REVIEW – One of my recurring nightmares is trying to open my junior high combination lock. I have a very bad memory, so I avoid combination locks whenever possible. The Tapplock Lite features fingerprint unlocking with a “Morse code” backup. I know Morse code, so I wanted to check this out.
What is it?
The Tapplock Lite is a lightweight lock with a capacitive fingerprint sensor and can be managed via smartphone app (Bluetooth).
- 8 month battery life per charge (1200 unlocks)
- Stores up to 100 different fingerprints per lock
- Inner width: 23mm
- Shackle diameter: 6mm
What’s in the box?
There’s not much to it: Just the lock, a short microUSB charging cable, and manual.
Thankfully, the instructions explain how this lock works. That’s good because I didn’t have the foggiest idea what the LED colors meant.
Design and features
I was set the “Electric Yellow” colored lock. The body is plastic, which isn’t very reassuring. There’s an LED indicator above the TAPP logo, and that square thing is the fingerprint sensor. It’s not a mechanical button.
Once paired with the app, I discovered you can set up multiple users and provide levels of access (start and end dates).
I liked the ability to add different fingerprints per user. You can add ten prints per person (five left, five right).
Understanding the user interface is critical for this lock, so I’ll sum up:
- Squeeze the shackle once: Wake from sleep. LED = steady white
- Squeeze 2nd time: Bluetooth mode. LED = blinks blue
- Squeeze 3rd time: Morse code mode. LED = steady purple
To unlock with a fingerprint, you squeeze the shackle once to wake from sleep, then press your print on the square sensor. The sensor doesn’t click since it’s not a physical, mechanical button. If the LED turns green, the lock opens. If it blinks red, it’s rejected the print.
If you’ve ever used a phone with a fingerprint sensor, this feels a lot like it, including the occasional frustration of failed unlocks. I learned the lock doesn’t care what orientation you align your print, which is nice.
In Bluetooth mode, you can manage the lock settings via smartphone app. You can also unlock this way, too.
Morse code mode was incredibly frustrating, but maybe only to me. When in Morse mode, the LED attempts to show purple by illuminating a blue and red LED, but it ends up looking like two tiny LEDs (one red, one blue) which is sort of confusing.
You set the Morse unlock code via the app with dots and dashes. Registering the presses on the lock itself was a steep learning curve.
When in Morse mode, you register a “dot” by briefly squeezing the shackle. If you’re successful, you see a blue LED blink. For a “dash”, you will see a white flash. Given the way the multi-color LED is set up, it’s a little tricky telling white from purple. If you get the code wrong, the LED will flash red. Green means you got it right, and the lock opens. Morse is intended as a backup, and I can see why. It’s tiresome.
What I like
- When the fingerprint opening works, it’s magical.
What needs to be improved
- For something more heavyweight, you may not want a plastic-covered lock.
I see a lot of copycat lookalike fingerprint padlocks online. This is the first time I’ve seen one in person. I have a little “range anxiety” about how long the battery will last, but maybe I should just stop playing with it and let it keep my things secure.