LOCKLY Vision Elite smart lock video doorbell review

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REVIEW -Having a video doorbell can be such an added convenience to your home. At least for me, it has been. And with the Vision Elite Smart Lock Video Doorbell from Lockly, it doesn’t just make things a little easier at the front door but it also provides a level of security. That’s because not only is the Vision Elite just a video doorbell but it is also a deadbolt lock for your door and a smart lock at that. And who doesn’t like convenience and security, especially if it’s all at your fingertips? Well, to be precise, on your smartphone, but you get the idea.

What is it?

The Lockly Vision Elite Smart Lock is a combination deadbolt lock, wireless doorbell, and camera for your front door. Through the Lockly mobile app, you are able to control this smart lock and its features such as locking or unlocking the door, being notified when someone rings the doorbell, or receiving notifications such as motion detected or lock tampering,  Fingerprint access is also a main feature with the Vision Elite. Plus, with the digital keypad touchscreen, you are able to type in your PIN access code to unlock the deadbolt. The Vision Elite is the successor to the Lockly Vision with several improved upgrades.

What’s in the box?

  • Lockly Vision Elite Smart Lock
  • Bolt Assembly
  • Screws
  • Strike Plate + Housing
  • Physical Keys (x2)
  • Rechargeable Lithium Batteries (x2)
  • Vision Connect Hub
  • Vision Door Sensor
  • USB & LAN Cables
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Installation & User Manual
  • Metal Decals (x2)

Hardware specs


Design and features

Just like the previous model (Vision Smart Lock), the Lockly Vision Elite Smart Lock has the same deadbolt design which looks stylish on my front door. Plus, the panels of the Vision Elite are not bulky on the outside or on the inside. Even with the new solar panel covering the keyhole, this smart lock’s profile did not gain any real added bulk.

My only complaint is that at the time of writing this review, the finish, or color, of this smart lock is only available in Matte Black. The Lockly Vision has three color choices to choose from. The Lockly Vision Smart Lock I previously reviewed had a Satin Nickle finish that matched my front door’s handle whereas, the Vision Elite’s matte black color stands out against my white front door. It’s not terrible looking, but I would just have preferred a color to match my door handle, but I can still live with it.

The Vision Elite has some new upgrades that I have been looking forward to because some of these upgrades were features that I felt were missing with the Lockly Vision. Let’s start with the new Motion Detection feature. This is a feature that I think is necessary for a smart lock with a recording camera. Instead of the camera continuously recording footage when there is no action, the Motion Detection feature triggers the camera to start recording when the camera detects motion. Within the Lockly app, there are Motion Detection settings that you can select such as Motion Detection Zone, Motion Duration, Detection Interval, and Motion Recording. Although there are several settings, I find that they do have their limits. I would prefer to have more flexibility in the time and duration for each setting for better customization but maybe that is something we can hope for in a future firmware update.

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Another new feature added is recording in Full 1080 HD which makes the video quality look so much better. I had to double-check the resolution of the Lockly Vision on my computer and saw that it recorded video in only 480 (854×480). At least that’s the specs in the video details that were on the SD card from the Lockly Hub. So, reviewing footage from the Vision Elite on my phone looks so much clearer and crisper. Having the upgrade to Full 1080 HD made a big difference.

In addition to the higher video quality, Lockly has added Infrared (IR) Night Vision to the Vision Elite. Next to the Motion Detection feature, I find this feature useful and a feature that should be standard on all, if not most, video doorbells. Because video from the previous Lockly Vision that was recorded at night, in complete darkness, made seeing anyone standing at the front door impossible. And the footage turns out very dark and grainy. In my opinion, having the IR Night Vision on the Vision Elite is not only a luxury but is also a matter of safety. This way, you can see who is at your front door when it’s completely dark out. Of course, it helps when someone is standing in front of the smart lock to get the full benefit of the LED IR lights doing their job.

Lastly, there is the addition of a solar panel to help keep the Lithium battery charged. I thought Lockly did a good job in the placement of the solar panel. The Solar Panel replaces the original keyhole cover like the one the Lockly Vision. The Solar Panel still covers the keyhole and is out in front of the smart lock to catch those sun’s rays. However, I’m not sure how I feel about the addition of the solar panel. I mean, I love the switch from AA batteries to a rechargeable Lithium battery, and charging the battery is fairly easy and convenient.

If the battery life is anything like the Lockly Vision, then the battery should last for a very long time. If I recall, I only replaced the batteries once, maybe twice, within less than a year, and those were only standard AA batteries. So, I was never too concerned about the batteries not lasting long enough. On the other hand, I guess it wouldn’t hurt to have the Solar Panel if it helps keep the batteries charged for a longer period of time. The Solar Panel is intended to keep a trickle charge to help keep the Lithium battery at an optimal level. Since I can monitor the battery status from the Lockly app, I can always be up to date of the battery level. Besides, as an added bonus, there is an extra  Lithium battery included. This way, I can always have a full battery ready to switch out when I need it.

