Traditional PCs and certain smartphones are still struggling with the constant battle against online crime. That’s the threat posed by network theft of personal information from your device, or the invisible remote hacking of your computer to spy on your activities or use it for a hacker’s illicit ends. 

Read: more laptop accessory reviews.

Yet physical theft remains as big, or for some people an even bigger, problem. To illustrate from personal experience, this writer has not suffered any known malware in 20 years of computing; but has lost four PCs to theft in the last eight.

Kensington provides the industry standard for physical lockdown of computers, and other IT hardware, through its ubiquitous little lock slot. You’ll find this 7x3mm aperture on most laptops, various desktop PCs, and many big-ticket peripherals like NAS drives and monitors.

The usual physical security solution offered by Kensington is a toughened steel cable terminated with either a keyed lock or a combination lock. Now the company offers a variation on the theme with its new Kensington ClickSafe locks.

Available in combination lock or turn-key lock variants, the ClickSafe system aims to make the securing of your PC a slightly easier, quicker and more painless operation.

We tested the Kensington ClickSafe Laptop Lock - Key Different, available for £44.99. The combination lock version sells for £39.99.

It answers a minor niggle with the usual lock solution – the need to carefully line up the little rotating toggle, to carefully insert this into your device’s Kensignton slot without scratching it, and then to fiddle with the key – is it clockwise or anti-clockwise, one can never remember – to secure everything in place.

Kensington ClickSafe Keyed Laptop Lock: Features and operation

ClickSafe is a two-part system. A metal nipple is permanently attached to the device by a hex screw, leaving the lock-and-chain assembly to be simply pressed into place when required. It doesn’t require the key to be inserted while locking, thus saving the usual wriggle manoeuvre each time you lock.

The small metal attachment that fixes to your laptop, for example, is easily installed with a supplied Allen key to tighten up the screw inside. And when the main lock is in place, it entirely covers this screw to prevent tampering.

Kensington ClickSafe

Fitting securely inside the Kensington lock slot on this MacBook Pro 15in is the Kensington ClickSafe fastening lug, nipped up tight by an Allen screw

We found the main lock would snap into place with a satisifying click every time. There is a more lock contact with your device, making it harder for anyone to try levering the two apart. But it also leaves the possibility of more scuffing on your laptop – in our case there is more metal-to-metal contact between lock and aluminium notebook.

Overall, though, we'd expect less wear and tear on the host laptop, since there's no constant insertion and reinsertion into the actual Kensington lock slot itself.

Watch out that you really do have possession of the key before you snap closed – the traditional Kensignton lock requires the key to fasten, while ClickSafe can be locked shut even after you’ve inadvertently mislaid or even lost the key. 

Luckily spare keys are available to registered owners who’ve logged the serial number of their key with Kensington. But you’ll still have to wait for it to be sent to you.

The unavoidable drawback of Kensington ClickSafe is that it requires the metal nipple to be in place at all times. That’s not a problem for desktop PCs and the like. But for notebook users in particular, this may not be convenient if your laptop travels in a snug case that can’t accomodate the extra protuberence, 8mm in diameter and 7.4mm high.

Kensington ClickSafe lug

Kensington ClickSafe does require the steel nipple to be screwed in place, leaving a 7.4mm-high semi-permanent fixture

Build quality of the entire Kensignton Laptop Lock is very good. The lockhead is made from chrome-plated steel while the cable itself is a tough-feeling little steel hawser with a bundle of seven strands of steel, in a seven-bundle bunch 5mm thick, finished in PVC to prevent corrosion and collateral damage.

Kensington offers its keyed locks in several configurations. Keyed Different are those that have one key to match one lock – the standard setup for most users. For business use, there’s also the Single Key option, where many locks can be issued that only one key holder can open with his or her one key.

There’s also a Master Keyed option, where business users have their own individual key, different to other users’ keys; but an IT manager also holds a master key that will open any of the issued locks.

Kensington ClickSafe Keyed Laptop Lock: Specs

  • Kensington cable lock
  • 7x7 steel cable with PVC coating
  • 12.7mm low profile lockhead
  • two keys included
  • 1.5m cable
  • 179g
  • Kensington cable lock
  • 7x7 steel cable with PVC coating
  • 12.7mm low profile lockhead
  • two keys included
  • 1.5m cable
  • 179g

OUR VERDICT

It may not suit laptops if you cannot accomodate a small but fixed projection from the bodywork, and you’ll need to ensure you still have possession of your key before clicking shut. But the Kensington ClickSafe is a useful development of the renowned Kensington lock system, making the lockdown of valuable hardware simpler and slicker, and potentially even more secure thanks to the greater strength of the lockhead/product interface.

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