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Smart Home

Ring wrangles a new partner to help secure your front door

Starting today, you should be able to access your Kwikset Kevo app from your Ring Video Doorbell app.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Earlier today, the team behind the Ring Video Doorbell announced that Kwikset Kevo users can now access the Kevo app from the Ring app (Android and iOS versions are available for both products). This simple third-party integration is supposed to make it easier for Ring and Kevo fans to access their devices remotely, but Ring isn't the only brand embracing this sort of functionality.

Just last month, startup August announced a $200 Wi-Fi doorbell , a $230 HomeKit-enabled smart lock and an $80 standalone keypad (for folks who are either smartphone-free or would simply rather enter a secret PIN than fish around for a mobile device). While none of these new August products have hit retail yet, all three are supposed to be accessible from the same related app.

In other words, if you've been waiting for a fairly comprehensive DIY security solution for your front door, you finally have a couple of options with August and Ring.

Here's the thing, though. Both the Ring Video Doorbell and the Kwikset Kevo disappointed us during testing. (We haven't reviewed the new August doorbell or lock, so stay tuned for our hands-on impressions of those products.)

The Ring buzzer has a lot going for it -- a 720p HD resolution, a motion sensor, night vision -- but the video feed was laggy and I often missed whoever was at my front door. It also doesn't offer on-demand streaming, so if you hear a noise outside that doesn't trigger the motion sensor, you won't be able to pull up live footage.

The Kwikset Kevo is even less compelling, as a security vulnerability made it possible for a professional locksmith to bypass one of our Kevo review units in seconds flat. Not only that, but there are other models, like the original August Smart Lock and the Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt that both scored significantly higher than the Kevo in terms of performance.

In addition to the Kevo deadbolt, Lockstate-brand locks and products that work with the Wink Hub (including Schlage locks) are also compatible with the Ring Video Doorbell; all of these third-party partnerships fall under the umbrella of the new Ring Plus Program, also announced today.

But unlike the Nest app, which allows you to control your Nest-brand thermostats , smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and security cameras from one place -- as well as an upcoming Yale lock with built-in Weave technology (it's supposed to be available starting early 2016) -- the Ring Plus Program only offers a direct bridge to the Kevo app from the Ring app, so you don't have to completely exit one app in order to open another.

Ultimately, it seems rather limited that you can't actually lock or unlock your Kevo deadbolt straight from the Ring app. I suppose it could save some time, but we'll have to try it out ourselves to be sure.

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