Singapore-based Igloohome has a new smart lock. It’s not completely new, but the original Igloohome Smart Lock I reviewed last year has been updated to the Smart Deadbolt Lock 02. The new lock is largely the same as before, but upgraded in several ways. In particular, Bluetooth communication has been significantly improved for Android devices.
The Igloohome smart digital lock stands out for allowing remote PIN-code generation without requiring Wi-Fi or Internet access to the lock itself. During initial setup, some secret is programmed into the lock and the mobile smartphone app, so that along with a formula, codes can subsequently be created for use on the lock without the app communicating with the lock.
Aside: Promotion link for purchasing the Igloohome Smart Deadbolt Lock 02 — http://bit.ly/2lSfhVV
With PIN-codes that have preset duration, or one-time use, or unlimited use, as well as Bluetooth unlock capabilities and a physical manual key backup, the Igloohome smart lock was simple and functional. Duration-based PIN-codes are particularly useful to Airbnb hosts, a target market of Igloohome.
You can read my original Igloohome review for more details about the smart lock.
The older lock, the “01” version if you will, worked pretty well in most ways. Bluetooth communication worked fine with most Apple devices as well as several Android smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S7, but I did have trouble with devices I personally use, namely the Nexus 6P and Nexus 7 (2013). The problem was attributed to Google’s general conservativeness with Bluetooth communications.
The new Igloohome Smart Deadbolt Lock 02 fixes the problem with the Nexus 6P, and it also works much better on my current Google Pixel XL.
There are several ways to install the Igloohome Smart Deadbolt Lock 02. You can either replace an existing lock, or simply add it on to the door. Igloohome provides plenty of guidance on installation options on their website. Since installation is free, included with the purchase of the Smart Deadbolt Lock 02, you don’t need to worry about any hassle of finding a installer, or about doing the installation yourself.
Initial setup of the lock requires the use of the Igloohome mobile app, which is available for both Android and iOS. The setup establishes a master PIN for the lock owner.
Several entry modes are supported to unlock the door:
- PIN-code entry on the lock: You can use a master PIN, or you can generate PINs for relatives, friends, guests, or domestic helpers. The generated PINs, referred to as ad-hoc PINs, can be configured to be used just one time, for a fixed duration (with specified start and end date/time), or unlimited permanent use.
- Bluetooth key on mobile smartphone app: You use the Igloohome smartphone app to unlock the door. The Bluetooth key is equivalent to the master PIN, and it is for the owner. You can also generated ad-hoc Bluetooth keys for guests that have a fixed duration (with specified start and end date/time), and share this key to the Igloohome app installed in their smartphone.
- Physical key: This works conventionally to turn the bolt cylinder, independent of any electronics or smartness. This is a failsafe backup.
Due to the offline PIN-code generation, you should take note that PIN-codes generated cannot be deleted without resetting all ad-hoc PINs at the lock. Resetting the PINs require you to be at the lock itself so that the Igloohome app can communicate with it.
The batteries on the Igloohome Smart Deadbolt Lock 02 is expected to last 6 months. Like the version before, there is a 9-volt battery terminal under the smart lock. In the event the lock’s battery is dead, you can connect a 9-volt battery to the lock to provide emergency power, so that you can use the lock with PIN-codes or Bluetooth keys.
The process of getting the Igloohome Smart Deadbolt Lock 02 is easy. The hardest part is the wait. After purchasing online, you’ll receive a link to book an installation appointment. The available time slots are not plentiful, so this is where you might have to wait a little. Hopefully Igloohome will improve the expediency of their installation services.
From my experience (twice thus far), the installers are quite punctual with their appointment. The entire installation process takes about an hour, at least, assuming they need to drill new holes on the door and door frame.
The installer does a fine job, including helping to clean up all the mess after the installation, as well as providing you with a quick tutorial on the use of the lock.
The Igloohome Smart Deadbolt Lock 02, although relatively affordable compared to other alternatives in the market, is of excellent build quality build. The new version is all black zinc alloy, while the front is all glass. The front entry keypad is LED back illuminated, and there’s a plastic cover over the physical keyhole.
The back as a thumb turn, cover for the battery compartment, and a new privacy button under the thumb turn. The privacy button disables electronic unlock of the lock, which means that neither PIN-codes nor Bluetooth keys will work. A physical key will still manually unlock the door.
You can program an automatic timed re-lock on the lock. This means that after you’ve unlocked the door, the Igloohome Smart Deadbolt Lock 02 will automatically re-lock after the programmed time delay. This is likely useful for many people, although for myself I usually leave my main door open, so the re-lock isn’t necessary for me.
A tamper alarm is built into the lock which triggers when intruders try to do some mischief with the lock. It’ll just activate the usual keypad sounds, so it isn’t particularly loud, and since the Igloohome Smart Deadbolt Lock 02 isn’t designed to be connected to the Internet, there is no way to receive remote notifications.
While the Igloohome Smart Deadbolt Lock 02 is mostly functional, I do wish that it does incorporate some Internet connectivity options. Being able to work without Internet is great, and definitely important. But the lack of remote Internet access means you cannot remotely monitor the lock status, or command a remote unlock or lock.
The lock obviously has Bluetooth communications capability, but Igloohome has chosen not to release any communications API. I thought this would be very useful for third party developers to add remote capabilities, even if Igloohome themselves aren’t keen to develop those features.
Being an IT security person, I am concerned that there is no public documentation on the protocols and algorithms used by Igloohome. While I appreciate this is their guarded secret recipe, there is a legitimate concern for users that its security functionality remains a blackbox.
If you’re familiar with the old 01 lock, the new Igloohome Smart Deadbolt Lock 02 is improved in the following key areas:
- Better build quality with zinc alloy
- Significantly better Bluetooth communications
- Privacy lockout
- Integrated tamper alarm
- Automatic re-lock after unlock
- Duration lock now uses fixed start and end date/times
The Igloohome Smart Deadbolt Lock 02 retails for S$388 (until end of this month), inclusive of installation. Check out my promotion link if you’re interested, or Igloohome’s homepage if you’ll like to check out their other products.
The updated Igloohome Smart Deadbolt Lock 02 addresses a number of misses with the original smart lock.
- Good build quality
- Support permanent, fixed-duration and one-time PIN-codes
- Does not require Internet access to generate ad-hoc PIN-codes
- Can use Bluetooth keys, PIN-codes, or physical key
- External battery terminal for emergency power
- No remote API
- No transparency on security protocol