Hands-on with Master Lock dialSpeed, the 21st century padlock

Real talk: I never liked Master Lock combination locks. In high school, we would fumble to spin these things left and right, making sure to not accidentally skip the combination numbers to avoid starting over again. After four years of this wretchedness, you come to master the art of spinning the dial with the right momentum. Still, that’s four years too many for just opening a locker. After years since Master Lock tried to improve the design of its original combination lock, the company finally gave its famous product a 21st century revamp so that our next generation won’t ever have to fuss with those clunky things.

Known as the Master Lock dialSpeed, Master Lock has integrated a touch-based usability that no longer requires physical dials, or even number combinations. Sporting a similar look to the old school style, the dialSpeed is instead battery-operated, and focuses on directional combinations. The screen lights up depending on the direction you select, each press with a blue arrow flash and a slight bump to let you know the lock has registered the input. 

Weighing about the same traditional Master Lock combination locks, you can customize the dialSpeed’s combination or go with the one pre-programmed in the unit you receive. Surrounding the outer edge of the lock are numbers and letters. In case you forget the correct directions, you can always try to remember your combination in correspondence to letters. This is useful if you like to set your combination as your birthday or initials (or something a bit less easy to guess).

If you ever mess up an input, simply press the middle button to start over. Screwing up three times in a row will cause the middle button to glow in red, rendering the lock unusable for one full minute. Upon entering the lock combination successfully, however, you are greeted with a green light along with a slight vrring sound. If you do not pull your lock open within the next few seconds, it will auto-lock itself back to normal position. For those who perpetually forget his or her password, you can also access an online account linked to your particular lock for a backup master code.

Another interesting feature is the ability to program guest combinations for your friends or family. The dialSpeed is capable of storing three guest passes, making it easy for friends to share school lockers or family members to access a locked garage door or toolshed. However, since the device is battery-powered, we do not recommend using the dialSpeed outdoor.

Now you might be saying this is cool and all, but what if the battery runs out? We assume that since you won’t be touching the lock all day long, the dialSpeed is unlikely drain much power with each use. Master Lock estimates that the battery life lasts about five years, giving you enough time to almost forget it’s battery-powered. If the battery is low, however, the dialSpeed will begin flashing in yellow. The battery also pulls out from the bottom of the lock, not the back, so in case of emergency power outage, it’s not impossible to replace the battery while the dialSpeed is still on the locker. No promises on whether this is going to be easier to pick at versus just cutting the shackle altogether.

With more technology embracing buttons and touchscreen interfaces, it was only a matter of time that other daily life gadgets began integrating such features. With the new button functionality, you can get your lock open in a matter of seconds especially if you’re a fast dialer. At the lightning pace that people can text on their phones these days, the dialSpeed will definitely reduce a significant chunk of time compared traditional Master Lock combination locks. It also doesn’t hurt that each time you open the lock, it feels like a quick video game session — one that isn’t frustrating each time you ‘lose’. So thanks, Master Lock, for making a seemingly mundane task fun again.

The Master Lock dialSpeed is available now for $25 with free shipping.

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