Review: Schlage Sense Remains a Top Option Among HomeKit-Enabled Smart Locks

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Apr 27, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    #1
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    Following my review of the Yale Assure Lock SL deadbolt with HomeKit support last month, a number of readers highlighted the Schlage Sense as another satisfactory HomeKit option worth considering. As it turns out, I've been using the Schlage Sense on my front door for quite some time, so it's worth taking a look at how Schlage's offering has held up over time.

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    The Schlage Sense deadbolt was one of the first HomeKit-enabled smart locks, launching over two years ago, yet it remains one of the most popular smart locks on the market among Apple users. In fact, Apple continues to feature the Schlage Sense in its online and retail stores, although it is currently listed as unavailable for both online orders and in-store pickup even though it remains on the shelves at some Apple retail stores.

    Unlike the Assure Lock SL that comes in only a single design (albeit with a few color options), the Schlage Sense comes in two different styles that fit in with many of Schlage's other hardware products: a classic Camelot style and a more modern Century style, with Matte Black, Satin Nickel, and Aged Bronze finishes available depending on style.

    I've been using a Camelot-style Schlage Sense on my front door, paired with a matching non-locking Camelot doorknob to ensure I can't be accidentally locked out of my house due to a locked doorknob. The pairing looks good together, with the Camelot style offering a hint of elegance even with a prominent keypad.

    Installation

    Installation of the Schlage Sense is straightforward, and Schlage includes step-by-step directions to walk you through the process. As long as you're replacing an existing deadbolt and everything is lined up properly, installation takes just a few minutes and only requires a screwdriver. Just slide the deadbolt assembly into the edge of the door and sandwich it with the interior and exterior portions while connecting the two sides with a cable. A few screws pull everything together, and once you insert the batteries you should be ready to configure the lock.

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    As is common with smart deadbolts, the interior portion of the Schlage Sense is quite large, which is a rather unfortunate visual look. But with space required for the lock cylinder, electronics, and four AA batteries, there's only so much that can be done to reduce the size.

    Setup and App

    Programming and setup are handled through the Schlage Sense app [App Store], which walks you through the process of pairing the lock with your phone over Bluetooth and configuring your lock options such whether the lock beeps as you press the keypad, automatic relocking, and one-touch locking where you don't have to enter a code. The lock also has an optional alarm mode which can beep when the door is opened or closed or sound an alarm when forced entry is detected.

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    You can register for a Schlage account and add the Sense or just go straight to HomeKit, allowing the deadbolt to integrate with other HomeKit accessories. The HomeKit setup process is dead simple, requiring just a few steps. With an Apple TV, iPad, or HomePod around the house, you can use HomeKit to view the lock status and lock or unlock from anywhere, but if you don't want to use HomeKit, Schlage offers a $70 Wi-Fi adapter to provide remote access.

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    The app also lets you set up multiple user codes to limit access to your home. When adding a code, you'll have the option of specifying certain days and times when the code will work, which is handy for pet-sitters and others who need only temporary access to your home.

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    The main screen of the app gives you quick access to lock status, and a simple tap anywhere on the large lock graphic locks or unlocks the deadbolt. Of course, with HomeKit integration, you can use the Home app or Siri to perform the same functions.

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    The app also lets you see a history of lock events, showing what days and times the deadbolt was locked and unlocked, with details such as whether it was locked or unlocked via the exterior touchscreen or interior thumb turn, as well as which user code was used for an exterior unlock.

    The app won't win any design awards and there's a little layout issue on iPhone X, but it doesn't interfere with any of the app's functions.

    General Operation

    The Schlage Sense operates smoothly, with a satisfying heft to the thumb turn on the interior and simple keypad operation on the outside. Entering a user code on the keypad requires pressing the "Schlage" button at the top of the pad, which lights up the keypad, and then entering the four-digit code that unlocks the door. The same process locks the door from the outside unless you've turned on one-touch locking, which immediately locks the door when you press the Schlage button without the need to enter a user code.

