Beyond the predominance of the Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Assistant connected home ecosystems, Samsung SmartThings has shaken out as a reasonable alternative. So it was with high expectations that we embarked on testing the fresh-out-of-the-lab commercial release of the SmartThings Wi-Fi direct integration for the August Smart Lock Pro, a set of code that works without the need for a SmartThings hub or Z-Wave. We were not disappointed, as this new integration works flexibly and smoothly—though you will still need the August Connect Wi-Fi Bridge.
In this review, part two of our August Smart Lock Pro Review series, we cover the ins and outs of using the new SmartThings Wi-Fi integration with August Smart Lock Pro and the August Connect bridge. For an in-depth look at the overall August Smart Lock Pro ecosystem, see August Smart Lock Pro Review: Part 1, where we cover the hardware installation and setup as well as native August app, Apple HomeKit and Apple Home app, Apple Watch, and Apple Siri control options.
By the way, this new August Smart Lock and SmartThings Wi-Fi integration also works with the forthcoming August Wi-Fi Smart Lock (no August Connect is required), the August Smart Lock, Yale Connected by August locks, and the Emtek EMPowered Lock. Yale and Emtek are sister companies to August under the global ASSA ABLOY brand.
August Smart Lock Pro: Why Not Use SmartThings With Z-Wave?
The third generation of the August Smart Lock Pro already has an integrated Z-Wave Plus radio, and this lock has worked with SmartThings through Z-Wave since the lock was released in 2018. The downside of that integration: You must have a SmartThings hub in your home, which adds a level of complexity and additional cost to your setup.
Furthermore, you will have to come to terms with adding a separate Z-Wave network, and the often-confusing Z-Wave Inclusion and Z-Wave Exclusion processes. But once that is accomplished, the upside is a highly secure August Smart Lock Pro installation and one that can integrate with many other Z-Wave products on the market, such as security systems and smart shades.
Additionally, August is the first smart lock maker to achieve S2 Z-Wave Plus certification from the sponsoring Z-Wave Alliance, which is a more secure protocol than the usual S0 rating. So if you are comfortable with Z-Wave and already have it running in your home, by all means use it. And you are not limited to using SmartThings, as most other commercial Z-Wave hubs (such as Wink) will offer similar integrations with August due to the universality of the protocol.
On the other hand, with the new, no-cost SmartThings Wi-Fi direct integration, there is no need to buy a SmartThings or any other hub, and the connections are made through your existing Wi-Fi network and the August Connect Wi-Fi Bridge. When you use this entirely hub-less approach, the Z-Wave Plus radio in your lock will simply remain dormant in the background.
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August Smart Lock Pro + Connect Wi-Fi Bridge (3rd generation, Dark Grey)
August Smart Lock Pro: SmartThings Wi-Fi Integration Setup
To get started with getting your August Smart Lock Pro connected to SmartThings, you will first need to go through the initial installation and setup of your lock by using the latest version of the August app. During that process, you will have to set up an August account, which will later be used to authenticate with SmartThings.
Strangely, the latest August app (we used version 9.70 on iOS) had no knowledge of the new SmartThings integration, but we expect later versions of the app will be aware of it. But don’t let that stop you, since the entire setup process is handled from the SmartThings app side of things.
Download the SmartThings App
If you are not already using latest SmartThings app, you will first need to download the Apple iOS or Android version of the app to your smartphone. In our case, we used version 1.6.43 of the iOS app.
Are you a fan of the still-available SmartThings Classic app? If so, you are out of luck. That version requires you have a SmartThings hub in your home, so the only available option to connect the August Smart Lock Pro will be Z-Wave.
Connect SmartThings with August
Samsung will require that you set up a Samsung account in order to use SmartThings, and you will also need to set up at least one Location (the name and geo-location of your home) in the SmartThings app before you can begin adding devices.
From the SmartThings Home screen, tap the “+” button to display the Add screen, then tap “Device” to get going.
Scroll down to the August Home icon and tap it, then tap “Door Locks.” Once that is done, you will see the “August WiFi locks without SmartThings Hub” and “August Z Wave Lock” options (see the left screen in image above).
Tap the “August WiFi locks without SmartThings Hub” option to continue, which will display the “Select a location …” screen (see the middle screen in the image above).
Select your desired Location and Room, then tap “Next.”
