Locks have been around for hundreds of years, but locks activated by Bluetooth are relatively new. Is the Dog & Bone Locksmart Mini worth buying?
Dog & Bone Locksmart Mini: On the plus side
It should be noted that I don’t usually review locks, because while there’s undoubtedly technology in a lock that would confuse the average caveman, it’s not a technology that’s been particularly IT-centric for the most part, at least until relatively recently. The Dog & Bone Locksmart Mini joins a growing cast of locks and locking devices that use other technological measures to handle their locked status. In the case of the Dog & Bone Locksmart Mini, it uses Bluetooth, controlled via an app for iOS or Android smartphones. You install the app, set up an account and pair your lock, and you’re away.
Or, what with this being a lock, it’s more like not being away at all, if the lock works properly. The app allows you to unlock the lock, with a battery that Dog & Bone claims is good for up to 3,000 unlock cycles between charging. I’ve been testing out the Dog & Bone Locksmart Mini for a couple of months now, and while I haven’t come near that number, it’s certainly built for long term use. That makes sense given it uses low energy Bluetooth and really only needs connectivity for a few seconds for unlocking purposes, so its overall power usage is likely to be low. A rubber flap on the underside hides a button that allows you to set the lock in pairing mode, and you then select it from the app.
There’s something that’s fun about simply unlocking the Dog & Bone Locksmart Mini from your phone, and “fun” and “locks” aren’t words that usually go together outside of folks with rather-less-than-mainstream-proclivities. It comes apart with a satisfying heavy click sound every time, which is ever so slightly addictive.
It’s also feasible to “share” the lock if you want to give someone else access by dint of sending SMS messages which prompt the recipient to download the app themselves to their phone. Again, that’s a clever use of the technology at least in theory, although if you’re only locking your valuables behind a single bright red lock, perhaps you might want to rethink your general security policy.
Dog & Bone Locksmart Mini: On the minus side
It’s not all ease of use and security, however. The Dog & Bone Locksmart Mini does have solid battery life, but the reality of it is that at some point it’s going to go flat, and you’re going to have to charge it, because without charge there’s no way to open it at all.
It’s an entirely keyless system, and that means if you did use it to lock some far away door, you might have to run extension cables to get a standard microUSB charger to it, or perhaps use a mobile battery pack for the same purpose. I could see that being fiddly.
The bigger issue for the Dog & Bone Locksmart Mini is the asking price. The Dog & Bone Locksmart Mini currently sells through Dog & Bone’s site for $95.32. That doesn’t feel like a terrible price given the technology involved, but it is quite a bit of cash to lay down for a single lock. If the worst happened and somebody took bolt cutters to your $5 simple key lock, you’d be irritated. Do the same thing to a $95 lock, and you’d be downright furious.
Dog & Bone Locksmart Mini: Fat Duck Verdict
The Dog & Bone Locksmart Mini is a neat bit of technology, and, as they say in the classics, it does what it says on the tin. Or in its case, the tin it’s locking tight so you can’t get into the tasty biscuits within. The pricing could be problematic for some, but if you’ve got something to secure that’s worth it and the ability to never lose your key, because it’s tied to a cloud account appeals to you, it’s a solid security option.