Nest x Yale smart lock review

The smart home is getting better. Gone are the days when owning a smart home meant owning a few Wi-Fi connected light bulbs and perhaps an Amazon Echo. These days, there are devices that can truly make the home smarter and offer a new level of convenience to customers. Like, for example, the new Nest x Yale smart lock: one that lives in the premium world of Nest and gives you a ton of extra control over your home’s security.

But the lock isn’t all that cheap. Coming in at $280, the lock is an investment in both security and convenience. Is it worth it? We put the Next x Yale lock to the test to find out.

Design and setup

Nest products have always placed an emphasis on design, and the Nest x Yale lock is no exception to that rule. The lock is sleek, stylish, and very classy.

When you first get the lock, you’ll have to install it; thankfully this shouldn’t cause you too much trouble. You’ll download the Nest app from either the Google Play Store or App Store, and once you have an account, simply head to settings and press “Add product”, find the Nest x Yale lock, and follow the instructions. Nest has included a video on how to install the lock, making it even easier than it otherwise would be. We recommend setting aside at least 15-30 minutes to install, though depending on your experience it may take more or less time.

Like some other smart locks, the Nest x Yale lock features a keypad on the outside, allowing you to quickly and easily unlock your door without the need for a key.

When buying the Nest x Yale lock, you’ll have the option of either buying it with or without the Nest Connect. We recommend spending the $30 extra for this: it’ll connect your lock to the internet and allow you to control it remotely, meaning that you can lock and unlock your home from afar, as well as add access codes. That means that if someone, like an electrician, needs to access your home in a pinch, you can add an access code from work, allowing them to get in, then remove the access code when they’re done.

The Nest x Yale lock is a little more streamlined than, for example, the Schlage Sense, but the inside portion of the lock is still a little bulky. It’s not necessarily too much of an issue here — it still looks pretty good, and it’ll fit right at home in most houses.

In general, the Nest x Yale lock is super easy to set up and very well designed. It’s also available in a few colors — Satin Nickel, Oil Rubbed Bronze, and Polished Brass — so no matter what your style is, you should find something that fits.

Day-to-day use

Once set up, the Nest x Yale lock is very easy to use, which is an important factor to consider. From the inside, you have a few options: you can turn the deadbolt, like a normal lock, or use the app to lock and unlock your door. 

In general use, the app works like a dream. Nest has put a lot of effort into its software, and it shows. If you already have other Nest products, the lock will show up in the bottom row of devices — and one tap will take you straight to controls for the lock, where you’ll be able to lock or unlock your door, set up new codes, and so on. You can also set the lock to “privacy mode,” which disables the keypad and forces users to use the app, and check the history of the lock’s use.

From the outside, you can once again choose to use the app or the keypad on the front of the lock. They keypad is easy to use, but there isn’t much feedback that you’ve pressed a button, especially if you disable sounds, as I have. In other words, you won’t know if you’ve pressed a key until the code either works or it doesn’t. We would have liked Nest to include a small haptic feedback motor, or something similar — it would have made a big difference to the experience of using the lock.

Still, locking or unlocking the door is very easy to do. With “one-touch locking” enabled, all you have to do is press the Yale logo to lock your door. To unlock it, you’ll press the logo, after which the number pad will light up. Then, you’ll enter your code, press the “√” button, and the door should unlock. Easy. You can also set the lock to lock automatically after a pre-defined time-period — which can be helpful for those who often forget to lock their door at night.

Smart home compatibility

The Nest x Yale lock is a smart home product, and as such you’ll want it to integrate with the rest of your smart home. Unfortunately, though perhaps unsurprisingly, it’ll only do that if your additional devices are also from Nest.

Nest doesn’t integrate very well with any other smart home systems: if you use HomeKit, SmartThings, Wink, or other systems, you’ll largely be out of luck. While Nest in general does play pretty nicely with Google Assistant, the Nest x Yale lock doesn’t yet support it — though Nest has announced that you will soon be able to use Assistant to check the status of your lock and lock the door. You will not be able to use Google Assistant to unlock your door, at least for now, though we hope the feature is incoming. Schlage and Amazon have worked out a system that involves the user speaking their PIN code, and we think that’s a smart way to enable voice support while also retaining security.

In any case, if you’re an avid Nest user and prefer Google Assistant to other smart assistants, then the Nest x Yale lock is an excellent option. Others, however, may want to look elsewhere.

Verdict

The Nest x Yale lock is perhaps the single best smart lock on the market — but only for a select group of people: those that use Nest, or those that are willing to. If you’re a HomeKit user, or a user of just about any other smart home system, you’ll have to either be fine with the lock not working with your other products, or opt for another lock altogether. 

Those downsides aside, the Nest x Yale lock is easy to use, very well-designed, and is controlled through an awesome app. It’s not perfect: the price is a bit high for what it offers. But if that doesn’t put you off, we highly recommend the Nest x Yale lock to those that are interested in buying a smart lock.

Christian de Looper
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