This is a repost from 4/23/2013 and applies only to NV300 safes with a shiny metallic lock mechanism. Locks with plastic combinations dials have been revised and a future review is forthcoming.
Before getting into the review, you must understand my reasons for buying the NV300. I needed something to:
- comply with safe storage laws
- store a carry piece while in a disarmed victim zone
- be moderately priced
I found the NV300 on sale on Amazon for $28 with Prime shipping in December 2012 and all three requirements were met.
The construction at first glance seems very sturdy; the metal exterior is very solid. I need to be very clear, though, that this is not a safe. Having only three digits, the combination lock can be bypassed in less than an hour just by cranking out successive combinations from 000-999. Most shocking, however, was how I accidentally discovered the construction of the latching mechanism.
After returning home from a trip with my carry piece locked inside the nanovault (I live in Mordor), the latch wouldn’t open after I entered my combination. Thinking the latch was stuck a little, I shifted the two halves of the nanovault and pulled. I heard a snap and the nanovault popped open. For a few seconds I felt like the hulk. I had only used a small amount of effort, not even straining myself. Sadly, it was not superhuman strength that led to the lock’s failure – it was poor material choice.
The cylinder that holds the latch in place is made of plastic. The one mechanism in the entire product that receives the most stress under an attack is supported by a brittle piece of plastic.
While the design department might have been lacking, customer service was very helpful. I had some difficulty with their online chat client – it kept disconnecting my session – but that may have been an issue on my end. I emailed them a copy of my Amazon receipt and they shipped out a new NV300 within a week, free of charge, even after I told them I broke it with my bare hands.
The replacement came with a much sturdier cable. Unfortunately, this “safe” suffered from the same flaw.
All things considered, I’m still using my NV300 since it meets all that I require from a container. Anyone looking for a secure container, however, should beware that the security is comparable to a TSA approved lock for a soft-sided suitcase.