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You have to hand it to Lockly. This brand doesn’t believe that a smart lock should simply lock and unlock your door. In a series of releases of increasingly complex devices, we’ve seen the Lockly Duo, which contained an integrated latch and deadbolt in a single unit, and the Lockly Vision, which integrates a video doorbell into the device.
Now Lockly is back with the Vision Elite, which adds even more to the mix, including a night-vision doorbell camera, a motion-sensor, a fingerprint reader, a numeric keypad, and an integrated solar panel to charge its lithium-ion battery.
Now if it could pick up the kids from school and cook dinner, we’d be set.
As with all Lockly devices, the Vision Elite is a complex beast. A 20-page manual guides you through the most complex lock installation I’ve ever encountered. If attempting to wrangle the nearly 5-pound device onto your door isn’t enough of a challenge, figuring out the cabling probably will be.
While most locks require a single wire to be connected between the exterior and interior escutcheons, the Vision Elite has four of them, a task made more complex by the fact that two pairs use the same type of connectors. (A red dot on one of them clues you in as to which pairs go together.) I spent close to half an hour getting things put together properly and registering the lock with the Lockly app. On the plus side, only four bolts and a little tape are required to hold all this in place.
Like other Lockly devices, the top-shelf numeric keypad on this smart lock has four circular touch areas that each display three digits in a rotation that changes each time you access the pad. This prevents anyone from guessing your code by observing it being tapped in, or by examining which numbers have fingerprints on them.
The integrated fingerprint reader, of course, means you needn’t use a PIN at all to open this lock. And as with other Lockly devices, registering prints is an easy process (the lock can store 99 fingerprints and enough PINs for 16 users). The fingerprint reader works exceptionally well, too; I never encountered the slightest hiccup with it. As a failsafe, a physical key is also included.
Camera features are layered on top of this. There’s a doorbell button—perhaps easy to miss—on the front of the device, and a camera lens up top. This works in similar fashion to the Lockly Vision, relaying a signal from the lock to the included 2.4GHz Wi-Fi bridge, which must be wired to your router with an ethernet, and then to the Lockly app. Video in 1080p resolution is stored on a microSD card (a 32GB card is included) connected to the bridge.
The camera does double duty as a motion-detecting unit, so you know if someone is approaching the door by day or night, courtesy of a standard infrared sensor with a 15-foot range. Video is automatically recorded whenever the door is approached or when the bell is rung, and it’s all logged in the app’s no-nonsense log system.
You can also check out what’s happening any time, on demand, by tapping the video screen portion of the app’s main menu. A standard lock/unlock button can be found here, along with an indicator that tells you whether the door is open or not: A wired magnetic sensor is built right into deadbolt mechanism.
All of this is powered by a beefy, 10,000mAh lithium-ion battery that initially charges via a USB-C cable (included). Once installed, the battery can be trickle-charged via a small solar panel that’s built into the keyhole cover—a feature we first saw with the Array by Hampton smart deadbolt. Assuming your lock gets plenty of sun, Lockly says the panel should supply enough to juice to ensure that you needn’t manually recharge the battery for the 3 to 5 years of the panel’s usable life. If you don’t get sun on the lock, good news: Lockly provides two batteries with the lock, so you can keep one fully charged up in reserve. Swapping out the cells is easy; the single screw used to keep it in place is optional.
The Vision Elite looks like a monster, but it all works pretty well. While installation was a bear, it worked very well in regular use, aside from some occasional delays getting video feeds to start. Features like auto-locking, working with the video doorbell, activating motion-activated recording, and setting up new accounts are largely intuitive, and I didn’t encounter any significant trouble with any of this. Video looks good day or night, and connections to Alexa and Google Assistant are also available if you want to control the lock via voice commands.
The Lockly Vision is a complex smart home product, and many users will spend months learning all its ins and outs of. But for the most part, its features are accessible enough for even a relative smart home novice once the hardware is place. If you can get past the daunting $500 price tag and the even more daunting install process, I predict most buyers will be fairly satisfied with their choice.