If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Not a bad philosophy, and perhaps a question worth asking when regarding Master Lock’s newest dialSpeed padlock. Now, for the sake of clarity this is not the first dialSpeed Padlock from Masterlock. The original, the 1500ID, uses the same up/down/left right combo code, but lacks the LED lighting, multi user functionality, and the all together pizazz offered by the 1500EDBX. For another way to upgrade the security in your home, check out our guide to the voice activated lockbox too.
That being said, the new dialSpeed is one of the easiest locks to operate. I’m not suggesting it takes a brain surgeon to operate a school issued combination rotary lock, but relatively speaking this one is folds easier to use. So easy in fact, you could give it a monkey and they’d have it figured out by the day’s end. However, that isn’t to say security has been compromised in favor of simplicity.
The dialSpeed can be programmed with up to 4 different combos; one for you and three more for friends or family members. As I mentioned in my product release post the programmed combo can range from 4 to 12 directions. So it’s really up to the user how secure they’d like their lock to be, which will vary from person to person based on their capacity for remembering combinations. In the end I settled on a 6 “digit” combo code, which in essence calls for one direction to be pushed twice. I say combo code, because there is an alphanumeric ring surrounding the directional pad, which supplants the need to remember a set of directions, and instead allows you to recall a favorite set of digits or a word. And believe me, if you’ve used a standard rotary combo lock, then you know how easy it is to forget a preassigned pin after a few months.
Looks wise there really isn’t any other combo lock on the market like Master Lock’s new dialSpeed. Tap the center button and it lights up blue and green. Enter the code wrong and center glows red indicating when you’ve entered your combination wrong. Unlike traditional rotary combo locks, you can use the dialSpeed in dark places since the entire pad lights up as you enter the code, though the alphanumeric ring does not. It’s probably not an everyday use case scenario, but most certainly not a feature worth overlooking. It also doesn’t hurt that the dialSpeed is easily distinguishable from all other locks on the market, at least for now.
In the event that you lose your primary code, Masterlock offers a master unlock code that is accessible via their website, provided if you have your manual on hand, which contains the factory set-code. The shackle is crafted from Boron Carbide, which if you didn’t know (I didn’t know) is used in tank armor and bulletproof vests. So, yes, it’s tough. They’ve also attested to increased security thanks to anti-shim technology, which means it’s more than difficult to wedge something into the locks slight opening and pop it free.
Included in the box, in addition to a USB Drive that I didn’t bother with, is a small paper manual that contains the preset (or factory set) combo code. Enter this correctly and the center button lights up green, the lock makes a solid clicking noise, and you simply pull it open. Once it’s open you can then assign a new primary code, as well as up to three guest codes. To assign a new primary code first hold the center button for 2 seconds to enter program mode, push the up arrow, then press the center button (enter), enter a new sequence, and press the center button again. Finally, you’ll need to enter the combo one more time to program a new primary code. To add guest codes you just repeat the same steps, but instead of pushing the up arrow, you can push left, right, or down. To delete a guest code, you unlock the dialSpeed repeat the first few steps, but instead of entering a new sequence just hold down that arrow for 5 seconds. So ultimately, there are a handful of steps to remember when programming a new code for a guest, but with smartphone in hand, which can access an online manual, you really just need to remember your primary code.
That all said, you’ll need to remember to swap out the battery every 5 years, give or take with use. Granted that number comes directly from Masterlock, but unfortunately, there is no way for me to test this, though I’d like to think I’ll update this review when the time arrives. The dialSpeed is powered by a CR2032 watch style battery. It’s contained in a slot that sits at the base of the lock. When the dialSpeed is locked it can be only partially opened, which allows you to access what MasterLock calls a jump slot. The jump slot is designed to be used in the event that battery doesn’t contain enough voltage to open, or unlock. If the case is such, you can partially insert a new battery in the jump slot that contains battery contact points, and provides enough juice to unlock the dialSpeed. Once it is unlocked, the battery drawer can be fully removed and the battery replaced. Simple enough, provided you have a spare battery on you at all times, but if not, then you’ll be looking for the closest pair of lock cutters. If the dialSpeed is exposed to water, such as rain, it could very well short out the battery, and perhaps even the electronics, which renders the lock completely useless. And if water doesn’t get to it, a would be thieve, thwarted by the lock, could damage the battery mechanism in a fit of frustration by yanking on it. But these are theoretical scenarios that probably don’t call for a lock of this type, though schoolyard bullies have been known to do worse
So should you buy the Masterlock dialSpeed? Aside from being completely distinguishable from other locks, which might draw unwanted attention to your lock full of your wallet and iPhone, it’s fit for any one that shares a locked space and might want to revoke their access after a period of time. So there in lies the ultimate benefit of guest codes. The digital nature of the dialSpeed, as in the battery, is a rather large shortcoming, but those that are interested in this lock probably won’t be using it in places where this is much of a concern; outside, in a place ripe with anti-dogooders. So with that in mind, it’s benefits easily outweigh its negatives. Move the batteries component to a more secure location, and I don’t see why the Masterlock dialSpeed won’t become the standard.
Bottom line: an infinitely cool padlock that provides the primary user the ability to grant and deny access to guests. The battery is the locks biggest shortcoming, and one that requires its user to consider the use case before buying.
- Up to 3 guest codes to grant/deny access to a secure location
- Much easier to remember the combo over traditional locks
- Light up keypad
- Battery slot could be easily broken and render the lock useless
- Not weatherproof
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