Two years after being funded on Indiegogo, Friday Labs is finally shipping its eponymous smart lock and opening orders up to new customers.
The lock works a lot like August’s smart lock: it’s installed on top of an existing door lock and can automatically unlock when it detects someone with a paired smartphone approaching. Friday’s app will also keep track of people’s comings and goings, and it can be used to grant temporary access to guests.
These are all pretty standard smart lock features, but Friday has two things to help set it apart: in addition to Bluetooth, it also includes Wi-Fi and support for Apple’s HomeKit system, two things that are a bit less common (it also works with Android).
Both of those are really helpful. Wi-Fi lets owners control the lock — and confirm that they locked it — when out of the house; and HomeKit lets the lock integrate in a simple way with a growing ecosystem of products that hook straight into iOS. But the lock doesn’t support other systems, like IFTTT or SmartThings. And oddly enough, it sounds like Wi-Fi support isn’t activated yet. Friday Labs says it “will come soon.”
Friday Labs also advertises its lock as being the “world’s smallest” smart lock. If that’s true, that’s kind of sad, because this thing still looks pretty big in Friday’s promo videos. It’s supposed to be 2.7 inches in diameter, which does compare favorably to the August Smart Lock’s 3.4-inch diameter.
The lock has started shipping to Indiegogo backers and is now available for preorders, with the first shipping out in about a month. It’s available for $249, which is just $20 more than August’s extremely similar lock — and in some senses, Friday Labs’ offering is even cheaper since August’s Wi-Fi add-on is $79.
Backers have mixed feelings so far
There is one possible downside to building Wi-Fi right into the lock, though. Wi-Fi uses up a lot power, which is why August has its adapter plug straight into the wall. Friday is estimating about three months of battery life right now, but it’s very possible that heavy Wi-Fi users — that is, anyone who plans to control their lock while out of the house, which is one of the big selling points here — are going to have to recharge their lock a lot more often.
So far, comments from Indiegogo backers who have received the lock are mixed. One person commented “Amazing quality!,” but another person said they were having Bluetooth issues, and someone else said that, while the product looks nice, it needs better installation instructions and some added functionality. “August lock beats this hands down except for its larger size,” the commenter said. So while Friday Labs may be a success story insofar as it shipped a big piece of hardware, the verdict’s out on whether it lives up to expectations.