After my Schlage Encode Plus review, I concluded that it was the most full-featured smart lock that I’d tried thus far. With standard HomeKit support in tow, in addition to the new NFC-powered Apple home key support, it’s easy for me to recommend the Encode Plus as the best smart lock for Apple users.
The only lingering question from my hands-on review was release timing. Up until now, Schlage would only note that its flagship smart lock was arriving this spring, but we now know the exact date of its release and availability. The Encode Plus is available to purchase starting today at homedepot.com for $299.99.
The Schlage Encode Plus comes bundled with features that any modern smart lock should have, namely HomeKit support for control via the Home app, HomeKit automations, and Siri. Schlage’s full-featured smart lock also arrives with a touch screen, and even supports a physical key for those wishing to maintain traditional access methods.
The Schlage Encode Plus is available first at The Home Depot, but is or will be available at other retailers as well, such as Build.com, and Lowes. For your convenience here are links to the available color/trim combinations on The Home Depot’s website:
Video review: Schlage Encode Plus with home key support
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But as I noted in my hands-on video review, there is one, ahem, key feature that sets the Schlage Encode Plus apart when compared to any other smart lock available in the western market — Apple home key support. With home key, users can gain access to an entryway simply by tapping the lock with an eligible Apple Watch or iPhone. Made possible by NFC, home key is a fast, dead-simple method for accessing a home with just a tap.
To use home key, you’ll need an iPhone XS or later with iOS 15 or later. If you’d like to use an Apple Watch, you’ll need an Apple Watch Series 4 or later with watchOS 8 or later.
Here’s a quick video that I published to Twitter showingcasing how easy it is to unlock a secured door by the Schlage Encode Plus with my Apple Watch:
As you can see, unlocking a door with home key couldn’t be any simpler. In the week since I posted the review, I’ve used home key numerous times, and the experience has been relatively flawless. The only way this could be any easier is if there was a U1-powered proximity-based option that didn’t require you to raise your wrist and tap the lock. Perhaps such functionality will be made available in future home key revisions; until then, however, I’m pretty good with this.
For those taking score at home, here are some of the notable specs that I outlined in my review:
- Smart Wi-Fi deadbolt
- Touchscreen keypad entry
- Physical key entry
- HomeKit & Siri support with Home hub (Apple TV, HomePod, etc.)
- Apple home key support for NFC tap-to-unlock w/ iPhone or Apple Watch
- Express mode support to unlock without authentication
- Unlock via NFC with dead iPhone via Power Reserve
- Schedule codes
- Add guest access
- Security alerts and notifications
- Also works with Alexa and Google Assistant
- Network protocols: Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth, Thread, (Matter support in future)
- Supports iPhone XS or later with iOS 15 or later
- Supports Apple Watch Series 4 or later with watchOS 8 or later
- Available in Camelot or Century trim in Satin Nickel, Aged Bronze, or Matte Black.
If you have the means and ability to install a smart lock on your door, then I highly recommend that you do. Smart locks are one of those rare luxury items that make a practical difference in your life on a day-in and day-out basis. As long as you have a properly aligned door setup, almost any smart lock can be installed with minimal effort, and that includes this new product from Schlage.
By far, the biggest question that emerged from my Schlage Encode Plus review was about its availability. Now that the highly anticipated smart lock has officially gone on sale, will you buy one? Sound off down below in the comments with your thoughts.
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