Yale’s numerous forays into the smart lock market have been, shall we say, lackluster, but with the Yale Assure Lever with Connected by August, the company is at least taking a step in the right direction by finally doing what it should have done a long time ago: Surrendering, and handing over its smart features to market leader August.
Yale’s locks have long included a slot wherein you can slide an optional wireless connectivity module that allows the lock to communicate with a Z-Wave or Zigbee hub. Now Yale is adding a third option to the mix, allowing its locks to replicate the August experience, and to work as if the lock is part of the August network. It’s called “Connected by August,” and it would be utter genius if setting it up wasn’t prohibitively screwy.
This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of smart locks. Click that link to read reviews of competing products, along with a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping.
The Yale Assure Lever is, as the name implies, not a deadbolt replacement but rather a lever-based opener designed to replace a standard doorknob lock. My problems with the device began pretty much after opening the box. The chunky hardware initially installs much like any other smart lock, with you connecting the two escutcheons on either side of the door and snaking a power cable between them. But if you aren’t well-versed in lock hardware, you’ll have to rely heavily on the cryptic, broadsheet instruction manual.
The tricky part that stymied me was in getting the levers installed properly. They must be seated on the ends of the connecting posts just so, or else the locking mechanism won’t work at all. It took several days to reach tech support before I finally located the problem: a tiny spring-loaded button on one of the levers that hadn’t popped out all the way, locking everything into place.
With the hardware finally working, I turned to connecting the lock to August’s app by installing the small August wireless module (it looks and feels like a flimsy, old-school Game Boy cartridge) inside the lock and plugging the companion August Connect module into a power socket. Sadly, the app didn’t recognize the new lock at all, kicking back a frustrating “no lock found” error message. Back to tech support I went. Numerous sessions—all via email—ensued, culminating in Yale sending me a new August wireless module altogether.
By the time I had a new module in hand, 15 days had gone by—an awfully long time for anyone to go without a working lock on their door.
The good news is that the replacement wireless module worked. The bad news is that the setup process after that point was festooned with error after error….