Ring and August are currently dominating the front door security market. Ring with their video doorbells that integrate well with other smart locks and August with their Doorbell Cam Pro and Smart Lock combo. But here's a legitimate question: Why buy two separate devices if you can purchase a smart lock and a video doorbell in one?
Gate Labs, a startup smart lock company, has been working on an August-like smart lock upgraded with video doorbell features. The question becomes, is it worth buying or will performance be best if you stick with well-known brands like August and Ring?
Gate As A Smart Lock
Much like August, Gate is a round lock that replaces standard deadbolt locks. It's also battery powered, with an expected battery life of up to four months. Unlike August, however, Gate is designed to be installed on the exterior side of your door. Also, aside from using your phone, you can unlock Gate using two other methods: a numeric pin on the lock's keypad and with keys. It also features a one-press lock button. With August, you can still use your regular keys, but unlocking your door with a PIN code require the $79 Smart Keypad.
Another difference between Gate and August is Wi-Fi. With August, you need an August Connect or Doorbell Cam to act as a Wi-Fi bridge. If you don't own one of these two devices, you can only connect August to your phone via Bluetooth, which limits its capabilities. On the other hand, Gate connects to your router via Wi-Fi directly, thus, enabling it to offer remote control features out-of-the-box.
Now let's talk about features.
First, if someone's at your door, Gate lets you lock and unlock your door remotely using the Gate app. So long as your phone is connected to Wi-Fi, 3G, or 4G, you can lock/unlock your door from anywhere. However, there is a catch. According to Gate Labs,
Gate is not a surveillance camera, and it is a motion-activated camera, so you will be able to interact with your visitors, as well as lock and unlock your front door only when there is motion detected.
The fact that you can only lock and unlock your door remotely if someone rings your doorbell or if motion is detected kind of defeats Gate's purpose as a smart lock.
In the future, the lock will also provide the ability to lock/unlock as you approach the door.
Second, if needed, you can grant temporary access to other people in the form of PINs. This is particularly helpful if you have guests, if you order home services, or if you're renting your home to someone else for the week. Temporary PINs are only usable for a certain number of hours or days.
Third, Gate lets you monitor who comes and goes. The app supports multiple user accounts, and each account is given a different PIN. If your PIN is used to unlock the door, the app will log the time and date that YOU opened the door.
There is a fourth feature, tied to the fact that Gate is both a lock and a video doorbell.
- 3 Unlock Methods: Key, PIN, Phone
- Auto-Unlock As You Approach the Door (Coming Soon)
- Direct Wi-Fi Connection
- Remote Lock/Unlock
- Temporary Pins
- Access Log History
Gate As A Video Doorbell
On Gate's faceplate, you will find a numeric keypad, lock button, key cylinder, call button, and a camera. The call button and camera are what turn Gate from a smart lock to a "video smart lock." Details on the camera haven't been revealed yet. All we know is that the camera's resolution will be HD 720p and the viewing angle is 150°.
And this is where that fourth feature comes into play. Gate Labs will partner with third-party home service providers (cleaners, contractors, pet walkers, etc.) to enable automated access via Gate Service. With automated access, you can tell the app if you have a service scheduled. Gate will give the service provider a temporary access PIN, assuming they are a Gate partner. Upon entering the PIN, Gate will start recording, and it will only stop once the service provider has left. The recording will be accessible to you via the app. As a side note, August offers a similar feature called August Access.
Like most video doorbells, guests can "place a call" by pressing a button; in Gate's case, the call button. Doing so will prompt Gate to notify you through your smartphone and request a one-way video call. If you accept the call, the camera will live stream to your phone, and two-way audio will be enabled. If you want to let the guest in, you can even unlock the door straight from the app.
Even without pressing the call button, you will be notified if someone is at your door thanks to the camera's motion sensor. The camera has a viewing angle of 150°. Any motion that occurs within the field of view will trigger Gate to notify you. If you open the notification, it will take you to a live stream of the camera. What we don't know yet is whether the motion sensor is customizable or not. Other video doorbells allow you to adjust the sensitivity, so you don't get too many false alarms. Some, such as Ring, also offers motion detection zones.
Working With Others
Gate can unlock even more possibilities through smart home integrations.
Gate Labs has several integrations planned for Gate such as HomeKit, IFTTT, and Nest. However, the only active integration as of this moment is with Amazon Alexa. Through Amazon Echo or any Alexa-enabled device (Echo Show, Echo Look, Echo Dot, Amazon Tap, etc), you can give voice commands to control your Gate device.
One word of caution, the current version of Gate will not work with HomeKit. Compatibility with HomeKit might be included with future versions, but it's certainly not a feature we recommend making a purchase decision based upon.
Gate vs. Ring vs. August
Now that we know what Gate can do, it's time to see how it fares against the competition. To level the playing field, we'll compare Gate to a Ring Doorbell when used with a third-party smart lock and to the August Doorbell Cam Pro when used with the 2nd Gen August Smart Lock.
|Price with Lock||$345||$379||$398|
|Proximity Lock/Unlock||Coming Soon||Depends on Smart Lock Model||YES
|PIN Unlock||YES||Depends on Smart Lock Model||Requires August Smart Keypad ($79)|
|Keys||YES||Depends on Smart Lock Model||YES
|Temporary Access||YES||Depends on Smart Lock Model||YES
|Auto-Access For Third-Party Services||YES||NO||YES
|Live View||Only when pressed or when motion is detected.||YES||YES
|Wired or Wireless||Wireless (Battery-Powered)||Wired||Wired
|Battery Life||Up to 4 Months||Depends on Smart Lock Model||Up to 3 Months (August Smart Lock)
|Works With||Amazon Alexa||Amazon Alexa, IFTTT, SmartThings, Echo Show, ADT Pulse, Control4, Other Ring Products, etc.||Amazon Alexa,
Apple HomeKit (Smart Lock Only),
Google Home, Other August Products, Honeywell, IFTTT, Nest, Logitech, Stringify, Wink, etc.
|Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now
Pricing, Availability, and Final Verdict
Gate is still in its pre-order phase. You can pre-order one now for as low as $330, $15 off the retail price. You can also pre-order a rechargeable battery pack for $50 (which will retail for $60).
Is it worth it? Frankly, Gate doesn't offer any new smart lock or video doorbell features. However, the fact that it costs less than other smart lock + video doorbell combos is an advantage. Keep in mind, however, that there are risks associated with buying new and untested products. Will it work as promised? Will it live up to your expectations? Do the features work reliably? If you're willing to take a risks, you can pre-order Gate now on IndieGoGo. However, I recommend that you hold off for a bit and wait for user reviews from those who backed this project originally. Though Gate is still in its pre-order phase, it's nearing the end. User reviews should roll out within the next few months.