    While unlocking and locking, the Schlage Sense can utilize two different power levels to assist with moving the motorized deadbolt. The lock will first attempt to extend or retract the deadbolt at a lower power level, but if it is unsuccessful due to alignment being off or pressure being placed on the door that provides more resistance, the lock will increase power and try again. The motor is fairly noisy at both power levels.

    The higher power undoubtedly burns through batteries more quickly (how much I'm not sure), but if your installation has everything lined up properly the higher power should rarely be needed. About the only time I've had the high-power mode activate is when trying to lock and I didn't quite get the door closed all the way. I've also triggered it a few times when I failed to wait for unlocking to complete before trying to push the door open and the pressure of pushing the deadbolt against the door jamb prevented the bolt from retracting under the low-power mode.

    HomeKit

    Adding the Schlage Sense to your HomeKit home is a simple process of scanning the HomeKit code during the setup process. Once it's part of your home, you can view and control the lock via the Home app on iOS or through Siri. You can also add it to automation routines with rooms, scenes, and triggers such as a "Good Night" scene to secure your house at bedtime.

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    Schlage Sense also works with Amazon Alexa and should be receiving an update soon to offer support for Google Assistant.

    Bugs

    I did have an issue related to the release of iOS 10.2 where I became unable to apply firmware updates to my Schlage Sense. At the time, Schlage customer service told me it was a known issue with some users and that I would be notified when an app update was released to address the issue. Over time, I also began getting less and less life out of each set of batteries, and I was never able to get firmware updates working again on the lock. After a couple months of waiting for a fix that never came and my battery life running down to just a week per set rather than the 6-12 months I should have been seeing, I contacted support again and they quickly sent out a free replacement.

    Since that time, the only issue I've run into is an occasional bug where the deadbolt has been unlocked but still thinks it's locked. It's a very rare issue that I only notice when I try to one-touch lock the door from the keypad and nothing happens because it's waiting for me to enter an unlock code.

    Other than these two issues, the Schlage Sense has been reliable throughout the time I've owned it, and I've never found myself unable to gain access to my house. I do have smart locks and keypads on all of the entrances of my house to help provide peace of mind should any of them fail, and as a result I haven't carried house keys on me when leaving the house in years.

    Wrap-up

    Over two years after its launch, the Schlage Sense remains one of the most popular HomeKit-enabled smart locks, and it's easy to see why. It comes from a trusted brand that has helped it gain visibility in Home Depot, Lowe's and other retailers where homeowners shop for their door hardware, and the exterior keypad has a nice look that's not too bulky while still able to accept a traditional key. The two different styles give you options to fit in with different looks, and when I had an issue with the lock Schlage was quick to send out a replacement.

    The Schlage Sense is available in Camelot and Century styles, with the Camelot available in Satin Nickel or Aged Bronze and the Century available in Satin Nickel or Matte Black. The list price is $229, but some retailers such as Amazon typically have prices closer to $200, with third-party retailers through Amazon sometimes going even lower.

    Note: Schlage/Allegion provided the Schlage Sense to MacRumors free of charge for the purposes of this review. No other compensation was received. MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon and may earn commissions on purchases made through links in this article.

    Article Link: Review: Schlage Sense Remains a Top Option Among HomeKit-Enabled Smart Locks
     
  2. imola.zhp macrumors 6502a

    imola.zhp

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2010
    Location:
    Mud Island (Memphis), TN
    #2
    Our house had Kwikset locks on it so we first tried a Kevo which I thought was a 2nd gen but my mistake was a 1st gen, loved it but no homekit. Sold it and got a Premise, wow, we LOVE it. Best part? No new key, it was easily keyed to match the other existing locks.
     
  3. dwaltwhit macrumors 6502

    dwaltwhit

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2013
    Location:
    Tennessee
    #3
    I have had this lock for close to a year and it is great! responds every time I command siri to lock the front door.
     
