Welcome to the Gate smart lock – a front door smart lock that incorporates a traditional keyed deadbolt, multiple access keypad, person identification camera, and two-way audio system all in one. I’ve had this installed on my house for about 2 weeks now, and it’s been an interesting intro to smart home locks.
Out of all of the smart locks I’ve unboxed, the Gate is certainly the most slickly packaged. Sitting inside a magnetic closure cardboard box, the lock is actually already installed on its own mock plastic door, fully assembled. This allows the user to understand how the lock is assembled, and set it up/test it before actually installing on the door. When I removed it from the box, it was quick and simple to sit it on my desk assembled, while I got the battery charged, wifi setup, and fiddled around with the operation.
Then, when it was time to install, disassembling it first to get it off the plastic door mockup actually gave me the first hand insight into how it was assembled, making reassembly on my actual door a breeze.
Setup is as quick and simple as a door lock can be – it uses a standard latch mechanism, and installs quickly with a few screws.
One nuance I noticed was that instead of a flexible cable needing threading and attaching through the inside of the door to join the two halves electrically, there’s a rigid probe that sticks throuhg the inside of the door and makes contact with rigid contacts on the other side. This is a slick solution, and works for standard installations. However, for my door which is a tad on the thick side, I really had to crank down the screws to get the pieces to come together enough to make contact. I think in this case, I’d trade ease of install for the flexibility and reliability a bendable cable would give.
Setup on the app was simple enough, and allows the creation of on-demand user codes, expiring codes, one time use codes, and permanent codes.
- Solid construction, and a slick design integrating both keypad, keyway, and camera in one.
- I love the magnetically attaching battery – good piece of design.
- Installation is a breeze, and the training from removing the unit from the mock-door is an effective training technique.
- Good low light performance of the camera.
- Illuminated keypad makes typing in your code at night easy
- Solid mobile app, with a good UI.
- I get why the camera is tilted upwards slightly – to capture the face of a person standing at the door. But this also means that you can’t see the bottom of the door – like if a package is delivered. The 16:9 aspect ratio of the camera feed works, but in this case, I think a 4:3 or square aspect ratio would be better, to get more vertical resolution.
- The rechargable battery uses a micro-usb cable to recharge – an anitquated standard nobody uses anymore. They should have gone with USB-C here.
- Because both sides of the lock are round, a bit more clearance is needed on either side of the lock. On my front door, the lock was difficult to install next to window molding – even with the spacers.
- Since the camera is only battery powered, there’s no way to have it continuously record video. Video is only available when motion is sensed or the ring button is pressed. It’s impossible to do random checkins of the feed, and if something happens outside the range of the motion sensor, it’s not captured. Additionally, there’s no local card storage of footage. I’d love to have an option to connect this to continuous power and have a continuous live feed of video, with both local and cloud storage of that video.
Should you buy it?
The Gate Labs Video Smartlock really is an all-in-one solution for securing and monitoring the front of your home. It combines a keypad lock, backup lock, and video monitoring all into a sleek, rechargable, wireless package. However, small compromises such as only on demand and event video recording, a micro-usb rechargable battery, and round bulky housing prevent it from being a truly universal solution. Make sure your door has enough clearance for the back of the unit, use it if you only need event recordings, and you’ll be just fine. However, if you need a continuously recording video stream with local storage, or have a smaller door or windowframes on your door (like I do), there may be better solutions out there, or you may want to think about a separate lock and security camera. Pick up the Gate Smart Lock directly from Gate Labs for $299.
Important Note: Although this lock is a very interesting piece of technology and has a number of great features, we cannot recommend it for any sort of real security, or for securing anything of value, including your home. The world of physical security is complex, and the factors that go into true physical securty are many. To that end, we recommend you conduct your own independent research on locks for your home, and find a solution you feel is safe.
Specs and “key” features
- Wi-Fi enabled
- Streams live audio and video, triggered by motion sensors, direct to your smartphone
- Two-way audio communication
- Controls access with electronic keys from your mobile device (and physical keys, too!)
- Generates PIN codes straight from your mobile device for easy entry
- Powered by a rechargeable lithium ion battery
- Provides access to lock?s video history and video sharing for up to 4 hours
- Offers two additional subscription plans for more capability and security