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Lauren Barack

BenjiLock by Hampton Fingerprint Sport Padlock review

Your fingerprint is the key with this gym, locker and personal lock

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Fingerprints can unlock some of the most important items in our lives, from our smartphone to the front door of our home. This key, the image from your finger, is sometimes referred to as a biometric, which is just another way to say that an item, unique to your own body, can help identify you and you alone.

BenjiLock uses fingerprints to open a number of their devices, including its most recent, the BenjiLock Fingerprint Sport Padlock. A small thin padlock, the device is designed to work as a traditional lock in places like a gym or school locker, and uses a fingerprint to unlock the padlock in place of a key. We tested the lock to see how well it worked, even during a potential rain situation.

BenjiLock by Hampton Fingerprint Sport Padlock review You can store up to 10 fingerprints in the lockLauren Barack

BenjiLock by Hampton Fingerprint Sport Padlock review

What you get

Inside the packaging you'll find the actual lock, a USB cable and a one-sheet set of instructions. You're going to need a charging end to juice up the lock, which you likely have. But if by some reason you do not, note that you'll need to buy one.

The one-sheet instruction page is not going to be sufficient to get your lock programmed. The steps are not thorough, and you will need to go to the web site — and potentially call customer service — to get more details. We've outlined some below as well.

The lock has a stainless steel shackle, and works without an app and without a key. Fingerprints are the key here, and you can store up to 10 in the lock, and that includes the master fingerprint.

The Master Fingerprint is crucial because this is the control print, the one needed to add more fingerprints to the lock's memory, and also the one that can erase all the fingerprints. And while, yes, you can erase fingerprints — you cannot cherry pick which one. So if you need to remove someone's access, you're going to remove all the prints stored inside including the Master Fingerprint. So be thoughtful of how you set the lock up to start.

But it's also worth noting that no one else can add themselves to the lock unless the main fingerprint holder is involved. So if you're locking something away from children — they're not going to be able to add themselves without you knowing, or agreeing.



Set up

Setting up the BenjiLock was the most difficult part, and confusing. As we noted, the enclosed paper instructions did not explain how to program a master print well, and even going on to the web site didn't completely clear up my confusion.

That led to me not knowing how to use the lock, and finding that each time I touched it, or my husband, with any finger, the lock just popped open. That's not clearly ideal. What I did not understand, and what not explained in the instructions, was how to set up a master fingerprint. Until that step is done, the lock will actually open with anyone's fingerprint.

The web site, and short video on how to program the Master Fingerprint, did clarify the steps to programming a master fingerprint a bit better (which we have outlined below.)

One charge can keep the lock running for about six monthsLauren Barack

BenjiLock by Hampton Fingerprint Sport Padlock review

Charging

Before you can add any fingerprints though you'll want to charge the lock. Plug the USB cable into the bottom of the lock and into a charging end. The blue light will blink. When it stops blinking and is a solid blue, the lock's lithium-ion battery is fully charged.

Charging the lock should take a few hours — and one charge is supposed to keep the lock operational for six months, which is great since you do not want to go back to a locker and find you can't open it because you're low on juice. Knowing me, though, I would probably mark in my calendar when I needed to charge the lock again. Just in case.


Programming the master print

A call to BenjiLock's customer service team, which has live support throughout the week, was the best move I made.

I had followed the instructions for setting the master fingerprint, but it was not working. My problem? I was pressing too fast and was getting a red light. Pressing a bit more slowly each time — which customer service suggested — yielded the five beeps and blue lights.

The BenjiLock by Hampton Fingerprint Sport Padlock can work on lockers like those at a gymLauren Barack

So here is how to simply set the first — which is the master — fingerprint:

  1. Press and hold for five seconds on the center sensor pad which will unlock the lock. Use the fingerprint you want as the master fingerprint. (The one you'll use the most.) Once the lock unlocks, lift up your finger.
  2. Then — within five seconds — hold the same finger against the sensor again until the blue light started to blink. Lift up your finger.
  3. Now press your finger then five times in a row slowly, like press, lift and pause, and press again, until the blue light is solid. Each press will send off a beep to acknowledge the print has been received, and that print made the master print. If you get a red light, you've been pressing too fast, and you'll need to start all over again with Step 1.

