August Smart Locks get one step closer to reality

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October 2, 2013 11:01 AM PDT / Updated: January 9, 2014 2:44 PM PST
August

If you've been waiting impatiently to preorder Yves Behar's August Smart Lock, today is your day. You can now go to August.com, select among four different color options (silver, dark gray, champagne, and for a limited time, August red), pay $199, and hover by your front door for the estimated first-quarter 2014 delivery of your very own August lock. Behar's smart lock is not only designed to compete with traditional lock systems, it's also a newer entrant into the quickly expanding smart lock market.

And since the August lock is officially one step closer to reality as of, well, right now, it feels like the right time to explore its key features (see what I did there?) and design against some other recent industry favorites. So, how does it compare with the $199 Schlage Camelot Touchscreen Deadbolt, the $219 Kwikset Kevo, and crowd-funded smart locks like the the $179 Lockitron and the $245 Goji ?

The $199 August Smart Lock is made of anodized aluminum with a 3.25-inch diameter. It also measures less than 2 inches tall so it won't stick out far from your door. Installation doesn't appear to be too involved: the whole thing will fit over the inside portion of your existing single-cylinder deadbolt hole. Not positive if it's compatible with your current lock? Here's a list of deadbolts that definitely work with August: Schlage B360 and B60, Kwikset 816 and 660, Baldwin 5041559, Stanley 40497, Defiant 888-281, Arrow E61, and Gatehouse 0117988. Still unsure? Send a photo of both sides of your lock to photos@august.com.

August

Assuming your lock is compatible, you just need a screwdriver. The whole installation is supposed to take 10 minutes. This battery-powered lock doesn't rely on wireless or phone networks to operate -- it's all controlled via Bluetooth technology. So, if there's a power outage, there won't be an interruption. And if your phone battery dies, you can still open your door with a physical key, or by borrowing a friend or neighbor's phone to download the app, log on, and then open your door.

August

From what I can tell, it looks like Yves Behar really nailed this design. I like that it comes in different colors to suit your interior home design and yet, it's unobtrusive. A durable, elegant home automation lock system. But, what can it do?

The August Smart Lock works in concert with the August app, which will be available for Android and iOS devices at launch. The remote capabilities on this lock are intriguing. As with other smart locks, you can extend access to anyone you want via the app, from a cleaning person to your neighbor or a family member. By granting them entry, you can also customize the length of their access from just a few hours to 24-7. You will also get notifications when someone enters or leaves your home -- you can also track how long they stay. August also announced today that it has built EverLock technology into the shipping version of the Smart Lock, which means you can set it to automatically lock the door when it closes behind you.

And it's all totally keyless.

Alternatively, with Schlage, you pay $199 to install a keypad lock. Among other differences, that lock will trigger an alarm if someone tries to tamper with it. You can actually find the Schlage lock for $162 on Amazon, so that's a decent option if you're less interested in home automation and more interested in keyless entry. But, if you want to get more home automation elements from the Schlage, you would have to pay an additional $59.99 for the Nexia Bridge control unit and an additional $9.99 monthly fee for the Nexia Home Intelligence remote management system. So, basically, you have to pay for a lot of extra stuff to get something with August Smart Lock-level home automation functionality.

Lockitron, Goji, and Kwikset's Kevo are all much more in-line with the August Smart Lock's features. Lockitron's $179 price is appealing. It will also send you notifications when someone opens your door -- even if they use a physical key. And it can work with any phone on the market: it has Wi-Fi compatibility for all smartphones, runs Bluetooth 4 for iPhone 4S and 5, and you can use text messages to manage your lock if you have an older, non-smartphone. It even has a built-in knock sensor to alert you when someone is at the door. Another neat Lockitron feature is the highly customizable Arduino-compatible ATMega microprocessor.

At $245, Goji is more expensive than August or Lockitron and I'm not sure why. It does have one standout feature -- it will take a picture of a person standing at your front door and send it to your phone. That's like bringing the peephole to your phone, which is neat. Lock giant Kwikset's $219 Kevo is a bit more affordable than Goji, but is only compatible with the iPhone 4S, 5, 5C, and 5S.

August

Yves Behar's August Smart Lock seems to be a simple, streamlined solution for those of you who spend a lot of time searching for your keys, but always seem to have your phone within reach. The installation appears to be easy and straightforward, and I really like the design -- it's small and sturdy and it fits on the inside of your door. The different colors allow for more customization and the price is right. That's $199 total -- no monthly fees or hourly installation rates like the Schlage and its Nexia upgrade. The only problem is that you absolutely need a smartphone to use August, so if your dog walker still rocks a flip phone from 2007, he or she will need an actual copy of your key.

If you're on the hunt for a heavy-duty alternative to the regular 'ol key entry, you have a lot of options. If you aren't sure about the home automation/app integration angle, the Schlage might be a good option. Otherwise, the August is fairly similar to Lockitron, Goji, and Kevo. They all allow some manner of remote entry, but they vary on device compatibility, design, and installation. Lockitron is the most affordable and the most universal -- you can use an old phone to access the lock via text and it isn't limited like the Kevo on device compatibility. Stay tuned for full reviews of August, Lockitron, Goji, and Kwikset's Kevo.

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Where to Buy

August Smart Lock

Part Number: CNETaugustlock

MSRP: $199.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

About The Author

Megan writes reviews in CNET's Louisville, KY office.