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Hands-on review: Nuki Smart Lock 2.0 - turn your smartphone into a key

30 Sep 2020

For as long as I remember, I have always had to use keys to get into houses. For the longest time, physical keys have provided us with a sense of security. Even though digital locks have been around for a while, I have felt hesitant to switch out my key lock. Nuki brought an interesting design to the table that has the best of both worlds where it is smart, but I do not have to throw out my key or change the entire setup.

Who is Nuki? 

Nuki’s story began in 2013 when two tech-savvy brothers grew tired of forgetting their keys and carrying them around. Frustrated with the lack of options on the market, they started their own company in Austria in 2014. Fast forward six years, a Kickstarter campaign, a few products and an international launch, and we finally have the Nuki Smart Lock 2.0. 

Box contents and installation

My review kit was the Nuki Combo 2.0. This comes with the Nuki Smart Lock, The Nuki Bridge and the Door Sensor, manuals, a mini screwdriver for installation and most importantly, the required batteries. 

The idea of installing a smart lock on the door of my rental apartment gave me so much anxiety. Do I have to get a new handle? Do I need to call my landlord? What if it is not compatible? It just seemed like too much hassle. But the Nuki has a very user-friendly tool that tells you if your door is compatible. And if it is, then you do not even need landlord permission as Nuki is installed on top of the already existing door cylinder. In Australia and New Zealand, Nuki worked with JB-HIFI that will give you suggestions on what you would need to change in your door to make it compatible. 

Installation is easy. The instructions are straight forward, and there is even a YouTube video that shows the step by step process. It took me about five minutes to get everything set up and ready to go. 

The manual features

For a smart lock, I am choosing to start with its manual features as those are what makes the Nuki Lock 2.0 even better in my opinion. One of the worries about smart locks is the fact that they might fail! All electronics malfunction and no one wants to be locked out of their house because their Smart Lock ran out of battery. Because the Nuki is installed on the inside, the outside of the door is simply a key. So if all else fails, I can use my extra key and walk in. 

On the other side of the coin, no one wants to be locked inside because of their smart lock. Also, no one wants to pull out their phone to unlock their door every they leave the house. Luckily, Niko has a manual knob that allows you to unlock and lock the door from the inside. It also has a button that when pressed unlocks or locks the door. A great feature is the “Lock N’ Go” feature. When you double press the button, the door unlocks, you leave, and then automatically locks again behind you 20 seconds later. 

The smart features

As exciting as the manual features are, the smart features is where the Nuki Lock shines. As expected, the lock can be controlled from the phone app. The app is simple and easy to use. It even has settings that allow you to auto-lock or unlock the door during certain hours. 

The Nuki Lock connects to phones via Bluetooth and has an Auto Open feature. This means when you are close enough to your door, the lock will automatically unlock for you. This has served me well when I came home with groceries and couldn’t remember which bag I threw my phone in. It is important to note that if your iPhone is in battery saving mode, this feature might not work. 

Another great feature is the fact that you can give permanent or temporary access to other people. All they have to do is download the app. This means that you can give access to property managers, cleaners, and friends and family. You can then restrict their access afterwards. 

The Nuki lock also works with Google Home, Apple Home and Alexa. This is perfect as this means I can scream at Google to open the door for my friends when I have no idea where I left my phone last.

Complaints

The Nuki Lock is great and it is something that will live on my door for a while. But it has two main problems: It is bulky and loud! 

It is not at all ugly, it is just simply big and looks a bit strange. I understand why it needs to be this big. After a couple of days I got used to it, but it is something to keep in mind. 

The second thing would be the sound. My expectations were that this would be a silent device. That is not the case. As the Nuki is essentially turning your key, it makes a loud mechanical noise. While that is fine during the day, I wouldn’t want the neighbouring apartments, and my flatmates to all know that I came home at 2am on Saturday night.

Verdict

Nuki is a great solution for anyone that is interested in smart home automation or for anyone who simply lose/misplaces their keys. It is very user friendly; it works with existing setups and can help you easily give access to people.