Smart locks are the future and most of the modern smart locks are not only small & compact but also versatile. Two of the new smart locks which fall in this category are the Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro and the August Smart Lock Pro. August is a popular maker and the company has gone out and added a slew of features to the Smart Lock Pro. At the same time, the Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro has also earned its share of praises and is usually popular as the 6-in-1 deadbolt.
Hence it only makes sense to pit both the smart locks against each other and see if the Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro is better than the August Smart Lock Pro, or is it the other way around.
Since it's going to be a long post, let's jump right in, shall we? But first,
Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Z-Wave, Nest, IFTTT
Design and Function
As noted earlier, both the smart locks are small and compact and are poles apart from the locks like the August Smart Lock or the Kwikset Halo. The Ultraloq's U-Bolt Pro measures just around 2.95 x 2.95 x 1.22 inches and fits over most standard doors.
The exterior escutcheon looks out of s sci-fi movie (okay, I may have exaggerated things a little) and bears a fingerprint scanner as well as several keys to punch in the PINs. And guess what, the fingerprint reader is surrounded by a LED strip, which glows green to allow entry. And as you may have guessed, it glows red when you punch in the wrong PIN or when the fingerprint is not registered.
There's more to the story. The small escutcheon also bundles a physical key slot, should you be more comfortable using a key. Here, the faceplate slides down to reveal the keyhole. You can see the compact nature in the interior escutcheon as well. Apart from the turn knob, it bundles a fingerprint reader, making it easy and simple to unlock the door.
The good thing about the Ultraloq's smart lock is that the keys are easy and soft to press. At the same time, the reader is a 360-degree reader that reads registered fingerprints with ease regardless of the placement.
The installation process is easy though it requires a bit of patience and knowledge of house tools to get it assembled. During their test, the folks at Tech Hive had some difficulty in mounting the lock to the door frame.
The Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro is not an independent device and needs a bridge to connect to your home Wi-Fi. Though it's a small device it needs a continuous power supply, meaning that one of your power outlets near your front door will be occupied by the bridge.
As opposed to the sci-fi looks of the Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro, the August Smart Lock Pro bundles a simple look and looks much like any knob out there. It's small and compact and measures just about 3.4 x 2.22 x 3.4 inches.
Unlike the one above, there's no concept of a keypad or fingerprint reader. All you need to do is turn it left to unlock and right to lock. It's worth noting that the lock's sides have subtle ridges that help in a better grip. And well, it also helps in uplifting the looks of the lock. August's backlit logo breaks the otherwise the lock's plain look at the bottom. This part also doubles up as the indicator. Like the one above, it glows green when the door is unlocked and red when unlocked.
Like its counterpart above, the August Smart Lock Pro also needs a bridge to function, aptly named Connect. This Connect module connects to the Wi-Fi network, which in turn connects to the smart lock. As you already know, the module needs to be in a strong Wi-Fi zone if you want to see optimum performance and speed.
An added advantage of the August lock is that it can also use your Apple TV (4th) as a bridge. All you need to remember is to keep it within Bluetooth proximity of the lock and the lock configured through Apple Homekit. Cool, no?
Last but not least, both locks come with an override mechanism that can be used to power the lock if the battery dies.
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Smart Assistant Integration
It's 2021 and smart assistant integration is found on almost any device, right from the humble power strip to the jazzy LED strips. So, it doesn't come as a surprise that locks like the Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro and August Smart Lock Pro come with smart assistant integration. In fact, the valid question is how many assistants do these locks support.
For starters, the Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro supports Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT applets. Depending on which smart assistant you use more on your home, you can set them up and lock and unlock doors via voice commands. For example, you can ask Alexa to lock the door.
Do note that the Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro doesn't support Apple HomeKit, which means no 'Hey Siri' voice command support.
The August Smart Lock Pro addresses the limitation of the above lock. It counts quite a few smart assistants under its roof such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Nest, and Apple Homekit. The latter means you can simply ask Siri to lock or unlock the door. And if that was not enough, you can also ask Siri for the status of the door, and the latter is a huge plus.
The best part of the Amazon Alexa integration is that it will ask for a PIN when you set up Alexa in both the locks. This ensures that no random person can simply shout "Alexa, unlock door" to gain entry to your house.
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Connectivity & Performance
As noted earlier, the Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro needs a WI-Fi bridge to function. However, the Bluetooth module is embedded right inside the lock which enables it to be controlled with a smartphone. At the same time, the app provides a wide array of options. From generating temporary PINs to granting and revoking guest access, it lets you do a lot.
The best part is that the lock also allows you to pre-fix or suffix random digits while entering the PIN. As long as the correct string of numbers is present in the PIN, the door will unlock. And well, this one is a great feature, especially if you have snoopy neighbors or are worried about someone videotaping your lock's code from afar.
Apart from that, it also comes with a nifty geo-fencing feature that eases the process of locking and unlocking the door. Once enabled and set, the doors automatically lock and unlock when you are near the smart lock. Speaking of automatic unlock, the U-Bolt Pro also has a feature named Magic Shake.
As suggestive of the name, the door unlocks on its own when you shake the phone. Though it sounds great on paper, the main hindrance is that you need to have the companion app open on your phone to make it work. Bummer, right?
Other than that, the performance is exceptional. As long as the bridge has a stable Wi-Fi connection, unlocking and locking the door is swift. The lock responds instantly whether you are trying to unlock it via the app, PIN, fingerprint, Bluetooth location, or voice commands, though some have complained of the fingerprint reader not reading as expected.
This has been backed by several users as part of their reviews on Amazon. In fact, this smart door lock has seen more than four thousand reviews and has an average rating of 4.5-stars out of 5 on Amazon.
Thankfully, when it comes to performance, the August Smart Lock Pro delivers an incredible performance. Be it the swift unlocking or the mechanical twist of the knob. It does things with ease. Quite naturally, there are no additives like keypads or fingerprint reading. And that's when the app comes into the picture.
It lets you set up features like Auto-Lock and Door Ajar Timing. The former gives you the flexibility to lock/unlock your door based on your location. When enabled, the door will lock/unlock automatically when it senses your smartphone nearby. The other is more of a security feature that sends a reminder if the door remains unlocked for a particular duration (customizable) of time.
It's worth noting that the Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro also has an auto-lock/unlock feature.
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The Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro checks all the right boxes when it comes to smart door locks. It's versatile and bundles a wide array of unlocking features. You can open it via the app, fingerprint, or punch in a PIN to gain entry to your house. And the simple and straightforward app is the cherry on top. Apart from the bridge, you do not need to invest in any additional accessories. It's a little pricey yes, however, it gets you the versatility and the performance for the price.
As opposed to that, the August Smart Lock Pro is a simpler device and doesn't have the added features like a fingerprint reader or a number keypad.
But for what it has, it packs a punch. The smart assistant integration and its excellent performance make it a top pick, especially if you do not want features like a fingerprint reader and the likes. It's priced way less than its competitor. And the simple mechanism makes it a compelling option.
Plus, it has the option of connecting to a keypad. So if you have plans to upgrade later, it's doable.
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