Well, it only makes sense ... they’ve come up with an electronic replacement for the door lock key, so why not the combination padlock, too? That’s what Master Lock has done, with its new dialSpeed lock. Although the retro grouch in some of us may find it a bit overdone, it does offer a couple of useful features.

While traditional combination padlocks involve memorizing combinations of exact numbers, the codes used by the dialSpeed are made up of combinations of just four “characters” – an up, down, left and right arrow. These arrows are displayed on the backlit keypad, and are each matched up with a group of letters and numbers. This allows users to memorize codes based on corresponding acronyms (like with the letters on phone keypads), as opposed to having to remember something like “up/up/down/right/up/left.”

Each lock comes with its own factory-set code, although this can be reset by the user. Up to three “guest codes” can also be programmed in, so the same lock can be used by different people for different things. Should users forget their code, they can reclaim the original factory code from the company website.

The lock is limited to dry, indoor use, and its CR2032 battery will need to be replaced after about five years. Fortunately, it does have a low battery indicator – it wouldn’t be pleasant if you were trying to retrieve your clothes from a swimming pool locker, only to discover that the lock’s battery had died.

Of course, many thieves choose bolt cutters over lock-picking skills, so it's good to know that the dialSpeed's shackle is made from cut-resistant hardened boron carbide.

The lock is currently available for US$24.99, from the Master Lock website. More information is available in the video below.