I liked almost everything about the U-Bolt Pro Wi-Fi, from its looks to its easy setup to its kitchen sink approach to locking and unlocking.
About Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro Wi-Fi
- Axis: Universal Backset Fits 2-3/8″ (60 mm) or 2-3/4″ (70 mm) doors
- Door thickness: 1-3/8 in (35 mm) to 1-3/4 in (45 mm)
- Certificates: ANSI/BHMA A156.36 Commercial Standard Certified Commercial Grade 1
- Connectivity: 2.4GHz Wi-Fi
- Smart Assistant Support: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, SmartThings
- Code capacity: Up to 50 access codes of 4 to 8 digits
- Fingerprint capacity: Up to 100 fingerprints (2 per user)
- Dimensions: 3″ x 3″ x 1.2″ (outer part) and 4.9″ x 3″ x 1.4″ (inner part)
- Energy source: 4 AA batteries
Installing the U-Bolt Pro Wi-FI Smart Lock is a simple process. Assuming you’re replacing an existing deadbolt on a fairly standard door, you should find the U-Bolt easy to install. Because I didn’t need to drill a hole or make any adjustments to the door strike, I was able to complete the process in about 20 minutes. It may take longer if the lock goes into a new door and/or frame.
Instructions are written clearly alongside helpful illustrations to guide you. There is also a presentation video which is mentioned from the beginning. You can scan a QR code to access it on your phone or use the URL provided.
One thing to be aware of, as is the case with many smart home devices, the lock does not support dual-band Wi-Fi and requires a 2.4GHz internet connection.
Once set up, the U-tec app, available for iOS and Android, only took a few seconds to connect to the lock for me. I found it pleasantly easy to use, with straightforward sections for adding users, checking activity logs, and changing various settings. The lock is IP65 rated against dust and water and can withstand temperatures ranging from -22 to 149 degrees.
What we like
There are several ways to use the lock
The U-Bolt Pro Wi-Fi supports an impressive half dozen locking and unlocking methods, ranging from physical to electronic. Let’s start with the phone options: in addition to pressing a large on-screen button, you can activate a GPS-powered geofence to automatically activate the lock when you leave the area and Bluetooth to automatically unlock it when you leave. approach.
Less impressive is Magic Shake: when you rock your phone back and forth, it triggers the unlock command. It’s fine on paper, but the execution is flawed: every time the Ultraloq app retires to the background, Magic Shake stays active for just five minutes. If you have to open the app to use it, why not just manually press the unlock button?
There’s also an Apple Watch app, which I found handy when my phone was tucked away in a pocket. But the fastest (and funniest) option is the fingerprint reader, which stores two fingerprints per user. The feature is easy to set up, and in my testing it worked flawlessly. You may lose your phone or your keys, and you may forget a key code, but your finger goes where you go.
If all else fails, you can open the front of the lock and use a good old fashioned metal key.
It has Wi-Fi on board
The previous version of the U-Bolt was a Bluetooth-only affair (unless you purchased the separate Wi-Fi Bridge Adapter). Here it’s built in, so right out of the box you can access the lock and receive notifications remotely.
This is a major advantage for, for example, Airbnb owners who want to assign temporary access to tenants. It’s also great for parents who want to know when the kids are home from school.
You can control the lock with Alexa and Google Assistant
Since the smart lock is compatible with Amazon Echo and Google Home ecosystems, you can also use Alexa and Google Assistant smart assistants to unlock the U-Bolt Pro Wi-Fi. The smart lock also supports Alexa Routines. For example, if you have a Ring doorbell or security camera, you can create an Alexa routine that triggers the U-Bolt Pro Wi-Fi to lock when motion is detected. It also works with IFTTT and SmartThings smart home platforms.
What we don’t like
There is no support for Apple HomeKit or Amazon Key
U-Bolt Pro Wi-Fi does not support Amazon Key and Apple HomeKit. That means Amazon delivery drivers don’t have the ability to leave packages inside your door, which many find desirable in these days of rampant piracy. It also means you can’t use Siri commands to lock or unlock, which is surprising given the presence of the Apple Watch app.
Button layout takes some getting used to
Unlike most smart locks, which have a traditional number pad, the Ultraloq organizes its 10 number buttons in a circle surrounding the fingerprint reader. While this allows for a more compact design, it slows down code entry. If you’ve ever tried a rotary phone, you’ll understand the complaint. While not a dealbreaker, I have to give the lock a small usability demerit.
It can burn batteries
The U-Bolt Pro Wi-Fi relies on four AA batteries, which U-tec says should last 3-6 months with normal use. It’s a pretty broad variable; if you find yourself in the lower range of this estimate, you might start to wish you had chosen a lock with better battery life. It would be nice if U-tec designed the lock with a rechargeable and removable battery, an option now found on some video doorbells.
If the batteries die before you can change them, there’s an emergency option in the form of a micro-USB port on the underside: just plug in any mobile charger and you should be good to go. This assumes, of course, that you have such a charger.
The U-Bolt Pro Wi-Fi smart lock claims to have double data encryption which uses 128-bit AES and Dynamic Key. This means that no one but you should be able to access the lock or any of your personal data relating to the lock. However, the Ultraloq app lacks two-factor authentication, a feature that can help keep your smart home secure by alerting you to unwanted attempts to hack into your account. Companion apps for some of the best smart locks, like Schlage Encode and Wyze Lock, offer this user security feature.
Should I buy it?
Yes, this smart lock is perfect for most front doors.
The U-bolt Pro Wi-Fi Ultraloq is one of the most versatile smart locks you can buy today. The front door lock offers several convenient methods of entry like fingerprint reader technology, an important option for users who value simplicity above all else. The compact and attractive design is another nice perk, especially if you’re put off by the bulky and unattractive look of other locks. The U-bolt Pro Wi-Fi is an easy to recommend product, a smart lock that I would be happy to install on my own front door.
My only reservation is the lack of Amazon Key support (a feature found in one of the best smart locks, the Schlage Encode), as I don’t want the packages to stay in plain sight. And if yours is a Siri-powered fireplace, you might prefer a smart lock that works with Apple HomeKit, like the Schlage Sense deadbolt.
Get the Ultraloq U-bolt Pro Wi-Fi on Amazon for $249
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Rick Broida has been writing about consumer technology since the days of the Commodore Amiga, which means he’s not only incredibly old, but also the undisputed champion of Defender of the Crown.
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