Tech

August Wi-Fi Smart Lock review: Still our favorite

August smart locks are standard, and for good purpose: The retrofit design makes them straightforward to put in with out changing your current deadbolt, and so they’re sensible sufficient to work with Google AssistantApple HomeKit and Amazon Alexa. Final 12 months, we gave the August Wi-Fi Good Lock our Editors’ Choice Award for its straightforward set up, nice app and sensible residence integration. In 2021, it is nonetheless holding onto that award.

Slimmer than its earlier iterations and smarter than many of the competitors, this August lock is a winner. It comes with built-in Wi-Fi, negating the necessity for the additional August Connect ($74 at Amazon) plug-in modules. At $230, the brand new lock is expensive nevertheless it’s nicely price your cash for those who’re trying to get your entrance door on-line.

I popped it onto the again of my door and lived with it for per week. This is what it is advisable to know. 

Like

  • Small design
  • Constructed-in Wi-Fi

Do not Like

  • Worth
  • Shorter battery life

Smaller sensible lock design

August’s distinctive retrofit design stays true to its roots on this fourth-generation mannequin. What’s remarkably completely different is the dimensions. The August Wi-Fi Good Lock is 45% smaller than its predecessors, measuring roughly 2.8 inches in diameter and simply 1.8 inches in depth. Whereas there’s by no means been something notably ugly concerning the lock, placing a giant chunk of steel on the inside of your door is not an inside designer’s dream. 

august-lock-2

Chris Monroe/CNET

Practically all sensible locks require this aesthetic obstruction, counting on a big battery and thumb latch housings mounted on the inside aspect of your door. I used to be delighted with the small scale of this August mannequin. It is a lot much less distracting, partly as a result of I am a bit extra accustomed to seeing sensible locks on doorways by now, but in addition as a result of it is actually considerably smaller. A wise residence ought to mix in, for my part, and August’s design is far improved in that regard. 

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The August Wi-Fi Good Lock (proper) is 45% smaller than the August Good Lock Professional (left). 


Molly Worth/CNET

The design crew, which incorporates famend designer Yves Béhar, stayed true to the unique design, whereas making small updates. You will discover a barely completely different ridge sample across the sides of the lock, designed to enhance grip. I am unable to discern an enormous distinction, however I am not bothered by it, both. Alongside that ridge is a cleverly positioned August brand that can assist you inform whether or not your door is locked or not. On the within, the August Wi-Fi Good Lock is powered by two CR123 batteries. I will speak extra about these later.

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The up to date aspect texture of the lock is designed to supply higher grip. 


Molly Worth/CNET

Putting in the August Wi-Fi Good Lock

As at all times, putting in an August sensible lock is a breeze if in case you have 10 minutes and a screwdriver. You will additionally wish to obtain the August app obtainable on iOS or Android, as there’s a useful information with animations to stroll you thru the method. As a result of it is retrofitted, you will not must do a lot in any respect to your bodily deadbolt, past eradicating the thumb latch on the inside aspect of the door. Subsequent, you may match on the August plate and proper adapter to your lock, and clip on the Wi-Fi Good Lock with its two locking wings. 

I will take a second right here to deal with my customary sensible lock suggestions. 

  1. Make sure your door closes nicely earlier than you start this course of. Good locks have bother calibrating and absolutely locking doorways that want an additional shove to shut utterly. 
  2. Be certain the deadbolt strikes freely and there is no friction within the lock’s mechanics. 
  3. Be sure to have a superb Wi-Fi connection. This impacts not solely the set up, however the lock’s on a regular basis efficiency, too.
  4. Preserve your screws organized. Which screw size goes the place can actually matter on a sensible lock. 

It is vital to do your greatest to maintain the cam bar (see under) centered within the August again plate when you safe the screws. For those who discover that it is too far up or down, loosen and readjust the screws whereas holding a little bit of stress on the plate to maintain it in place. It is troublesome to suit the mandatory adapter if issues aren’t lined up neatly. 

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The inexperienced adapter supplied match my Kwikset deadbolt. 


Molly Worth/CNET

The August system is the only sensible lock set up on the market, and the steering in each the app and printed, in-box directions are straightforward to comply with. No shock there. For those who’re involved about compatibility along with your current deadbolt, August has a useful web page listing compatible models from most manufacturers. 

A greater sensible residence lock

Let’s begin with the plain. That is the primary August lock with Wi-Fi inbuilt. Meaning you now not want to purchase the $80 August Join module to regulate it remotely. Whereas it’s the first August lock to incorporate Wi-Fi, it is not the one lock in the marketplace with the improve. Schlage and Kwikset even have Wi-Fi fashions (each additionally priced at $249), and it is possible the way in which of the longer term for many sensible locks.

Many sensible locks join through Bluetooth to your cellphone, which helps you to management the lock once you’re in shut proximity to it. For management exterior of that vary, certainly for management from wherever on this planet, you want Wi-Fi. Beforehand, sensible lock makers have relied on a plug-in Wi-Fi adapter, just like the August Join, to combine Wi-Fi, however the sensible lock panorama has modified rather a lot for the reason that first August lock. Redesigns in Wi-Fi chip know-how made it attainable for corporations like August to work it into lock design extra simply. After that, it is all about fine-tuning lock and app efficiency to get essentially the most battery life attainable out whereas nonetheless hanging onto that Wi-Fi sign nicely. 

