Review: August WiFi Smart Lock – it doesn’t get any better than this, folks
It’s pricey, but it’s one of the best money can buy right now.
As I’ve stated in an earlier review, I’m not really good when it comes to my hands, so home improvement projects take me a little longer to complete than most folks. But the idea of replacing a lock on my front door seemed easy enough. This is what I was tasked with when I attempted to install the all-new August WiFi Smart Lock, and I have to say, it was a whole lot easier than I initially thought.
But before we get to that, what exactly is the August WiFi Smart Lock? In a nutshell, it’s a WiFi-connected lock that you install on your existing door lock, and it gives you the ability to lock or unlock your door from your smartphone anywhere in the world. Pretty neat, right? Yup, it sure is. But how does it perform? Is it a pain to install? Is this something you’ll actually need? I’ll answer all those questions shortly below, so yea, let’s get right to it.
On the outside, the device looks like a hockey-puck, but don’t let its looks fool you. This thing is built tough and has a nice premium feel to it. The device measures 2.83 inches in diameter and just 1.81 inches in depth. It’s not overly big, but at the same time, it’s not necessarily small either. According to August, the lock is 45% smaller than previous versions.
Is it an eyesore? That depends on who you ask. My wife currently isn’t pleased with how it looks on our door, but that could be due to the color of the lock. We currently have the Matte Black option, but there’s a Silver option available too.
The big-ticket feature this new August Smart Lock has to offer is that it has WiFi built right into it. Previous versions required you to buy an $80 Connect WiFi bridge. It’s either that or you had to rely on Bluetooth connectivity. Meaning, you can only unlock and lock the door when you’re in close proximity. Obviously, built-in WiFi is a whole lot better.
So, how much of a pain is it to install the new August WiFi Smartlock?
Surprisingly, a whole lot easier than I initially thought. When I originally went to install the lock, I carved out an hour of my schedule, because like I mentioned earlier in this review, what takes an average person to perform a 10-minute job, takes me an hour. But that wasn’t the case with this. I was literally up and running within 10 minutes. I was definitely surprised at how easy August made this whole installation process.
The lock is installed on the inside of your door and is retrofitted to fit most locks in the US. The most intensive thing you’ll have to do when it comes to the installation is removing the thumb latch on the interior side of the door.
From here, all you have to do is mount the August plate with the adapter that fits your preexisting deadbolt, and then complete the installation by attaching the smart lock with its two locking wings. If you’re someone who relies on step-by-step instructions (hey, that’s me!), the August iOS or Android app walks you through the process with helpful instructions and animations to make sure you don’t mess up along the way.
How does the August WiFi Smartlock perform?
This thing is an absolute game-changer. But if you’re wondering if you can still unlock or lock the door manually with your hands, the answer is yes. Sure, you can control the lock with your smartphone, but there’s going to be times you’ll want to go the old fashioned route and simply lock the door from the inside using your hand. That’s a given.
But having the ability to do it with your phone or voice is truly out of this world. Speaking of voice, the August WiFi Smart Lock is compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri. Instead of launching the app to control the lock, I simply tell Siri “Unlock the front door” and boom, open sesame. The same goes for locking it too. Since having this lock on my door, I think I’ve only opened the app a handful of times to unlock my front door. The app is user-friendly, and it offers a ton of different helpful features, but being able to control it simply by using my voice gets the job done.
Here’s where it comes in really handy: I’ve caught myself a few times already laying down in bed ready for sleep to have my wife ask if I had locked the front door. Previously, I would have to walk down the stairs to check to see if it was locked manually – and in most cases, it wasn’t – and I would feel awful about leaving the door open to anyone who wanted a glimpse of that sweet Raposo life. So now, when she asks, I simply look her in the eye and command Siri to lock the front door me. I’m sorry, but I’m pretty sure that will never get old.
Another particularly neat feature is the app’s geofencing auto-lock and unlock capabilities. If your smartphone is within 656 feet (200 meters) of the lock, whether you’re leaving or returning home, the lock can be locked or unlocked automatically. You’ll just have to set your desired preferences in the app. This alone is a very helpful feature, especially for absent-minded folks like me.
My only caveat with the August WiFi Smart Lock:
Since this puppy is completely wireless and has built-in WiFi, battery life comes into play. The device is powered by two CR123 lithium batteries. August says that the two CR123 batteries are capable of working from three to four months.
August gives you two batteries free of charge, but after that, you’re on your own. And these lithium batteries aren’t necessarily cheap either. Thankfully, the app will notify you when the battery life is down to 25% but nothing before that.
The Bottom Line
If being able to control your door’s lock with a smartphone doesn’t excite or you don’t find a need for that sort of accessibility, the August WiFi Smart Lock probably isn’t for you. However, if you’re someone who needs features like this in your home, this is probably the best smart lock money can buy right now.
You get to keep the door’s existing hardware in place and you don’t have to spend any extra money on WiFi bridges as you would with most smart locks available on the market. This device is extremely convenient. A lot more than I originally thought. But this convenience doesn’t come cheap. The August WiFi Smart Lock retails at $250. Yea, it ain’t cheap. But it’s an absolute Godsend if you’re someone who finds themselves constantly digging for their keys. I personally love it and am heavily considering getting another one for my backdoor. But again, that price. Ouch, my wallet.
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