Android Central Verdict
Bottom line: The August Wi-Fi Smart Lock is the perfect solution if you want to keep your existing keys but just want to add some smarts to your door. It's significantly smaller than previous generations and offers the same great features, all without requiring a Wi-Fi bridge to connect to the Internet.
Wi-Fi connectivity built-in (no hub required)
Smaller, sleeker design is easy to use
Can be installed over your existing deadbolt
Door Sense knows when the door is open or closed
Biometric remote unlocking security
No local protocol support (Z-Wave, etc.)
Auto-locking/unlocking can be finicky with some phones
Why you can trust Android Central
The promise of a "smart" lock is, of course, to help make getting in and out of your home easier. August has taken this definition to heart with the design of the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock, a fourth-generation product that's chock full of convenience features that actually make this lock feel smart.
The significant changes this time around include a considerable reduction in size when compared to previous generation August Smart locks, approximately 45% to be exact. On top of that, August has finally included the Wi-Fi chipset inside the lock itself. That means that, unlike previous-generation August smart locks, you won't need a Z-Wave hub to connect it to the Internet.
As has been the case for all August Smart Locks, the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock doesn't replace your entire deadbolt. Instead, the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock replaces your interior deadbolt thumbturn only. The auto-locking and unlocking features are a godsend in many regards and make this lock feel simply brilliant in most circumstances. It's just a shame that Google Pixel owners likely won't find this feature very useful, as it doesn't work reliably with those phones.
Reface, don't replace
August Wi-Fi Smart Lock: What I like
One of the biggest selling points of August smart locks for generations has been the ability to add intelligence to your existing deadbolt without replacing it. While it's not quite as simple as slapping the new hardware onto the old lock, August's included hardware adapters make it easy to pop off the old screws, drop the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock into place, and screw it right back in the same place the old thumbturn was.
It's a seemingly non-intrusive way to upgrade your lock without going through all the hassle of replacing the entire thing. It's also a great way to add intelligence to a rental home or apartment, as it leaves the keyed deadbolt outside while improving on what's used on the other side of the door. On top of that, the design of the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock is super sleek and a further improvement upon the more industrial looks of the first three generations, but more on that later.
Another brilliant feature is Door Sense, which allows the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock to understand when the door has been completely closed and when it's open (or just ajar). Door Sense can be installed inside of the door frame or attached to the outside of the frame with included adhesive tape. This seemingly small but immensely important feature will give you peace of mind that other smart locks simply cannot. That's because it guarantees that you know that the door isn't just locked; it's also fully closed.
Now, these two big selling points aren't new to the August Smart Lock family. What is new, however, is the inclusion of a Wi-Fi chip right inside of the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock. That's a stark contrast to the first three generations of August Smart Lock, which only featured a Z-Wave radio inside and needed an external hub to connect to the Internet. That Wi-Fi chip inside means that the only thing you'll need to install in your home is the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock. No extra hub, no additional configuration, and no extra power port or Ethernet cable that needs to be set up.
August Wi-Fi Smart Lock Get a grip on great design
If you already own one August Smart Lock, you'll immediately notice just how much smaller the new August Wi-Fi Smart Lock is. At 45% smaller than the first three-generation products, the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock is a gorgeous device that will look great on your exterior doors. Designed by world-renowned Swiss designer Yves Béhar, the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock looks similar enough to the original to be immediately recognizable as an August Smart Lock but different enough to be a noticeable improvement upon the original design.
A new ribbed grip adorns the entire circular facade of the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock, which, in conjunction with the massive size decrease, makes the lock significantly easier to use than previous generations. In fact, thanks to these two important design changes, the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock was more pleasant to use on my door than the deadbolt thumbturn that it replaced. It's kind of weird to think about locking or unlocking a door as a pleasing experience, but the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock made every operation an enjoyable one.
Physical operation is only a small part of the experience, and, if you're using the lock in conjunction with your favorite virtual assistant or smart home service, you may not even physically turn the lock most of the time. If you're using the auto-lock and unlock functions, you may not ever even have to touch your phone at all. The August Home app can utilize your phone's location to automatically lock your door when you drive away and unlock your door when you arrive home. It works brilliantly with most phones and is probably the most convincing use of the term "smart" I've seen in a smart home product.
The August Home app is as pleasant and simple as ever to use, and it makes managing an August-filled smart home an easy task. The lock is front and center the moment you open the app, and you'll be able to clearly identify the door and lock's status in a single glance. A filled red circle means the door is shut and locked, while a hollow green circle indicates the door is closed and unlocked. Tapping the circle in the app will change the lock's status in an instant and, thanks to the new biometric authentication support, can even be required to make sure that you are actually you before the remote operation takes place.
That's a vitally important role to play in smart home security, as it provides a genuinely secure biometric-level of 2-factor authentication for your home's most important security tool: the door locks. You can even link it to Google Assistant and lock or unlock the door, making it simple to open your door without scrounging around for keys. When unlocking via Google Assistant, you'll be required to give Google a security PIN, ensuring that even if someone were to somehow get into your Google account, they couldn't unlock your door without the secondary PIN code.
