Review: Schlage Camelot Touchscreen Deadbolt
By Dave LeClair
June 19, 2013
Can a lock be more than just a device designed to let you in and out of your home and prevent others from doing the same? Well technically speaking, no it can't, but it most certainly can do a lot more than just open and close with a key. Schlage's Camelot Touchscreen Deadbolt is an example of this. While at its core it is an apparatus designed to keep intruders out of your house while letting you in, the touchscreen and internet connected features go a long way towards making it more useful. How does it actually work in everyday life? Keep reading to find out.
As indicated by its name, the first thing you will notice about this deadbolt is the touchscreen. This allows you to enter and exit your house by entering a pin without needing to remove a key from your pocket. Having lived with the lock for a couple of months now, I must say, this really comes in handy.
In addition to the touchscreen, the lock also includes some other useful features like an alarm. There are three different alarms, activity, tamper or forced entry alert, each of which can be adjusted to suit your preferences. For example, you can set it to chirp if someone knocks on the door, or you can set it to scream if someone hits the door with excessive force. This can be set on the lock directly, but it's much easier to do with the online features that we will get to later.
Adjusting the sensitivity of the alarm is critical. I am fairly heavy on my feet, and when the alarm was on the upper-mid range of sensitivity, I would set it off just by walking down the stairs. Obviously, this is annoying, so you may need to fine-tune this through some trial and error.
The installation process was not overly arduous, and it's more or less the same as any other deadbolt. There's no need to do any wiring so all you'll need is a few basic tools, a screwdriver being the most important. It does come with instructions, so if you have no idea what you are doing, these will help you get through the process. In all, it took about 30 minutes for me to install.
Internet connected features
While the touchscreen keypad is a cool feature, what really attracted us to the lock is the internet connected features. These are made possible through Schlage's relationship with Nexia, a company specializing in home automation and remote management systems. To access these features, users need to shell out a monthly subscription fee and purchase the Nexia Bridge, which does not come with the lock.
The Nexia Bridge connects to your home router via Ethernet to allow a smartphone or computer to be used to control the lock, along with other compatible devices such as thermostats and lights. You can unlock it, set up pin codes, control the alarm timer, and more. This is not done over a local network, so even if you are not home, you can still control it from an internet-connected device.
Once set up, you can go to the Nexia website and fine-tune everything about the way the lock works. This process is not difficult, and everything is self explanatory. You can control the alarm, and handle pin codes from the website.
You can also set the system to send a text or email alert if the alarm is triggered or if a user makes too many incorrect attempts at the pin pad. This is useful if you are not home, but still want to be able to alert the authorities if someone tries to gain unauthorized entry to your home. Thankfully, no one has tried to break into my house while testing the lock, but I forced the alarm to go off, and it works as advertised.
A feature I am particularly fond of is the ability to set up temporary pin codes. If you have someone coming over to watch your house or water the plants while you are away, you can give them a code that automatically expires on a certain date. The lock supports up to 30 different codes
I also like the ability to set the deadbolt to lock automatically after 30 seconds. Personally, I've forgotten to lock the door many times, and while I live in a good neighborhood, it makes my significant other quite upset when she realizes the door is open. This feature makes it so I don't even have to think about the lock. I just shut the door behind me and forget about it.
Now, I do have a problem with using the phone to unlock the door. Quite frankly, it just takes longer than actually using the pin pad. By the time I unlock my iPhone, enter the pin to unlock the app, click the lock, hit the unlock button, and wait for the signal to be sent over the internet, I could have entered the code on the physical keyboard three times.
Where this feature is useful is when you have someone coming over and you don't feel like walking downstairs to let them in. However, I had an issue where the person kept knocking on the door, and the lock would refuse to unlock, which kind of defeated the purpose. Of course, if your friends are not jerks like mine who continuously bang on the door until you let them in, this should not be a problem for you.
One thing I must say about the lock is that it looks great. Both the part you see from the inside and outside are aesthetically pleasing, and it adds a good bit of style to the house.
Overall, this is a really nice lock and I would recommend it, particularly if you can see yourself using the internet connected features. Schlage's website lists the lock for $319, but retailers like Amazon and Home Depot sell it for approximately $199, which is quite high when compared to a standard deadbolt and accessing the cool connected features requires an additional piece of hardware and a $8.99 monthly subscription to the Nexia service.
Product Page: Schlage Camelot Touchscreen DeadboltShare
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