Just a few days ago we reported on a slew of new products from Aqara that also included a new smart lock, the A100. The A100 we reported on earlier is now available to buy in Mainland China, but…
It now seems there are actually
two three separate models – the A100, the A100 Pro, and the A100 Zigbee. this last model will be for the international market, with the former two for Mainland China. The main distinguishing factor between these three models seems to be support for the Apple HomeKey feature, with the Pro and Zigbee models featuring this functionality, whilst the A100 does without. Aside from this feature, the locks look outwardly exactly the same, with all the same specs. the A100 is on sale now in Mainland China, with the A100 Pro being on pre-order (again in China) at present, and the A100 Zigbee going on sale sometime next year in select international markets.
Focusing on the A100 Pro and A100 Zigbee, as already mentioned, the big feature of these two locks is the addition of Apple’s HomeKey feature, which allows you to open your door by just bringing either your iPhone (XS or later) or Apple Watch (Series 4 or later) close to the lock. This may sound familiar, and it is, as it’s basically NFC, but specific for Apple in terms of it allowing the user to store a virtual key in their Apple Wallet, just as you’re already able to do with credit cards, or flight tickets for example.
Of course, both the A100 and the A100 pro don’t just rely on AppleKey to open the door, as not everyone may have or want to use this method, so like many of the Aqara locks that have come before, which includes a fingerprint reader built into the handle of the lock, as well as a built-in keypad that allows for all sorts of uses, for permanent or temporary passcodes, or codes that can only be used for certain periods, like specific times of the day, or days of the week. Standard Bluetooth 5.0 is deployed for regular HomeKit use, and the lock also comes with a set of keys as an emergency resort if all else fails. You can also use NFC without your phone, as the company also sell NFC keycards separately that you can give to members of your family that might not have an NFC capable phone. There’s even the option to temporarily power the lock if the batteries die, with the use of a USB-C cable and a battery pack that quickly brings the lock to life so you can get in and then replace the batteries.
Speaking of batteries, the lock can, according to the specifications, last for a staggering 540 days on just the eight included batteries, which we assume are the replaceable type. Whilst the lock has Bluetooth 5.0 for standard HomeKit connectivity, both variants also have Zigbee 3.0 functionality, although we’re not sure if this is just so that the lock can be used in automations with other Aqara devices, or can in some ways be used to control the lock.
One final thing to note in terms of the differences between the A100 Pro (China) and the A100 Zigbee (International), is that the latter will remotely configurable passcodes, the ability to unlock the door remotely, which apparently is not possible with the A100 or the A100 Pro. The Zigbee model will also allow the lock to be controlled using Zigbee (most likely via the Aqara app), and will also support Google Assistant, which is not officially supported in Mainland China.
It’s all quite exciting to see the developments that Aqara are putting into place, that centre around HomeKit and the features Apple touted at WWDC 2021, so hopefully, we’ll see this lock featured in reviews before too long.