A snag in the setup
August Wi-Fi Smart Lock: What I don't like
The setup process, as a result of the simplified hardware, is easier than ever. Once you've physically installed the lock on your door, you'll open the August Home app and run through the setup steps. Setup is literally as easy as removing the battery tab on the lock, opening the app, and selecting the lock it finds. It'll be automatically added to your August account, and, from there, you can configure any additional features you want.
Now here's the deal, and it's going to be quite a raw deal for some people: the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock doesn't play nice with Google Pixel phones. August has had this issue for some time now, and it's a result of some sort of incompatibility between the Bluetooth chips Google uses and the ones August uses. I have several phones in my possession, and I can confirm that none of the Google Pixel phones (Pixel 1, 3, and 4) could finish setting up the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock.
Summarily, every other phone I tested had no issues getting the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock set up the first time. iPhone, Samsung, LG, you name it, they all worked just fine. The Pixels also couldn't set up the automatic unlocking feature either, and it's because of the same issue. After speaking with an August representative, it was made clear that the problem here resides on Google's end and is entirely out of August's control.
Once the lock is set up, manually locking and unlocking the lock from your Pixel phone will work perfectly through the app. If you want to test out the automatic unlocking and locking features, just expect some wildly inconsistent results if you've got a Pixel phone. Regardless of who is at fault, the fact of the matter is that Pixel owners are going to have a tough time using this lock to its full potential.
Lastly, if you're already invested in an August Smart Lock ecosystem, it's worth noting that this unit doesn't have any support for the Z-Wave protocol. While this likely won't affect many buyers in any way, folks who have deeply invested in smart homes up to this point might find that the newest lock doesn't function as quickly or reliably with their existing hub setups, simply because it requires a Wi-Fi connection to operate.
If you're looking to keep your existing deadbolt key and just add some smarts to it, Open Sesame is the most straightforward way to do it. Unlike August Smart Locks, Open Sesame actually does sit right over the top of your existing deadbolt's thumbturn and requires zero tools for the installation. It's also quite a bit cheaper at $150, but its more limited range of compatibility with locks might reduce the chances of it working in your home.
If you're looking to ditch the keys all together, the Nest x Yale Smart Lock is the best way to go. For the same price as the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock, you'll be getting an entire deadbolt replacement that completely changes the look and functionality on the inside and outside of your door. The keyless entry system can be activated through the app or with the keypad on the outside. The biggest downside, other than the more complicated installation, is that it only works with Google Assistant.
August Wi-Fi Smart Lock: Should you buy
You should buy this if ...
You're not ready or able to ditch the keys
While it does require some installation, the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock is designed to be installed over your existing deadbolt hardware instead of replacing it. The only part of the deadbolt that gets replaced is the thumbturn, which is generally held in place by one or two screws. Unscrew those, pop the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock on in its place, and screw it in. You'll still have your keys as a backup, or if there's a need for the maintenance crew to head into your dwelling.
You don't want to deal with annoying smart home hubs
The August Wi-Fi Smart Lock has Wi-Fi built right into the lock, as the name suggests. Unlike previous generations of August Smart Locks, you won't need a hub to connect this one to the Internet. That's great for anyone wanting a simpler setup and fewer gadgets to have plugged in around the home.
You want a smart lock that actually feels smart
Automatic locking and unlocking is a game-changer that truly makes the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock feel more than just smart; it feels brilliant. The August Home app also packs in some of the most intelligent security features I've ever seen in a smart home gadget, including the ability to restrict remote unlocking to biometric authentication. That means that even if someone steals your phone and tries to use it to unlock your house, they won't be able to because the phone can't authenticate against their face or fingerprint.
You should not buy this if ...
You have a Google Pixel phone
We're a Google Pixel household, and, while I love the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock's many intelligent features, it's operation is super unreliable with Google's own brand of phones. Even if you manage to get the lock setup with another phone or device, you won't be able to use one of the absolute best features reliably. If auto-locking or unlocking doesn't interest you, this is much less of a negative point.
You want to stop using keys completely
August designed its locks to augment the traditional deadbolt. That's evidenced by the fact that August also sells replacement deadbolts that perfectly fit the styling of the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock. At the end of the day, however, the physical key is still the backup of choice for August. If that's not something you want, this isn't the lock for you.
You have a bunch of Z-Wave devices
While building in Wi-Fi connectivity is a huge plus for many people, some folks are deeply invested in Z-Wave smart home ecosystems and have lots of automation built around that technology. If this is you and you absolutely need all of your automations to work even if there's an Internet or Wi-Fi outage in your home, you should check out one of the other August Smart Locks.
4.5 out of 5
The August Wi-Fi Smart Lock is the ideal evolution of the quality experience we've come to know and love from August. It lets you keep your existing deadbolt and keys yet, somehow, blows other smart locks out of the water with its advanced functionality. But it's not just great features like automatic locking and unlocking that are sure to impress you regularly; it's also excellent app design and biometric security that totally seals the deal. The only downside is if you've got a Google Pixel phone where the experience is, unfortunately, an unreliable one.