Need it or just want it? Ah, what's the distinction anymore when you've got a cool device in the palm of your hand that unlocks your door from up to 50 feet away? That's the promise of the SimpliciKey Remote Control Deadbolt. I tested the SimpliciKey and found that it lived up to most of its promises, though it does have some unexpected design quirks.
What SimpliciKey Does
It's a door deadbolt that opens any of three ways: key, coded keypad, or a wireless remote control.
Key entry is obvious enough, though one thing that isn't obvious is that it's bump-proof. Surprisingly, SimpliciKey literature doesn't explain the importance of this. A bump key is a specially ground-down blank that allows you to open many keyed locks. Tap the back of the bump key while gently turning the lock and you're in. The SimpliciKey protects you against this.
It has a keypad that allows you to punch in any self-selected four-digit code and gain access.
Finally, it's truly outstanding feature is the wireless remote control, small enough to attach to your keychain. Exit your car, point the remote at your door from 50 feet away or less, and the lock will open.
I timed myself learning how to set a new passcode: 6 minutes, 20 seconds. I will admit user error--I missed an important step--so let's split the different and call it 3 to 4 minutes. Instructions are easy to read, easy to follow, and don't contain 58 versions in different languages.
Just English and Spanish.
Batteries insert on the house-side of the deadbolt quite easily, too. Slide the cover up, insert AA batteries. No tiny screws. No push-in-while-simultaneously-sliding-up acrobatic maneuvers. Zero frustration.
How Does the Wireless Remote Work?
It works as it is expected to work.
You are supposed to point the remote directly at the deadbolt from no more than 50 feet away and the lock will open; SimpliciKey does this perfectly.
But you're mistaken if you think you'll be opening your door as soon as your car hits the driveway. Obstructions and barriers will impede the signal. Point the remote to the side or rear, and the deadbolt will not open. Try to operate the remote inside your pocket, and the deadbolt will not open.
However, I do not count these as faults because product literature is clear about what you are getting. It certainly will unlock the door from within your car, but within limits: car stationary; targeted remote; 40 or 45 feet distance.
On the face of it, the wireless remote is one of those crazy little luxuries found only in SkyMall. Until you try it.
If you have children, you may be familiar with the routine of constantly passing the house key to them so that they can enter before you. The SimpliciKey would allow you to open the door as soon as you are out of the car.
Coupled with a lever-style door handle, the SimpliciKey lets you get into your house virtually hands-free.
As tickled as I am by the SimpliciKey, I am astounded by some of its omissions and design quirks.
When you remotely open/close the deadbolt, a helpful bright red light flashes to let you know that the action has been completed. Yet where is this red light?
On the inside of the house. What?
Picture this. You've exited your house. Now inside your car (requisite distance and all), you press Lock on the remote. Result: you have no idea whether or not the deadbolt is locked.
True: on the outside of the house, you do get a light--but it's faint blue and barely visible.
Also, when opening via passcode, you need to finish the code by pressing a separate Lock/Unlock button. Why can't the deadbolt recognize that you have entered the required four digits? It's like those old-fashioned phone ordering systems that force you to enter the pound key at the end of a string of numbers.
Product sample provided by manufacturer but subsequently returned to manufacturer.