I recently invested in a smart lock, specifically the Ultion NUKI.
I had previously explored the Yale Conexis but was discouraged by the customer reviews, many of which expressed frustration with the setup process and software reliability.
I was also nervous about switching to a smart lock that completely removed the option for a traditional key. For example, with the Yale Conexis, if the integrated battery runs flat, you must use a 9v battery pack connected via an external port to gain entry. This feels like a cumbersome workaround and does not protect against potential software issues, which could also deny entry.
As a result, I was excited to learn about the Ultion NUKI, which on paper met all of my smart lock requirements.
The Ultion NUKI combines the excellent 3-star PLUS Ultion lock, with technology from NUKI that is interoperable with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Home, Ring Doorbell, AirBnB and their own NUKI app.
In addition, the Nuki smart functionality is only accessible from the interior, allowing you to reuse your existing external door handle.
This approach has two key advantages, it simplifies the setup process (just three screws) and retains the look of your front door, without advertising to the world that you have a smart lock (which could become a target).
In my experience, the installation process should take no longer than 15 minutes and the app setup process was very intuitive. By default, the NUKI app connects via Bluetooth (Wi-Fi is available when using the NUKI bridge), allowing for one-click opening, alongside a range of scheduling and guest access features.
In the first few weeks, the app/lock has not failed me once, with the only minor inconvenience being the noise it makes when locking/unlocking (sounds like a drill as it rotates the locking mechanism). It is however reassuring to know that if the lock were to fail, I could simply switch back to a traditional key.
In my opinion, the only real consideration is the limitation of using the Ultion NUKI with a Multi Point Lock (MPL), which is a common lock type in the UK.
A Multi Point Lock extends the height of the door, with multiple locking points along the edge. The extra locking points strengthen the security by removing the single point of failure (single deadbolt), delivering a tighter end-to-end seal.
The challenge with a Multi Point Lock is that the locking mechanism must be triggered (usually by lifting the handle) before locking. This presents an issue for most smart locks (not just the Ultion NUKI), which have no way of triggering the locking mechanism.
This limitation does not impact unlocking, but anytime the door needs to be locked (via the smart lock or traditional key), the handle must first be raised. Therefore, it is not possible to lock the door remotely, unless someone is available to lift the handle.
My primary use case for getting a smart lock was to avoid having to take my keys everywhere (as my car is also keyless). Therefore, this locking limitation has not caused any real-world impact.
In conclusion, I would highly recommend the Ultion NUKI. I believe it offers the best of both worlds (traditional and smart), whilst offering a simple setup process and reliable smart features.