Review : Danalock Z-Wave Smart Lock for Home Automation
I’ve been looking for a Z-Wave lock to complete my home automation project (Lights, home entertainment, air conditioning, curtains and blinds checked!). However, Z-Wave lock for European Z-Wave frequencies are very rare. In fact, there seems to be only Vision door locks around but I simply cannot tolerate the look of the lock. Compared to many digital locks out there, Vision door locks look like it is from the last century.
As I continue my search, I found that several companies have promised nice looking smart locks (unfortunately non Z-wave) namely : Lockitron, August, Goji, and Kwikset Kevo. With the exception of Kwikset Kevo (which is also Android unfriendly for now), the rest are from kickstarters/indigogo, with shipping dates that we’re never fulfilled. Thus, I don’t really trust them until they have finally shipped something.
Out of nowhere, Danalock appeared and I ordered one to try it out immediately as it was the only lock that comes with both european Z-Wave frequency and Bluetooth LE. The lock comes in a few flavors, US Z-Wave, Euro Z-wave (both has the option of having or without Bluetooth LE). Most likely you will need to take a picture of your lock to verify if you should order a US profile or European profile. Do note this profile refers to the type of your lock and not the frequency.
The shipping took around 2 weeks and I was presented with a neat little box for Xmas. The following are some in boxing pictures.
My initial impressions of the lock are as follows:
1. Good price point fast shipping
2. Heavier than I thought
3. Nice metallic built except for the flimsy plastic cover
4. Included a deadbolt (which I use it to replace mine as I’m having problem with my existing one)
5. No instruction manual (even online manual is not really up to mark)
Installation of lock on my door was a breeze (takes around 5-10 mins you followed the YouTube video closely). However, I removed it again to move it near my Vera for pairing instead. Pairing was not as easy as per the online instruction manual. The inclusion requires you to hold the touch sensitive button near Vera for 2-3 secs before you hear a double beep. Even after pairing, Vera took a while (10-15 mins) to try to configure the lock. The first two times, the Vera did not complete the configuration and I couldn’t use the lock via Z-Wave at all. Thus I took out the battery of the lock to reset it. Only at the 3rd try was the pairing completed and it was good to go.
It was rather simple to pair the lock with my Android phone to control it via Bluetooth LE. Please note that only Android 4.3 and above support Bluetooth LE (provided your phone supports Bluetooth 4.0 as well). For iOS devices, only iPhone 5 and above running iOS 7 support Bluetooth LE. My only comment about the app is that it looks rather ugly and crashes at times.
What I like about this lock is that it looks just like a normal door from the front. You can still use it like a normal lock. Thus it will be more tech dino friendly. To manually lock or unlock the door you can turn the whole thing like a door knob or tap the touch sensitive button. However I find that the button is not very sensitive and I ended up turning the whole thing more than touching it. To reduce manual locking, I simply set a scene in my Vera such that when my door sensor detects that the door is closed, the door will auto lock.
Generally the lock works but the instructions are lacking. There are still much room for improvement. If the other upcoming smart locks deliver what they promised, I would actually choose those even though they are not on Z-Wave. Finally the post is not complete without a video right? So here goes a video of the auto locking upon sensing that the door is closed..
Afternote : The battery ran out of juice twice in 2 months. I think this device is not really ready for prime time.
Afternote 2 : Ok realized that the second time I changed battery, I didn’t set the right settings. Battery going strong for now.