  4. roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Location:
    One mile up and soaring
    #4
    Our works pretty well. Had it just over a year. I like being able to hold up my watch and say “Hey Siri unlock front door” and the front door unlocks.

    Their app is not the best. I don’t know how well it works to remotely unlock or lock the door to let someone in, as we use it pretty much exclusively when we are at the door.

    HomeKit can do geofences automation to unlock the door as you arrive. But I found it odd because I think it would ask if you wanted to run the automation and you had to respond on phone or watch.
     
  5. oneMadRssn macrumors 601

    oneMadRssn

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #5
    I have this lock and it works very well. I have codes for my dog walker, cleaners, a trusted neighbor, and many family members. It's very convenient to be able to be able to add and delete codes remotely.

    My one complaint has to do with the keypad colors. Unlike the other schlage locks that look similar, the sense for some reason uses the same color for the numbers and the keypad background. So if it isn't anything but perfectly bright out, you can't see the numbers. They are backlit, which comes on when you press one key, but that key counts towards the code. So what often happens is I enter the wrong code the first time. Say my code is 546. I know 5 is somewhere in the middle, so I tap the middle. I hit some number (no way to know for sure what that is) and all the keys light up. But it turns out I missed and hit 4. Now the code is wrong. Now they're all lit up, so on the second attempt I get it right.

    I wish there was a motion sensor or a proximity sensor that lit up the backlight when it senses a person near. Or, even easier, they shouldn't have made the numbers and the background the same color.
     
  6. cdavis11 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    #6
    I've got 3 of these, and other than the dog-slow firmware updates they're rock solid.
     
  7. Stryder541 macrumors newbie

    Stryder541

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    #7
    --- Post Merged, Apr 27, 2018 ---
    Touch the the Schlage name which lights up the display and then enter you code.
     
  8. Craiger macrumors 6502a

    Craiger

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2007
    #8
    This lock has been rock solid for me. I replaced the batteries for the first time after around 18 months of use.
     
  9. jmh600cbr macrumors 6502a

    jmh600cbr

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2012
    #9
    Where is the geofence feature? Without it August always wins.
     
  10. bluespark macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Location:
    New York
    #10
    Press the Schlage logo to light up the keypad before typing the code.
     
  11. nyctravis macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2007
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #11
    Love this lock! App is a bit clunky but otherwise a really great lock
     
  12. Hedwigg macrumors regular

    Hedwigg

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    Location:
    San Francisco Bay Area
    #12
    Now if they would just make it in a non-80-year-old-woman version.
     
  13. oneMadRssn macrumors 601

    oneMadRssn

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #13
    Yes, this does work, although it is very unintuitive. The keypad is still not well designed.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 27, 2018 ---
    How accurate is geofencing? It's not like it locks as soon as you're outside your front lawn. At least with my smart cameras, sometimes it's not until I am a few blocks away that it auto-arms. If I'm walking, that could be 5-10 minutes later. I don't know if I would be comfortable leaving my front door unlocked for 5-10 minutes after I leave? Wouldn't that be the best time for someone to walk right in - right after they see my turn off the lights and leave with my work bag?
     
  14. roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Location:
    One mile up and soaring
    #14
    I use the geofence sometimes to unlock. But not to lock. It’s so easy to just tap the Schlage logo and lock as you leave. No code required to lock the door.
     
  15. vipergts2207 macrumors 68000

    vipergts2207

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2009
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    #15
    I’m with you, geofencing doesn’t seem accurate enough for use with things that allow access to your home. HVAC, lights, etc, sure, fine with me. I don’t need my garage door or front door not doing what they’re supposed to be doing because my phone decided I was or wasn’t within the preset boundary.
     
