This Smart Door Lock Gets It Mostly Right


The smart door lock industry, according to a recent report I just read, is going to become a leader in the smart home and home security market this year. There are a few reasons for this, but the major one is that the market is attracting a number of players, from startups to established names. The August Smart Lock is an easy to install a use example of what we can look forward to this year.

The August Smart Lock is the Easiest to Install

The Smart Lock from August, while a little on the expensive side at approximately $250, is probably the easiest smart door lock that I’ve seen to install. Instead of replacing the whole deadbolt lock mechanism like most of the others I’ve seen. This one simply replaces the inner deadbolt cover.

Installation is simple and straightforward. Unscrew the two screws that hold the two halves of the deadbolt to the door and install one of the supplied brackets. With the bracket installed, simply slide the August lock cover over the bracket and lock it in place using the two “wings” on either side of the body. If you’re looking to upgrade your front door lock to 21st Century automated technology and are looking at this product from August, you’ll need to see if your lockset is compatible. According to some of the reviews I’ve read, this makes this one much more secure than some of the connected and automated products from big names in the home security/deadbolt industry.

This Smart Door Lock is Bulky, But Functional

The August smart lock is pretty big, measuring in at 2.25 inches thick and 3.25 in diameter. It comes available in brushed aluminum, red, black, and a champagne gold finish to help it blend in with your door hardware (or stick out if you want.). You can turn the whole housing to lock and unlock the deadbolt if you don’t have your phone handy, which is something that some of the other entries in the smart door lock market lack.

Bluetooth Connectivity Only

This is probably the major drawback to the unit at this time (provided they come through with certain features for Android users and a Windows Phone app). Unless you go out and buy a separate special hub, the August lock can’t be controlled over the Internet. Because it is Bluetooth enabled, you’ve got to be within 100 yards with your phone in order to lock or unlock it.

Only iPhone Users Currently Have Full Functionality

This smart door lock has a feature that allows you to enter and exit your house without even having to access your phone. They call the feature “auto lock and auto unlock.” What happens is that the door will lock or unlock when you leave or enter the range of the receiver with your phone. This is the feature I mentioned above that’s not currently available for Android users, although the rest of the features work if you have Android 4.4 or above. We’re told they’re hoping to add the auto lock/unlock to Android in an upcoming app update, but there is no information on app availability for Windows Phone users.

Auto lock/unlock is range-based. This means that when you come into range of the locked door, the door will automatically unlock. Conversely, the door locks when you get out of range. From what I’ve seen, this distance can’t currently be modified to fit your needs, but it is being worked on we’re told. The spokesperson said that they need a dataset of user interaction and preferences before they can make any changes to this feature. If I lived in a not so nice neighborhood, until this is fixed, I’d probably deactivate this function.

User Management is Easy and Limitless

Anyone that has installed the August smart lock app and has been granted permission by the “Owner” account can lock and unlock connected locks. The app and interface allow multiple locks to be connected and controlled. Locks/doors are differentiated by labels you create during the account setup process. Only the account that is labelled as “Owner” can perform initial setup and make changes to the system.

August also differs from other smart door lock products in that you can assign “e-keys” to as few or as many people as you wish. Other companies, like Kwikset, only give you a certain number, after which you have to pay for each one.

I like the fact that owners can give permanent and temporary keys to other users. So, I can give my parents or my kids an e-key when they come visit for the holidays and have it only last while they’re staying with me. Or, on the off chance I need someone to come in and fix something, I can give that worker one time access. If I have multiple smart locks installed, I can even assign a certain door for people to go in and out. So, that workman with the dirty boots can go in and out through the garage and not over my nice entry carpet.