HomeGearGadgetsAirBolt Review: Smart Travel Lock yells at you

AirBolt Review: Smart Travel Lock yells at you

Airbolt is a Bluetooth equipped smart travel lock that is able to alert you when you and your luggage get separated. Crowdsourced Location Tracking adds an extra layer of evidence to help you locate your bag if it gets lost and the AirBolt smart luggage lock is TSA accepted for convenient use.

We’ve all been there or heard of horror stories of losing your luggage or taking a trip to Hawaii while your luggage visits the Caribbean. Just adds a little extra layer of protection when you’re taking a vacation or traveling.

AirBolt Smart Travel Lock helps you avoid losing your luggage by yelling at you when you walk too far away from your bag.

Okay so it doesn’t quite yell at you but it does notify you on your phone. Two levels of sensitivity High/Low/off allow you to fine tune the distance or turn it off for check-in bags. The onboard rechargeable battery lasts up to 6-12 months for worry free operation. Let’s take a look.

Track your Luggage with AirBolt Smart Travel Lock
Setting up the AirBolt

Setting it up

There’s no documentation in the box. You’ll need to download and install the app. Turn on your Bluetooth then follow the onscreen instructions and prompts to pair up the device.

The center circle is divided into two sides, left and right. AirBolt allows you to program a manual unlock code so you can operate the luggage lock without the use of a smartphone as well. When you lock the AirBolt, Bluetooth or no Bluetooth, it will auto-lock once you insert the cable.

The button chime lets you know when you’ve successfully pressed a button to set/lock/unlock the AirBolt manually (uses a single tone so no one can tell exactly what you’re pattern code is by listening to you operate the AirBolt).

Track your Luggage with AirBolt Smart Travel Lock
AirBolt Smart Travel Lock

Pairing the AirBolt requires you to “wake” the unit up by pressing both sides of the circle with your thumb to cover both sides. Both semicircles will illuminate blue to signal that it’s ready to pair. The app will let you know once it has been successfully paired. A small hinged plastic piece covers the micro USB charge port on back. A commonly used TSA 007 lock resides on the back for airport officials to do their business.

Crowdsourced Location Tracking

In case you’re wondering what this is. Just like the name, this form of location tracking relies on the community. The action is opportunistic and requires other AirBolt apps to initiate reporting the location. The AirBolt is not a homing beacon, it will not transmit a signal therefore it cannot be tracked the way a traditional GPS radio would track.

Example: The scenario is that you have already locked your bag with the AirBolt and perhaps it ends up at baggage pickup in a different terminal or airport all together. Another AirBolt user walks by and their app automatically picks up the presence of the AirBolt lock. Their app then reports the location anonymously to the AirBolt Crowdsourced location tracking system. The system privately matches the IDs and will reflect where the last known location was in your app. If you mark your bag as “lost” you’ll receive a notification of it’s last known whereabouts if it gets reported.


Notify’s you

The AirBolt sends you a notification on your iOS or Android phone you when you or your bag leave each others proximity. This does seem to work relatively well, 4 of 6 attempts gave us an alert.

The app is supposed to recognize when you’ve returned within proximity and notify you but this seldom worked for us.

You can then use the app to execute an audible chime so you can find the exact location of it, under a chair, behind the couch, under the table etc. Unfortunately since the lock didn’t recognize we returned to the area, we are many times faced with the “out of range” message. You can be “in range” so you can tell that you are closeby and a “connected” message means you can operate the AirBolt travel lock.

Track your Luggage with AirBolt Smart Travel Lock
Bluetooth Notifications & Proximity Meter

Proximity Meter

When you are in a “connected” state, a Bluetooth range (10-65 meters) Proximity Meter allows you to play hot and cold to track your bag using a 5 bar visual meter. If you’ve left it in the cafe having a cocktail or when it is coming up the ramp, that’s the idea anyway. In practice, our tests didn’t turn out that well.

The meter features 5 bars which might represent approx 13ft per bar or less if we divide 65 by 5. Two problems that we faced here. One is that the app and device are very sluggish to recognize one another. It is possible signal interference from surrounding electric devices and walls will hinder performance.

Second is that the proximity meter only seems to work from when you are next to the unit on out. So when we walked away and managed to get an alert, when we re-entered the area the app did not recognize that we were close again for a very long time or sometimes never did, just kept reading “out of range”.

Track your Luggage with AirBolt Smart Travel Lock
What we liked about the AirBolt

What we liked

The AirBolt’s design is pretty cool. The circular shape and design of the lock allow for both double zipper pull locking as well as a more traditional put the cable through the hole and back method.

The center circle is divided into left and right buttons with LED illumination (different colors LED for the line) and an audible chime for feedback communicating with the AirBolt. You can program a code for manual operation; left left right right right etc for operation without a smartphone.

It’s TSA approved and location tracking via crowdsourced location services allow you some way to track your luggage with a little help from the community and your phone. The location functionality thankfully did seem to work properly. It’s not going to give you exact position but it does seem to be accurate in reading as it utilizes your phone’s GPS. A history of last known locations are listed in your app for review.

Track your Luggage with AirBolt Smart Travel Lock
Cape Code Grey, Persian Pink, Champagne, Bondi Blue, Amazon Green, Monza Red

Wrap Up

The AirBolt Smart Lock travel accessory can alert you with a notification to your smartphone when you and your bag get separated. The design is cool, sturdy and TSA accepted for convenient use. It also features keyless operation with illuminated buttons for quick access. Crowdsourced location services provide you with an extra layer of evidence that could help you locate your bag when it gets lost.

AirBolt Smart Travel Lock $79.95