The Noke Padlock was first seen on Kickstarter, where the manufactures positioned it both as a keyless combination lock and the smartest padlock to be made as it lets you know and where your lock was used.
The project garnered more than $652,000 from 6,108 backers. So now that it is widely available, how does the Noke Padlock perform?
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How it works
Noke works just like any padlock in that it keeps your lockers, sheds and other properties safe. However, one thing sets it apart from the others: you do not need a key and you do not need to remember a combination of numbers to open it.
Instead, it connects to your Bluetooth 4.0-enabled smartphone to open. Once it detects your phone, you can easily open it. No more fumbling for your keys or trying to remember what the combination was, you do not even have to take out your phone out of your pocket or your bag.
And if you are going to use the Noke Padlock outdoors, then there should be no problem as the lock was made to be weather-resistant.
It can withstand extreme temperatures from -23 degrees centigrade to 65 degrees centigrade (about -10 degrees Fahrenheit to 150 degrees Fahrenheit). The batteries, sensors and buttons are also safely hidden away where mud and water cannot get to them.
It also helps that the Noke Padlock sports a beautiful minimalist design. It looks and feels like your ordinary lock, but you have brushed metal surfaces framed by beveled edges.
There is an LED indicator above the letter in the Noke logo that is emblazoned across the surface, and this could help you know how the lock is functioning.
For instance, the LED light turns green when you are about to unlock the lock, and it turns red when it is locked. You will see an alternating blue and white light if the lock is on standby.
The Noke Padlock runs on standard 2032 watch battery that you can buy anywhere. These would last more than a year and the Padlock will remind you to change the batteries long before they run out.
To change the batteries, you simply unlock the Noke Padlock and slide the back cover. This may not be slid open when the lock is in locked state.
And if, for some reason, the battery runs out before you can change it, then you could easily “jump start” the Noke Padlock using an external battery. You can then unlock it and then replace the old battery. This means that you don’t get locked out because of dead batteries.
Does the Noke Padlock do a great job at securing your doors, lockers and things? Yes it does. It functions just like an ordinary padlock but with better features and convenience. The Noke Padlock even makes use of the same steel material used in traditional padlocks.
And without the right tools, expertise and knowhow, there is no way for anyone to be able to pick open the Noke Padlock. This means that it is not more vulnerable than older locks in the market.
To open the lock using your smartphone, you must press the shackle for two seconds with the mobile app running on your smartphone.
The app is instrumental in the security and verification process and the locks are tied to your account, not to any device. So that means that not everyone with an iPhone will be able to open your lock.
There are also two unlock methods for you to choose from:
- 1-Step Unlock – You only click on the shackle so that the Noke will activate and search for your phone to unlock the Noke.
- 2-Step Unlock – Instead of automatically unlocking, an unlock button appears on your Noke app. You would need to press this to unlock the Noke Padlock.
You can buy an optional key fob that would allow you to open the Noke lock without your smartphone. The quick click is yet another way to open your Noke lock.
When you set up your mobile app, you will need to specify the quick click sequence: a series of short and long clicks on the shackle. This way, you can still open your lock even when you do not have your smartphone with you.
The Mobile App
The Noke Padlock comes with the Noke App, which allows you to manage several locks all in one place.
The app also allows you to share access to your secured items with friends and family. You can just as easily revoke their access. You can even schedule when, where and for how long they can open the locks using their own smartphone.
If you want to see who opened your lock, you can check out the history tab on the app and learn which ones among your friends and family opened your lock, as well as the time and date that they accessed it.
And if you use your Noke Padlock for something that is to be delivered to another place, you can check out the location history and see a map of where your Noke lock was opened.
There are apps for Android, iOS and Windows Phone devices. And creating an account, pairing and setting everything up is a breeze.
In a nutshell, the Noke Padlock’s specifications are:
- Bluetooth 4.0
- 2032 coin cell battery
- Shackle: 8 millimeters (diameter)
- Size: 3.3 inches x 2.15 inches
- Weight: 11.25 ounces
What could be better
The LED light above the “e” on the Noke lock is not just for aesthetics. The color of the LED light changes depending on how the lock is functioning. But the problem is that it is not that visible under direct sunlight or in bright daylight.
The mobile app also needs some work. For one, setting up the quick click sequence can be very confusing and you would need to redo every step if you are interrupted for some reason. The app feels clunky and looks ugly. And earlier versions of the app crashed a few times more than we liked.
The location history is also a bit sketchy as you would need to have the GPS turned on. The map will show you the location of the smartphone and not the lock and when the lock was opened, but only with the GPS on.
Plus, the 2-Step Unlock function is not available on all Noke apps, particularly in the Android version. Moreover, the Noke Padlock may prove to be a bit expensive. The padlock itself costs $69.99 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here) and if you like to have the key fob, you would need to add $25 more.
Lastly, for those who are forgetful, an auto-lock feature would have been a great addition. When you unlock your Noke Padlock and you don’t pull on the shackle, it stays unlocked. So you may inadvertently leave it open without any way to remotely lock it or have it automatically locked after a set period of time.
The final verdict
One of the reasons that the Noke Padlock was very successful on Kickstarter was because of its sleek look and its functionality. And yes, Noke does deliver on both.
The beautiful lock works the way traditional locks work to keep your things secure. And because it is keyless and combination-less, the Noke Padlock is much more convenient to use.
It also offers different accessibility options; you can unlock it by using your smartphone, by using the quick click sequence, or by using a Bluetooth key fob. As far as security goes, the Noke Padlock is much better than the Quicklock and the traditional padlocks that you can easily shim.
It would have been nicer if the accompanying mobile app was better designed. As it is, the app fails to cope with the outstanding capabilities of the app.
There are some features and the setup process is quite confusing. Plus the app lacks the autolock feature, similar to the feature you see on the Masterlock 4401DLH Smart Lock, which locks after five seconds.
Nevertheless, it is evident that a lot of thought has been given to the Noke Padlock. It sufficiently covers a lot of scenarios, such as easily sharing access to friends, having the jump-start feature to still be able to replace dead batteries, and other intuitive features.
Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn’t have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!