Smart Lock Removes Hassel of Forgetting Keys

It seems that everything is going to digital these days. This was a trend that I saw at CES 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Do not get me wrong, I love all things tech. However, tech for the sake of tech, often proves more disastrous than prosperous. How many of us have depended upon Master Lock, with tumblers or key entry locks. It is an inconvenience to have to try to carry a bunch of keys with you while you are out on a bike ride. What if there was a “no key, no combination option” that allows you to open a lock just with your phone? Noke is a very reasonable option to do away with conventional keys/combinations.

Noke Smart Lock REVIEW

I have received a rather beautiful/artistic lock known as nokē to review. The packaging is rather genius and displays the lock amazingly well. I am a big fan of the open/clear packaging that is becoming more common. This allows the customer to directly visualize the product, instead of a representation or image of the device. The name is a cute pun on the idea of No Key, which on first impression seems like a very useful feature. The packaging is very heavy, weighing just under 1 pound at 14.1 ounces. Turning the packaging over, the packaging displays specifications of the device: no key or combination needed, easy and secure sharing, lock information, quick click opens without phone, jump start eliminates battery concerns, Bluetooth 4.0, hardened steel. It also mentions a keyfob accessory, which is not included. You can get the app from IOS App Store, Google Play, Windows Store.

Noke Smart Lock REVIEW

Along the top of the packaging is a “Open Here” sticker, which removes the back flap from the product packaging. There is a little piece of plastic that you can pinch and this separates the lock from the packaging. However, before you do this step, make sure that you pull the tape off the side first to remove the front plastic cover. If you do these steps in reverse, your lock will fall into the plastic. It is rugged, it is resistant and will not cause the lock harm, but it may cause you a little annoyance hearing the metal fall onto the plastic. I personally take care of my things and I do not want to knowingly scuff them or damage them in any way. I guess it is more of a pet peeve than a legitimate concern. Remove the lock from the packaging and notice the brushed metallic appearance. This device is heavy, weighing 11 ounces.

Noke Smart Lock REVIEW

The first step after removing the product, and the instructions from the back flap, is to download the nokē application. Follow the instructions in the app to create your account. The app will take you through a few screens, slide to the right and learn more about the product. The screens show that you do not need a key or combination. Yet a few screens later it shows a quick-click option that opens without a phone using a series of taps. Is this not a combination? How many combinations can there be? Is there a lock out number? Most people are likely going to use catchy tunes or SOS or another common morse code like combination. To create an account you need to enter your name, email, confirm that email and then enter/confirm your password. Agree to the terms and select next. Then you will need to add a photo or take one, enter and answer 3 security questions. An email will be sent, follow the instructions in the email to register the account. If you try to login before you have registered the account, you will get a message noting the account has not been confirmed and to check your email.

Noke Smart Lock REVIEW

The App opens with a picture of the padlock style lock. Across the top is a + sign and an “Add Noke option.” Across the bottom you see: shop Noke, a lock symbol, users, fob, activity and settings. Tap the + section in the top right and it takes you to an eighty second video demonstrating the 4 ways to open the lock. I did not have any sound to this video and there is no way to go back or to pause it. You have to watch the video through to see the 1-step unlock, 2-step unlock, quick-click (morse code like combination), Key Fob button press. I do not know if I can trust the 1-step unlock feature as all it takes is for your phone to be within about 30 feet, 10 meters of the lock. Once that criteria has been met, the lock can be disengaged by a simple click. I tested this in my home and outdoors and was able to get to about 30 feet before losing signal. If you are out of range or your phone is not with you, you can still unlock the lock by pressing/clicking the made up combination (yes you need a combination). You can either have the app give you a combination or you can make one up. It must be at least 8 clicks long: short short, short, long long long, short short short. The one they tried to give me was not going to be easy to memorize (5 short, 1 long, 1 short, 1 long, 4 short, 2 long, 1 short, 1 long). Most of us would do good to remember a series of tumbler turns and 3 numbers, let alone short vs long and the order of them. Also, there is no reset button to start over.

I also caution you, when you set this up, it will revert to 1 step unlock. You need to go into the app, settings and tell it to be 2 step-verification. By playing with the application, I found a very useful feature. In the app, you can click edit along the top right. Here you can change the range of the 1 step unlock, which clearly improves the security in my opinion. You can also rekey the lock, forget the lock and change the combination by selecting back. Unfortunately, once you choose to make your own combination, I was unable to find a way to get it to offer me an option again.

Noke Smart Lock REVIEW Noke Smart Lock REVIEW Noke Smart Lock REVIEW

I am a fan of the 2-step unlock, and becoming a fan of the 1-step with the decreased range option. To use the 2-step process, simply press the top of the device down and open the app on your phone and click unlock. It is not as easy as the 1-step method, but it seems to have a lot more security. Again, this mode gave me a combination of 2 short, 2 long, 4 short, 3 long 3 short 2 long. There is no way that I am going to remember that code. If I screen shot it, maybe. However, I then would not need it as I have my phone right there to unlock it anyway.

The case of the lock is not magetic, the shackle is magnetic. Across the bottom is a black piece of silicone, which is removable. The website states that this has a long lasting battery, which will last you 1 year for the padlock version (there is a U Lock style that will last 3 years). It does have a backup option, allowing a jump-start with an external battery. The how-to for this feature is present within the FAQ section of the website. Twist the silicone cover off of the lock to expose the contact points. Press the replacement battery against the contact points at 45 degree angle, making sure that + and – contact the terminals. Then push down on the shackle to unlock in one of the four ways. The back casing can be unscrewed, while the lock is open. This will allow you to change the battery. Initially I was disappointed and thought that you would only get a year out of the device. The device has much more utility, knowing that the battery can be changed. The website does have a lot of useful facts. The app must be running or in the background to work.

Noke Smart Lock REVIEW

The device is very pretty and may work well for some. Personally, this lock is either way to easy to open based on proximity or more difficult based on a morse-code like combination. Logging into the app, it clearly says no key, no combination. I would interpret this as I would not need the quick-click. I wish the keyfob were included, this is an amazing feature that many will forego based on price alone. Even though this is an accessory, it seems like an ideal means to get into the lock. Is this not a key to access the device? Here we get into the philosophical definition of key. Either way, the lock is neat, it is a heavy, durable piece of equipment that will last you a year on a battery. I would rate it at 4/5 stars. I wish it had more informational content/included information. Everything is on the website. For example the jump-start, the turn off back case etc. There are some definite highs and lows for the device. I have not tried the sharing feature and likely will never use this feature. For now, this lock is keeping my shed secure. It is weather resistant, it does open quickly to both one and two step mode. If you are not in a crowded area, the one step is ideal and quick. If in a congested/crowded area, I would trust 2-step. This does solve the problem of forgetting your keys. You may want to write down the morse code combination or make sure it is a code you can remember. It is neat, the technology works. The reviews on the IOS store are mostly negative, I did not have the same experience. It does have some factors that could use some updating/feature updates. For example, offering you codes again, without having to forget the lock. The share feature is a nice feature for families as you only need 1 phone for multiple locks.

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