just one more geek in a sea of austin techies

May 16, 2019

Save 64% on a COOL smart deadbolt

I love to window-shop crowd-funded products and, occasionally, purchase.  So far I've had great experiences with the products I've gambled on.  For instance, I pre-ordered a full eero mesh WiFi system 14 months before its actual release and the system has been every bit as good as I'd hoped.  I threw some dollars at a Coolest rolling cooler and was one of the lucky bunch that actually received a unit right away (the blender worked, too!)

Smart Lock
Today I laid my credit card info down on a recently-released smart door lock -- a deadbolt for the front door.  Sure, smart locks aren't a "new" gadget category but this product and pre-order deal is the best combo I've seen:  a deadbolt lock supporting Bluetooth access, code-entry access, physical key access, fingerprint access, a WiFi bridge and a companion smartphone app for an early-bird price of $159 shipped ($449 MSRP).

The U-Bolt Pro Combo lock has typical smart-lock features like auto-unlock when your phone gets within Bluetooth range and it offers the ability to remotely lock/unlock with a smartphone app for Andriod and iOS.  It's with the less-typical capabilities, though, that things start to get interesting:  IFTTT integration, support for both Alexa and Google Assistant, and an exterior-accessible power port (micro-USB) to power up the lock if the primary batteries go dead and you don't have the physical key handy.  Got a big family?  Lots of close friends?  This lock lets you set up access for up to 60 users including one access code, one smartphone registration, and two fingerprints for each user.
Even More Interesting: Feature Scheduling
You can create schedules to determine when certain features are enabled.  For instance, you could allow a maid service to unlock via entry code or fingerprint only during certain hours of the day.

Using IFTTT, you can cobble together a wide range of scheduling options.  Imagine automatically allowing a trusted friend the ability to unlock via code if the door hasn't been unlocked in more than 3 days (i.e., when you go on vacation but forget to alter access settings for your friend). 

Note that, at this point, I don't have a U-Bolt to test myself so I'm only throwing out ideas with the expectation that the listed features can be trusted to work as advertised.  There is also no guarantee that any crowd-funded product will ever actually be delivered.  I tend to lean heavily towards the, "I'll believe it when I see it" camp but, in this case, the company has already produced a couple of more basic deadbolt products as well as 500+ units of this "pro" version of the smart lock.

I'm expecting my own unit to ship sometime over the next two months (!) and will update with my initial impressions when it arrives.  If this is something you're into and you decide to buy during the early-bird discount period, consider using the ATXGeek referral link below so I'll earn some credit towards whatever my next gadget will be.  Early-bird pricing is only available through May 31st.


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