Yale allows you to enter/exit your house simply via a touchscreen.  “Lose your Keys. For Good.”

For the past eight years, I have enjoyed a monitored home alarm system from Vivint.  The system has been more than just an alarm monitoring service; they provided a variety of components to enhance my Smart Home.  My favorite aspect of the system has been the ability to unlock my door keypad by entering the code at the door or through my iPhone App.  The ability to let people into the home, on my schedule, and without physically being present, has been very convenient.  So convenient, that my inlaws wanted to have similar options, without purchasing a full subscription model home alarm.  Now that they have moved into their new home, we have talked about the Assure Lock SL from Yale.

UNBOXING:
The product arrived in a very hefty 5 9/16 inches wide by 8 15/16 inches tall by 5 5/8 inches thick retail package.  The outer slipcover displayed an image of a very attractive oval-shaped touchpad lock, on the cover.  Turning the slipcover counterclockwise 90 degrees, you can see many of the features of the device: upgrade the existing deadbolt in minutes, manage access by creating pins to use or share with others, Add a Yale network module and combine this with your Smart Home.  The opposing side of the slipcover is rather busy, providing multiple paragraphs of information about the installation, box contents, and product information.  The lock is available in three varieties: Polished Brass, Oil Rubbed Bronze (my favorite) and the Satin Nickel.  The packaging promises simple installation requiring nothing more than a screwdriver and a borehole of 2 1/8 inches and an edge borehole of 1″.  The packaging contains the Yale Real Living Assure Lock SL, mounting hardware and striker, door template, 4 AA alkaline batteries, and an installation manual.  The back face of the slipcover provides additional information about the product: touchscreen, one-touch locking, motorized deadbolt, voice assistance, 9V battery back-up, optional settings.

Yale SL Touchscreen
Underneath the slipcover, you will find a brown cardboard box with a black circular yale log along the front flap, top and left side.  On the right side of the case, I was amazed to see that Yale has been a long time partner with Habitat for Humanity.  Lifting the front flap of the cardboard box, you will see the installation and programming manual inside the top flap and a cardboard cutout along the bottom.  The middle of the box houses the lock, encased in foam plastic.  Just to the side of the front touch panel is a small box for the accessory Yale Module.  Beneath the layer of cardboard is another cutout housing the back face of the lock and another box with the deadbolt and mounting screws.  Finally, located beneath this layer of cardboard, you will find the #4 alkaline AA batteries.

Upon the first impression, the face of the lock is very sleek and futuristic.  Without power, the front panel has no function and has a glossy black appearance.  The color felt warm and modern, proving to be a nice visual change when compared to typical brass hardware.   The back panel of the device was rather large and visible compared to the minimalistic outer panel.  The strike plate and the facia plate of the deadbolt had the same coloration of the front/back panels.  Personally, I was impressed with the overall build, the feel, the quality and the design.  When all of the product was removed from the smaller packages, the device and hardware weighed 2 lb 11.2 ounces.  The back panel measured just at 6 inches tall by 2 5/8 inches wide, 1 1/2 inches thick at the top and 2 inches thick at the deadbolt.  Compare this to the beautiful external faceplate measuring 2 1/2 inches wide by 3 1/2 inches tall and 5/8 inches thick.

Yale SL Installation Plate
Installation:
I wish all products provided instructions as clear and succinct as YALE.  It took longer to remove the pieces from the packaging to evaluate and catalog them than it did to install and program the lock.  My door already had a deadbolt installed, and so all I had to do was uninstall my old, obsolete, hardware and install the newer gear.  Using a standard Phillips screwdriver, I removed the through bolts on the back panel of the previous deadbolt latch.  Once these were removed, I was able to separate the front/back of the locking mechanism and set them aside.  Using the same screwdriver, I then removed the two stay screws placed into the side door, which held the deadbolt mechanism in place.  This slid out easily, and I was able to set this aside as well.  To install the YALE  Real Living lock, I simply had to repeat the steps in reverse.  My door was standard sized and the 2 3/8″ position of the deadbolt was ideal.  There is an indicator along the distal aspect of the deadbolt mechanism labeled up.  Make sure you can read this word correctly when you slide the deadbolt back into the side of your door.  The faceplate of the deadbolt was well cut and matched the previous template/hardware.  The coloration was beautiful and matched the front/back panel very well.  The next step required me to reinstall the stay screws back into the side of the door, to hold the deadbolt in place.  Make sure that the deadbolt is retracted when this step is completed. If not, the internal locking mechanisms will not align properly.

