When it comes to home security, a good lock for your front door is most likely the first thing you’ll want to get. After all, that’s how people normally get into your home and you don’t want the bad guys to get in the same way. The problem is that you literally have thousands of front door locks to choose from. But then there’s the Ultraloq UL3 BT Smart Lock, which may well give you the security you need.

In many of the online retail platforms, the Ultraloq UL3 BT is the bestseller among biometric security devices.

Many have found it an excellent lock for the home, and an increasing number of apartment buildings have begun to install it for their front door as well. It’s not perfect by any means, and its price is not exactly cheap. Yet it is selling very well since it was launched in the middle of 2016, and nowadays you can find plenty of discounts for it.

Design

This measures 7 by 6.3 by 3.5 inches, and it weighs about 6 pounds. You have number pads at the top, the fingerprint scanner in the middle, the OLED display below that, and a reversible handle at the bottom.

It comes in a solid 1-piece zinc alloy body, and you have 3 different finishes to choose from to match your home’s interior design. Your options include satin nickel, bright brass, and aged bronze.

Don’t worry about outdoor exposure, as this has an IP65 rating. Basically, it’s assessed to be “dust-tight” and it is protected against water projected from a nozzle. This means that it certainly won’t be damaged by dust and rain.

You’ll also need 3 AA alkaline batteries for the lock, and that can last for a long while depending on the frequency of usage. As it can accommodate up to 8,000 access instances, this lock may very well last up to a year. You’ll also get an alert when the battery life reaches a low level (with about a thousand access times left, for example).

The Setup

This lock requires a door with a width ranging from 1? inches to 1¾ inches. It comes with an installation manual that’s fairly easy to understand, especially if you have some sort of DIY experience. It ought to take you a quarter of an hour or so. If you don’t have some handyman knowledge, then just have a locksmith install it for you. They’ll tell that it’s super-simple for them.

Afterwards, you then make sure that the 3 backup manual keys are distributed and secured. You can then assign numbers (from 4 to 8 digits) to each authorized user.

After that, each user needs to record at least 1 fingerprint. If this will be used for a home, it’s best if a fingerprint from each hand is recorded so that the lock will be easier to open with either hand. It can record up to 95 fingerprints, so that should be enough for just about every home (and many apartment buildings too).

You also then need to download the app for either your iPhone or your Android smartphone.

The App

The app is quite easy to use, and it allows you to add authorized users for your Ultraloq UL3 BT Smart Lock. When someone is no longer authorized to enter, you can then delete the user from the app list of authorized users.

Here you can also set up the locking status of the smart lock.

  • In Normal mode, the users go through the usual ways of opening the lock, like their fingerprints, number codes, and smartphone app.
  • In Passage mode, the smart lock stays unlocked. This is when you have an open house and people keep getting in and out all the time.
  • In Lockout mode, only the mechanical key works. All the other ways of opening the lock has been deactivated.

It stores the logs to show you the people who have accessed the lock, and here you’ll get alerts when the battery life gets low.

Unlocking the Door

When in normal mode, the door automatically locks after about 4 to 10 seconds. You can unlock the door in several ways:

  1. Keys. This traditional way of opening a lock works as your backup in case the electronics somehow fails. But this is not the best way to open the lock. Keep the manual keys hidden, and use them only for emergencies.
  2. Number keys. The lock has a number pad, so you can enter your number and press enter to unlock the door. At night, the sensor will detect your fingers over the number pad and it will automatically illuminate so you can press the right digits. This even comes with an “anti-peep” feature which prevents strangers from looking at the numbers you press or checking out the worn-out number keypads. This feature lets you enter any number of random digits as long as you also enter your correct number along the way.
  3. Fingerprint key. Just press your designated fingerprint to the scanner and you’re good to go. Some have expressed concerns about how inconsistently this works. It sometimes gets wonky when the weather is cold, and obviously your finger is dirty. If your finger is a bit dry and the weather is cold, you may want to touch your finger to your forehead first. This will transfer some skin oils that make it easier for your scanner to read your fingerprint. When the fingerprint scanner works, it’s very quick. Normally it takes only half a second for the scanner to recognize your fingerprint.
  4. Smartphone. With the number pad and the fingerprint, this may not be the most convenient way for you to open the door. It’s still an extra option however, and you don’t even have to open your app. If you have an Android phone, you can just wake up your phone screen and then shake the smartphone to open the door. For iPhones, you only need to knock on your smartphone 4 times. You can open the door this way even with the iPhone is still in your pocket.

Warranty

The warranty is exceptional, with a lifetime warranty for the mechanical components. For the electronics, there’s an 18-month warranty which is longer than the warranties offered by their competitors. Also, check if there’s a 30-day satisfaction guarantee.

Pros

There are plenty of reasons here why the Ultraloq UL3 BT Smart Lock is a great buy and why many people agree:

  • It looks great. The various finishes really look classy and neat.
  • It offers multiple ways to open the door. So if you can remember a number code, you still have your fingerprints. If you have calluses in your fingerprints, there’s your smartphone. After all that, you also still have your mechanical keys.
  • The anti-peeping feature is terrific. Even if a stranger sees the first digits you enter, they don’t count anyway as long as the right digits in the right sequence are in there somewhere.
  • It’s easy to install. Of course, you can just use a locksmith to make it really easy, but at least your locksmith won’t get annoyed with you because of the ease of installation.
  • The app lets you take note of who gets in. the set up and the logs assure you that only authorized people get through your door.
  • The battery lifespan is quite long. It can last up to a year due to its various energy-saving measures.
  • The keyhole is hidden. It’s positioned specifically at the bottom of the lock for extra security against keyhole hackers.
  • Easy transfer of users for another lock. So if you have 2 doors to your house, you can use the “clone” function to transfer the authorized users to the other lock as well.
  • 3 options for locking status. The Passage mode lets people in out easily if you have a party. If you think your electronic security has been hacked, then you can just go into lockout mode and limit the entry to key holders.
  • The lock is nicely weatherproof. It’s dustproof too.

Cons

  • Price. This isn’t exactly cheap, though there are more advanced locks that actually cost more than this one.
  • You can’t use unlock the door from your office. So if you have a visitor when you’re out, you may have to give them a new number to let them in.
  • You can’t schedule unlocking hours. This means you can’t limit the use of a particular number code or fingerprint to just the daytime hours or for the weekends.

However, Ultraloq now offers a Bridge Wi-Fi adaptor that works with the Ultraloq UL3 BT. This means your lock works through Wi-Fi and you can get a lot of new convenient features like being able to open the door from anywhere. You can also grant eKeys for specific times.

Conclusion

As a standalone lock, it’s good but not great. It comes with a few bugs, which isn’t necessarily and since you have multiple ways to unlick the door. Still, it’s a nice option for those without Wi-Fi and even for those without smartphones—if there are still people like that.

But when you have a smart home and you get the Ultraloq Bridge Wi-Fi adaptor, you’ll really get a lot for your money. So get that adaptor with your Ultraloq UL3 BT Smart Lock, and start your journey towards smart home technology.