Published on September 8th, 2014 | by Greg0
Kwikset Kevo: A Futuristic Smart Lock With Some Quirks
We already have smart phones, smart water, and smart cars. You probably have room in a life for a little more intelligence in your life, courtesy of a smart lock. The idea is pretty cool- combining the futuristic convenience of hotel cardkeys but using a gadget that you always carry with you as the key. After all, your smartphone has plenty of functions, so why not make it a Bluetooth-enable key as well?
That’s the principle behind the Kwikset Kevo, a nifty new deadbolt solution ideal for those who lose their keys or are tired of carrying them around, copying them, or dealing with locksmiths. The best part of the system is the idea of eKeys, electronic codes that enable guests temporary or permanent access (great for AirBnB visitors, family, friends, or even your dog walker). There are some restrictions, though- the eKey is basically embedded in their free app, which is only available to users of the iPhone 4S, 5, 5C and 5S. Android users are left waiting for Bluetooth Low Energy support. And, of course, if your phone runs out of battery life, then you’re in trouble (they do include a keyfob as an alternative, and regular keys as well).
The technology is nifty, since you don’t have to do anything other than touch the lock to get into your apartment anymore- it detects when your phone is nearby, kind of like some newer automobiles. Physical installation is straightforward as well and can be easily handled by just about anyone without too much trouble. But the next step is a fairly difficult calibration process. On the plus side, unlike some competitors, the Kevo looks basically like a normal deadbolt, so won’t attract much attention- it’s only the ring of light that alerts you to the difference when you unlock it. The unit runs on included AA batteries, and everything you need is in the package.
The Kwikset Kevo didn’t feel as sturdy as some other locks we’ve seen though- even compared to others from Kwikset, like their solid SmartCode 914 with Z-wave. And it regularly had trouble unlocking the door, requiring some phone movement, changing placement, as well as time- it seemed to have a noticeable delay before opening. Early adopters might not mind, considering some of the unique advantages- but security-conscious individuals will probably want to look elsewhere. Available in three finishes, nickel, bronze, and brass, the Kevo is available now for around $220, and for those with a compatible phone and who regularly want to give out additional keys, it can be a magical device.