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Review: Master Lock Bluetooth smart padlock

Review: Master Lock Bluetooth ...
Master Lock 4401DLH Smart Padlock and Master Lock 4400D Smart Padlock
Master Lock 4401DLH Smart Padlock and Master Lock 4400D Smart Padlock
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Lock unlocked (but not opened) dialog within iOS Master Lock Vault iOS app
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Lock unlocked (but not opened) dialog within iOS Master Lock Vault iOS app
Lock closed dialog within Master Lock Vault iOS app
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Lock closed dialog within Master Lock Vault iOS app
Lock opened dialog within Master Lock Vault iOS app
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Lock opened dialog within Master Lock Vault iOS app
Locker Mode allows phone to be unlocked using touchpad on lock
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Locker Mode allows phone to be unlocked using touchpad on lock
Master Lock SmartLocks allow adding a guest in a few clicks
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Master Lock SmartLocks allow adding a guest in a few clicks
Master Lock Vault app - history includes open times and tamper alerts
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Master Lock Vault app - history includes open times and tamper alerts
App displays the status and history of your lock(s)
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App displays the status and history of your lock(s)
Master Lock Vault - "My Products"
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Master Lock Vault - "My Products"
Master Lock Vault - invitation received from lock/sharer
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Master Lock Vault - invitation received from lock/sharer
Master Lock 4401DLH Smart Padlock with Bluetooth indicator on
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Master Lock 4401DLH Smart Padlock with Bluetooth indicator on
Master Lock 4401DLH Smart Padlock – access denied indicator (this will trigger a tamper message in history)
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Master Lock 4401DLH Smart Padlock – access denied indicator (this will trigger a tamper message in history)
Master Lock 4401DLH Smart Padlock – access granted
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Master Lock 4401DLH Smart Padlock – access granted
Master Lock 4400D Smart Padlock
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Master Lock 4400D Smart Padlock
Master Lock 4401DLH Smart Padlock
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Master Lock 4401DLH Smart Padlock
Master Lock 4401DLH Smart Padlock and Master Lock 4400D Smart Padlock
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Master Lock 4401DLH Smart Padlock and Master Lock 4400D Smart Padlock
Master Lock 4400D Smart Padlock
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Master Lock 4400D Smart Padlock
Master Lock 4401DLH Smart Padlock and Master Lock 4400D Smart Padlock
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Master Lock 4401DLH Smart Padlock and Master Lock 4400D Smart Padlock
Master Lock's manual code for the Smart Padlocks
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Master Lock's manual code for the Smart Padlocks

Padlocks are one of those everyday objects that seem ripe for the Internet of Things treatment, so it's no surprise that Master Lock has given its new line an intelligence boosting upgrade. Aimed at making forgotten combinations or lost keys a thing of the past, the company's Bluetooth-enabled smart padlocks improve security, simplify sharing and even send out tamper alerts. We've been testing two Master Lock Smart Padlocks – the all-weather, high-security 4401DLH and the lighter duty 4400D – along with the Master Lock Vault app that pairs with these devices. They're definitely smarter padlocks, but is a smart padlock for you?

On first impression, both locks feel like premium hardware. Heavy, with a solid "keypad" and with reasonably bright LEDs, neither lock feels like it's going anywhere when you yank on it. The heavy-duty D4401DLH has a rubberized exterior and a much more substantial shackle.

Master Lock 4401DLH Smart Padlock with Bluetooth indicator on
Master Lock 4401DLH Smart Padlock with Bluetooth indicator on

Setting up

While setup isn't as simple as learning a new combination, it is relatively painless. The locks can be used right out of the package with the original combination provided (to get at that combination you're going to need a knife – unless you want to break some teeth), but in order to get the most out of either padlock the Android or iOS app is essential.

To use the padlock like a conventional combination lock a "directional code" is entered on the dial, which has 4 options: up, down, right and left. It's fair to say that it can be challenging to remember the 7 digit combination, or enter it when it's raining, it's dark or your phone is out of battery.