Another reason why I am not really sold on the solar panel is the issue of doors like mine that are under a roof and will never get direct sunlight as my front door is covered by the porch roof. Although the solar panel is not in direct sun, it should still get a little charge from the indirect sunlight. Not a lot, but it is some. Also, there is no way for me to monitor the lithium batteries being charged by the solar panel. So for now, I just have to trust that they are being charged with it. There is an easily accessible USB-C port on the battery that I can connect a USB-C cable to when I see on the app that the battery level is getting low. I can connect a power bank to the battery pack so I don’t even need to plug a USB-C cable directly into a wall outlet if one isn’t nearby.

On a side note, there is a spot just under the keyhole on the Vision Elite that you can connect a 9-volt battery to in case the smart lock battery is completely dead. The 9 Volt battery should give the smart lock just enough juice to unlock the door if needed.

Setup

The only real setup for the Lockly Vision Elite Smart Lock is to install it onto your door, install the Lockly app onto your smartphone, and connect the Connect Hub to your modem. The Lockly app is available for Android and iOS.

Chances are that you will be replacing the existing door lock set on your door with the Vision Elite. Detailed instructions are included to help with the replacement installation. However, in the event that this is a new install and you need to bore out a hole on your door, there are instructions included to help you with that, as well.

Installation was pretty easy and it went smoothly. Since I had installed the previous Lockly Vision, I was familiar with the process. With that said, the ease of your installation may also depend on your skill level. Although there is an Installation Guide included, there is also an installation video available on their website. I would suggest watching the video because I feel like it gave a better overview and seemed straightforward.

And lastly, in order for the Vision Elite to communicate with your phone, you need to connect the Lockly Connect Hub to your modem with the supplied USB and LAN cables.

Performance

Since the day I installed it, the Lockly Vision Elite Smart Lock has had no hiccups or issues. And I really like when the app notifies me with alerts. I can just open the app and check the Log to see what triggered it. Inside the app, you have an option to record video automatically and/or send a push notification to your phone.

A feature that I find to be very helpful is the Fingerprint Reader. When using this fingerprint reader, it seems to respond quicker than the previous Lockly Vision. At least that is something I observed. With this fingerprint reader,  you are able to store up to 99 fingerprints on the Vision Elite.

As with the Lockly Vision, the digital keypad on the touchscreen features a patented PIN Genie that randomly shuffles the numbers so that the numbers are unique each time someone uses it. This shuffling feature is not only practical but is also secure so that anyone who is watching you type in your code cannot guess the pattern of the numbers you input onto the screen. I find this feature especially advantageous if the Vision Elite is located in a high-traffic area where people can easily see you using the keypad. This way, if there is an unsavory person who is watching you input your key code, then that person would be unable to guess the code since the numbers would be in a different place and pattern the next time the keypad is used.

One feature that I really like, which is also on the previous Lockly Vision, is the Auto Lock Timer. The Auto Lock Timer locks the deadbolt at a set time. This is handy when your hands are full and you can’t get to your key to lock the door or use the keypad to lock the door. It is also convenient if you are the type who regularly forgets to lock your door when you leave. So, when the set time is reached, the deadlock will lock automatically.

When the doorbell button is pressed, the Lockly app alerts your phone and the smart lock starts recording. With the Lockly app, not only can you view the visitor at the door, but with the 2-Way Talk feature, you can speak to each other as well. The sound quality from the smart lock is decent and I was surprised at how loud and clear the audio is on the smart lock.  

Although, on the Lockly app, you can review footage that is recorded from the camera, keep in mind that you cannot pause, rewind, or fast forward a video as you are viewing it. However, if you download a video to your phone, then you are able to have control when viewing the video on your phone’s video player. One of the nice things about the Lockly Vision Elite is that the videos recorded are stored locally on the included microSD card in the Connect Hub. This way, there is no need for a Cloud Subscription since the videos will be stored locally. And since you don’t have to have a Cloud Subscription, there are no monthly or yearly fees to pay.

With the Lockly app, you are able to grant access to the door from anywhere. This feature is convenient for when you need to let someone in the door while you are not there. The app also shows you the status of the deadbolt whether it is locked or unlocked. In addition, the app records a Log of the smart lock activity so you can check back on past notices when needed.

What I like

  • Motion detection
  • Night vision
  • Fingerprint unlocking
  • Auto Lock
  • 1080 HD video
  • Extra rechargeable battery
  • No cloud subscription needed

What I’d change

  • More finish or color choices
  • Video player controls in app
  • More customization for Motion Detection options

Final thoughts

With the addition of several upgrades, such as Motion Detection, Night Vision, Full HD, and a Solar Panel, the Vision Elite from Lockly would be a great enhancement to your home or business. The Lockly Vision Elite Smart Lock allows you to see and speak to anyone at the door, plus it allows you to grant access to the door at any time. And having the shuffling numbers with the PIN Genie is a great feature to help prevent prying eyes from guessing your personal code.  Not only does having a smart lock and video doorbell, such as the Lockly Vision Elite Smart Lock, make things a little easier for you but it can also add a little security, as well. 

Price: $499.99
Where to buy: Best Buy and you can find many of their products on Amazon
Source: The sample of this product was provided by Lockly.

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