Protect your valuables while you travel and have your fingerprint be the key.
Travel looks a lot different these days. Since the coronavirus took hold earlier this year, people have been avoiding enclosed spaces and airplanes are strictly taboo. That said, airline travel has started to pick back up again, and with that comes the same regulations that were in place before the coronavirus hit home. When I travel, I like to keep my belongings secure. I will typically use zip ties or travel padlocks to lock up my checked baggage. The problem with that is losing track of the keys. This is the main reason I love that Benjilock by Hampton now has a TSA-friendly travel lock.
The TSA Travel/Luggage Lock by Benjilock features a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery, chrome-plated hardened steel shackle, and can store up to five fingerprints. In addition to the fingerprint reader, the lock is also equipped with a resettable combination keypad. The lock charges with a Micro USB cable (included) and it’s Travel Sentry-approved and TSA accepted. The lock can be opened by airport security if required and replaced on your luggage without any damage. The lock is available in white or matte black and features built-in LED light indicators.
|Made with die-cast zinc; chrome-plated steel shackle|
|Programmable – stores up to 5 fingerprints; three-digit pin code|
|Dimensions: 2-4/5″H x 1-5/16″W x 4/5″D|
|Weight: 4.6 ounces|
The travel lock comes in a fairly standard retail package. It’s clear on the front so that consumers can see the product inside. The back has some basic information about the lock including the Travel Sentry logo and highlighting that multiple users can be programmed into the lock. The package was a little hard to get into, but it wasn’t as bad as some plastic, hermetically sealed packages. I like that there was a lot of information packed onto the package so that customers have a good idea of what they are getting into. I also like that you have a full view of the lock from outside the package.
The lock comes with a 6-inch long Micro USB charging cable. This would be one area that I would probably mark the lock down on. Micro USB feels like ‘old tech’ to me at this point in time. I would have much rather seen it recharge with USB-C since that seems to be charging option for most technology products these days. In addition to the charging cable, the lock comes with user instructions about using the lock that is on a simple piece of paper that is folded up in the package. The instructions are provided in English and French and the outline:
- How to charge your lock
- How to program the Benjilock
- Programming additional users
- Completing a Master Reset
- How to change the passcode
The instructions also state that a one-year limited warranty is included with the product. The fingerprint reader is just like what you would find on a smartphone. It’s not a button. You simply lay your finger across it and the lock wakes up and reads your fingerprint. If that doesn’t work, you also have the option of entering the passcode if the reader isn’t working.
Programming the fingerprint is easy. You wake up the lock and then enter the passcode on keypad. Once the shackle opens, you press your intended fingerprint onto the reader within 4 seconds and wait until the LEDs around the reader all light up. Once the full circle flashes, the programming is complete. You have the option of programming up to 5 fingerprints into the lock. While this process is simple enough, it’s a bit different than the original Benjilock padlock.
With the original Benjilock padlock, you press down on the shackle to activate/wake the lock. I prefer that method to the simple fingerprint reader method. I have to try multiple times to get the lock to wake up when I lay my finger on the reader and then it doesn’t seem to register the programmed fingerprint very easily. Since I had so much trouble with the reader registering my thumbprint, I had my fiance program his index finger to the lock and it only failed on him once. After that, I programmed my index finger as well and it was much more accurate than the thumbprint. We both still had trouble with the lock waking up with the first touch on the reader no matter which finger was used.
I do like that a keypad is included as a secondary option for unlocking the padlock. It comes with a default passcode pre-programmed, but users have the option of reprogramming it with a 3-8 digit code. The process for reprogramming includes using the fingerprint reader. So, if you are having a hard time with the fingerprint reader, you may not be able to change the passcode. Since I had some issues with the reader being accurate, I was concerned that I may not be able to change the passcode, but the process worked fine.
Overall, I like the design of the smaller, sleeker TSA-friendly Benjilock. I do have concerns that maybe the fingerprint reader isn’t as accurate as the original Benjilock padlock. It does work and since it has the added benefit of a built-in keypad, I still think this is a valuable accessory for traveling.