Level Home, although relatively new to the world of smart homes, has had a fairly large impact on the industry since it appeared quietly, after years of backstage operation. Comprised of a team of former Apple, Nest, Google and 3M employees, the company went live at the end of last year, with the introduction of the world’s first “invisible” smart lock, Level Lock.
However, in the early months, the lock level was only available through a unique partnership with retail giant Walmart and its InHome delivery service. When the general public managed to order the lock earlier this year, it was only available through a booking program, which made the long-awaited device look like it will never reach our doors.
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Fortunately, the wait is over, as the company opened for general orders at the end of last month and is now being delivered. So, with Apple in its DNA and its superbly invisible claims, is the level of blocking in line with its expectations? Simply put: Yes, yes! I have tested the lock in the last two weeks and I can say that it is the lock that I will recommend to anyone looking for a smart solution and not just because it is really invisible.
Bottom line: Life Lock Lock is an absolute game changer for smart locks, with its innovative, completely invisible design. This lock is easy to install, fast, reliable and supports convenient controls through an application and HomeKit, which makes a clear gain.
- Easy installation
- Really invisible design
- Accepts HomeKit
- Quiet operation
- Fast response times
- Level application is missing
- Does not support Alexa or Google Assistant
Smart and discreet
Level lock: features
Even if it is not intended to be seen, the lock level is a smart, compact, all-metal smart lock that looks and feels premium or well-built. The lock fits most residential doors, as well as standard locks, and Level provides a handy list of verified models on support pages. Level’s Lock consists of two pieces that connect together once they are installed, which facilitates an easy DIY installation process. The larger round “body” section transforms an existing piece of hardware storage when combined with one of the three included adapters, and a portion of the screw extends to secure the door when closed.
Both locking pieces fit perfectly inside a door, leaving no bulky boxes to hang on the inside and, once installed, it is really invisible. The lock is powered by a single three-volt CR2 battery, which is rated for up to one year of “typical” use. The battery is installed directly in the screw portion of the lock and does not require tools to change it inside and out.
The lock communicates directly to smart devices via Bluetooth 5.0 LE and does not require a separate hub for use. The lock works with the Level app, available on iOS and Android, and also works with the Apple HomeKit. HomeKit activates remote controls while you’re away from home in combination with a HomeKit hub, such as an Apple TV, HomePod, or iPad.
Through the Level application, quick switches are available to change the lock state. The app also allows users to share their block with others through invitations and time-based passes. Other settings found in the app include an auto-lock option with three available intervals and sound settings for audible confirmations.
HomeKit support allows the lock to work with other accessories, scenes and automation through the iOS Home app. Siri voice controls are also available for locking, unlocking, and checking status, although some commands are limited depending on the device from which Siri is requesting. For example, Siri on a HomePod cannot fulfill an unlock request without confirming a confirmation request sent to a user’s iPhone for obvious security reasons.
In terms of security, the level states that the blockade “meets or exceeds” the Grade 1 / A Standards, as set by the American National Institute of Standards (ANSI). The level also provides a complete list of the tested values it has tested along with the results, including bolt, impact, load and slam resistance tests on its support pages for those interested. Although less specific, Level mentions that it uses “the most secure encryption standards” when it comes to wireless communications locally and in the cloud.
Can you even see him?
Level lock: What I like
As mentioned earlier, the lock level is really invisible once installed and is simply magical, not to be seen, in action. Now, having an invisible smart lock doesn’t change its basic functionality compared to others, but because someone who has tested a few options over the years, I certainly appreciate the lack of a bulky box. The previous smart locks I installed are at least three times the size of a standard latch, easily causing visual distraction.
Of course, invisible design can also be a huge benefit for those who rent their homes. Typical smart locks not only add an obvious visual change, but often require a new key to use. This is not the case here, because Level’s Lock uses your existing keys, and when combined with a simple setup process that doesn’t require calling a handyman, it’s a win-win for almost everyone.
Speaking of installation, apart from an easy problem (more on that later), I considered the installation to be a quick and easy problem. Since replacing an existing smart lock, my installation took a little longer than it normally would, but I can comfortably estimate that it takes 30 minutes or less for most situations. In essence, all it takes is a Philips screwdriver to get the job done, although having a roll of tape to the painter at hand will make it a little easier, keeping the existing outer part of the hardware at bay.
Associating the level lock was just as easy thanks to its Bluetooth radio. Because the lock communicates over a direct connection to phones, there are no Wi-Fi passwords to enter, and most of the process is recorded for an account and scans the HomeKit setup code. Due to my experiences with other smart locks, I chose to use the Level app for pairing, as the category usually requires calibration, but I don’t see any reason why you can’t just use the Apple Home app. The Level application does have a calibration option, but it is not part of the pairing process and is not required.
After installation, I quickly noticed that the trampoline was quieter and smoother when turned by hand, and the engine was significantly quieter than others.
Locking performance was outstanding in my week of use, with remote controls running the device quickly and reliably. Orders sent through the Level or HomeKit application usually take approximately 3-5 seconds to complete. There may also be times when the Home app will display the update for a few seconds before transmitting the status, but I’ve seen another issue where it won’t respond at all.
One aspect of the performance that I did not expect to be surprised was the noise level. After installation, I quickly noticed that the trampoline was quieter and smoother when turned by hand, and the engine sound was significantly softer than others. Even the confirmation tones are nice, which actually makes me not turn them off instantly, which I did with previous locks.
It’s not exactly set
Level lock: What I do not like
As much as I like the hardware part of the lock level, I came across a slight problem during installation, which prevented it from being perfect. Unfortunately, when I tried to fix a small screw, which is used to hold the two parts of the level lock, I found that it would simply not tighten on my lock. While the lock worked properly and I didn’t feel any less secure, I was disappointed that my first installation didn’t go as planned. The level was quickly sent a replacement lock and I’m happy to report that it didn’t have the same problem because the installation went smoothly a second time.
Another complaint I have with the lock is that the Level iOS app, like most hardware manufacturer’s apps, is not the biggest. Immediately after installing the application, I was greeted with a familiar account registration screen, but I found my first annoyance quite quickly: a necessary phone number. Another annoyance is that inviting others to share the block requires access to the phone’s contact list. If you deny access, you simply cannot use this feature.
The rest of the app was really basic visually and, surprisingly, didn’t have the same polish as the lock itself. The good thing is that users can completely bypass the Level app and can only use the Apple Home and Siri app for controls, if they want. However, Android users will not have the same luxury, because the lock does not support Amazon or Google Assistant at this time, which is certainly strange.
Level lock: Bottom line
Despite my installation problem with the set screw and only the proper application experience, Level Lock is simply one of the best smart locks around. The innovative, invisible design gives me the same vibrations that Apple makes when the company launches its takeover of a deep-rooted category. You know the story: it may not be the first of its kind, but its design is so elegant and clever that it will make you wonder, why wasn’t this thought before?
The invisible design not only keeps the installations clean, but also opens the doors for many who would have always wanted to have a smart lock, but not because of rental restrictions. Now, tenants can fit into the convenient lifestyle without their landlords noticing visually and can still use their original key if needed.
However, the fantastic design is not the only thing that will work to block the level. Fast, reliable response times, HomeKit support and an easy installation process make it a perfect fit for anyone, at least for iOS users. If you are in the market for a smart lock today, you should definitely have the Lock Level at the top of the list, it is bold to say, incredibly great.
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