The premise of Mycube’s iCube is simple: It’s a smart home safe that can store cash, jewelry, medicine, or things a little more nefarious. The way it goes about securing valuables extends beyond any basic lockbox. The iCube connects to the Internet via its free cellular connection, no Wi-Fi password or Bluetooth pairing required. It locks and unlocks via its mobile app and uses the app to track activity and inventory.
After some time with the iCube, I can confirm that it’s easier to use than one smart safe off the shelf with the numeric keypad. Paired with the Mycube mobile app, which can tap into a phone’s biometric authentication such as Face ID, there’s also no password to remember. iCube is easy and convenient—just be prepared to pay for those luxuries.
- large capacity
- free cellular connectivity
- easy-to-use mobile app
- Needs an outlet close to the safe
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Basics of iCube Safe
With iCube Smart Safe everything is done through the MyCube mobile app. There’s a hidden key slot in the handle as a backup measure, but otherwise, the app controls everything.
The company says that the iCube uses an “end-to-end cloud security platform” to secure the device. But, because it uses its own cellular connection, there should be no compromise from people on the same Wi-Fi network. The Vault doesn’t use Bluetooth, so there shouldn’t be any social engineering from visitors trying to connect with it when you’re not looking.
The Mycube iCube runs on 110-volt power and has a backup battery that keeps it running for short periods of time without power outages. In case of power cut, it will send notification through its app. I stumbled upon this function accidentally when someone turned off a wall switch paired with an electrical outlet to which the safe was attached.
After that, when attempting more tests, I usually received notifications that the power had been cut within seconds of unplugging me. The same was true when plugging it back into the outlet. It alerted me that power has been restored very quickly.
Limitations of iCube
I had no technical issues with the iCube and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to operate. But there are a few things worth noting about it. iCube offers some additional ideas for placement in the home around power and signal. Since this connected safe has its own cell connection, it is generally not recommended to be used in dead areas, such as a basement too far underground. This also means that the iCube is also not recommended for use in secluded, rural areas that don’t get great cellphone coverage. (A future Wi-Fi version is coming to mitigate these edge cases.)
Its need for an outlet to constantly connect the iCube to power can be a concern. I personally don’t have an outlet in a closet; Finding a suitable place to keep the vault was a bit challenging but not impossible. But with these issues in mind, iCube has been easy for me to use.
Using an Internet Vault
Setting up iCube involves creating a free account for its app and then scanning a QR code inside the vault. Doing this is as easy as I can imagine. Again, no Bluetooth pairing or Wi-Fi password is required.
The Mycube app experience itself is fairly basic, with large icons and interface elements. The app almost looks like it’s from a movie that needs to enlarge everything on the phone, so it’s easy for viewers to watch as it shines across the screen. The lock and unlock mechanism, for example, is a large circle that is either red when unlocked or green when locked. I don’t feel strongly about the app in any way. Depending on what is stored in the vault, the app may not even be used more than a few times a year. Even used daily, it works perfectly fine.
While notifications for its power status were fast and stable, I found it needed clarification when it came to tamper warnings. I lifted the safe off the ground, while still connected to power, and put it on the counter without any alerts. I reached out to the company to get more clarity and heard back that the tampering limit has been set too high, only to register things like attempted break-ins. I wanted to try to trigger it, so I banged on the side of the iCube as if someone might be trying to unscrew a bolt-down safe.
I was eventually able to get a notification that there was a movement to the safe, but it took a few tries. I was told that the sensitivity would be user-adjustable in the future. Personally, I don’t want to receive a notification every time I hit the safe, so I understand that there is a high limit required to send an alert. Plus, the loss of power notification also serves as a heads-up warning if someone is trying to steal the iCube.
In terms of size, the iCube’s internal capacity is generous and the entire unit isn’t too bulky. There is room for documents or lots of valuables. A half-sized shelf divides from top to bottom but can be removed if it’s not needed. Interior size is 10 inches long by 19 inches wide by 10.25 inches deep.
For those who need to unlock the safe at a moment’s notice, iCube supports remote access. This means it can be unlocked without you having a pass. Another small thing is that the app keeps a history of when the vault was unlocked, locked, moved or power was lost.
There’s a hidden keyhole inside the handle of the safe to manually unlock it in case you lose access to your phone and the Mycube app. My biggest wish is that there was a way to lock the safe without the app as a button from the unit itself so that it could lock up quickly in an emergency.
Should you buy iCube Safe?
The hassle free experience of a cellular connection built into a smart safe is really cool. It worked seamlessly for me whenever I needed it. This can be an important feature for some people who need to unlock it for other people at some point. Mostly, I think a smart, connected safe is a luxury at the moment. Despite how cool it is and how well it has worked, it’s hard to argue that its technology is key to locking up valuables for general use. Its need for a power cord presents some additional considerations.
iCube costs a lot, but there’s no recurring monthly connection fee. So if there’s about $700 in the budget to be safe, or it’s worth splurging on, start by taking a closer look.
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