Back in July, we reviewed the Kevo smart lock ($220) in light of the newer features that had just been released (scheduling, guest keys, performance improvements). Later in 2014, August, another Bluetooth based lock ($250), started to ship both pre-orders and to retail stores. Being the curiously obsessed gadget guy that I am, I had to at least try the August to see how it compared with the Kevo.
Fundamentally the Kevo and August work the same. Using your phone’s Bluetooth as a key, you can lock and unlock the device. Whereas you need to replace your entire door lock for the Kevo, with the August, you just need to replace just the inside portion of the lock. Installing the August was very simple and a much quicker than the Kevo as you are just removing the back of the lock.
This highlights the design difference between the two locks. To activate the Kevo, you must touch the outside portion of the lock. The Kevo uses capacitive sensors to know when you have actually touched the lock to begin the unlock/lock process. If you are inside, it’s a simple lock switch to swing back and forth. On the other hand, because the August just replaces the back portion of your lock, if you want to be able to engage the lock you must either allow for auto-unlock as you approach the door, or you must go directly into the August app to unlock/lock the door. If inside, you must twist the entire cylinder to physically lock the door. As clean as the August looks, both the Mrs. and I found twisting the entire lock could be cumbersome at times, especially compared to the inside lock switch of the Kevo.
With these two different designs, you either gravitate towards one or the other depending on your comfort level of “is my house really locked”. As much as we liked the August software and certain features (auto-unlock, EverLock), we ended up preferring the direct interaction of the Kevo, both from a security perspective and ease of use. Both the Mrs. and I felt more comfortable that our door was locked with the Kevo as you had to physically touch the lock to activate it.
August, on the other hand, could be activated without ever having to touch the lock. As you approach your house/door, August will use auto-unlock so you can just open it when you get home. This is accomplished by using your phones location services. When you enter the area of your August lock, it will start the auto-unlock process. We found this worked most of the time, but it wasn’t 100%. For locked, August will use the Everlock feature to automatically lock your door after a certain amount of time has passed. Everlock also means that you need to make sure your door is actually shut all the way, or else August will try to lock and fail.
In the end, and to gain the WAF approval, I swapped the August lock back to the Kevo. She is much happier now, especially the fact that it’s easier to just lock the door from the inside with the Kevo. For some reason, she really found it difficult having to turn the entire cylinder of the August, which was not as smooth as Kevo.
Both these locks have announced remote capabilities in the near future. For the August, you will need to purchase August Connect which is a small device you plug into a wall outlet near your lock. The device bridges the connection from WiFi to Bluetooth to provide remote access. Kevo also announced the Kevo Plus which is basically the addition of a hub you plug into your router to accomplish the same thing as the August Connect. Both locks also announced integrations with the Nest thermostat. The idea that as you lock/unlock your door, a message will pop up in the app to set your thermostat to home or away…but those features are for another post. :-)