During the day I work in tech on a product team. My days are typically spent in meetings…. errr, I mean doing important product discovery with end-users of software tools. I help identify areas of frustration with those software tools and work with engineers to make the tools better.
Let me start my review by making it clear. Just because there are things about a product that I dislike, doesn’t mean the product itself is bad. Hopefully, I’m able to point out my personal frustrations with the August Smart Lock so you can make a more informed decision about whether it is right for you and your home.
Design – I really dislike the overall design of the product. When Isay design, I don’t mean the engineering, the engineering, installation, and function are pretty fantastic. I mean purely from an aesthetic point of view. It looks like a big metal box strapped to the inside of the door. I could go on and on, but it’s something to be aware of, and I’ll leave it at that.
From a pure function point of view, what i’m looking for in a smart lock is a bit of magic. I don’t want to carry keys anymore, I don’t want to pull out an app each time I use my door, I just want to walk around and pretend that door locks no longer exist in my life. The door should just open when I am near, and lock when I am away. This isn’t quite where we are at today.
The August Smart Lock does allow you to configure some settings to automatically lock and unlock the door based on your GPS location, but it only works once. If I arrive home the garage door unlocks…badass. Now, once I close the door, 1 minute later it locks… also badass. When I come back to the garage to get my lawnmower out, its still locked and I have to pull out the app in order to unlock it. It uses geo fencing and you have to leave the area in order for it to then sense your arrival and unlock.
On top of that, August only allows 1 auto lock/unlock door to be active per home, so when I get home and try to come in through the front door, I am again met with the need to pull out an app and manually unlock (might even be slower than using a key at that point)
Another reason we wanted a smart lock is the ability to see if the door is locked from anywhere with an internet connection. In order to do that, you need to buy the optional Connect Hub. The Connect Hub connects to your wifi network and syncs with your Smart Lock, with some limitations. You need a Connect Hub for each August Smart lock, and it needs to be installed within a few feet of the door lock, so hopefully, you have an outlet next to your door, or you may be out of luck. Otherwise, the locks can only be used when you are nearby with Bluetooth.
Those are my main complaints with the product. They have automagic firmware updates, and most of this is controlled via software in the app. As long as there is isn’t some hardware limitation, some of these issues may be able to be addressed in the future. If not, decide if these are deal-breakers for you before you make the purchase.