The following steps required the use of the instruction manual.  Steps 3-5, detailed in the manual are very well diagramed and easy to follow.  The front panel was installed by running the power wire beneath the deadbolt mechanism.  I caution you to look at step 3+4 before setting the touchscreen into the door as there is a screw that must be removed from the top of the backplate.   When the screw was removed, I was able to slide the battery cover upwards and was able to separate the interior mounting plate from the rest of the back of the lock. The company conveniently provided three sets of through bolts, depending on the thickness of your door.  These were easily installed along the bottom of the mounting plate and pulled the front touchscreen tight to the door. There is a small cutout along the bottom of the plate that allowed the cable to be directed downward and away from the deadbolt mechanism.  Once installed, it was easy to plug the cable into the back plate, aligning the black dots on the cable and port.  The handle of the lock needed to be in the vertical position to slide properly into the deadbolt.  Once completed, I was able to install the three machine stay screws and the entire lock was securely fastened to my door.  I experienced no issues, no hiccups, no lags and definitely no frustration.

Yale Backplate
The company provides an optional network module with this kit, which I chose to install.  Of note, step 7 of the instruction manual warned you to install the module before insertion of the four AA batteries.  Once the device was installed, I added the four batteries (according to the correct polarity) and then reattached the battery cover.  The installation was incredibly straightforward, and I do not feel that the Installation could have been easier.  Once the batteries were installed, the device provided vocal cues to finish the installation.  I had to add a four to eight digit master code, and then I was able to program individual access codes.  The deadbolt mechanism was very smooth, and the touchpad was very sensitive.  To lock the panel, hold your hand over the touchpad.  To activate the pad to enter your code, do the same process.  The pad will be blank until the hand is placed over the face of the touchscreen and then the numbers will illuminate.  Type your chosen code and then press the little check mark along the bottom left.  You will hear the mechanism activate and the deadbolt will unfasten.  If you incorrectly program a code, you can remove the back panel to access the factory reset button.  This step proved to be as easy as the previous steps.  Remove the batteries, press the button for three seconds and reinstall the batteries (while still holding the button).  Overall the tech proved to be simply amazing.

Before you worry about power failure/low battery power and that there is no manual key slot, for emergencies, rest assured that YALE has this scenario covered.  They have installed an emergency power port along the bottom of the touchscreen.  Simply place a 9V battery against the terminals and this will provide enough power to unlock the lock.  Even if you are away and the batteries fail, this will allow the ability to enter your home without a key.  As a customer, knowing that these scenarios are remedied is very reassuring.  If needed, you can access memory mode to access extra programming features.  Illuminate the touchpad by placing your hand over the lock, enter your master code then press the star/cog key. Using the instruction manual, enter the digit that you are interested in and then press the star/cog button again.  Through this step, you can adjust pin code (delete/add), turn on off on touch locking, privacy button function, automatic re-lock, volume, language, lockout mode, etc.The YALE lock is clearly an upgrade to the standard lock and has so many features to enhance your home.  You no longer have to carry your keys with you when you travel, activate the panel with a 9V battery if needed, give codes to family members and hold the privacy button for added security.  You can download the Bilt application from the IOS or Google Play stores to download video installation tips for multiple devices.  Using a robotic female voice, the application will walk you through the installation process.  The above setup may be all that many families will need.  However, I wanted to test the network module.  Pressing my hand against the device, I entered my master code and then pressed the cog/settings button.  The touchpad announced “Menu Mode.”  I followed the included module instructions, pressed “7,” “cog,” “1,” and then “cog”. This activated menu mode.  I downloaded theYale Assure App (2*) from the IOS app store and then set up an account by entering my name, email and password.  I did make a mistake during this step by downloading the Yale Assure App instead of the Yale Secure App.  The Assure app will ask you to press the master code, then the cog button and then the number 8.  However, the main menu only has seven options.  I realized at that point that I had downloaded the wrong app and then went back to download the Secure App.

Yale AppsOnce I downloaded the correct app (confusing step), the app asked me to add my home data.  I had to place the code in the instruction manual within the confines of my camera view, and then the lock appeared in the home kit. You can access settings; you can lock/unlock the phone using the app.  It worked very well and was very quick.  I did opt for announcements, and I would get an announcement when the lock was opened/closed.  I turned my phone to LTE and was still able to lock/unlock the deadbolt using my phone.  I do not have an Apple TV, but my iPad rarely leaves my home and acts as my Homekit Hub.  This aspect of the technology is beyond the scope of my in-laws, but the machine/device is perfect for them.  With an easy installation process, an easy programming requirement and foolproof 9V battery panel, the Yale lock is an amazing piece of tech.  I have opened/locked the lock on the panel nearly 250 times in the past week, and the power remains at 100%.  I was pleased with the touchpad and with the overall build/structure and would encourage this automated deadbolt to nearly everyone with a deadbolt.  The app worked for me and was an important feature.  I would rate the overall quality of this product at 5/5 stars, ease of installation 5/5 stars, programming 5/5 stars, construction 5/5 stars and overall rating 5/5 stars.
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