This time last year, I tried out Nuki, a retrofit smart lock, suitable for most, if not all existing door locks, allowing you to remotely unlock your door. I’ve now been sent the Ultion Smart Lock, which straight away looks better, as this is an all in one door handle & lock, not a retrofit product. Now does that mean it’s more expensive or requires a locksmith to install it? No and no.
Unboxing & First Impressions
Within the box I got two chrome door handles, suitable for my door, plus a new locking system, 3 No. keys, and all the associated screws & parts required for install. Just chrome? No, there are five different finishes available including white and black, so there should be something for everyone. It’s worth noting when purchasing, you need to input information on your existing lock & door, to ensure the smart lock is compatible. The lock is 12v and battery-powered by 4x CR123A batteries (provided) and should last over a year.
As this is a new door handle, with a new lock, it’s important to understand what the lock is and how secure it is. The lock provided has been approved by the police, to their preferred specification and includes the TS007 3* Kitemark. Now, I’m no locksmith and won’t just take the word of the police that its worthy but upon further research, the lock appears to be fairly robust, and includes a lockdown mode if tampered with and has a number of anti-drill steel pins for added security. Ultion must be confident in their lock, as they are offering £1000 if a burglar snaps the lock and breaks in. You have to sign up for the guarantee though, so remember to do that. I have to say, the keys provide look incredibly robust and the lock pattern looks very intricate, more so than usual keys.
Like any other smart lock, this allows you to unlock your door, via your smart device, instead of using a traditional metal key. Ultion has a number of options under the ‘smart’ category and it begins with just the Bluetooth function, but there are options for integration with Alexa, Homekit and SmartThings as well. “Hey, Alexa, Lock the door please”. This allows you to do things like set the lock to lock behind you when you leave, or unlock when you approach or even send guest keys to friends & family.
Looking back, the installation was very straight forward, with no need for a locksmith, but some of the instructions could have been better. There are no instructions as such provided in the box, instead, just a piece of card with a QR code on. Scan it via your smartphone and it will take you to a website with a number of videos to guide you through installing the lock. The installation video shows you how to take off your old lock and install the new, and only a screwdriver is required, or so I thought. You’ll see that the new lock as a long ‘key’ preinstalled, that cannot be removed. It is quite long, too long in fact, and has a number of notches on it. These notices indicate that you need to cut the key down to suit the thickness of your door. Now, at no point was this mentioned in the installation video, which left me confused. I asked around, did some research, and decided to just cut it to suit and it was fine. It’s thick metal though, so you need a decent hacksaw. Leaving out the sawing part, it took no more than 5 minutes to install, replacing an existing door handle of course. Once installed, remove the battery pin and go into the app.
Ultion has an app but this isn’t the app you should use, so no need to download it. Instead, download Danalock, the free version, not the premium, and this third party app will allow you to control the lock. When you first use the app, go into device and hit calibration, which will then sync your lock to your app. Thats it and it’s ready to be used.
The lock works really well, it’s very easy to use and I’ve had zero problems while using it. I got the Bluetooth option, so cannot comment much on the integration with other systems but the Bluetooth feature worked as it should. With my smartphone in hand (Bluetooth on too), I walk towards the door, the lock will appear in-app and I can unlock it. I will say, it is a bit noisy. If you plan on sneaking in after a night out and want to be quiet, use a different door!
If you are inside your home and want to go out, without your phone, you can just twist the knob and the door will unlock. There is also twist assist, so start turning the knob and then the lock will finish itself. This feature has to be turned on within the app though. If you’re looking to enter the door without your smartphone, you can use one of the keys provided, which is also handy for when the batteries run out.
There are also auto-unlock & lock too, which is proximity-based and will sense your smartphone nearby automatically and either lock the door if leaving or unlock if entering. As mentioned before, you can also give out virtual keys to friends and family, so they can unlock the door too. Depending on which integration you have, you can programme certain actions to happen when the door locks or unlocks i.e. door unlocks and then the hallway lamp turns on, which is really cool.
Other than the instructions being a little vague, my only negative for the system is where the handle meets the lock. Pull the handle all the way down and your fingers meet the lock, which I found quite off-putting. If your door is like mine, you need to pull the handle up to actually lock the door still, then the system can lock. If you don’t pull the handle up, the door will lock but it’s not actually locked the door.
The Ultion smart lock isn’t perfect but it’s darn close! I’ve heard from them that they have found the perfect length for the built-in key, so there will be no need to cut it down in the future which is great. Perhaps make the rotary lock slightly smaller, develop their own app and it’s a 5 out of 5. If you’re considering getting a smart lock, I recommend you check this one out, over one of the retrofit options.
It currently retails for £229 in the UK. For more info, head over to the official Ultion webpage.