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Yale Assure Lock SL Key Free Touchscreen Deadbolt review: Yale's Assure Lock SL slims down the smart lock

Yale Assure Lock SLs with a network module installed can accept up to 250 PIN codes. That's 10 times the 25-code limit of the lock with no module, though it's hard to imagine the need for more than 25 codes in a normal household, Yale seems pretty proud of that expanded option. 

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Network modules available for Assure Lock SL include Zigbee, Z-Wave and iM1 for HomeKit. 

Chris Monroe/CNET

What Yale still doesn't offer is scheduled PIN codes. You can delete PIN codes at any time, but temporary codes that expire still feel like a premium feature we aren't seeing in enough smart locks. If you rent a home to guests, have dog walkers or need to let a handyman in, locks like Kwikset Kevo and Schlage Sense allow codes that expire. This ensures everyone only has access to your home during the time frame you specify.

Yale didn't carry over the Twist & Go unlocking, a Bluetooth feature seen on the Assure Touchscreen Deadbolt, in which you unlock the door by rotating your smartphone 90 degrees before approaching the door. In fact, there aren't any Bluetooth capabilities in the Assure Lock SL, but frankly, with a responsive keypad, network modules that allow app control and voice commands, I don't think Twist & Go will be missed.

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The interior side of the Assure Lock SL is still a rather clunky box in order to house AA batteries, a thumb latch and network module.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Yale's design here is a welcome improvement over clunkier touchscreen deadbolts, but it's not really reimagined or restyled. It's simply a smaller, sleeker version of the interface Yale has been using for years. I don't have a problem with that, but an edgier design approach would've gone a long way. Kwikset certainly took that risk with the Obsidian lock and it looks fantastic. Yale could benefit from doing the same.

The Assure Lock SL does the what it claims to do perfectly well. There's not much exciting about it, and Yale feels confident that users will continue to cough up the extra $50 for smart home integration. While that's probably true, I look forward to a day when things like network modules aren't so expensive or aren't a separate purchase at all.

The ability to change smart home systems without buying an entirely new lock is nice, but not new. You can already do that with August Pro + Connect. You'll pay a bit more, but you'll also get additional features like DoorSense and detailed activity logs.

It's also important to remember that Assa Abloy, Yale's parent company, announced plans to purchase August Home this year. Could the perfect smart lock be just around the corner? Perhaps that partnership will bring us the perfect marriage of tech and tradition. Until then, Yale's Assure Lock SL gets the job done in style.

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