Two weeks ago the Kwikset Kevo ($219) started shipping – you might have seen it on season 3 of the Shark Tank. And now it has been officially installed in my door. And while I’m still formulating my final opinion, here are my initial impressions of the smart door lock.
Update: I just spoke with Unikey’s (the tech behind the Kevo) founder, Phil Dumas. Below are some updates.
1. Bluetooth Only
Make no mistake. The Kevo only works over short range Bluetooth. In other words there is no WiFi connectivity, so you won’t be able to unlock your door from any where. In fact, you’ll have to have your iPhone in very close proximity for it to work – some where in the range of 12-15 inches.
Update: Phil just told me that there will be some add on hardware to provide Remote Unlock. In other words, there should be a box that connects to your router that connects to the Kevo’s Bluetooth connectivity.
By leveraging the power of your phone, or in this case the user’s phone, you can receive notification by way of email and push notification that someone has accessed the lock. However, if the user of the Ekey has WiFi and their cellular connection turned off, you’ll never receive these, at least not in real time. Moreover, the traditional key and Fob will go unrecorded.
Arguably the time it takes for the Kevo to unlock is the same amount of time it would get you to reach into your pocket, insert the key and turn. Arguably. But if you ask me, it’s still a bit too slow for my liking. It often takes about 5-7 seconds for the door to unlock. And sometimes it can take longer – sometimes 10 seconds. Perhaps some of this can be explained by the fact that the lock has to sense your touch, then send a Bluetooth signal to your phone, then the app has to confirm that you have access, and then send a signal back to unlock the door. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if a serial killer was at my back.
Update: I’m going to look into this. According to Kevo’s founder, there maybe an internal issue that will address the speed.
4. Rekey for Old Keys
I have yet to do this, but you can rekey the lock to work with your existing keys. Brilliant.
5. $1.99 Per Key
The Kevo comes with two Ekeys. You can share these with anyone by way of email (no text sharing). If you want more Ekeys you’ll need to buy them at a cost of $1.99 and keys are not transferable.
Update: This might change in the near future. It’s not 100%, but something Unikey is exploring. In other words, you might be able to share a select number of keys with guests without having to pay the fee. If I had it my way, the experience would be analogous to that of a physical key; you’d get two keys that could be provided to guests.
6. No Time Restrictions
One of the supposed benefits of the smart lock is the ability to not only share keys with people, but limit their access time. Unfortunately, the Kevo can only share any time keys.
Update: Kevo plans to roll out this feature next year.
7. Easy Install
If you’ve installed a deadbolt before, and provided your door is compatible (deadbolt and handle are separate), installing the Kevo takes about 30 minutes. And all you need is a Philips head screwdriver.
8. iPhone 4s or higher
You read that right. The Kevo only works with the iPhone 4s, iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s. Android owners are left out in the cold, both literally and figuratively.
Expect a full review of the Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock very soon.