Popular smart lock maker August now has a product for everyone. There is the affordable August Smart Lock, the 2nd generation August Smart Lock with HomeKit, and then the “kitchen sink” model called the August Smart Lock Pro, which I’ve spent some time reviewing.
It includes the third-generation smart lock, the August Connect Wi-Fi bridge, and the new DoorSense module.
What is it?
The August Smart Lock Pro is on top of August’s smart lock lineup. It takes everything from the 2nd-generation HomeKit version and adds a few additional features. It also is bundled with the August Connect. The Connect acts as a Wi-Fi bridge, allowing you to control it remotely and get notifications while you aren’t at home.
I’ve used all three versions of August’s locks for years now, so I tested it out to see how it stands by itself, and how it compares to the 2nd generation, and if it’s worth the upgrade.
To get the full picture, check out the video review and see it in action.
The lock itself is quite hefty. It has a very solid feel to it that helps reinforce that it is a premium product. It’s exterior is just slightly different from the last generation. It comes in two colors, silver or dark grey. Previously, it was more of a black colored finish, so this gunmetal color is a bit lighter. The knurling pattern also has changed from a series of circles to something similar to the goyard pattern.
Other than those two small aspects, it remains largely unchanged. It still is a bit on the large side, protruding from your door a bit more than I would necessarily like, though I’ve gotten used to it over the years.
It runs on four AA batteries that are easily accessed through the front faceplate that is magnetically attached. I usually get around 3 months of battery on my second generation lock, and with such minor changes, I assume I should see similar results here with the Pro.
Installing the latest August is the same as the previous two generations. Instead of replacing your whole deadbolt, it simply replaces the thumb latch on the interior of the door.
It uses a metal mounting plate that sits very close to the door, that the August attaches to with a set of wings on either side. When mounted, it is very secure, and the mounting mechanism is nearly unnoticeable.
If you are familiar with the second generation HomeKit-enabled August, you will be familiar with the majority of its features.
You can control the lock from your phone, locally via Bluetooth, or remotely over the internet with the August Connect Wi-Fi bridge. You can share keys with an unlimited number of users, and even restrict them to certain times or days.
It has all the other standard features you’d expect like the ability to automatically unlock the door as you arrive home. There is an Auto-Lock mode that will automatically lock the door a set amount of time after it has been unlocked. This used to make me nervous I’d forget my phone and would be unable to get in, but luckily the Apple Watch has quelled those fears.
I really like Smart Alerts which allow you to get a notification based on a certain event. Smart Alerts can be triggered when the lock is manually locked/unlocked, the lock is used by a specific user, or the door is Auto-Locked.
DoorSense is a new feature coming to the latest pair of August’s smart locks. It allows the app to let you know if the door isn’t properly closed.
It involves mounting a small magnet in one of two ways onto your door frame. You can mount it on the interior of the frame, which requires drilling a hole to hide the magnet in, or you can mount it on the side of the frame to the left of the lock. Obviously one is much more inconspicuous, so if you are planning on keeping the August installed for a while, I’d recommend the more in-depth installation as it gets entirely hidden when the door is closed.
DoorSense worked actually quite well in my testing, but it still won’t tell you if the door is just slightly ajar. A few times the door looked closed, but was in fact still open a hair and prevented the August from fully locking. DoorSense never picked up on this. So while it is useful if your door is left open from a kid, it isn’t going to tell you if it is just cracked.
HomeKit support is now something I look for in any smart home accessory before I buy. I know it isn’t the platform everyone uses, but it happens to be my smart home of choice and thus the one I have most experience in.
HomeKit brings a bunch of new capabilities to the August than using it just with the August app. It also takes existing features and makes them better.
For instance, in the August app, you can have it set to automatically unlock when you get home. You can do the same thing with HomeKit, but you can also tie it to all your other accessories. So when you get home, your garage door opens, door unlocks, thermostat adjusts, shades open, and the lights go on. All with one HomeKit scene that triggers on arrival. iOS 11 also makes it possible to only trigger when you’re the first home. If a family member is already home, no need to attempt to unlock the door because it is already unlocked.
HomeKit also lets you get notified about the lock status, control via Siri, and trigger based on other accessories. One of my favorite things to do is tie the August to a light switch, so when we turn the main lights off for the evening, it also locks the door. Then we don’t forget!
As an added bonus, if you happen to have a Home Hub (Apple TV or iPad) within about 100 feet of your August, this will give you remote access without having to use the August Connect.
Smart home platforms
HomeKit isn’t the only smart home platform that the August Pro supports. It works with Amazon Alexa, Google Home & Assistant, Nest, and new to the Pro version, Z-Wave Plus.
That covers pretty much any smart home out there, regardless of the platform you happen to be on.
Wrapping it up
I love this latest generation August. The problem is it is really hard to recommend people upgrade over the previous generation. It just doesn’t offer any compelling enough features to warrant the purchase. The only difference is DoorSense and Z-Wave Plus. If you are a HomeKit user, you most likely don’t care about the latter.
However, if you are a new user, I can’t recommend the August Smart Lock Pro enough. Considering the Connect costs $77 by itself, the cost is roughly the same as buying the 2nd generation and the Connect separately. You might as well buy the bundle and get DoorSense baked in if you want the pair.
I did have a few hiccups with Auto-Unlock not triggering 100% of the time, but it worked by and large the vast majority of the time. It was far more reliable in this aspect than many other brands of smart lock I’ve tested.
If you are in the market for a new smart lock, I’d recommend the majority of people pickup the 2nd Generation August HomeKit smart lock for $175. It is just as capable, and is at a new lower price.
If you are a more advanced user, or really want that remote access and notification, I’d say go for the exceptional August Smart Lock Pro for $279.