Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Gear Closet: Dog & Bone Locksmart Mini Bluetooth Smart Padlock

Keeping your possessions safe and secure while traveling can be a real challenge in this day and age. It seems no matter where you go, someone is looking to steal your stuff. That's why it is a good idea to carry a padlock with you when you hit the road, as it gives you the ability to secure your bags when they aren't in sight. But if you're like me, remember a combination to such a lock can sometimes be difficult, particularly if you don't use it often. And sure, you could always use a lock that requires a key instead. But, in the age of constantly evolving technology and increasingly smarter devices, there seems like there should be something better. Allow me to introduce you to the Locksmart Mini from Dog & Bone.

At first glance, the Locksmart Mini looks like most other padlocks you might come across. It has a thick, durable hardened steel shackle that connects to whatever it is you want to lock up, and its body feels durable and tough in your hand. The exterior is coated in a protective covering that also give is a unique, colorful look too. But upon further inspection, you'll start to notice a few things that separate this lock from others. For example, there is an LED light on the front, and no key hole whatsoever.

Yep, you read that right, this is a lock without a key or combination of any kind. Instead, the Locksmart connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth and is controlled by an app (available for iOS and Android). That app allows you to unlock the device when you need access to your belongings, but also gives you the ability to control multiple locks or even share access with someone else from anywhere in the world. That means that even though you're away on a trip, you can still allow someone back home to unlock the Locksmart should the need arise.

Paring the lock with your smartphone takes just a few seconds, and couldn't be easier. The real power lies within the app that you must download and install on your mobile device. It is from there that you can name your locks and turn off and on certain features. The app also allows you to add other users, giving them full or temporary access to your Locksmart.


The device comes with a built-in, rechargeable battery that Dog & Bone claims is good for 3000 uses before needing a recharge. In my testing, I haven't come anywhere close to that number, but can tell you that device still registers as having 100% battery even after unlocking it dozens of times. That bodes well for its long term use, but before you set off on a trip somewhere, you may want to check to be sure the lock has plenty of juice in its battery.

To unlock the Locksmart you simply tap a button on the bottom of the lock that wakes it from sleep mode. The LED on the front will turn on and change to a green color. Next, you launch the app and select the proper lock for your list. Once the smartphone and lock have connected (which takes a few seconds), you simply tap the Unlock icon on the screen and the padlock opens. It really is as simple as that.

Dog & Bone does give you a "Location Mode" option which allows the Locksmart and your phone to connect to one another automatically when they are within range of one another, allowing you to bypass the step of actually pushing the button on the lock, but that comes at the expense of battery life. In order to achieve the feature, the lock wakes itself up from sleep mode every 30 seconds, which means you'll have to monitor its battery a lot closer. The convenience of this mode is nice though, as you can open the Locksmart from across the room at just about any time.

The Locksmart has a couple of other nice features that come in handy as well. For instance, you can track its location at any time, with its current spot highlighted on a map. That makes it easy to find should your bag get stolen. There is also a Tracking Mode that will give you an alert on your smartphone every time the lock passes out of range. This comes in handy in case someone picks up your locked luggage and attempts to make off with it, although it also comes at the expense of decreased battery life.

For me personally, the Locksmart is a great option when traveling. I love that it is very durable and secure, and yet doesn't require me to remember a combination or carry an extra key. It is important to remember that this lock is not TSA approved however, which means you can't use it on luggage that you are checking at the airport, and you might have to remove it while passing through a security checkpoint. But other than that, it is a great option for travelers who are looking to keep their gear more secure, but want the convenience that comes along with using a smart lock instead.

The Locksmart does cost a bit more than most padlocks. It carries a price tag of $69, which is a far cry from other travel locks that can be had for under $20. But, I will say that this lock is more durable than most other travel locks I've tried, and the added conveniences it brings makes it worthwhile to me.

Find out more at Dog & Bone's website.

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