Dog & Bone LockSmart Mini review: Great for lockers, sheds, fences, and more

Gadget Reviews / Reviews

Locks have gotten smarter in recent years, and these days you can find several different options that allow you to open your lock with your phone.

We’re already just a little ways past “Back to School,” but lockers aren’t the only things in our lives that require locks. Locks have gotten smarter in recent years, and these days you can find several different options that allow you to open your lock with your phone. The Dog & Bone LockSmart Mini is one such smart option, and you can read about how it works in this full review.

Specifications

  • Keyless: No more keys! All you need is your phone.
  • Shared Access: One lock. Multiple users. Share and remove access with multiple users instantly through the app.
  • Centrally manage multiple locks: Use multiple locks for your bike, your boat shed, gym locker, fence, storage shed and much more. Manage multiple locks from the one app.
  • Tracking: Know when and who has opened your lock. Secure 128-bit advanced encryption – the highest Bluetooth security standard, plus 256-bit cloud generated private key for added security.
  • Long lasting and rechargeable: Up to 2 years and as many as 3,000 ‘opens’ before re-charging. Re-charging prompts.
  • Tough: Case hardened steel shackle + die-cast Zamak 3 zinc alloy body.
  • Weatherproof: Rain, hail, snow or shine, your LockSmart padlock is weatherproof.
  • Width: 51mm (2”)
  • Shackle diameter: 6mm (0.24”)
  • Depth: 24mm (0.94”)
  • Height: 101.2mm (3.98”) closed (4.00”), or 101.2mm shackle open (4.47”)
  • Thickness: 8mm (0.31”)
  • Weight: 160g (5.64oz)

What’s in the Box

  • 1 x Dog & Bone LockSmart Mini
  • 1 x Micro-USB charging cable
  • 1 x App information card

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Design

The Dog & Bone LockSmart Mini has a pretty standard padlock shape. The lock is around 4” x 2” x 1” overall, while the body of the lock is 2 ¼” x 2” x 1”. The lock has a ¼” shackle with around 1 ½” shackle clearance. The body of the lock is a curved rectangular shape.

The front of the lock has a slight indent with the Dog & Bone logo and name mark, as well as an LED indicator. The back again shows the Dog & Bone logo. The top and sides of the die-cast Zamak-3 zinc alloy body are covered in a scratch-resistant plastic covering. The bottom of the lock has a rubber cover over the power button as well as the Micro-USB charging port. The rest of the bottom of the body shows off the underlying metal body of the lock.

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The shackle is a hardened stainless steel and provides ample room for anything you might want to lock up. The LockSmart Mini is available in Black, Blue, or Red.

Ease of Use

Pairing your phone to the Dog & Bone Locksmart Mini is pretty straightforward. You’ll first want to download the LockSmart app and set up an account. From there you can search for locks. While your phone is searching, just press the power button on the bottom of the lock. Once paired, you only need to open the app, press the button on the lock to power it on, and then press the big red “unlock” button to open the lock. Once powered on, the lock will stay in search mode for 20 seconds by default before powering itself back off in order to save battery. There are some other available options, but I’ll talk more about those in the next section. Just close the lock when you’re done, and it can be just as easy as that.

Software/Ecosystem

Your new Dog & Bone LockSmart Mini is powered by a companion app available for iOS and Android. The app requires Bluetooth 4.0 or higher, iOS 8.2 or newer, or Android 4.3 and higher. The app allows you to pair your lock to your phone, search for the last known location of your lock, provide temporary access to others via a lock sharing option, see an activity log, and adjust settings.

The “Unlock” options are pretty self-explanatory, once paired, you can unlock your LockSmart Mini via your phone. The “Find” tab allows you to locate the lock as long as you are in Bluetooth range. To get the most out of Find mode, you’ll want to turn on Location Mode in the settings. This will wake the lock every 30 seconds in order to allow you to more easily search. That will obviously affect your battery life pretty significantly.

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Via the “Share” tab you can invite users to share access to your lock. You can add users directly from your contacts, or fill out a quick name and phone number to send access, as well as determine what kind of access the shared contact will get. You can offer everything from one unlock to unlimited. You can even provide access on a set schedule. This would be a good option if you’re going on vacation and want to give your neighbor access to a shed, or something similar for some sort of access they might need. You can add a personalized message that will be sent via SMS to the invited user as well.

The Settings tab will let you change the name of your lock as well as update the photo associated with that particular lock. If you own more than one LockSmart Mini this makes it easier to differentiate between them with their own unique photos. Settings also allows you to set up how you want to access the lock. There are options for a simple tap to unlock, setting an unlock passcode, or using a fingerprint to unlock. Curiously enough though, the fingerprint unlock option was not available to me on my Nexus 6P, a device that absolutely has a fingerprint scanner. Hopefully a future update will allow for fingerprint unlock. Other settings include notification options (Battery Level, Unlocked by shared user, and Invite accepted by shared user), features (Power Saver Mode, Location Mode, and Tracking Mode), and Device Information (Serial Number, and firmware information).

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Hopefully fingerprint authentication for Nexus 6P will arrive in a future app update.

Performance

After the initial setup process is complete, using the LockSmart Mini is very fast and easy. You can go from locked to open in a matter of seconds. If you’re holding the lock while it unlocks you can feel the internal mechanisms working before the lock pops open with an audible click. The inner workings reset themselves shortly after the lock has been opened, meaning you can simply close the shackle to secure the lock, no other actions are necessary.

For most people, this should be faster than remembering and entering a combination. Some may be able to use a keyed lock a bit faster, but it would definitely be close. The ability to unlock your lock with your smartphone — a device you’re likely to have on you at all times — might be preferable to keeping track of a key.

Battery Life

This is one product that would be particularly difficult to drain during a normal review period. The battery in the LockSmart Mini is said to last for up to two years, or 3000 “unlocks.” The lock was at around 75% battery power when I received it, and after quite a few test “unlocks” during my time with the lock — honestly more than you’d reasonably unlock during the same timeframe — it’s only dropped down to about 60%. You shouldn’t have to worry about recharging too frequently. The app will let you know once the battery power is getting low too, so you’ll have time to recharge before the battery goes dead.

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Price/Value

Priced at $69.95, this is definitely more expensive than your standard padlock. It does, however, offer quite a lot more than your standard padlock. The ability to unlock without a key is definitely nice. Most people will always have their cell phone on them anyway, so that’s one less thing to keep track of. The abilities to share access on a case-by-case basis is also very nice. You can allow access to someone standing directly in front of the lock from wherever you are. There are definite advantages to this type of lock over your standard padlock.

Wrap Up

If you’re ready to move to the world of smart locks, whether it be for your school locker, your shed, or any other items that need to be secured, the Dog & Bone LockSmart Mini is a solid offering that ought to handle your locking needs.

Dog & Bone LockSmart Mini
4.6 Out of 5
Nailed it
Dubbed the "Mini" this is a pretty standard sized lock. The unlocking process is very quick and easy, and access can be given remotely to anyone via an SMS message. Solid build quality.
Needs Work
More expensive than a standard padlock, though it also does quite a lot more than a standard padlock.
Bottom Line
If you're in need of a lock to secure your belongings, and might be interested in upgrading to a smart lock, the Dog & Bone LockSmart Mini deserves a look.
Design4.75
Software/Ecosystem4.50
Ease of Use4.75
Performance4.50
Battery Life5.00
Price/Value4.25
*We were sent a review sample of the Dog & Bone LockSmart Mini for the purposes of this review.
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