Type: Deadbolt smart lock, video doorbell, security camera
Size: 7 x 2.8 x 2 inches (front), 7.2 x 3.2 x 2 inches (back)
Battery: 10,000 mAh Rechargeable, spare included
Camera resolution/field of view: 1080P/170 Degrees
Smart Home Services: Amazon Alexa, Google Home
ANSI Rating: Grade 2
The Lockly Vision Elite combines the features of a smart lock, a video doorbell and a surveillance camera into one package. Stick this on your front door and you can see who is at the front door and tell them to go away with the built-in speaker, or let them in and unlock the door. You can also be alerted if any scofflaws try to purloin packages on your doorstep. You can also get in yourself with the touch of a finger.
It is expensive, but it is a feature-packed package that does a good job of all of these tasks, and is comparable to buying them all separately. However, it doesn’t excel at everything, so you may want to read the rest of our Lockly Vision Elite review to decide if this is the best smart lock for you.
Lockly Vision Elite Smart Lock review: Price & availability
The Lockly Vision Elite is available now from Best Buy for $499.99 (opens in new tab). It is available in Matte Black finish only. A slightly cheaper version that does not include the solar panel is available from Amazon (opens in new tab).
Lockly Vision Elite Smart Lock review: Design
For a device that does all of this stuff, the Lockly Vision Elite is a surprisingly slim and small package. The front panel is 7x 2.8 inches wide, just a bit bigger than a modern smartphone. At the top of this panel is the camera and an LED that helps it see in darkness.
The main upper part has a keypad which has four touch buttons that light up when the lock detects someone coming up to the door. That doesn’t sound right at first glance: how do you enter a number from 0 to 9 with just four buttons? Lockly has a trick here they call PIN Genie: each button shows three numbers which change every time you use the lock, so a vagabond won’t be able to guess the combination by watching you or looking at the fingerprint smudges on the buttons.
It’s a bit awkward for people like me who remember things like pin codes by shapes rather than numbers, because every time you use it, the shape that you tap out changes. For normal people who can actually remember things, it isn’t complicated to figure out, though.
Below the keypad is the doorbell button: press that to ring the bell. At the bottom of the panel is the microphone and speaker that lets you yell at people to get off your porch through the app, as well as a solar panel that helps charge the batteries.
If you twist this panel, it rotates out of the way to reveal a conventional deadbolt lock cylinder. Two keys are supplied with the lock, and there should be no problem getting additional keys cut at any hardware store. Also under this panel are two contacts where a 9V battery can be used to jump-start the lock if the battery has run out.
On the right edge of this front panel is the fingerprint reader, indicated by a green LED-lit ring that glows when you touch it. If your lock is on the right side of the door, this puts the fingerprint sensor rather close to the door frame: you might not be able to fit it if you are wearing chunky jewelry. That also makes it a bit harder to find the fingerprint sensor, as you can’t really see it.
The back panel of the Vision Elite is a bit bigger than the front, measuring about 7.2 x 3.2 inches, and about 2 inches deep. That’s rather large, and it takes a lot of space on your door, so you might have to move things like a security chain that sits near the lock. The top part of this panel lifts off to reveal the battery compartment.
Unlike other Lockly devices, the Vision Elite uses a removable 10,000 mAh rechargeable battery, which is charged by the solar panels on the front, or by the included USB-C cable and power adapter. I wasn’t able to test the battery life of this or if the solar panels on the front are actually effective, but Lockly recommends that the battery should be removed and recharged every three months, depending on how much you use the camera. A spare battery is included with the lock so you don’t have to leave the lock unpowered: a great idea that I wish more smart locks adopted. At the bottom of the back panel is the manual thumb twist that you use to open the lock.
The final part of the package is the Vision Connect WiFi Hub, a coaster-sized device that connects the lock to your home network. This requires a wired Ethernet connection, so it will generally need to be set up next to your Wi-Fi router. A six-foot Ethernet cable is included. It also has to be within wireless range of the lock itself, which uses Bluetooth to connect to the gateway. That might be difficult if you have a very large house, but I found that it connected without issue between the front door and the basement of my two-story wood frame house. This device also holds an included micro SD card that holds the recorded video: the service does not use cloud storage to store the video from the doorbell.
Lockly Vision Elite Smart Lock review: Installation
Like most smart locks, the Vision Elite completely replaces your existing lock, so the first step is to make sure that the Vision Elite will fit onto your door. Lockly has a good guide to how to make sure that it will fit before you start.
