Hands-on Gear Review

August Smart Review

Price:   $150 List | $111.50 at Amazon
Pros:  Easy to install
Cons:  Lackluster smart features, keyless entry often slow
Bottom line:  Mediocre smart features don’t really provide more value than a much cheaper and dumb keypad lock
Editors' Rating:   
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Apple HomeKit:  No
Amazon Alexa:  Yes
Google Assistant:  Yes
Manufacturer:   August

Our Verdict

The August Smart provides pretty much all of the features you could want from a smart lock, but in execution some of those features aren't the greatest. For example, remote access sharing works, but is a somewhat laborious feeling process if you're the one receiving that access. Also, we ran into a lot of glitchiness when it came to keyless entry, which led to a lot of impatiently standing outside the door. In both of these cases we found the Schlage Sense to be superior, and thus a better option for most people.



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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Max Mutter and Steven Tata

Last Updated:
Wednesday
July 4, 2018

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The August Smart is easy to install, but that's really the only thing we would say that it excels in. In every other metric it was at or near the bottom of our scoresheets.

Installing the August Smart onto an existing deadbolt is easy.
Installing the August Smart onto an existing deadbolt is easy.

Performance Comparison


The August Smart came out very close to the bottom of the scoreboard when our testing was all said and done. For the skinny on why that happened, read our detailed testing results below.

Smart Features


Adequate but not convenient sums up how we feel about the August Smart's smart features. First off, this lock does not come with a smart hub, so you'll have to get one to use any of its features outside of the Bluetooth key. This lock is compatible with Alexa and Google assistant, but noticeably not Apple Homekit or Z-Wave. The Lock does provide remote locking/unlocking and an activity log.

Where things get a bit complicated is remote access sharing. You can provide time constrained access to dog walkers, cleaners, contractors, etc. remotely, but those people will have to jump through some hoops to get that access. You can send the access invitation from the August App via text message or email. The recipient must then download the August app on their phone (annoyingly some of the invites don't have a link to the app, you have to go into the app store and find it yourself). Then they must create an August account. This account won't work until they've clicked through links in both email and text confirmations. Once all this is done, they can use their phone as a Bluetooth key when within range of the lock.


This system works, but it assumes that the person you're sharing access with either already has an August account and app installed on their phone, or that they have the requisite cell service and spare time to set those things up before they get into your home. A keypad lock solves all of these problems by simply letting you text a code to whoever you want to provide access to, and the best model we've found for doing this is the Schlage Sense. Therefore, if you're looking for a smart lock because you have to let lots of people into your home on a moments notice, the August Smart is not the best choice.

Keyless Entry


This is another area where the August Smart was technically functional, but not without annoyances. We never ran into an instance where we couldn't unlock the door without using a key, but we did run into many instances where unlocking the lock required 20+ seconds of angrily tapping on the unlock button in the August app before anything actually happened. If we were to use the August Smart as a full time front door lock, we would probably end up defaulting to using a physical key, as this kind of annoyance would get old quite quickly.

Keyless entry requires opening the August app.
Keyless entry requires opening the August app.

Security


You can't really pin down the security level of the August Smart since it installs on top of an existing deadbolt. Therefore it adopts the security rating of whatever deadbolt you use it with. We can say that the auto locking feature of the August Smart is reliable, so it's pretty much impossible to forget to lock the door with this device. Just remember not to get locked out if you go to get the mail sans phone.

Installation


This is the one area where the August Smart really excels. Since it simply sits on top of an existing deadbolt, all you have to do is undo a couple screws, remove the backplate, and screw the August Smart on. The app setup is simple, and we found linking it and the lock to various smart hubs to be fairly straightforward.

Installing the August Smart onto an existing deadbolt is easy.
Installing the August Smart onto an existing deadbolt is easy.

Value


The August Smart lists for $150, but requires purchasing a separate smart hub if you want to use its smart features. Seeing as we found those smart features lackluster, we don't feel that this is money well spent. We think most people would find both a better value and user experience in a $50 dumb keypad lock.

Conclusion


While the August Smart installs in a snap, that is the only part of using this device that we found particularly pleasant. We would suggest a dumb keypad lock, or something like the Schlage Sense over this lock.

Max Mutter and Steven Tata

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