The “connected home” is one of the biggest areas of innovation as of late, with smart appliances, voice-controlled thermostats, and app-driven lights taking center stage at various electronics shows and making appearances at various home improvement stores. As technology becomes more compact and more affordable, it is inevitable that it beings to find its way into things to make life simpler. The Kevo by Kwikset is harnessing the power of bluetooth, and using UniKey’s ingenious technology to make the deadbolt smarter.
The Kevo by Kwikset ($219.95 at Apple, Home Depot, Amazon, others) appears as a traditional dead bolt to the passerby – but simply touching the surround of the lock starts a light show and a smart authentication process. On the inside, a small box nested on the back of the lock processes each unlock request, and unlocks the door as allowed.
Available in 3 common finishes, the Kevo can match any current door hardware, and installs in all standard doors in no time at all. The demo unit I received was in the Venetian Bronze finish to match my front door, but the Satin Nickel and Polished Brass are also available to fit the styling you desire. Installation is a simple 24 steps (including inserting batteries and other remedial tasks), and took me under 30 minutes including removing the old deadbolt.
Included with the Kevo is a pair of traditional keys (boring, right?), as well as a key FOB, and (currently) 7 e-keys. Using your iPhone (4S or newer), and the Kevo app, you can setup your lock, view lock activity (who locked/unlocked what door), and even manage e-keys. Configuration of the eKeys is quick and painless, requiring you to enable bluetooth, and touch the lock a few times to pair and calibrate the 2 devices. Calibrating the key FOB is equally easy, and the whole system can be configured and running in a matter of minutes for anyone.
After about 2 weeks of testing, the Kevo has been a enjoyable experience. Using either my iPhone or the FOB, I am able to simply walk up to the door, touch my finger to the lock, and within a matter of seconds, the door unlocks, providing a subtle beep and a green ring around the lock. On the way out the door, I can simply tap the lock after I close the door, see the ring light up, and after it has ensured I am outside, it does it’s thing and the audible tone and flash of orange lights tells me the lock is latched.
From a security aspect, I was concerned that it would be obvious that this was a connected device, potentially encouraging a would-be criminal to attempt to “hack” the lock, but thanks to UniKey’s military grade security, my worries were set at ease. For most people, the outside of the lock is nearly indistinguishable from any other deadbolt lock, and only when touched does the light ring illuminate and show it’s smarter side.
The added convenience of the Kevo is also helpful when your hands are full or if your keys are tucked away in a briefcase of gym bag. Unfortunately, I have noticed that if I don’t have the Kevo app up on my phone that the lock tends to be more inconsistent, so backgrounding the app before I approach the door, or locking my phone before pocketing it causes undue wait times for the lock and phone to communicate and respond. While it does still work this way, I typically found that I had to activate the lock 2 or 3 times before it finally communicated with my iPhone and locked/unlocked as desired.
The Kevo certainly isn’t the only “smart-lock” or connected lock available in the sea of connected home/smart home innovations, but being paired with the trusted Kwikset name adds an reassurance that it is working to keep your home secure. From simple setup and configuration to convenient “one-touch” access, using the Kevo is a pleasurable experience without appearing overly technological. Military-Grade encryption ensures your home is securely locked, and the added peace of mind of a physical key means that even if the battery dies, you’re not locked out.
Price: $219.95 MSRP at Apple, Home Depot, Amazon, others.
- Simple installation and configuration
- Easily send and managed eKeys from iOS App
- Visual and audible lock/unlock confirmation
- Track eKeys and lock activity
- Included FOB (additional FOBs available at Home Depot, Amazon, and other retailers)
- Lock can be rekeyed to match other Kwikset-style locks
- Indentifies inside/outside location to ensure no accidental lock activity.
- Can be inconsistent if app is in background
- Requires 4 AA batteries (I personally hate buying batteries)
Step into the new era of connected home innovations, stop fumbling with your keys, and check out Kevo from Kwikset today!