Delaney Smartlock & Video Camera and Bridging Hub review: A home security bundle not ready for prime time

Founded in 1992, Delaney Hardware manufactures various types of hardware for residential, multi-home, and commercial installations. Rather than build just a Z-Wave smart lock and expect the buyer to supply the hub needed for integration, Delany offers a starter kit that includes a touchscreen smart lock and home security camera that doubles as a Z-Wave hub.

It’s a good idea, and smart-home product bundles like this have become a popular way to get consumers up to speed on a collection of technologies without having to piece a kit together from various vendors. Samsung SmartThings offers a bundle of hubs, sensors, and smart plugs, for example; and smart lighting vendors such as Signify—with its Philips Hue line—offers a variety of multi-bulb packs.

While it’s not unique, you can see how it makes at least a little sense to create a basic sort of security system that can keep track of who’s coming and going while keeping out any unwanted guests. There’s even a rudimentary alarm system and a (very soft) siren built into the camera, so if you want to use the camera and lock together, you can sort of do that.

delaney zw300 Delaney Hardware

Delaney’s hardware looks good enough, but getting the smart lock and camera hub to work together is maddingly difficult.

Not so fast

I say “sort of” because, well, this combination is about as reliable as a bank transfer from a Nigerian prince. Downright impossible to set up without hands-on guidance, and devilishly confusing once it’s up and running, it’s a deceptive pair of products that only a hardcore hacker will even want to consider. (And even then, I wouldn’t recommend it.)

Let’s start with the lock, which you’ll eventually figure out from the four sets of instruction booklets and pamphlets that you’re supposed to set up first. That said, this is the simplest and most intuitive part of the process. The Delaney ZW300 lock goes together much like any smart lock, with two escutcheons that must be sandwiched together with your door in between, a small cable snaking through the hole and connecting the two pieces together, with four AA batteries making the thing work. With no real surprises in this setup, I was able to get the fairly handsome, all-black lock running in fairly short order.

Once installed, you can use a variety of means to operate the lock: A physical key, a numeric PIN on the external touchpad, or Delaney’s app. These first two will work out of the box, but to use the app you’ll need to have the combination camera and hub configured and running to provide Wi-Fi access.

delaney 1 Christopher Null / IDG

Prepare to be baffled by this setup screen.

Beep beep beep!

Before I get to that, though, note that this is a Z-Wave lock, and all the configurations of various settings and additional PIN codes must be done through the touchpad interface. This is a complex process that, in my testing, often required considerable trial and error to get things to work. (Two beeps means you got it right, five beeps means you’ll have to try again.) For anyone looking to give out temporary codes (not supported here) or who expects they’ll need to frequently change PINs, this just isn’t a workable solution.

But all of that is blissful in comparison to what comes next: Setting up the Delaney combination Z-wave hub and camera. The camera is deceptively small and unassuming, its weighted base featuring a ball-and-socket joint that allows for endless positioning options when sitting on a shelf or when mounted to the wall. The camera supports Wi-Fi as well as ethernet to provide Z-Wave traffic a bridge to your network, and a 10-foot power cable gives you flexibility when it comes to placement.