Multiple unlock options
Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
No dual-band Wi-Fi
So-so battery life
No support for Apple HomeKit or Amazon Key
About the Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro Wi-Fi
- Backset: Universal Backset Adjusts to 2-3/8" (60mm) or 2-3/4" (70mm) doors
- Door thickness: 1-3/8 in (35 mm) to 1-3/4 in (45 mm)
- Certifications: Commercial Standard Certification ANSI/BHMA A156.36 Commercial Grade 1
- Connectivity: 2.4GHz Wi-Fi
- Smart assistant support: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, SmartThings
- Code capacity: Up to 50 4-8-digit access codes
- Fingerprint capacity: Up to 100 fingerprints (2 per user)
- Dimensions: 3" x 3" x 1.2" (exterior portion) and 4.9" x 3" x 1.4" (interior portion)
- Power 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 out a hole or make any adjustments to the door strike, I was able to complete the process in about 20 minutes. This might take longer if the lock is going into a new door and/or frame.
The instructions are written clearly alongside helpful illustrations to guide you along. There's also a walkthrough video that’s mentioned right at the start. You can scan a QR code to access it on your phone or use the provided URL.
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 configured, U-tec’s app, available for iOS and Android, took just a few seconds to connect to the lock for me. I found it refreshingly easy to use, with straightforward sections for adding users, checking activity logs, and modifying various settings. The lock is rated IP65-rated against dust and water and can withstand temperatures ranging from -22 to 149 degrees.
What we like
There are multiple ways to use the lock
The U-Bolt Pro Wi-Fi supports an impressive half-dozen methods of locking and unlocking, ranging from the physical to the electronic. Let’s start with the phone options: In addition to tapping a big on screen button, you can enable a GPS-powered geofence to automatically engage the lock when you leave the area and Bluetooth to automatically unlock it when you approach.
Less impressive is Magic Shake: When you rock your phone back and forth, it triggers the unlock command. That’s great on paper, but the execution is flawed: Whenever the Ultraloq app retreats to the background, Magic Shake remains active for only five minutes. If you have to open the app to use it, why not just manually tap 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 most fun) option is the fingerprint reader, which allows for two stored fingerprints per user. The feature is easy to set up, and in my tests, it worked flawlessly. You can lose your phone or keys, and you can forget a key code, but your finger goes where you go.
If all else fails, you can pop open the front face of the lock and use a good old-fashioned metal key.
It has Wi-Fi onboard
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.
That’s a major benefit for, say, Airbnb owners who want to assign temporary access to tenants. It’s also great for parents who want to know when the kids get home from school.
You can control the lock with Alexa and Google Assistant
Since the smart lock is compatible with the Amazon Echo and Google Home ecosystems, you can also use smart assistants Alexa and Google Assistant 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's no support for Apple HomeKit or Amazon Key
The U-Bolt Pro Wi-Fi it lacks support for both Amazon Key and Apple HomeKit. That means Amazon delivery drivers don’t have the option of leaving packages inside your door, which many find desirable in these days of rampant porch-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.
The button layout takes some getting used to
Unlike most smart locks, which have a traditional numeric keypad, the Ultraloq arranges its 10 number buttons in a circle surrounding the fingerprint reader. While this allows for a more compact design, it slows code entry. If you’ve ever tried a rotary phone, you’ll understand the complaint. Although this is hardly a dealbreaker, I have to give the lock a small usability demerit.
It may burn through batteries
The U-Bolt Pro Wi-Fi relies on four AA batteries, which U-tec says should last 3-6 months with normal use. That’s a pretty wide variable; if you end up at the shorter range of that estimate, you may start to wish you’d chosen a lock with better battery life. It would be nice if U-tec had engineered the lock with a rechargeable, removable battery pack, an option now found on some video doorbells.
If the batteries happen to die before you’re able to 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 able to gain entry. This assumes, of course, that you have such a charger at the ready.
The U-Bolt Pro Wi-Fi smart lock claims to have dual data encryption that 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 is lacking two-factor authentication, a feature that can help keep your smart home safe and secure by alerting you to unwanted attempts to hack your account. Companion apps for some of the best smart locks, like the Schlage Encode and Wyze Lock, offer this user security feature.
Should you buy it?
Yes, this smart lock is a great fit for most front doors.
The Ultraloq U-bolt Pro Wi-Fi is one of the most versatile smart locks you can buy right now. The front door lock offers multiple entry convenient methods like fingerprint reader technology, an important option for users who prize simplicity above all else. The compact, attractive design is another nice perk, especially if you’re put off by the chunky, unappealing looks of other locks. The U-bolt Pro Wi-Fi is an easy product to recommend, a smart lock I’d be glad to install on my own front door.
My only reservation is the lack of Amazon Key support (a feature available in one of the best smart locks, the Schlage Encode), as I don’t want packages sitting out for all to see. And if yours is a Siri-powered household, you might prefer a smart lock that works with Apple HomeKit, like the Schlage Sense Deadbolt.
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, meaning he’s not only incredibly old, but also the undisputed champion of Defender of the Crown.
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