Over the course of the last three years or so, I have gone through more padlocks than I care to admit. Even when I am careful, I write down the combinations, I label the keys… they always seem to get lost. Even when I do remember them, on two occasions I have had to throw locks out because the mechanics were not working right. When finally got fed up, I looked online for ‘Fingerprint Padlocks‘. There were a couple results, but the number one result that kept coming back was for Tapplock.
Now that I am not living in a building with locker facilities, I have two places where I use padlocks: The gym, and my travel humidor. I ordered two of them, but I did that for a couple of reasons:
- I genuinely have a need for two of them; and
- With multiple locks connected to multiple phones, I wanted to make sure that the security was not as easily bypassed as I thought it might be.
They arrived, shipped abroad (even though the company is Canadian), so I had to pay Customs fees. Okay, in for a penny, right? The locks are not inexpensive, so the extra $20 for Revenue Canada was not the worst thing to happen to me.
They arrived, and the boxes they come in are impressive… as solid as some padlocks I have had!
Even though I was chomping at the bit to get going using them, I knew that before I did, I had to charge them up. If I have anything negative to say about the device, it is actually about the cable. I understand that any ‘invasive’ cable would make use in inclement weather less than ideal, so I appreciate the proprietary magnetic-touch connection of both the cable and the lock. The only thing I wish is that the magnet would be stronger… the cable stays connected just fine while sitting on a desk, but the magnet is not strong enough to use it in field conditions. For example, if the padlock was securing my long-term storage facility, I would have to bring a charger, unlock the padlock, and place it on a flat surface to charge it. Really, that is not the end of the world.
The lock is solid. It weighs significantly more than any inexpensive padlock I have purchased. There are higher-grade padlocks that are bigger and heavier, but the Tapplock One is definitely heavy. That is by no means a drawback – it is solid, and it feels solid and rugged. I am quite happy by the feel.
While the phones were charging up, I downloaded the app to my phones. I wanted to make sure I could manage both locks from two phones. Also, the phones are different platforms – one iPhone, one Android. I was easily able to pair both locks to both devices, but there was one thing I noticed – they both had the same name. Each was listed as TL104A. Fortunately you can rename them, which I did (TL104A (black) and TL104A (gun metal)). It makes it easier to identify. I actually do not know any other way they could have made that simpler – someone who only buys black locks would have more of an issue.
(On the last note, they do come in three colours: Midnight Black, Sterling Silver, and Gun Metal. I picked up two, so my third would have to be the Silver! 🙂 )
I am told that the locks can register up to 500 fingerprints each, but I only have ten fingers, and I only registered four of them. It was pretty easy, although being daft as I am, I accidentally cross-registered fingers, and had to start over. Remember kids, when registering your left thumb, it is important that you place your LEFT THUMB on the sensor, and not your RIGHT INDEX FINGER. That was all on me.
It took me a while to sit down and write this article, but that was for a couple of reasons. Firstly yes, I was busier than usual; secondly, I wanted to see if I felt the same way two months into using them as I did on Day 1. I had been warned that they would not work in extreme cold; Ottawa is pretty cold, and this winter has been quite extreme. Both of the locks spent much of January through March in the trunk of my car – that is where my gym bag and travel humidor live. There were plenty of cold days this winter, but one particular extreme was -35º Celsius. A bottle of wine that I had picked up at the store froze solid in my trunk that day. I got to my friend’s house, pulled out the humidor, and it opened up no problem. Granted, we were in the heated garage, where it was probably a balmy -15º Celsius. Either way, the lock worked like a champ!
I have been told, speaking of weather, that the lock (out of the box) does not react well to rain. This is to be expected of an electronic device. Tapplock will provide a solution for that when asked. As I do not have an outdoor shed, I don’t need it.
By the way, the Tapplock One is not just a bio metric (fingerprint) lock. There are actually three ways to open them:
- Bluetooth (from phone)
- Morse Code (tap in the right combination of dots and dashes)
I have not tried the Morse Code… with my luck, I would accidentally pick a combination that spelled a naughty word. A buddy tried it, and he said it was a bit cumbersome. I think that is because he really was trying to spell something out, rather than picking a combination of six or eight dots and dashes. The fingerprint works well every time, as does the Bluetooth.
There is one nitpicking thing I would mention… the Tapplock One opens on the opposite side of most padlocks I have had. This is not a problem so much as a bit of a pet peeve. I was used to popping the lock into my locker one way, and I have to remember to do it the other way. No big deal.
A colleague and friend, who got one of these locks for Christmas, thought it would be interesting to see how easy it would be to ‘hack’ them. He mentioned several methods, but to the best of my understanding, none of them worked. Another friend who is a locksmith said he could pick it in seconds, the way he could pick any padlock. I did not give him the opportunity to try, but I suspect that the mechanism is sufficiently different from the traditional padlock that he would not have as easy a go of it as he thinks.
In other words, in this blogger’s opinion, the Tapplock One provides great security to your stuff. is it possible to get through it with bolt cutters? Sure. but for the average user who is worried that someone will be able to hack it and get at their stuff, I would not be concerned.
Yes, because the company is Canadian I feel a bit better giving it a good review, but I would not promote a mediocre Canadian product. This is a top notch device, and I give it two thumbs up!
All in all, this is a spectacular padlock. As I mentioned, it is a little pricey at USD$99 plus shipping… but if you subscribe to their feed, sales come along all the time. As well, if you buy multiple locks, the price per unit drops. It doesn’t become cheap, but you get what you pay for. These locks are worth the price!