Come on in! When Alexa opens the door for you

Many, many colorful smarties. Almost everything in the apartment or house is now smart: the speaker, the TV set, the vacuum robot, the light, the refrigerator and even the lawnmower. Even in front of the apartment or front door, the intelligent networking does not stop. More and more providers are pushing for this sensitive place. The smart door lock (English: Startlock) is – even without a key – a key experience: You come home and the door opens as if by magic or on the mobile app. A key (bundle) is no longer needed.

How do smart door locks work?

The old-fashioned keychain is replaced by intelligent networked technology. First option: You open and close your door with a swipe gesture in the associated app (iOS and Android). Such gestures have long been known and learned from smart watches and of course from iPhone & Co.

Another possibility: Smart door locks also open the door automatically – and lock the door behind you. The smartphone remains outside and does not have to be ripped out of the bag. Which is particularly advantageous if you are about heavy shopping from the grocery store.

In addition come so-called video door-bells, which are becoming more and more standard in new buildings: On the screen in the apartment you can see who is down there and wants to visit you.

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Danalock V3 Photo 1
(Photo: Danalock)

Can I also mount a smart door lock with two left hands?

Yes, that usually works fine. Many models are almost an essay on the normal locking system. Neither screws nor a drill nor great skill is needed to attach smart door locks.

Eqiva 2
(Photo: Eqiva)

Do I need a permit from my landlord?

As a homeowner, of course, you are free to decide which lock system you are using. Even as a tenant you get the installation of Smartlocks from a legal perspective, no problems, because a landlord can not prohibit an installation. However, in the case of an extract, such a lock must be dismantled. There are no problems at this point, because a residue-free removal is possible at any time. You can then use the smart door lock in the next apartment. The German Renters Association advises, however, to get “precautionary” the written approval of the landlord in order to be on the safe side.

Also interesting: my fridge is listening to me! 12 safety tips for the smart home

What speaks for the assembly of a smart door lock?

All family members never have to worry about losing the key again. Because such a Smartlock can recognize several people. This is how even friends can get in when you’re on vacation and your plants need to be watered. The waiting for the cleaning lady has done. For example, the smart door lock can be programmed so that the cleaning lady is always let in and out in a certain time window.

Are there any disadvantages of smart door locks?

The newer the model, the less susceptible Smartlocks are. But it can still happen that sensors do not react to dirty, wet or greasy hands – or the door opens after several attempts. Less and less it comes in conjunction with wireless to unwanted door openings. Here, the providers have invested more in recent months in problem solutions.

It is also important to regularly check the batteries on the door lock. If the battery is empty, the smart door will be locked. The same applies to apps whose call is also dependent on the battery level of the smartphone. Have you opted for a Smartlock App, keep the charge of iPhone & Co. in good view. And especially with cheaper models it is noticeable that the smart door lock can occasionally make loud engine noises and not quietly buzzes.

Also interesting: Which smart home products do we really need?

How safe are Smartlocks in general?

In summary, according to Stiftung Warentest, no networked product can be completely secured against attacks from outside. In 2015, security researchers succeeded in cracking every August door lock in a test of all models from August. This was a clear wake up call for the first providers of such smart locks to invest more in security.

But when buying, you should be careful not to buy unencrypted door locks – and certainly no Smartlocks that offer non-changeable standard combinations as a password. Basically, you should prefer known providers when buying. These are usually available for regular security updates. This is usually not the case for allegedly cheap solutions from no-name providers.

Which current models are currently popular in the Smartlock range?

The Austrian supplier Nuki Home Solutions has meanwhile integrated all well-known smart eco-systems and launched its new optimized Smart Lock 2.0 in November. An improved processor speeds up the authentication. With Apple HomeKit, the door lock can now also be controlled via Apple’s voice assistant Siri. Bluetooth 5.0 ensures an increase in range. Also a door sensor is now integrated. It shows both the status of the lock (unlocked) and the status of the door (open or closed). In addition to Smart Lock 2.0 (229 euros), the Nuki Bridge is needed for installation (99 euros). In combination, Smartlock and Bridge are available for 299 euros. Alternatively, Nuki also offers a cheaper solution, the Nuki Keypad (79 euros). A smartphone is not needed for the keypad. Access is via a 6-digit code. The installation is wireless.

Also popular is the ring video Doorbell 2. Meanwhile, the company belongs to Amazon. The online retailer bought the startup, which was founded five years ago, in the spring of 2018. About the purchase price was silent Amazon. But it should be about the second most expensive acquisition of the Amazon company history. The most expensive should be the purchase of the US organic supermarket chain Whole Foods with 13.7 billion dollars.

Previously, Amazon had already bought the same segment operating company Blink. The Ring Video Doorbell 2 is a WLAN bell with a live image of the entrance area, which can be accessed via the app in HD resolution. Meanwhile, a night vision function has been implemented as well as a replaceable battery that can be charged separately. The smart fun costs 199 euros (on Amazon), the extended Pro version with door chime and transformer to 280 euros (also Amazon).

Nuki and Ring mainly compete with Danalock. The current Danalock V3 with Z-Wave and HomeKit support is moving around 180 euros. Nest’s products are also becoming increasingly popular. The video doorbell Hello costs about 300 euros.

Good deals for smart locksmiths, even bundled with products like Google Home, you can find more often at tink.de

Which smartlocks are ahead in tests?

The magazine c’t (12/2018) recommends the Eqiva eQ-3 as a “low-priced entry-level device” (50 euros). While Eqiva offers few bonus features, the Danalock V3 (about 150 euros) scores points with many extras. Danalock can now also control via Siri, also with the shortcuts (additional commands). At Connect, the Nuki Smart Lock was the only test candidate to achieve a “very good” rating. The only “good” received eQ-3 HomeMatic KeyMatic (about 150 euros). The Eqiva was rated only “satisfactory”.

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