Gate Smart Lock Review
Over the past few years, the market for smart home devices and connected household items has skyrocketed. With smart doorbells, smart cameras and smart thermostats seemingly everywhere, another product category that has recently seen quite some attention is that of the smart locks, requiring a passcode instead of a key. In some cases, keyless entry is also completely possible. The Gate Smart Lock tries to combine a couple of those product categories into one device: aside from operating as a smart lock, the device also has an embedded camera and immediately allows you to see who was or is at your door. Let’s take a look at what the device can do and how it holds up against the competition.
Preface and technical details
Carrying a price tag of $359 at retail, the Gate Smart Lock is definitely one of the pricier intelligent lock systems out there. The device was successfully crowdfunded. The price tag can be justified by its plethora of features, including the video camera, microphone, speaker and a keypad. The Gate Smart Lock connects via Wi-Fi to your home network and doesn’t require an electrical cable, but you will have to charge the batteries.
The microphone and speaker in the lock allow you to communicate with whoever is at your door – even when you’re away from home. You can also remotely access the lock and let someone in whenever you’d like. The device uses its own application, which works decently enough on both iOS and Android but doesn’t feel as snappy or as user-friendly as the apps from competitors. There’s certainly still some work to be done here, as the experience isn’t perfect. Nonetheless, it’ll certainly get the job done.
In terms of other specifications, the camera shoots footage in HD (1280 x 720 pixels), which should be more than sufficient to recognize people. The field of view is set at 150 degrees, quite impressive for a sensor that is somewhat hidden into the lock. All data to and from the device is encrypted via 256-bit AES and you’re able to connect via the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi line. The battery is rechargeable and holds a capacity of 3600 mAh – sufficient for about two weeks of regular use.
What in the Box
Exterior and Installation
One of the things that immediately stands out is the keypad on the Gate Smart Lock. You can easily set a PIN code that will allow you to open the door, but you can also use physical keys as well. There are some included in the box (meaning you can’t use your existing keys), and you’ll also need to replace the whole deadbolt on your door. In other words, installing can be a bit of a pain – especially considering some competitors such as the August Smart Lock offer a much easier and less clunky installation. Nonetheless, if you’re a bit of a handy person to have experience replacing locks, this won’t be too hard and should take between 10 – 20 minutes maximum.
The back of the device looks pretty sleek, and its metal design really shows off. The front side, however, even tastes differ from person to person, looks a bit uninspired and really industrial. Ah well, as long as it gets the job done, you might think, but aesthetics can matter too. A small and subtle LED light shows you the status of the lock and the battery compartment easily slides off for a recharge.
There’s an integrated motion sensor that will automatically switch both the camera and the microphone on, and the device sends you an in-app notification to let you know someone’s at the door. It looks like the motion detector is still a little bit too oversensitive, but you can also adjust sensitivity settings in the app. The maximum range, however, is excellent – although you might have to deal with a few false positives over the weeks.
As for the performance, the Gate Smart Lock just exactly as promised: all entry types work well, and opening the lock via the app or pin code is fluent and fast.
Just like with most manufacturers of smart camera’s, there’s an optional subscription you can get that allows you to store your videos. With the free plan (which does require you to create an account), you’ll be able to communicate in real-time and have a maximum of four administrators that can operate the app. For $50 a year, you’ll be able to store all videos for a period of five days, an unlimited amount of admins as well as the possibility to have guest users (perfect if you’re having guests or for Airbnb-type situations, for example.) The premium subscription tier will cost you eighty bucks on a yearly basis for video storage up to a month and unlimited users.
The Gate Smart Lock is definitely a unique device. Its price tag is a little bit higher than most competitors’ offerings, but you do get a very versatile product in return. For starters, this combines a smart door lock, and a doorbell camera into one device. There’s also no need for electricity cables – but the downside is that you’ll have to charge the battery every two weeks which also isn’t ideal.
Another thing to consider is the somewhat industrial design of the keypad. Although it doesn’t look bad, we wouldn’t exactly call it sleek either. The app is just OK, but the chances are that the user experience will be improved in the future.
The performance is great and the plethora of features definitely make this smart lock by Gate a very interesting smart home product. It’s not the cheapest option but it can be an excellent addition to your home and it will increase both the safety and functionality. So overall the Gate Smart Lock is absolutely great. We can only hope that guys from Gate will absolutely knock it out of the park and take care of some small negatives in a potential second version of the smart lock. Until then, the first edition definitely is worth looking at.
Peter is a tech guru by day and foodie by night. He'll share his experiences on Yelp, but not on TripAdvisor. He likes mechanical keyboards, Netflix, and has a 5-star rating on Uber.