Technology was one of the big themes I took away from the 2019 FIT Show. I was a tad apprehensive as to whether this would be the year that the industry fully embraced smart window and door tech. I was pleasantly surprised that it did.
One of the standout bit of smart tech for me was the Ultion SMART door lock. The others bits of smart tech on display at the show were either smart handles, some of which were aesthetically challenging. The others were bits of kit actually worked into the window or door itself, like Smart Ready.
Ultion SMART however was the only one, at least that I saw, which had all the smart stuff in the lock itself. This is my review.
Rather than me drag out a laboured explanation of the product, here’s a video in 74 seconds which does the trick:
So, one of the big things here for me is that its compatible with all the major smart tech platforms: Apple, Amazon, SmartThings. I’m sure Google compatibility will be on its way soon too. Some of the other bits of smart kit on display at the show only worked with Apple’s ecosystem. Which is fine if you have Apple products, but many of us don’t, like me, so that automatically renders those other options useless. At least this covers many major bases from the start.
Then there is the key. Technology is great when it works. But sometimes it doesn’t, and when it doesn’t, you need to be able to continue to use the door. This is why it’s fantastic you can still use a key. Others on the market, like the Yale Conexis, ditched the key, which became a problem when technical issues at the end of 2018 saw many people having issues with their smart door handles. How a key would have been nice! So, if anyone else out there is thinking of making a smart lock or smart handle, never, ever, ditch the key.
There is also Bluetooth, for those who aren’t yet smart home connected.
We have to mention the aesthetics here. I spent a bit of time at the FIT Show observing people at the Ultion stand, looking at their reactions and listening to their comments. Almost all were extremely positive about the way this thing looked. A few people weren’t so keen on it, which is fair enough, you won’t please everyone. But for me, I liked it.
Its a well designed piece of kit full stop. If you think you have seen it before, it’s because you probably have. The Ultion SMART lock is based around Danalock technology. You can click here to find out more about them and what they do.
As with anything technological, it helps to shift units if its nice to look at. You only need to look at Apple and their immense focus on design as an example of how well a product sells if it’s designed well. The Ultion SMART is a well designed product.
Its also one of the only smart locks in the UK where all the tech is held in the lock itself, in the brushed metal housing. Again, much of the smart door tech already available is housed in a smart handle. It results in the handles being bigger than normal, with varying levels of aesthetic success. Smart door locks should be in the lock, not the handle. It reduces the footprint on the door and is the smallest possible way in which to make the door smart.
Fitting, Alexa and the keypad
Ultion have designed SMART to be installed easily. Judging by the video below, this shouldn’t be a problem. As we know it’s Alexa compatible, and there is always a wireless keypad to use if that’s your kind of thing.
The fitting video shows it being installed with an escutcheon, but the process is the same when using the Sweet door handle.
Operating it feels tactile and solid. Responsive when you send it a command via your phone or manually and feels generally well built and a premium product. That last part is important. Some home owners are going to need convincing that this is a good addition to have to their door. The build quality and feel of it in the hand is going to help make that argument. If it feels plastic, light weight and loose, you’re not going to convince someone to spend a couple of hundred pounds on it. As it is, you don’t need to worry about that.
Speaking of price, Ultion SMART will retail at £229-£259 depending on the model. This is well priced. Not overly expensive that it makes it prohibitive, not to cheap that you start to question it’s quality or reliability!
Consider what this product can do. It has a long list of features and abilities, most of which you can find here because there are too many to list on this post. This is a product that will be used everyday. When fitted to the main entrance door, it will become the main way to know when the door is locked and unlocked. It adds an extra layer of deterrence for a would-be burglar. For all of that, the price point is a good one.
All in all this is another solid product from a company that already knows how to make and market quality products. I shall be ordering one sooner rather than later. Their website is showing that all makes and models are sold out, which is a good sign. But they are shipping again on the 22nd of July, so not long to wait.
Thinking further ahead, this is another step towards what I believe will be the ultimate goal in someone developing a smart door lock which fits inside a regular door handle and looks just like a regular door handle from both the inside and outside. This is the neatest, smallest iteration of a smart door lock yet, and just like with most other forms of technology, they will continue to get smaller and more concise.
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