By now we've seen plenty of smart locks make their way through the smart home market with a wide range of designs and features. I'll be honest, it takes a lot to raise my eyebrows, but the Array by Hampton Connected Door Lock did just that.
The first smart home product from Hampton Products, it costs $299, but comes with one feature that caught my eye: a hidden keypad beneath a solar panel cover. The Array is pricey for a lock that is only compatible with Amazon Alexa. I can't recommend it to anyone committed to a Google Home ($99 at Walmart) or Apple HomeKit setup, since it doesn't work with those assistants yet.
Without Z-Wave or IFTTT, even Alexa users could be disappointed by the lack of integration with other smart home devices. I'd recommend waiting for a more feature-filled version. Still, I'll give the Array points for creative design and hope that future upgrades unlock its potential.
Two 5,200mAh rechargeable lithium-polymer batteries are included with the Array. That's a thoughtful package, because in theory you would never be without a fresh battery. The rechargeable batteries cost $50 on their own. I'm a fan of anything that doesn't require me to dig AA batteries out of our kitchen junk drawer.
The Array comes in two styles: a contemporary style called the Cooper and a traditional design called the Barrington. Both feature the same sliding panel design. When closed, the lock displays the keyway and a small solar panel to help charge the installed battery. Slide the solar panel up (watch your fingers), and you'll find a physical keypad backlit with blue LEDs for entering an e-code, a four- to six-digit number assigned to a specific user. You can restrict these codes to only work once or on a set schedule with time and day restrictions.
What's really interesting about this lock is that solar panel, something I haven't seen on a smart lock before. No, the lock can't be totally powered by sunlight. The panel is just there to give the battery some extra juice. The folks at Hampton estimate that the battery, with indirect sunlight, will last somewhere between 60 and 90 days. If you door gets direct sunlight, a single battery charge with a little help from those solar panels could last up to 9 months.
Once the battery is full, the solar panel circuit stops, to prevent any damage to the battery. If solar panels aren't your thing or you need a smart lock for an area without sun like a garage entry, Hampton Products is planning a cheaper, non-solar option for later this year.
Installing the Array is a bit involved since it does replace your existing deadbolt, but it doesn't take more than a screwdriver and the willingness to carefully read instructions. The Array connects directly to your home's Wi-Fi 2.4GHz internet, so there's no need for a bridge or connect module in order to operate this lock remotely or as part of your smart home. I'm a fan of fewer modules and bridges, but the Array is missing Z-Wave or Zigbee compatibility to tie it into the rest of a smart home.