Hands-on Gear Review

Nest x Yale with Connect Review

Price:   $280 List
Pros:  Works well within Nest ecosystem, easy to install
Cons:  Remote access sharing often malfunctions, no compatibility outside of Nest, no physical key backup
Bottom line:  A useful tool for existing Nest users, but problems with remote access sharing limit functionality
Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Apple HomeKit:  No
Amazon Alexa:  No
Google Assistant:  No
Manufacturer:   Nest

Our Verdict

One of the latest offerings in Nest's ever growing lineup of smart home devices, the Nest x Yale attempts to add remote door locking and access sharing to that smart ecosystem. And, in our experience using the lock, it about halfway delivers on that promise. While the lock provides easy keyless access, remote unlocking capabilities, and an accurate activity log, we often ran into issues when trying to remotely share access to the lock with others. You can somewhat work around these issues if you're diligent about manually creating and managing keypad codes, but this feels like a very small step up from a dumb keypad lock. Therefore, we would only suggest the Nest x Yale if you are already committed to the Nest ecosystem and want a smart lock that can integrate into that system. Otherwise, we think the Schlage Sense provides a better set of more reliable and more useful features, and would thus be a better choice 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 Nest x Yale works well as a keypad lock, but some of its smart, access sharing features fall short. It is still a worthwhile tool if you already have other Nest devices, but otherwise we would prefer the Schlage Sense over this lock.

The Nest x Yale's keypad offers easy user entry for teh owner of the lock  though we did run into issues when sharing keycodes with others.
The Nest x Yale's keypad offers easy user entry for teh owner of the lock, though we did run into issues when sharing keycodes with others.

Performance Comparison


The Nest x Yale was one of the top performers in our testing, losing out only to the Editors' Choice winning Schlage Sense. To figure out if the Nest x Yale would be a good addition to your home, read more about our in depth testing below.

Smart Features


The Nest x Yale was somewhat of a disappointment in our smart features testing, earning an average score of 5 out of 10.


The Nest x Yale only works in conjunction with the nest app. That means no integration with things like Alexa and Google Assistant. This is really only a software limitation, so it could change at any point, but as of now this is a Nest only device.

Controlling the lock through the Nest app is easy and works well. It lets you set keycodes for the lock, open and close it remotely, and see a full activity log of what the lock has done. So if all you want is a smart lock that lets you leave your keys at home, check it's status and activity remotely, and want to be able to do all that in the app you already use for your Nest security cameras, thermostats, smoke detectors, and so forth, the Nest x Yale would likely be a worthy addition to your home.

Where the Nest x Yale's smart features kind of fall apart is with remote access sharing. The majority of access sharing must be done through the app, which means the people you want to share access with need both a Nest account and app. While both of these things are free, it certainly presents a bit of a hurdle if you suddenly want to share access to your home with a new dog walker. Also, while the app lets you easily create time constrained keypad codes that can then be shared with other people that have the Nest app, we often ran into issues. Nearly 50% of the time we simply got error messages when the app tried to produce a keycode, resulting in no shared access.


You can get around these sharing issues in a couple of ways. First, you can create a new keycode for the lock and simply text that code to someone. However, Nest does not let you create time constraints for these types of codes, so you are essentially sharing 24/7 access until you delete the code. This may work if you're meticulous about manually managing those codes, but it certainly doesn't feel smart. You can also lock/unlock the lock remotely, so someone could text you when they get to your door and then you could hop into the app and unlock the door. Again, the user input required here doesn't feel very smart.

In contrast to these sharing difficulties, the Schlage Sense lets you make a time constrained keycode and then text it to someone, so the recipient doesn't need an account or an app. In all of our testing we only ran into one isolated instance where one of those codes didn't work. Therefore the Schlage Sense is both more convenient and more reliable for sharing access to your home with other people.

Keyless Entry


The Nest x Yale performed quite well in our keyless entry testing, earning it a score of 7 out of 10.


There are two ways to open the Nest x Yale without a key. The first is by punching in a keypad code. The second is taking out your phone, opening the Nest app, and pushing a button. Both methods were effective in our testing, though we would probably opt for just punching in a keycode instead of fumbling around with a phone. The one exception might be if we had a lot of groceries to carry, in which case you could use the app to unlock the door from your car, before filing your arms with groceries.

We like that the Nest offer keycode entry so you don't even need to take your phone out of your pocket to open the door.
We like that the Nest offer keycode entry so you don't even need to take your phone out of your pocket to open the door.

The one thing that kept the Nest from getting a top score in this category, ironically, is the fact that it doesn't have the option to use a physical key. While this does make it harder to pick the lock, it also means you can be locked out of your house if the lock's battery dies. In that case you can hook up a 9-volt battery to from the outside to temporarily give the lock power, but this feels like much more of a hassle than just keeping a key hidden in your glove compartment for the odd time when the lock runs out of battery. Our favorite model, the Schlage Sense, provides this option.

Security


The Nest x Yale is one of the more secure locks we tested, picking up a score of 7 out of 10.


The Nest x Yale is rated as ANSI Grade 2, meaning that it well surpasses the minimum security standards required for residential locks, but doesn't quite meet commercial lock standards. This is better than the Grade 3 rating of its main competitor, the Schlage Sense. Like the Schlage, the Nest x Yale also lets you use an auto locking feature with a custom delay. Whereas most locks automatically lock after 30 seconds of inactivity, you can set the Nest to do this more quickly or to wait a bit longer. This means you can set it so you won't get locked out when walking out to the mailbox and back. We found this auto locking feature to be effective; we never ran into an instance when it failed.

The Nest is ANSI Grade 2  meaning it is slightly more secure than the average residential lock.
The Nest is ANSI Grade 2, meaning it is slightly more secure than the average residential lock.

Installation


The Nest x Yale earned the top score in our installation testing, largely because of the streamlined design of the Nest app, and the fact that the lock easily accommodates most standard door sizes.


The Nest x Yale installs in the vast majority of standard doors with only the use of a screwdriver. It's very unlikely you'll have to do anything more unless you have a custom door frame. If you're not the DIY type, you can easily find a Nest expert in your area that will install the lock for a fee. Or you could look at one of the August locks, which install onto an existing deadbolt, simplifying the installation process.



Once the lock itself is installed, getting it hooked up to the internet and talking to the Nest app is fairly seamless. Nest is no stranger to smart devices, and the software setup reflects this. You will need either a Nest Connect Hud or a Nest Guard security system in order to connect the lock to your WiFi network and unlock its smart features.

The Nest x Yale is quite easy to install.
The Nest x Yale is quite easy to install.

Value


All smart locks cost between $200 and $300 when you factor in the cost of the necessary smart hubs. The Nest x Yale is $280 with a Connect Hub, and $260 without one. We think the Schlage Sense, which lists for $260 with its corresponding smart hub, is a better lock overall. However, if you've already invested in other Nest products, the Nest x Yale's integration into that existing systems gives it a bit of a bump in value.

Conclusion


The Nest x Yale is functional but not great. It is a worthwhile purchase if you're already invested in the Nest ecosystem and want to be able to monitor your lock remotely. However, we did run into some issues with sharing access remotely, so it may not be a great choice for letting in the dog walker.

Max Mutter and Steven Tata

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