With so many smart locks elbowing for the spotlight, Kwikset keeps it simple with its newest touchscreen deadbolt, the Obsidian. No keys, no Bluetooth, just a touchscreen keypad and a deadbolt. At $229, Kwikset's Z-Wave -compatible model is a minimalistic and smart approach to keyless entry that makes a great addition to homes with a Z-Wave hub.
Named for the volcanic rock it channels in the black shine of the keypad, the Obsidian comes in two versions. The $180 standalone version is a touchscreen deadbolt and nothing more. A $229 Home Connect version includes Z-Wave Plus, a certification for the latest Z-Wave 500 series platform with extended wireless range, over-the-air firmware updates and wireless encryption. I tested both the standalone and Z-Wave versions of the Obsidian.
Editors' note, Dec. 13: A previous version of this review, published Nov. 2, covered only the standalone Kwikset Obsidian. We've updated with testing of the Z-Wave version, and made a small downward adjustment of the rating, from 7.4 to 7.2.
The touchscreen keypad is the centerpiece here, and it looks very similar to the keypad on the Kwikset Premis model we tested last year. Like most smart locks, the Obsidian is powered by four AA batteries that sit in the top of the lock. Audio and LED light alerts notify you of low batteries at three low battery levels, but should your batteries die, there are 9V jumpstart nodes on the bottom of the lock.
Installation was simple. I measured two different dimensions of my door to be sure I was using the correct screws and to determine if I needed an adapter plate. Kwikset includes detailed instructions on how to measure and plenty of hardware options. Once you've attached both sides of the lock to the door, the Obsidian automatically calibrates itself and you're ready to connect to your smart home platform.
The Obsidian currently works with Z-Wave hubs like Wink and SmartThings . While the Obsidian doesn't currently work with HomeKit or Google Home and Kwikset has no dedicated IFTTT service, you can still lock the Obsidian with a custom IFTTT recipe using Google Assistant and SmartThings IFTTT services. Once I created a custom IFTTT recipe, I was able to ask the Google Assistant to lock the door with success every time.
I tested the Obsidian at the CNET Smart Home by connecting it to a SmartThings hub and using Amazon Alexa voice commands to lock the door. Alexa promptly locked the Obsidian each time. A button on the rear of the lock initiates pairing mode and both SmartThings and Alexa had no problems finding the lock. Connecting the lock to my home automation platform and incorporating it into routines took just a few minutes.
The standalone Obsidian accepts up to 16 user codes, while the Z-Wave version supports 30 codes. Each code must be between four and eight digits. You can also enable a mastercode to approve additional codes or remove them. To add a user code, push the programming button under the lock's interior cover, press the checkmark symbol on the keypad and enter a four- to eight-digit code followed by the lock symbol. The Obsidian doesn't have its own app like the Kevo lock, so you must create codes either through the keypad itself or your respective smart home platform. SmartThings and the Alexa app didn't offer this option for the Obsidian when I tested. That's a disappointment, as it would be really nice to be able to generate codes remotely.
Locking and unlocking it with the keypad is pretty intuitive. To lock the door, press the lock button on the bottom right corner of the keypad. To unlock, activate the keypad by touching it and enter your code. I was also able to lock and unlock via the SmartThings app. You can add locking the Obsidian to an Alexa routine, but unlocking isn't available there nor as a voice command.
Kwikset's automatic relock feature locks the door 30 seconds after it's unlocked. This worked every time for me. The SecureScreen function also worked well. When entering your code, Obsidian will prompt you with two decoy digits. Press those, followed by your code. SecureScreen defends against would-be intruders inspecting fingerprints, and I'm a fan of it, especially given the shiny touchpad is prone to fingerprint trails.
An LED on the interior side of the lock lets you know if the deadbolt is locked or unlocked. Every 6 seconds, the LED will flash amber for locked and green for unlocked. You can turn this feature off, as you can with SecureScreen, audio and automatic relock. It's a bit annoying to access these switches. A small board of tiny switches under the interior side cover control each of these features. You'll need to unscrew three screws on the faceplate to get to it. If you want to disable automatic relocking to leave your door open for a party or special circumstance, you'll need to find a screwdriver.
Neither model of the Kwikset Obsidian offers a Bluetooth connection, so there aren't any keyfobs or walking up to your door to unlock it with a phone, like we saw in the Kevo. I don't mind the absence of Bluetooth as an unlocking method, but it could deter some of you.
Overall, the Obsidian is just what you would expect from a touchscreen deadbolt, and the added Z-Wave smarts and IFTTT possibilities of the Home Connect version make it a welcome addition to smart home routines with Alexa. The Obsidian doesn't include any door-sensing capabilities for open or closed door alerts, like August's line of HomeKit-compatible locks does. You also may or may not get remote code creation depending on your platform, but it does come with added convenience and security features like SecureScreen, automatic relocking and those 30 user codes.
There's no Bluetooth key or remote access with the standalone version. It's just a deadbolt. There's also no physical key at all, for that matter. No key means no fumbling for things in your pocket or purse. If you like the comfort of a physical key, however, or you're looking for Bluetooth capability, Kwikset's Premis or Kevo might be more your style.
The Home Connect, Z-Wave Plus-equipped Obsidian expands this lock to include Z-Wave hubs, Alexa and IFTTT possibilities. If Z-Wave smarts are what you need, Kwikset's Obsidian is a stylish option that performs well and easily integrates into your existing smart home platform. If you're looking for a HomeKit-friendly lock, consider August's line of locks or Yale's Assure Lock SL for $129 with a $50 iM1 network module.
Are we ready for keyless entry? Personally, I've always liked the look and functionality of keypads. If you're anything like me, you'll appreciate the elegance and responsiveness of Kwikset's latest lock.