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I’m always in the market for new smart home stuff. Just about every room in my house has some gadget or accessory to make things a bit easier. Recently, I moved this smart home mission outside with the addition of Ring Video Doorbell, but now I’m tackling the front door with the August Smart Lock…
I’ve always been interested in smart locks, but there was something about August that caught my eye from the moment it was announced. This lock pairs up with your iPhone via Bluetooth and can unlock the door with the tap of the screen or by utilizing its location-based feature, but more on that later. I’m a big fan of the industrial design and it also leaves the front side of the door untouched. The only thing required is that you replace the thumb latch on the inside with the August Smart Lock. August Connect expands on the basic functionality by giving you remote access from anywhere, which will allow you to unlock the door for someone without actually being there.
Inside of August’s box you’ll find everything needed to get August installed and running (even the batteries). Some standard documentation (quick start guide), the August Smart Lock unit, and three mounting plates with adapters for installation are all included. With the August Connect, you’ll just find a small box with a square plug inside.
I was able to get everything put together and installed in about 10 minutes using the short installation guide provided, but August also has an official installation video that you can check out as well. Installation involves removing the old thumb latch on the inside and replacing it with one of the included mounting plates and color coded adapters which are specific to your current lock’s brand. Different manufacturers correspond to the different numbered plates and color adapters, which are all listed in the installation guide. From there, you just mount the August Smart Lock on the inside of the door and secure it with the latches on each of its sides.
Check out our August Smart Lock + Connect video below:
August is powered by four included AA batteries which are rated to last up to a year. When the batteries are running low, the August app will notify you within enough time to replace them. By itself, August pairs with your iPhone via Bluetooth, but the optional Connect accessory will communicate with August while connected to your Wi-Fi network to receive remote commands from your phone as mentioned.
Because nothing changes on the outside of your door, you’ll still be able to use your existing keys in case you’d like to ever use them. August can also be used in manual mode by simply twisting it to the left or right (kind of like a giant door knob) to lock or unlock the door. That’s not exactly the point though. Once August is installed, you can download the free app, create an account, and get everything calibrated to take advantage of its core features.
The lock’s status is shown with a red circle (locked) or a green circle (unlocked). Tapping on this circle will perform either a lock or unlock action. Swiping to the left panel within the app will reveal the lock’s activity log and guest book for comments, while the right panel will show the existing users/guests of the lock. You can add as many guests or owners as needed by inviting them within the app and filling out a few simple details.
For each guest you can specify a permanent, reoccurring, or temporary key. August also has the ability to send you notifications (per user) when someone enters the house. This feature can be enabled/disabled in the guest/owner settings. Any owner will have full control of the settings for the lock. The only downside is that guests will not be able to take advantage of August’s Auto Lock feature (explained below), so they will need to launch the app in order to unlock the door. Owners have full access to everything, but I wish there was a middle point between guest and owner that would allow use of certain features without access to all the device’s settings.
One interesting feature is called Auto Unlock. This will utilize a geofence and use your iPhone’s location to detect your proximity to the lock. When you’re arriving home, August will unlock the door as you approach it. After some extensive testing, I only found that this feature worked roughly 6 out of 10 times. Ideally, this should work 100 percent of the time. Hopefully future software updates will fix this, but for now I was a bit disappointed.
Ever Lock is another smart feature within the app that will automatically lock the door after a specified amount of time has passed. I found this feature to be extremely helpful and never had a problem with it. I understand that it takes a great amount of confidence in a product like this to just leave your house without locking it. I’m still a little skeptical, but for now, I have the ability to remotely check the lock’s status within the app using August Connect. Either way, any smart home system like this is hard to trust initially.
The Connect accessory is an add-on (purchased separately) that connects to your Wi-Fi network and talks to the Smart Lock via Bluetooth. While it does take a little while longer to operate the lock remotely, August Connect worked reliably in my testing. One benefit here is being able to unlock the door for someone without inviting them to be a guest, which admittedly is a lengthy process overall for a small temporary situation. I’d rather use the Connect module any day rather than going through the invite process for my guest’s temporary entry needs.
August also features integration with the Nest Learning Thermostat. If you have one, you can connect a Nest account and each time you leave August will ask if you’d like to set the thermostat to away in order to save energy. The notification each time is kind of annoying and I wish there was a default option that could be specified, but I appreciate the cross platform/product integration. Hopefully, future software updates will improve on this as well.
Overall, August and its Connect accessory is great as a pair. With August alone, you shouldn’t experience any issues aside from the few mentioned above, but I prefer the ability to check in on things remotely. I guess we can thank my smart home trust issues for that. At the same time, can we ever fully trust something like this to perform with 100 percent accuracy?
Computers/electronics/software fail over time. I’m not saying that a smart lock is a bad idea because I’ve been enjoying my time with August, but your security is always at the hands of the product’s reliability and the software developers behind it. I will continue to use August, but I’m not sure it’s something that I can just install and forget about. A smart lock’s functionality and reliability will always be in the back of my mind.
If you’d like to find out more about August or the Connect accessory, you can visit the product’s website. August Smart Lock is available for $249.99, while the optional Connect accessory can be had for $49.99. Definitely not the cheapest smart home accessory out there, but its convenience may make up for that.
I’m a fan of smart home technology and August provides an easy way to lock/unlock your door without keys. Free guest/owner keys are definitely a plus side and there were only a few occasions where it was necessary to pull out my phone and use the app to unlock the door. It has officially replaced my traditional house key, but that key isn’t leaving my key chain just yet.
Filed under: Reviews Tagged: August, August Smart Lock, connect, review, smart home, Smart lock, video
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Most cases will protect your iPhone during regular use, and many can handle accidental drops and a little abuse, but very few can withstand deliberate punishment. An amusing new Battle Damage video from Wired uses abusive tests to crown the “toughest iPhone case ever” from four different ultra-protective models: Griffin’s $50 Survivor, LifeProof’s $80 Fre, Lunatik’s $125 Taktik Extreme, and Otterbox’s $50 Defender. The iPhone 5 units inside the Griffin Survivor and LifeProof Fre don’t make it through the first test, a hard smash of the encased iPhone on a hard floor, but Lunatik’s Extreme and Otterbox’s Defender go onto a second test: attempting to withstand a 50-pound safe while standing in a completely vertical position.
Unless you’re planning to drop a safe on your upright iPhone, the smaller and more affordable Defender seems like a smarter choice. But only Lunatik’s metal-reinforced Extreme survived the safe-dropping test; an iPhone 6 version hasn’t yet been released. Most people will do just fine with regular iPhone cases (or great iPhone battery cases), but if you want something that can protect against Looney Tunes-like antics, check out the video for some nice camera work and screen-shattering fun.
Filed under: iOS Devices Tagged: accidental damage, battery cases, battle damage, Damage, Griffin, iPhone, iPhone 5, iPhone 6, LifeProof, lunatik, OtterBox, Protective cases
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Earlier this week, we noted that Apple has opened up a new web portal for business owners to order Apple Pay decals to promote their support of the service. Now, these stickers have begun arriving to those who have ordered. As can be seen in the image gallery below, the decal pack includes a placement guide, multiple stickers, and a tool to apply the stickers. Thanks, Michael.
Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple pay, businesses, Decals, mobile payments, POS, stickers
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