-polymer battery via USB. Next, you launch the app, and turn the lock on by pressing its single control button. As soon as the phone and the lock find one another, you're asked to enter a supplied numerical code. Doing so pairs the two devices.
Every time you subsequently want to open the lock, you just launch the app and press the lock's button. The devices will link up within a few seconds, and a simple two-button control will appear on the phone's screen. Pressing "Unlock" on that control will cause the lock's shackle to instantly release. If you want to make things simpler yet, you press "Auto unlock" – this will cause the shackle to thereafter release as soon as the lock and smartphone are linked, no phone-button-pressing required.
To lock it again, you just press the shackle into the main lock, as you would on a regular padlock.
Should you not have a smartphone, the lock can also be opened utilizing an included NFC card key (seen above), or an optional NFC-enabled fob or ring. To use the card, we just pressed the button on the lock, then held the card to the padlock – that was all that was required. This feature is particularly handy if a single lock needs to be accessed by multiple people, as up to 50 different NFC devices can be used to open a single Quicklock.
Additionally, using a feature that has yet to be added to the app at the time of this post, an unlimited number of people can be granted access to the same lock via their phones. What's more, that feature will keep a record of which person has opened the lock at what times. Conversely, a single phone can also be paired to an unlimited number of locks.
According to SafeTech, one charge of the battery should be good for up to two years of use – obviously, that's going to depend on how often the lock is used. Presently, users are warned of low battery life by a red LED on the lock's control button. Soon, however, another addition to the app should provide a warning on the user's phone.
For situations where a lock is used on a frequent basis, or by more than one person, we can see the Quicklock being quite convenient. Using a smartphone that you'd be carrying anyway (or a slim card in your wallet) would likely be easier than carrying an extra key, getting multiple keys made, or remembering a combination. In cases where you're only using a lock a few times a year, though, the slight hassle of digging a key out of a drawer would probably be preferable to the battery-checking and price of the Quicklock.
Speaking of which, it can be ordered now in your choice of four colors, for US$79. The custom-sized ring is also $79, while the fob goes for $15. The Quicklock can be seen in use, in the video below.
Product page: Quicklock