It seems that BenjiLock has done it again. Biometric access in a product that just seems to work. Our first impression of the company occurred when we got our hands on one of the biometric carry-on locks. A simple lock that uses your fingerprint to open it and has a decent battery life to it. At the time, the company had spoken of its bike lock that could do the same, but it wasn’t until now that we came across one to see for ourselves.
The BenjiLock Fingerprint (biometric) U-Type Bike Lock is a typical u-type solution that can be used to hard-lock your bicycle to a fence, sign, or post (or simply to lock the rear tire to the body so no one can jump on it and ride off). It features a hard-metal (steel) design that is both durable and resistant to tampering.
At first glance, you can’t really tell that there is anything special about it. It retains the normal shape you’d find in any u-type bicycle lock and there are no immediate signs that there was anything special about it. That is, until you rotate the lid on one of the side of the base.
When you do this, it reveals a small fingerprint sensor that is used to unlock the lock. All it takes is a quick tap of your finger and the lock disengages. No keys are required or anything else that you might lose. There is also a small USB-C type port hidden in there in case the battery dies, but this shouldn’t be a problem as long as you stay on top of keeping it charged.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have the option for a key. In case you do let the internal battery run dry and you have no plug or cable to charge it, there is a keyhole somewhat hidden at the bottom. It is simply tucked away behind a small rubber cover that helps protect it from the elements. Then again, if you want to make use of it, this does mean you’d have to hold onto the key.
Either way, you have multiple options of unlocking your bike as you are coming back to it. With the fingerprint being one of the fastest.
Getting started, setting up your fingerprint is easy. The instructions walk you through triggering the process of adding it that includes your familiar multi-tap method to make sure it absolutely locks in on that fingerprint since not every press to the sensor is going to be exactly the same (angle, etc).
Then, you have the option of adding up to 10 fingerprints. So if this is for a child, parents can make sure that their fingerprint is included (else they will need to have a key available as well). Also, it is important to add more than just one of your fingers in case your finger has a little wear to it from the day’s activities.
We would up adding around 6 fingerprints total during our testing of it. Each time, it seemed to accept nearly every single press made against the sensor. With only a few times where it blinked red at us.
Unlocking the bike lock could be a little concerning at first. When you do, it seems to disengage the pin that keeps the bar from sliding out, but it doesn’t necessarily pull it back (at least in our experience of using it). So when you try unlocking it for the first time, you can hear the motor inside do something, but it doesn’t quite pop out. One might think that it isn’t working until you shake it a little and then it pops right out. So you have to wiggle it to get the pin to fall back so that the bar can be removed from the base.
That was really the only concern we had. We got it to work every time with both the fingerprint and the key. As long as we give it that wiggle as we are pulling it apart.
Battery life of the built-in lithium-ion battery is one thing we can’t exactly test just yet since that takes time. However, we have been playing with it, adding fingerprints, repeatedly opening and closing it. I’d say it extends beyond a normal few days worth of use and the battery seems just fine. BenjiLock states that it will last up to 6 months. So as long as we don’t find it to be any different (with “normal use”), I’d say that this is pretty fair.
We couldn’t quite tell how water resistant it was since we couldn’t find a specific rating anywhere. However, we did splash it with water a few times (making sure the side lid was covering all the way and the rubber flap for the keyhole was secure) during our testing and it didn’t seem to cause any troubles.
So far, we have really enjoyed this lock. It seems to learn fingerprints easy enough and you have plenty that you can add. So you can do multiple fingers and one or more other users as well. It seems to respond quite accurately to the touch and opens almost instantly.
It’s just that wiggle you got to do to get it to release that throws you off a little. I guess we seem to expect it to fall right out. Then again, this might be a little more secure than if it pulled back the pin as well. The alternative may also zap more battery life out of the picture as well. So we haven’t quite finalized our thoughts on that just yet. We may find ourselves coming back to point something out.
The price is a little much to take it, but it is a nifty product with tech inside and very little competition out there. Also, some of the boring key-only locks range all over the place as well ($20-$50+). So since it is a durable product that feels like it could really hold up to someone trying to break it, I’d say that the price doesn’t sound “that” shocking.
Honestly, we can’t wait to see what else BenjiLock comes out with. The brand seems to deliver a quality lock that lives up the inner nerd inside every geek. I do wish I had one of these when I was younger and I would absolutely buy my kid(s) one.
Are you a manufacturer or distributor that would like us to test something out for review? Contact us and we can let you know where to send the product and we will try it out.
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