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Lattis Ellipse Smart Bike Lock review: Equal parts smart and frustrating

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This is a good idea, but it doesn't work consistently. Sometimes it took an unnerving amount of time for the lock to trigger. Also, this doesn't quite solve the problem when I had to physically hold the Ellipse closed to lock it. I wish the Ellipse was integrated with the Apple Watch or Wear OS device to free up my hands.

Lattis Ellipse Bike Lock
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I wish there was an option for a longer shackle on the Ellipse like there is with the yellow Kryptonite New York lock.

James Martin/CNET

There were also instances when my phone's Bluetooth connection was off, and I had to wait for it to connect to the Ellipse and then unlock it. For those moments, I opted to use the lock's built-in touch keypad. But even then, the keypad was annoying, too. It feels like touch technology from 10 years ago. I was only able to enter my passcode successfully when I used a deliberately slow touch.

As for the battery, during the months I used the lock, it always had a charge thanks to the solar panel. An hour of sunlight gives the Ellipse enough power for a week. I'm curious how well these batteries will age over years of use. My current bike lock that doesn't need batteries is 8 years and still works great.

Ellipse lock needs some serious work

In the end, the Ellipse lock did what it was supposed to do and my bike wasn't stolen. I found the handful of "theft detection" notifications sent to my phone useful, even if they ended up being caused by someone who just bumped my lock (which was usually the case).

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On the left is a message my friend received when the crash detection was triggered. In the middle and right, are a screenshots of the Ellipse app when it detects a crash.

Patrick Holland/CNET

The Ellipse uses its built-in accelerometer to detect crashes and can send an SMS text to a person you set as a contact. One time, I had the Ellipse on my handlebars while riding and the bumpy streets shook it enough to trigger a crash detection notification. Moments later a worried friend called me to make sure I was okay. On one hand, I'm glad the crash detection worked, but on the other, I didn't have an actual crash. I ended up keeping the lock in my bag to prevent another false crash text.

Both theft and crash detection are two of the best features of the Ellipse, but these instances of false detection generally sum up my whole experience with the lock. Lattis' approach to the Ellipse's design is well-thought, but its execution doesn't hold up in the real world. The Ellipse is inconsistent and frustrating. Even the app needs some improvements -- for example, I never got the friend sharing feature to work. The Ellipse costs $199 which converts to £150 and AU$270. It's hard for me to recommend this lock at that price.

That being said, Best Buy and Amazon are currently selling the Ellipse for $152 and REI offers it for just $100 which to me makes the lock worth considering. But you'll have to ultimately decide if the tradeoffs are worth the frustrations.

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