Authenticate with your August account to complete the setup process (see the right screen in the image above).
That’s it. Your August Smart Lock Pro locks should appear as tiles on the SmartThings home screen and will be immediately operable from there. You can rename the tiles to better reflect the name or location of the lock if you prefer.
August Smart Lock Pro: SmartThings Wi-Fi Integration Usage
Using your new-found SmartThings integration is quite straightforward. From the Home screen, a single tap on on the tile’s lock/unlock button will open or close the lock, accompanied by an animation of the lock icon and the appearance of “Locked” or “Unlocked” text at the bottom of the tile. We found open or close operations normally took three to four seconds, which is just a second or two slower than using the native August app.
A single tap elsewhere on the tile will display the Controls tab (see left screen in image above), including Lock state (Locked or Unlocked, plus a lock/unlock button to operate the lock), Contact sensor (Open or Closed, based on the status of the August Door Sense sensor if you have one), and Battery (charge level of the batteries in the August lock).
Lock battery charge level is a nice touch, and is a feature the native August app does not provide. Battery level is a carryover from the Z-Wave world, where battery level is normally provided for most devices.
The History tab (see middle screen on the image above) provides a timeline with a history of all lock/unlock operations and Door Sense events.
Generally, the events in the SmartThings History tab will mirror those in the August app, which are visible on the August Activity screen (see right screen in image above).
August Smart Lock Pro: SmartThings Wi-Fi Integration Automations and Scenes
If you are not convinced SmartThings will be useful with your August Smart Lock Pro, gaining access to the app’s rich Automations and Scenes may convince you.
Automations (see the right screen in the image below) are particularly useful for not only automating locking or unlocking operations, but also including the August lock in automations along with other devices. At last count, SmartThings is compatible with devices from nearly 150 different makers, so many of these can be included in Automations robots that can execute based on Time, Device status, Member (user) location, or Location mode (when SmartThings is configured to use Home or Away status).
Automations can range from the simple to highly complex. For testing purposes, we set up three simple, August-only Automations, named Away Mode, Nightly Lockup, and August Unlocked Text.
Our Away Mode Automation was configured to lock the August Smart Lock Pro as soon as we left the home; Nightly Lockup was set to execute every evening at 9:00 PM to ensure the lock was always locked for the night; and August Unlocked Text was configured to send a text to our smartphone every time the lock was unlocked. All of these worked smoothly.
On SmartThings Scenes (see middle screen in the image above), think of these as macros that can control one or more devices with a single button press from the app. In our testing, we set up simple Leave Home, Movie Night, and Arrive Home Scenes.
These Scenes can, of course, include the August lock as well as any number of other devices from other makers, and can be tapped when desired to control the configured devices. And the best part: Any of these Scenes can be nested into Automations, so they can automatically execute device events en masse based on the conditions you set.
August Smart Lock Pro: SmartThings Wi-Fi Integration on Samsung QLED and Smart TVs
For consumers with all 2018 or later Samsung QLED 4K and 8K sets, as well as many other late-model Samsung Smart TVs, the SmartThings app may already be on their big screen. In that case, once you log into the SmartThings app from your TV, all of your configured devices and Scenes will become controllable.
We have never been able to operate August Z-Wave locks from the SmartThings app on our Samsung QLED sets, although the lock tiles did appear on the big screen. However, we found the new SmartThings Wi-Fi direct integration works splendidly. In the case of our August Smart Lock Pro, tapping its tile by using the Samsung OneRemote can open or close the lock in three to five seconds, comparable to the response time when using the smartphone app.
August Smart Lock Pro: SmartThings Wi-Fi Integration Bottom Line
We were pleasantly surprised at how well and how deeply the SmartThings Wi-Fi direct integration works with the August Smart Lock Pro. In our exhaustive testing, SmartThings app control for the August lock worked reliably with response times only a second or two longer than those experienced when using the native August app. Furthermore, the capability to include the August lock in SmartThings Automations and Scenes gives homeowners an extended array of control options. We can highly recommend it.
Tom Kolnowski is the Chief Content Officer & Founder of Digitized House Media, LLC, the publisher of Digitized House | Guide to the Connected Home. When he isn’t writing about smart home technology, sustainability, and high-performance architecture, you’ll find him exploring faraway destinations with his family.
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