Master Lock's manual code for the Smart Padlocks
Master Lock's manual code for the Smart Padlocks

We took the pre-digital era precaution of jotting our code on the back of a business card and tucked it in a wallet.Master Lock's manual code for the Smart Padlocks

On the other hand, when properly set up your phone becomes the key, and opening the lock just takes a tap on the lock itself, or a swipe in the app on the phone for a higher security option.

Onboarding a new lock in the app is easy and from within the app you can customize your up, down, left, right combo, create a numeric password to manage each lock and most interestingly, manage who can open your locks.

Master Lock SmartLocks allow adding a guest in a few clicks
Master Lock SmartLocks allow adding a guest in a few clicks

Sharing

Sharing access is where the Master Lock Smart Padlock's real advantage lies. You can email a "key" to anyone with a smartphone and grant them either unlimited or time constrained access. You can also revoke access at any time. The default settings allow unlimited or AM/PM access, however we'd like to see the ability to customize these settings further and specify hours of access for each guest for each lock in our account.

Another feature that people with multiple locks and multiple users will appreciate is access history. The app keeps a detailed record of when each lock was opened and by who. It also records unsuccessful efforts to open the lock.

Should I get a Smart Padlock?

There's no question this is a well made product that in most cases offers a lot of convenience and security -- however, you will pay for it. Master Locks's standard directional combination "Speed dial" model will set you back US$7.99, whereas the 4400D Smart Padlock costs $49.99 and the 4401DLH is $59.99.

So is the extra cost worth it? For locks that require limited infrequent access by one or two people, probably not. But for locks you're opening multiple times a day, locks that require access control, or when you need the extra security of knowing who has accessed a lock and when, then it's probably well worth it.

Master Lock's promo video runs through the features of the Bluetooth Smart Padlock:

Master Lock Bluetooth® Padlocks

Product page: Master Lock

8 comments
S Michael
Short answer... No not worth the money...
tapasmonkey
Given the recent video published online about opening a Master padlock by simply hammering its side, I'd say this was not the best idea. http://sploid.gizmodo.com/how-to-break-open-a-master-lock-with-just-a-small-hamme-1745289745
notarichman
i'd be more impressed if master locks actually withstood time and weather. i've had to have two locksmiths remove a lock on my tow bar rear of my truck. as for keys; i've never had a problem. the old style combo lock could be opened by peeling the back off, twisting the dial and observing the disc notches, noting the combo numbers as you twisted. the newer version couldn't see the discs. Is my math right? 4 squared times 7 squared = number of combinations possible?
Expanded Viewpoint
YAWWWWNNN, just one more nearly useless gadget to waste your dough on. What do you do to get the lock off if someone throws some acid on the lock, and it corrodes the internals or ruins the battery connections and your phone cannot talk to it any longer? Or if a couple of good hammer blows from a hand sledge make it into a deaf and mute desk ornament? Will a magnetic pulse from an induction coil powered by a capacitor give it a lobotomy? I'll stick with my metal keys, thank you very much. Randy
White Druid
No. Your math is incorrect. For a password/combo of x characters of y values, it's y raised to the x. In this case, 16,384 unique combinations of 4 "characters" over 7 positions. Much better than the four digit numeric combination locks I am using today. It's also kind of silly comparing this lock to the old school "combo" lock. They aren't the same security level. I will have to have a look at these and see if they will replace my aging digital locks.
kriskret
And what about battery life ? When battery will be dead , what then ? It is just indoor and in some cases scenario only. One of these inventures which on the first look, looks nice. Wasting of time , even reading this article.
pmshah
What is the rounded locking bolt made of ? Is is something that cannot be cut by the largest bolt cutter or something that you on the TV all the time where even a delicate woman cuts through them like butter with hot knife? What I found the best method is to use the strongest conventional padlock. Spray lock-ease into the mechanism and then cover it up with a polybag so it remains unaffected by the environment. Never had a problem with rain or corrosion regardless of length of disuse. Opened as easily as like new.
sfot
Yes. That is the big problem. Battery life. Is there a Key backup? If not, when the battery dies, you would have to cut the lock off to gain access to whatever it is securing.