Setting the next fingerprint is very similar:

  1. Press and hold for five seconds on the center sensor pad which will unlock the lock. Use the master fingerprint. Once the lock unlocks, lift up your finger.
  2. Then — within five seconds — hold the same finger against the sensor again until the blue light started to blink. Lift up your finger.
  3. Now, place a new finger against the sensor, and press and lift five times in a row. You'll hear a beep to know the lock has acknowledged the print. If you get a red light, you've been pressing too fast and will need to start again with Step 1.

The BenjiLock by Hampton Fingerprint Sport Padlock would sometimes flash red, meaning I needed to put my finger back on the sensor at a different angleLauren Barack

How it worked

Once, after a marathon swim workout, I actually forgot the combination to my gym locker. I went to the snack area, bought a large water, slowly drank that and had a power bar too, thinking re-hydrating and getting a little sugar boost would fire the synapses to remember the combination I'd used for years. It did not.

The only way I got out of my swimsuit that day and back into my regular clothes was with a bolt cutter. How I wish I'd had a lock that would open with a touch of my finger.

The BenjiLock Fingerprint Sport Padlock was pretty reliable. I found I could get the lock open most of the time with the fingerprints added to the system. The sensor though is very particular. If I put my finger on it at an angle, for example, it would respond with a red light — and not accept the print. I needed to press the way I had programmed. That's something to note. It was often fun, though, to test and see that other fingerprints — like my husband's — would not operate the lock.

And occasionally I would need to make a few attempts, but the lock would eventually open. Even my iPhone, before facial recognition, would reject my fingerprint at times, and often my face (even without a mask) can't be read. Crucially, I was always able to get the lock open and the longest delay was about 10 seconds.

GearBrain reviews the Benjilock by Hampton Fingerprint Sport Padlock youtu.be

I do suggest that with 10 fingerprints, adding at least two of your own to the storage. Just as a backup.

As for opening and closing, that mechanism was super smooth, with nothing getting stuck. The lights that turned colors weren't harsh, nor the beeping sound that I would hear as the device worked.

One issue came when testing the lock with water. While IP65 rated, meaning it's dust tight and protected from water projected from a nozzle, the lock would not open when one of the fingerprints I was using was wet — or the sensor was wet. Even wiping off the sensor, but having my finger wet would cause the blue lights to blink without opening the lock. Once I dried off my hands and the sensor, everything worked fine. But this is worth noting if you're planning to use this on an outside locker.

Price

The BenjiLock Fingerprint Sport Padlock is $29.99, and comes in white, black and red.

Buy

You can erase the BenjiLock by Hampton Fingerprint Sport Padlock and add new fingerprintsLauren Barack

Worth picking up?

A padlock is one of those go-to items that everyone, at some point, is going to use. Whether you had one for gym class while in school, or use one for locking a cabinet or something at home, it's a universal product. You're not going to go wrong having one on hand.

I found the BenjiLock Fingerprint Sport Padlock very reliable, which is really the most important detail. It worked cleanly, the padlock mechanism opening neatly. While I did find that I sometimes had to reposition my finger a few times over the sensor to open the lock, it did not bother me. I have the same issue sometimes with my smartphone — and I was glad the sensor was sensitive enough to really want a clear fingerprint to work.

The price too is fair at $29.99. And the fact the lock worked on one charge for six months is outstanding.

Being able to load in 10 fingerprints actually expands the use of the lock too, so others can get into a locker at work for example, if they're added to the system, without needing to share a key.

Overall, at $30, with the option to use this with 10 different people, and then reset it and start over, the BenjiLock Fingerprint Sport Padlock is definitely worth considering for anyone in the market for a personal gym, sport or locker padlock.

Pros:

  • Price
  • Worked easily
  • Can store up to 10 fingerprints

Cons:

  • Setup instructions are not clear
  • Did not work well when wet
  • To erase one fingerprint you need to erase all and start over

BenjiLock By Hampton TSA-Approved Fingerprint Padlock, Matte Black


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