Once you have checked that it will fit, you remove the old lock and install the new one, starting with the deadbolt mechanism. This can be adjusted for doors that swing to the left or right and for the distance to the backset, the hole that the lock fits through. Next, you install the exterior part of the lock, feeding the cables through the backset hole so they can be connected to the back part of the lock. There are four cables here, which is more than most: one for the Bluetooth antenna, one for the display, one for the solar panel on the front and one for a sensor in the deadbolt mechanism that detects when the door is closed.
You then install the back plate, which holds the front part of the lock in place and feed the cables through this, routing them into a small hole that keeps them out of the way of the lock blade, the part of the lock that the key turns. Next, you attach the four cables to the back part of the lock. This is a bit awkward: you have to reach into the back part of the lock to push the halves into the connectors, then push the loose cables into the same space to keep them out of the way. This is so the cables don’t get trapped or squashed. However, the cables tend to get pulled out when you are trying to maneuver the back part of the lock into place, so I found I had to put the back part of the lock nearly in place, then push the cables out of the way of the edge, then attach the back part of the lock to the back plate and double-check that none of the cables were trapped. Fortunately, you only have to do this once: you won’t need to remove the back part of the lock until you want to remove the lock completely.
Next, you use several screws to attach the back part of the lock to the back plate, and install the battery. This snaps into place at the top of the back part of the lock, and is secured with another screw. A quick press of the reset button, and the lock is ready to be connected to the app.
Well, almost. You can use the lock as it is, but to use the doorbell and video functions, you need to install the Vision Connect WiFi hub.
Once this is done, you start the Lockly app and scan the QR code on the bottom of the Vision Connect hub. Once the process of connecting the lock, hub and app is done, you are ready to go.
Lockly Vision Elite Smart Lock review: Performance
I found the Lockly Vision Elite to be simple to use: the process of scanning fingerprints is pretty straightforward. To register a fingerprint, you just select the fingerprint option in the app and then scan the finger on the lock reader six times so that it can get several reads of your fingerprint. Up to 99 fingerprints can be stored, and the app also allows you to copy codes and fingerprints between locks. That’s very useful if you have multiple locks, as you can get the user to scan their fingerprint on one lock, then copy the fingerprint over to other locks that they can use: they don’t have to train each lock individually.
I found that visitors struggled with the doorbell part of the lock: the button to ring the doorbell isn’t that obvious, and the lock is not where you would expect the doorbell button to be. Lockly is obviously aware of this issue, though, as they include a sticker that says “press button on lock to ring doorbell” that you can put up.
Once they find the button and press it, the video doorbell function of the Lockly Vision is good: I found the video quality to be good in both daylight and at night, with a 170-degree field of view and a good level of detail in the video. The app also notified me quickly when someone pressed the doorbell button, and brought up the video within a couple of seconds of opening the alert. There was a rather long delay between me speaking and it being replayed over the doorbell speaker, though, which made conversation somewhat difficult and created a slight echo: you hear the tail end of your own words being picked up by the microphone.
The camera can also be used to monitor the door, capturing video when the lock is used or it detects motion. You don’t get anywhere near as much control over the motion capture triggering as you do with other video doorbells, though: This camera uses a PIR detector that means you can’t set alert zones or specific parts of the video to trigger motion as you can with Ring doorbells, for instance. Instead, all you get is an overall sensitivity control, and I found that it missed many things, including people walking up to the door, but was also triggered by cars and vans driving past my house, however much I tweaked the sensitivity.
One downside of the all-in-one design of the Vision Elite is that putting the camera onto the door doesn’t work if you have a storm door. These doors, common in cold climates, put an extra door over the front door to block out snow, rain and cold. They are usually made of clear glass or plastic, which obscures the camera view. That is especially true at night, because they reflect the light from the Infra-Red LEDs that allow the camera to see in the dark. The lock will still work, and the video doorbell will still work (people just open the storm door to ring the bell), but it won’t be much use as a security camera.
Lockly Vision Elite Smart Lock review: Bottom line
The Lockly Vision Elite does a good job of combining the features of smart lock, doorbell and security camera into one, but the latter two features lack the polish of the first. It is a great smart lock, but not that great of a video doorbell or security camera. It really isn’t obvious how to ring the bell, and the security camera can’t be configured to avoid unnecessary alerts in the way others can. Still, it’s a neat package that combines these features into one, and the price, although high, isn’t bad when you consider how much it does.