August made plenty of waves in 2017, from announcing its third-generation smart lock, to being acquired by ASSA ABLOY (a company that owns many of the top lock companies). Which is leading them to a pretty bright 2018. The company sent over its third-generation Smart Lock Pro with the Connect hub for us to check out and review. We've been using it for a good month, giving us plenty of time to use it and find out all the good, bad and ugly things about this new smart lock, and whether it should find its way into your home. So let's see how well it did, and whether it's worth the $229 price tag.
Installation & Setup
Installing the August Home Smart Lock Pro is actually pretty simple, and the instructions that August Home provides both in the box and through the app are very informative. Basically, you'll need to put the included piece of tap over the front of your existing lock, while you take the inside portion off. This is because you will be keeping the same lock on the outside, so existing keys will work with the lock - this is important for those that live in apartments. Afterwards, you'll attach the August Smart Lock Pro on the inside of the door and go through the setup process, which includes restarting the lock a few times. You will also need to calibrate the lock, so that you are able to actually lock and unlock it properly. August does include a sensor that you can mount just above the lock on the door, so that it knows when the door is open or closed.
There's also the August Connect, which is included in the $229 price, and it is needed to connect to WiFi and to use assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. This was also very easy to install. But you will want to keep it plugged in near the door. Since it connects to the lock over Bluetooth, the closer the better. And this is also something the app will tell you when you are setting it up for the first time. Other than that, it's really simple to get everything set up and working properly.
Design & Hardware
August Home offers the Smart Lock Pro in two colors right now, silver and dark gray. Our review unit is silver, and it fits in quite nicely. Obviously, it's much larger than your typical lock, and that's because it has batteries, Bluetooth connectivity and other components inside. So it does look a bit odd on the back of your door at first, but you get used to the look. The Smart Lock Pro turns to unlock and to lock, but let's face it, you didn't buy this lock to physically unlock or lock your house. You bought it to automatically lock when you leave or when you get back home. And it does that pretty well too.
While August Home only offers the Smart Lock Pro in 2 colors right now, it'll likely offer it in more colors in the near future. Which is something it has done with its older models of the Smart Lock Pro. But silver and dark gray are likely the two colors that most people would want anyways.
The app is built pretty well, though the main issue we have with it is the fact that the lock doesn't stay connected all the time. This is likely to save some battery, since the Smart Lock Pro does work with four AA batteries. But it does slow you down a bit when you open the app and need to wait for it to connect to the lock, which can take up to a minute, and sometimes it's not able to connect, which can also be a bit annoying.
Having said that, the app is still full of great features. The main screen shows you the status of the lock. It'll show red for locked and green for unlocked. You can tap it to lock or unlock the door, and it locks or unlocks almost instantly. The next tab shows the activity for the lock. Showing when the door was locked and unlocked. Not it only shows who unlocked it if you unlocked through the app. But if you did it manually, or automatically, it won't show you who unlocked it. The third tab shows your guest list. Here is where you'll see different profiles for users. You can invite guests to use August Home and get into your home, but you also have the ability of deactivating their access whenever you want. So it's a great feature for those times you go out of town and have someone coming over to take care of your dog or bring in your mail. As you can deactivate their access as soon as you get back. Finally, the fourth tab is full of settings, and there's really not a whole lot of settings available there.
August does have a few features that can really automate your lock. This includes Auto-Lock and Auto-Unlock. You can set the lock to automatically lock at a certain time after you come home or leave your home. I have it set to 2 minutes, which seems to work really well. Then there is also Auto-Unlock, which relies on your location, and when you get within 200 meters of your home, it'll automatically unlock for you. Now that's really close to your home, so that it won't be unlocking when you are 5 minutes away and stuck in traffic, but unlocking when you pull into the driveway. The best use-case I have in my personal experience for the Auto-Unlock is when you come home with groceries and your hands are full. Instead of fumbling for your keys to unlock the door, you can hear it unlock and just walk straight in. It's a minor thing, really, but it does make a huge difference.
Now there are some more features, like Smart Alerts. But these are currently in beta. What these do is alert you to different events. Which includes unlocking or locking the door manually, when the door is locked/unlocked by a specific user, the door left ajar or the door is auto-locked. Then you can also choose to have it alert you during a time range, or whenever it occurs. So this means you could have it set to while you're at work, and you would get a notification when your kid comes home from school. Which can be very useful.
August also announced August Access last year, which is going to allow you to grant one-time access to someone. A few of the partners here include Sears and Deliv. With Sears, you can grant one-time access to the technician to come in and fix your appliances. And with Deliv, you can allow the delivery driver to drop off your package inside your home, instead of leaving it outside where someone could take it. A pretty cool feature, but one we did not get the chance to check out.
Amazon Alexa & Google Assistant Integration
As mentioned, for the August Home Smart Lock Pro to work with personal assistants like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, you do need to have the Connect WiFi Bridge available and setup. From there, you can easily connect it to both assistants, and use your voice to unlock the door. The commands are pretty minimal, there's really only three that you can do. Which includes "Alexa, ask August to lock the front door" or unlock the door, and finally you can ask for the status of the door. Now in our experience, asking for the status of the lock has taken quite a while. It's unclear why it took so long to get the status, but hopefully it's just a bug that August can work out. Although it isn't a command that people would likely do that often. Seeing as, if you want to know that the door is locked, you can just tell August to lock it through Alexa.
Integration with Google Assistant works just the same as with Amazon Alexa, though it is a bit easier to set it up. It's a newer integration, versus Alexa, but it does work largely the same.
There's a whole lot to like about the August Home Smart Lock Pro. Especially if you're looking to make your home a bit smarter these days. Of course, the big thing here is that you can still use your existing keys, and it is very simple to install. August Home did a good job at keeping the installation process nice and simple. The Smart Lock Pro is a great lock to pick up if you use your home for AirBnB or even have guests over quite often. Instead of trusting them with a key that they might lose, you can just give them access on their smartphone and you won't need to worry about them losing the key. Not to mention the fact that the auto-lock and auto-unlock features are also pretty neat.