- Very affordable
- Lots of ways to unlock
- Handy temporary password feature
- Rigidly inflexible, including a maximum auto-lock setting of 9 seconds
- Fingerprint reader is very erratic and prone to locking you out
- Installing the hardware requires two additional drill holes
Kudos to Proscenic for stuffing this lock with features and keeping its price down, but numerous operational problems need to be addressed.
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Best Prices Today: Proscenic L40 Smart Lock
We’ve reviewed several other Proscenic-brand smart home products, including samples of its robot vacuums and air purifiers. Most recently, the company sent us its first smart lock to check out: The Proscenic Smart Lock L40.
This review is part of TechHive’s in-depth coverage of the best smart locks.
Unlike most smart locks, the L40 isn’t a deadbolt but rather an entire entry handle that attaches to an exterior touchpad. It’s laden with options when it comes to gaining access: You can use the 10-key touchscreen, a fingerprint reader built into the handle, the two included IC cards, or even a key that, bizarrely, inserts into the end of the door handle. Naturally, you can also access the door via Proscenic’s mobile app: The lock is Bluetooth only out of the box; a separate Wi-Fi bridge ($30) is needed if you want to work with the lock remotely. The bridge is a USB-powered hub that supports 2.4GHz Wi-Fi networks only.
While the L40 looks good on paper—and the hardware is reasonably attractive—it’s a bit of a disaster in actual use. I’ll walk through the details on this front, step by step.
Is the Proscenic L40 smart lock easy to install?
Let’s begin with installation, which is a daunting and confusing task that even seasoned lock installers will find troublesome. To begin with, you’ll need to spend extra time preparing your door, which requires three holes—the standard borehole plus two support holes. While the lock hardware is largely relegated to three basic pieces—the two escutcheons and the latch mechanism—getting everything put together isn’t wholly intuitive.
First, you’ll need to decide which way the door opens, then install a screw into the correct hole on the reverse of each escutcheon, which limits the ability of the handle to turn the wrong direction. Then it’s a tight fit to sandwich the three pieces together and it takes a little muscle; if nothing else, the two extra support holes supply some stability.
The dense manual that outlines all of this is of little help, feeling almost like steps are missing or, at the very least, are sorely lacking in clarity.
Does the Proscenic L40 smart lock come with an app?
Proscenic’s new app is a bit more straightforward than the hardware, though it too feels underdeveloped. A quick connection via Bluetooth gets the lock registered to the app, after which point it can be locked and unlocked with a long tap on the screen. A digital voice on the lock confirms with the door is “locked” and “unlocked,” or if your fingerprint “failed.” Press other buttons by mistake after opening the lock and the device is prone to throwing out cryptic messages like “zero zero three,” which I have yet to determine the meaning of.
Within the app, you can add users—up to 100 fingerprints and PINs are supported—and set users as either “family members” (who can use the app to control the lock) and “non-family members” (who cannot). Temporary passwords can also be generated: These can be set to begin and end at certain times and to work at certain times of the day.
Can you create one-time-use codes for the Proscenic L40 smart lock?
One handy feature: If you’re away from home, swipe left on the home screen and you can access the “remote dynamic password” screen, which is a 10-digit single-use PIN that’s good for six hours. This is created within the lock itself, so even if you don’t have a Wi-Fi connection to the lock, you can always provide an emergency code for someone to get through the door.
The unit includes a doorbell button on the touchscreen, but oddly this just makes the lock emit a doorbell-like chime. There’s no way for the lock to chime inside the house, and the doorbell doesn’t send a push notification through the app.
Equally curious, all PINs must be 8 digits long, which might be problematic for young children and some adults to remember. Even more curiously, the system automatically re-locks after every unlock, and the auto-lock time can only be adjusted between 2 seconds and 9 seconds. This can only be disabled by tapping “5#” on the keypad after the door is unlocked, which puts the door into “constant open mode.”
There’s no way to activate this mode in the app, and it’s also worth noting that there’s no way to manually lock the door from inside the house aside from using the app or the auto-lock system, though Alexa and Google Assistant devices are supported and offer one feasible way to do the job.
Lastly, should you feel your level of security is incomplete, you can enable double verification, which requires every user to have two means of entry; namely, both a PIN code and a fingerprint before the lock will open. I highly advise against doing this, lest you wind up supremely frustrated and frequently locked out. After five bad PINs or fingerprints, you’ll need to use the app to clear the alarm and unlock the door. This is a particular problem because, while PINs worked fine in my testing, fingerprints didn’t. I experienced about a 50-percent success rate opening the lock with a registered fingerprint, with frequent stretches where no fingerprints would work at all for minutes at a time.
Is the Proscenic L40 smart lock a good value?
The Proscenic L40 smart lock might seem like a bargain at just $130, but all the idiosyncrasies and straight-up bizarre problems I experienced with this lock prevent me from giving it even a cautious recommendation. It looks good on paper, but a worthwhile smart lock needs to do a lot more look good.