Fingerprint scanners are commonplace in high-end notebooks these days but there are a ton of laptops that don’t boast the feature.
Take my Dell XPS 13 for instance. It has all the features I could ask for but I’m still relegated to keying in a PIN code whenever I power the notebook on.
There are dongles that add the functionality to your notebook or desktop and today we’re going to be looking at one of those to see how well it works.
The dongle in question is the PQI My Lockey biometric scanner, and it works well.
That’s it, that’s the review. You want more than that? Okay well let me expand on “it works well”.
Plug and (install drivers) play
The Lockey is tiny which means you could lose it rather easily. This isn’t all that much of a problem if you plan to keep it plugged into a USB port. That having been said, there are fewer and fewer USB ports in modern notebooks so we feel the size of the dongle warrants mentioning.
You will need to install drivers from the PQI website as well as the PQI KEY Secure software. These total around 100MB at time of writing.
Once installed you can head to your Windows Settings and set up Windows Hello using your fingerprint. You will also be prompted to setup a password or a PIN when you do this as an alternative.
The process took us roughly 30 minutes to complete.
How well does it work?
PQI claims a scan of your fingerprint should take 0.15 seconds and testing that claim proved more trouble than it’s worth.
Like many fingerprint scanners in consumer devices getting your fingerprint to scan correctly the first time is largely down to luck at first. Perhaps you didn’t enrol your fingerprint in that position or there is a bit of gunk on the scanner.
With that having been said when the Lockey works it works instantly. Not once did I find myself rolling my eyes at how long the fingerprint was taking to register.
That goes for file decryption as well. Attempting to open an encrypted file will prompt you for biometric authentication and shortly after scanning your digit your file will open.
Now, what happens to your encrypted files if you lose the dongle?
PQI distributors in South Africa tell us that no data is stored on the dongle so you should be able to purchase a new Lockey and decrypt your files.
There is also a PQI extension for Chrome called the PQI WebAutoLogin which allows you to log into websites using your fingerprint, which is incredibly helpful. You will have to enter your password in manually at which point you will be asked whether you want PQI to remember it.
After that you will be prompted to present a digit to log in and it works incredibly quickly.
For the security conscious we tried to spoof the fingerprint scanner using Prestik and scans of our fingerprint with no luck. We’re not saying that other methods won’t work but in our very basic example you’re safe.
The MyLockey is a simple piece of kit that does exactly what it says on the box – it scans your fingerprint quickly and it’s simple to use.
Setting the Lockey up is a bit of a chore but once you’ve set it up you’ll forget its there, expect when you use it.
The elephant in the room is the price which starts at R749. This is a bit much, though the convenience of not having to remember a plethora of login information is something we don’t mind paying for.
Overall the My Lockey is a great product that we had no problems with and as such have no problem recommending it to anybody that wants biometric authentication for their Windows desktop or notebook.