As for compatibility, the August Wi-Fi Good Lock works with AlexaGoogle and Siri for voice instructions in addition to routines and automation along with your platform of alternative. Assigning digital keys to further lock customers stays free, a spotlight of August’s insurance policies, and you will additionally get loads of choices for setting notifications when one thing occurs, or would not, at your door. The August Wi-Fi Good Lock comes with a DoorSense sensor, so you possibly can know if somebody leaves the door open or closes it however leaves it unlocked. 

I’ve at all times been keen on August’s geofencing auto-lock and -unlock capabilities, and that continues to be true for this mannequin. When your cellular gadget is 200 meters (656 ft) from your property both leaving or returning, the lock will lock or unlock, for those who’ve chosen to activate that operate. It requires that you simply preserve Wi-Fi enabled in your cellular gadget, and it labored nicely in my testing. That is a giant assist not having to fiddle with keys or an app to open the door. Auto-lock can be custom-made for time, so you possibly can set the door to lock wherever from instantly after it is unlocked all the way in which as much as half-hour later. 

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The August Wi-Fi Good Lock runs on two CR123 batteries.


Chris Monroe/CNET

Wi-Fi is not straightforward on batteries, and that is the primary August mannequin with the CR123 battery. The crew at August estimates the lock’s batteries ought to final three to 6 months. That is a shorter steered lifespan than the six months to a 12 months promised for the older, AA fashions.

Based on August, the no. 1 consider battery life is the standard of your Wi-Fi connection. If the lock must always reconnect to an entry level or get up as a result of polling from the entry level, you may see a faster drain. Battery life may also be affected by how usually you lock and unlock your door, particularly over Wi-Fi or information connections. 

For those who do not like the concept of maintaining with the batteries on a sensible lock, clearly this is not the product class for you. A two-pack of CR123s at your native huge field retailer ought to value round $8 to $10. The excellent news is, as with earlier technology August Good Locks, even when the batteries are useless you possibly can nonetheless use a bodily key to unlock your door.

Notice: I did encounter a low battery warning simply three days into testing the August Wi-Fi Good Lock. I knew my batteries should not be low so quickly. I used to be utilizing a beta model of the August app and after speaking with the crew, they discovered a bug within the battery prediction algorithm that led to a untimely low-battery notification. August engineers resolved the bug on the again finish, and I did not have any points after that. The August crew assured me that prospects won’t see this as soon as the sensible lock is on the market for buy.

With regards to safety, August implements sufficient options to make me be ok with placing it on my door. It makes use of two-factor authentication to log into your account or create a brand new one. It additionally makes use of Bluetooth encryption, AES 128-bit and TLS encryption for the cellular app. You possibly can even disable your August app and all digital keys at any time through a particular desktop website in case your cellphone is misplaced or stolen. Voice unlocking through the varied digital assistants requires a spoken PIN. 

August fashions in contrast

Worth

Dimension (in inches)

Wi-Fi

Z-Wave

Google

Alexa

HomeKit

August Good Lock

$150

2.7 W x 4.8 H x 2.1 D 

Requires August Join ($199 for bundle)

No

Sure

Sure

No

August Good Lock Professional

$280

3.4 W x 2.2 D

Requires August Join (included)

Sure

Sure

Sure

Sure

August Wi-Fi Good Lock

$230

2.83 W x 1.81 D

Constructed-in

No

Sure

Sure

Sure

Learn extra: How to use your smart lock safely | What to know before buying a smart lock

A reviewer’s anecdote 

Earlier than I examined this lock at my home, I had a smart keypad ($49 at Amazon) on my entrance door. My husband and I are identified to run or stroll the canine with out our keys and phones, so a keypad is a good way to get out and in of the home with out pockets stuffed with {hardware} and let household and neighbors in with their very own codes when wanted.

The day after I arrange the August Wi-Fi Good Lock, we walked the canine across the neighborhood with out our keys or telephones. It is a good, digital detox. In setup, I opted for the lock to relock after 5 minutes. Once we received again after half an hour, I spotted I had no technique to open the door as a result of my cellphone and keys had been inside.

Fortunately, we might left a aspect door unlocked, however I had a enjoyable 60 seconds of panic. For those who’re switching over from a keypad or another keyless exterior system, you may must retrain your mind. For those who personal an Apple Watch ($430 at Target), you possibly can keep away from this drawback altogether by putting in the August app, which can work through geofencing identical to your cellphone. An add-on August keypad ($60) can also be an possibility. 

To purchase or to not purchase?

For those who’re keen on a sensible lock, however wish to preserve your exterior {hardware} conventional, that is the lock for you. It is not low cost at $230, however needless to say you will not should spend any extra cash on a Join module to get Wi-Fi distant entry advantages. That addition of Wi-Fi makes August really feel recent and up to date. The discount in measurement is nice, too. 

Different locks with Wi-Fi inbuilt value simply as a lot and require changing your whole deadbolt. The August Wi-Fi Good Lock turns rather more easily than earlier August fashions, takes up much less house and is simply as sensible and safe. For those who preferred earlier August sensible locks, you may love this one. 

For these causes, we have determined to award it our Editors’ Alternative for Greatest Good Lock. 

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