  16. Glockworkorange macrumors 65816

    Glockworkorange

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2015
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    #16
    I have it. It works on an inconsistent basis and is crap. Since it’s stuck in the door now, can’t easily remove and replace. Buyer beware
     
  17. sirozha macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    #17
    The only reason for a smart lock is remote locking and unlocking. If the lock occasionally thinks it’s locked when it’s unlocked, the only benefit of the smart lock goes away.
     
  18. Chupa Chupa, Apr 28, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2018

    Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    #18
    Very happy still with my August lock (2nd gen). The best thing about it is I don't have to put a fugly battery block on the inside of my door that looks like I live in a hotel. Also loved that I didn't have to replace my existing lock = nothing to re-key.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 28, 2018 ---
    In my experience with my August (several years now) that never happens. If the door can't lock -- say you didn't pull the door tight when you left -- you get an error sound and also a notification on your phone. You also get a notification when the batteries are getting low so you have plenty of time to change them.

    It's great coming home and not having to fumble with keys or pass keys out that you know you'll never get back.
     
  19. macduke macrumors G3

    macduke

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Location:
    Central U.S.
    #19
    I’ve had this for nearly two years and it works well. My wife runs an in-home daycare in our walk-out basement and these locks work great for letting in parents. Each parent has an assigned code that works between 7:15am and 5:45pm during the week. The lock is set to a 30 second auto lock timer using HomeKit during daycare (and then the max 4 minute auto lock after daycare and on weekends which I wish could be longer) so that parents arriving just after another parent won’t accidentally lock the door again and get frustrated which has happened a few times. For that reason I wish it had a small green light so you know it’s unlocked when it gets busy at drop off/pickup. It also keeps a log of who comes and goes and when and can be configured to send alerts. I also like how we can set it to beep when opened and a motion alarm when we’re on vacation.

    Our door gets heavy use and the battery seems to last at least six months. In the beginning things were shaky with firmware updates and I needed help one time with a bad update but things have really stabilized and it’s fairly rock solid now. There were also some issues with daylight savings time not going into effect with the schedules which caused some problems for us and the daycare but a new update supposedly fixed that. We have it paired with a Ring Pro doorbell which records everyone coming and going for extra peace of mind and so my wife can see who is at the door when downstairs with the kids and we can lower the doorbell sound using the Ring Chime so that kids aren’t woken up by packages arriving during nap time. Now if only Ring would make good on their HomeKit promise, but that’s another story.
     
  20. SigurTom macrumors member

    SigurTom

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2015
    #20
    Yale Assure SL lock wins because it doesn't have a cylinder.
     
  21. dazz87 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    #21
    Have this lock for over two years now and its great. Works great with my ST hub and GH.
     
  22. DrScott macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2013
    #22
    I’ve had this lock for about 18 months. It works well as a free-standing, electronic lock. Giving out PINs is useful, battery life is good (about 12 months) and it works reliably as a lock. However, in my experience, the remote access is very poor. The Bluetooth range is very short. I have an Apple TV less than 3m away and it struggles to maintain a connection. Making a connection with my iPhone 7 is very slow and again only works over a few metres.
     
  23. artvegas macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2010
    #23
    I have a lock on our vacation home. I usually have no problem when in that area. Should I travel home 1500 miles away I usually lose the connection thru HomeKit and the Schlage app. When I go to the apps I receive a message “no response”. This is a big issue to me and I am thinking about changing to the new Nest lock. My other Nest products work flawlessly.
     
  24. CPTmom2wp macrumors regular

    CPTmom2wp

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2014
    Location:
    Ohio
    #24
    We have two of the Schlage Sense locks and, so far, they have worked every time. Batteries are still good after 6 months. What we like best is telling Siri to lock/unlock the door when our hands are full. The notification on the phone re:locked/unlocked is reliable and HomeKit also notes whether the door is locked or unlocked at all times.
     
  25. jmh600cbr macrumors 6502a

    jmh600cbr

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2012
    #25
    I don't want it for when I leave I want it for arrival. My August unlocks when I pull into my driveway, its awesome when my hands are full.
     

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