I cannot tell you how excited I was to be asked to review the Kwikset Kevo, a bluetooth enabled deadbolt that allows you to simply touch the lock to open your door. I know how geeky I sound right now, but it is SO COOL. The Kevo comes in 3 different finishes (Polished Brass, Satin Nickel, and Venetian Bronze) and pretty much looks like a regular lock from the outside, except it has an LED ring of light going around the diameter. It lights up with different colors to show the status of your lock. Again, so cool!
It took a little while to get the Kevo installed but not because it was difficult to do. But because in between travel and work, my husband just kept forgetting to install it. Finally, he says “Why don’t you just install it? You know how to do these things and it will make your post better.” And he was right. So I grabbed my trusty tools from Ryobi (they are sooo pretty) and proceeded to take out our old lock and install the Kevo. It was really pretty easy to just follow the instructions and screw in the lock where the old one was, absolutely no adjustment to the holes necessary. The inside of the Kevo is pretty big (check out the pictures I’m including) but it makes perfect sense that it would be. An extra step to installation was attaching the wires between the front and back of the lock so they can “talk” before I screwed the back onto the door. Then I put in the batteries and it was time to set it up!
Here’s how it all works: You can use your smartphone (currently compatible with Apple iPhone 4s, 5, 5c, and 5s only), a fob (one comes with the lock) or a physical key to open your door. With both the app on your smartphone and the fob you should be able to keep each in your pocket or purse and touch the lock for your door to open. You can use all fobs, just the app, or a combination of both with the bluetooth deadbolt which is really nice. For this review, I borrowed an iPhone from a friend (thanks again, Caitlin!) to check out the app in action.
I registered my account and proceeded to add the lock. The instructions for doing so are right there on the screen and it was very simple to “enroll” the phone with our lock. After this is complete, you go through calibration which enables the Kevo positioning technology (mentioned below) for better security. Calibration was slightly easier with the iPhone vs. the fobs and involves pressing the calibration button, going outside with your phone or fob within direct site of the lock and touching the lock 3 times. If it blinks red on the 3rd try, it didn’t work. If it’s green, you’re good to go. Setting this up correctly determines how far you’ll have to have the phone or fob from the door in order for the lock to work.
The app also allows a view of your usage history, when you’ve opened and closed the door and the dates and times, and currently comes with 7 eKeys (normally it’s just 2). eKeys are for use within the app and can be shared with anyone you want. The first eKey used is yours and it’s called the “Owner eKey”. Additional eKeys can be assigned with 2 different access levels: “Admin eKey” and “Anytime eKey”. The Admin level is similar to the Owner level, but the Admin cannot edit anything having to do with the Owner level. The Anytime level is just for access to open and close the door. This is perfect for assigning temporarily to house guests or contractors working on your home. And you can send it quickly to anyone needing quick access who also has a compatible smartphone. eKeys beyond the 7 you receive initially, are $1.99 each. They’re reuseable, so you can delete a user and reassign the key if preferred.
The fobs are meant to be on your keychain and will be the way we primarily use the Kevo until the app comes to Android. While I did notice the fob was slightly less responsive than the iPhone with the lock, they’re still really easy to use with very little delay in my experience. Enrolling the fobs with the lock was the same process as the smartphone and the same with the calibration. Again, calibration took a few tries but now we’re able to keep our keys/fobs in our pockets (and sometimes in my purse) and simply touch our lock to gain entry. Love that!
What about security?
The lock is powered by batteries and there’s a light on the inside that keeps you aware of needing to change them, but I’m keeping the physical key on my key chain just in case. As for security, there are many different features that ensure this lock is as safe as a regular dead bolt if not more so. Thanks to their positioning technology, your Kevo knows whether you or another authorized user are inside the home or outside of it before authorizing entry into your home. The Kevo uses multiple levels of military grade PKI encryption and is continually reviewed by industry leading independent security experts. And Kwikset’s SmartKey technology provides superior security against lock-picking and lock bumping.
This is more than a fun tech toy to me. When I’m carrying my toddler, a purse and most likely something else plus wrangling my 4 year old toward our door, being able to touch the lock with my finger (or an elbow in a pinch) is a wonderful convenience. Yes, using a physical key could be fast when I’m unencumbered but really, how often does that happen? Even my husband, who is usually coming home from work sans kids, loves the Kevo. He’ll often carry in work stuff, mail, or take out for dinner, so he’s not a stranger to fumbling with his keys. Highly recommended!