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The new August Smart Lock: Sleeker, 45% smaller and Wi-Fi built-in

It's been a while since August debuted any new hardware, but it's happening in 2020.

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Molly Price/CNET
This story is part of CES 2020, our complete coverage of the showroom floor and the hottest new tech gadgets around.

August retrofit smart locks are popular, and for good reason. We gave multiple generations of August locks our Editors' Choice Award for their easy installation, great app and smart home integration. One of the few downsides to the retrofit lock was its size. The large, circular lock needs to mount on the inside of your door frame, where you'll see it all day. August is now addressing that problem with its fourth-gen Smart Lock, which is 45% smaller than its predecessors. It's called the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock. 

It feels smaller in my hand (a good thing, since I'm constantly lamenting the rise of mega-screen phones) but it's just as sturdy as its predecessors. The team, which includes renowned designer Yves Béhar, stayed true to the original design, while making small updates such as the pattern around the edge. That's now a noticeably grippier ridge design. Along that ridge is a cleverly placed August logo to help you tell whether your door is locked or not. On the inside, the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock is powered by two CR123 batteries. 

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Molly Price/CNET

Beyond looking more discreet, the lock boasts something no August Lock to date can boast: built-in Wi-Fi. That means you won't need an August Connect to remotely monitor this smart lock or manage its access. I've seen a few other smart locks from big names like Schlage and Kwikset take this approach, and I'm glad to see it. Wi-Fi modules are clunky and take up too many outlets. 

"At August, we're constantly looking for ways to evolve what smart home access looks like and implement customer feedback -- a smaller design and an even simpler installation process have understandably made it to the top of our list," said Jason Johnson, August's founder and CEO.  

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The August Wi-Fi Smart Lock in matte black. 

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The August Wi-Fi Smart Lock will be available later this year. We don't have an official price for the lock, but the August team tells me it will be similar to the August Smart Lock Pro, which currently retails for $229. I'd expect $249 might be more like it with the Wi-Fi built in. 

Lots is happening in the smart lock sector this year, from fingerprint locks to smart locks you can't even see. August's long anticipated new lock is well-timed.