At long last, my overpriced Wilka E218 Easy 2.0 NFC padlock has arrived. This is a review of the thing.
First of all, it’s definitely German. It’s a heavy, solidly constructed beast, and it comes with a staggering, almost comical amount of really serious-looking documentation. It’s also quite a bit larger than you’d expect from the photographs:
It’s so German in fact that it only comes with instructions in… you guessed it, German. If you speak German, it’s great. If you don’t, not so much. I can’t say the illustrations help much to understand what needs to be done with this device. Somehow Ikea and Japan do a better at that. But they’re adequate.
Luckily, if you’ve ever encountered similar battery-powered locks, it works exactly like all the others. They all work pretty much exactly the same way. This one is a bit different in that you have to present the programming card for each and every tag you enroll into the lock separately. Other locks let you enroll several tags at once, but not this one.
How does it work with implants?
Perfectly. Here you can see it in action with my IAR M1k, my flexDF2, my flexNT and my payment conversion. The latter presents some difficulty, but at least it works if I insist, which is more than can be said of all my other locks:
I really can’t fault it on the NFC side of things. It really works like a charm. No issues whatsoever.
What about the lock part ot it?
Well, that’s not so great: the padlock proper is average and it’s spring-loaded. At that price, I expected a ball-bearing locking mechanism. But it’s not all bad: it’s spring-loaded on both sides of the shackle, but the tolerances are tight enough that I can only shim one side but not the other - and certainly not both sides at the same time. That’s good.
So it’s an okay padlock. It ain’t no Abloy Enforcer, but it’s certainly 2 or 3 cuts above all the other super-shitty integrated NFC / RFID padlocks on the market.
As for the NFC go-go bit, it’s really only a special plug with an NFC unlocking mechanism on the outside. You can conceivably remove it from this padlock body and install it in another padlock, provided the plug is compatible. In fact, there’s a screw at the bottom of the shackle housing that lets you drop the plug / NFC cylinder combo from the padlock.
Unfortunately, that’s kind of my problem with all the Wilka and Wilka-like smartlocks: they all feature a separate NFC / RFID authentication-cum-unlocking mechanism outside the lock (or the padlock in this particular case), meaning one good wack with a sledgehammer or a bit of angle grinding to separate the smart bit from the plug and you only need a screwdriver or a pair of pliers to actuate the lock open.
I’ve said it before with all the locks and cylinders that feature a prominent self-contained battery-powered cylindrical wart hanging on the outside, and I’ll say it again with this padlock: the design is flexible from a manufacturing standpoint, but inherently flawed as a security concept. Good lock designs don’t put the entire security system outside for baddies to break off and bypass entirely. As such, I urge you not to use them to protect anything truly valuable.
Having said that, in the case of this padlock, I suspect the shacke isn’t much more solid than the smart wart. So at least it doesn’t promise anything it can’t deliver. Just don’t use it to secure the outdoor garage where you keep your Lamborghinis.
And finally, the price:
I hope you have some training in freediving, because it’ll likely knock the wind out of you and you won’t be able to catch your breath again for quite some time. In fact, if you do open your wallet to get one of these things, I suggest you buy a tube of Preparation H too.
The padlock and the required programming card set me back - I shit you not - 461.06 euros. That’s like FOUR HUNDRED AND SIXTY ONE POINT OH SIX EUROS ferchrissake!
Yes, I’ve been turning blue and slathering the ointment generously since I bought it a month ago, and I’m still not fully recovered. Those who know me know I’m not shy when it comes to buying overpriced smartlocks, but the sticker price of this one is all shades of ridiculous. Even by my standards, the price needs to come down 100 euros to be within range of “normal” overpriced.
Oh well, call me stupid…
One piece of advice: if you want to get one of these padlocks from our friends at Digiwell, ask them if they have the thing in stock first. If they don’t, they’ll turn around and order the padlock from Wilka before sending it to you, which adds several weeks of delay. But they don’t tell you that beforehand. I’m still a bit pissed off about that in fact. If they don’t have it, you may as well get it quicker somewhere else. They told me they’ll have some units in stock from now on, but it doesn’t hurt to ask before ordering.
Very well made, very professional-looking, very serious, very German.
Works flawlessly with all sorts of NFC implants.
Okay padlock - in fact, very good padlock by smart padlock standards, which admittedly isn’t saying much.
Flawed mechanical design (but it’s only a padlock).
A bit too German - a bit of documentation in English would have been nice.