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CNET First Look
Take a look at the new Kwikset Kevo Bluetooth Door LockIt's the smart lock we've been waiting for, but Android users will have to wait a little longer.
Hey. I'm Ry Crist for CNET and I'm here today with the Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock. Now, we've got a lot of new smart locks coming out this year and this is the first one to hit the market and it's a really exciting product. The Kevo's got Bluetooth but right into it, so it can detect the presence of your phone. That means if your phone is in your pocket and you tap on the lock, it will automatically unlock. That's really cool. Also, a key 5 you can use if you don't have a compatible smartphone. We've seen a lot of smart locks that offer smartphone controls and that have apps and different ways of controlling home animation systems. This is the first one you can just touch and it opens up and lets you inside. I'll be totally honest, I was a little bit skeptical of this product because I didn't know how it would work with terms of being outside or inside the door. It's like you leave your phone on a table just inside the door and it's within range of the lock. Theoretically, if someone walked up and tapped in the lock, it would detect the phone and think if that person is you and let them in. That's a big safety hazard kind of a fatal flaw but Kwikset has solved this problem. They have a really good system that calibrates the phone, calibrates the key FOB if you're using that, and it can tell if you're inside or outside and it works. We tested it out again and again that lock never failed us if the foam was ever inside or even close to inside, if there is ever any doubt, the lock wouldn't let you in. If you look at this lock, maybe the first thing you'll notice about it is that it's not that noticeable. It's a pretty boring looking lock. It doesn't say Kevo on it, it doesn't have any cool design, it looks like a basic Kwikset dead bull and I love that frankly. I think that's a really wise move. This is on the outside of your house. This is bolted to your door. If it looked really fancy and expensive, I think that might invite someone to come up in the middle of the night and rip it off. It only looks like a smart device when you come up close and tap on it. These blue lights will spin around, telling you that it's thinking about whether or not let you in and then it will turn green if it's unlocked or yellow if it's locked. It's really simple and it just works. It's easy and effortless and elegant. You can read key using a little tool that includes, so, if you wanted to adapt it to an existing key, you can do that without having to call a locksmith. As for the Kevo app, it works fine, it looks really nice. It's a little bit easy to get lost in it and it's not really clear exactly where everything is located. I'm sure you'll get used to it as you use it, but you don't need to use it. You don't need to open the app to unlock the door. You just really need the app to set your lock up and to calibrate. The app has a few other limitations as well. You can't remotely lock and lock the door like some other smart locks will let you do and you also can't send temporary e-keys out and you know, these are keys that would only work for a certain time of day or that would expire on a certain day automatically. One other thing to be aware with a Kevo, is that it comes with the phone authorization for you and one e-key to give to someone else. But after that, each e-key is gonna cost $1.99. It's about the same price as getting a key made, sure, but there's no parts for labor here, there's no manufacturing. It's just you know, if they can charge you use the lock, when you tap on it, your phone will buzz and it will make the same noises when you get a new e-mail message. I like the buzz. I like knowing that the phone is responding to the lock but that sound, I wish I could have another option, maybe unique sound or maybe just turn the sound off all together. Right now, you can't do that. Now, to me, the big problem with the Kevo, the one ding I can really give it is that it's not compatible with the whole lot of devices, it's only compatible with iPhones and iPads and other iOS devices that have Bluetooth 4.0 hardware built-in to them. You can still use it if you're one of those users. You just need to use the included key FOB. Keep in mind though that Bluetooth 4.0 might expand Android devices in a very near future and if that happens, Kwikset is gonna jump on that and make sure that the lock is compatible with your phone. All-in-all, the Kevo left me very impressed. It comes out on Halloween and I think at a price of $219 it should make a very good holiday gift item this season. Again, if you're an Android user, probably a bit depressed watching this, but hang in there, I think Bluetooth 4.0 is coming your way soon. For CNET, I'm Ry Crist.