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Geek Review: igloohome Smart Mortise 2+

A swimming pool, air conditioning in every room, 80-inch TV in the living room, and digital lock on the front door – nothing screams splendor than the little touches that define the modern home, and for any homeowner, a digital lock is the modern protection of the abode, as the use of a fingerprint, passcard or numeric code signals the end of having old fashioned keys. 

Singapore’s igloohome’s Smart Mortise 2+ is the latest from the local start-up, offering the modern trimmings of a digital lock comparable to the likes of Yale and Samsung, but at an affordable price. With a new fingerprint sensor, full installation, two pairs of RFID tags, and a pair of backup physical keys provided, the Smart Mortise 2+ is now available for just US$499 (S$749).

Available in a matte black, the igloohome Smart Mortise 2+, which measures 35 cm in height and 16 cm in width, adds a subtle touch to your door and doesn’t scream for attention. After a good few months of being taped up to prevent paint and dust from entering the lock during renovation, the Smart Mortise 2+ continues to perform admirably with no issues.

Installation for the unit is straightforward – the price of the unit comes with installation in Singapore by the folks at igloohome, whose team took about an hour to drill a new bracket in and replace the existing lockset. The Smart Mortise 2+ was installed on a 20-year-old wood door, and as long as your door fits within the thickness of 4 cm to 7 cm, compatibility is not an issue.

The set works regardless of the orientation of your door, so there’s no need to worry if your door opens up from the left or right, or swings in or out.  One thing to note is the need for a door hinge clearance of more than 19 cm for the lock to work. 

The main heart of the Smart Mortise 2+ is the mobile app, which users will need to access all features, such as fingerprint registry and remote access. From the initial set-up requiring the user to register via email and pairing the Mortise 2+ with igloohome’s servers in the cloud, the app on your phone is the extension of your home’s main door. 

The best part of it all is that the app does not require a Wi-Fi connection to work. Instead, app syncing is done with the lock during initial setup via Bluetooth. Following that, your smartphone will sync the lock and app to igloohome’s servers. Whenever pins are generated remotely, the app sends a request to the cloud servers where a pin is generated at random through igloohome’s algoPIN technology. Each pin is generated through the algorithm and random seed so each generation is unique at any point in time. This allows for an additional form of physical separation because users would not want potential hackers to gain access to your lock via a weak network system.

In our tests, we surmise that the lock might possibly continually run through a random string of pin numbers continually. Even with the battery removed, a user will still be able to generate a pin number via the mobile app. Once the lock is powered on again, the pin will be usable. This works similarly to how a bank’s digital token is primed to receive data for OTPs to work.

One way hackers can enter the home would be getting hold of your phone, getting access to the app (which requires a fingerprint or phone pin unlock), and then generating a pin. It might be much easier via physical brute force instead of going through the digital hassle of stealing your phone to enter your home. 

We do need to be mindful the app and lock still have some form of connectivity to the Internet and require access to Bluetooth for it to function.

After the initial set-up, there are a few ways to provide entry into your home.

Actually “a few” sells this lock short. With the igloohome Smart Mortise 2+, you’re able to grant access via:

  • Fingerprint (up to 100)
  • Duration Pin – works for a determined time period (generated remotely via algoPIN. If manually determined, the master user’s phone needs to be next to the lock)
  • Recurring Pin – works on specific days of a week within a predetermined time belt (generated remotely via algoPIN. If manually determined, the master user’s phone needs to be next to the lock)
  • One Time Pin – works only once (generated remotely via algoPIN. If manually determined, the master user’s phone needs to be next to the lock)
  • Bluetooth Key – unlocks with the phone (master user needs to send an invite to an additional user inviting them to download and sign in via the igloohome home and pairing the phone. The additional user then unlocks the door lock via the app)
  • Keycard (via RFID card, 2 pairs are provided on purchase)

Out of all these options, the fingerprint would be the most ideal for day-to-day use considering the other options have the potential of going missing or getting leaked. Unfortunately, the phone needs to be physically next to the igloohome Smart Mortise 2+ for any pairing to take place for the addition or removal of biometric access.

The biggest change is the addition of a 508 DPI fingerprint sensor that detects fingerprints without much hassle. Having used a Samsung digital lock in the past, igloohome’s fingerprint sensor is much faster, and so far, offers no issues with registration. The improved sensor also helps remove those moments of micro-frustration when the fingerprint sensor does not get it right the first time.

As the Smart Mortise 2+ was installed in a new property pending renovation, we were able to run it through the full gamut of use from the renovation stage, to day-to-day living, and the lock delivered on its promise of providing limited and timed access. For example, a code was created and provided to the renovation company working on the home for a period of three months. This timed access was immediately revoked after the window lapsed, and the pin no longer works.

If the homeowner is unable to physically head down to unlock the door, the Smart Mortise 2+ has a feature which allows for a PIN to be generated remotely using algoPIN, to grant access. This came as a boon since renovations overran, and a new temporary pin had to be generated for the contractors, but without me having to leave my seat or rush down to the new home to unlock the door.

Another application of this nifty feature would be in the realm of package deliveries, especially those which might be too expensive to be left at the doorstep. Users can give the courier a one-time pin which can also be delivered remotely. If all works as planned, the courier can discreetly open the door, leave the package inside the home, and leave immediately. Once the pin is used and the door locked, it cannot be used again. All this is done in an instant but of course, it would help if users also install a webcam in the house, to ensure that the only thing entering the home when this happens is the package. 

While the Smart Mortise 2+ functions well as a day-to-day lock for a residential home, the potential is there for it to be used for rental locations such as Airbnb. After all, with timed access, landlords will be able to schedule access such that tenants would not be able to gain access to the property after the stipulated time has passed. The logs recorded on the app can give owners a good overview of the coming-and-goings as well. The downside to this is that the app needs to be synced physically next to the lock for any updates. Yes, this means that there is an actual record of who is coming and going through the door, complete with timestamps and even down to whose fingerprint is used to unlock the door. 

With eight AA batteries, the Smart Mortise 2+ can last about 9 months and in the event that power levels are low, or totally drained, users will be able to jumpstart the lock from the outside using a 9V battery, without having to keep a spare key under a shoe.

Of course, those who have been considering smart locks know that few of these features are new or unique, but at this price point, the purchase is a no-brainer

GEEK REVIEW SCORE

Summary

Digital locks might be one and the same but the igloohome Smart Mortise 2+ stands out with its superior app interface and remote pin functionality. If there’s one option for a digital lock which does not break the bank, this is the one to purchase.

Overall
9.2/10
9.2/10
  • Aesthetics - 8/10
    8/10
  • Build Quality - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Performance - 10/10
    10/10
  • Value - 10/10
    10/10
  • Geek Satisfaction - 9.5/10
    9.5/10


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