Kwikset Kevo powered by UniKey Review

Kevo App


Indeed, the Kevo offers us the ability to unlock it using the traditional set of keys that come included with it, but as with most things “smart,” we can use an iPhone to do it instead. To be fair, it’s only compatible with the iPhone 4S, 5, 5C, and 5S, just because they all feature Bluetooth 4.0 Smart Technology – so it’s one sore spot that’s nagging us. However, it looks like they’re in the process of bringing support to Android and BlackBerry, but there’s no exact time frame when we’ll see it arrive.

Using the Kevo app for iOS, it’s the hub that allows us to initially calibrate the Kevo, setup the eKeys, and even see a history of who has opened/closed the Kevo. Now, in order to unlock the Kevo, the app needs to be running in the background. If it’s not, the Bluetooth connection can’t be established for some reason. However, if you open the app, and then turn off the iPhone, we can still interact with the Kevo. Just as long as the app is running, we can put the iPhone in our pocket, backpack, or hold it – and it can still be recognized by the Kevo.

Another key feature of the app is the ability to send eKeys to specific individuals. This is a great feature if you’re going away and want a friend or family member to watch over the house, seeing that an eKey can be sent to them – where they’re given the necessary permissions to unlock the Kevo. Best of all, you can revoke their access at any time, so it gives some organizational control in who can access it.

Performance

Tap, wait, and it’s unlocked! The whole process is simple and takes less than 10 seconds to complete.

Initially, our experience with the Kevo was finicky, as it struggled to recognize our iPhone. Sometimes, we had to try multiple times before the Kevo could be unlocked/locked, but after a software update, the issue was quickly resolved. Tapping on the outside bezel of the Kevo lights up the blue LEDs, and from here, it searches for our nearby iPhone via its Bluetooth connection.

Once that’s established and it recognizes the iPhone as an authorized device, it makes the automated sounds that unlock the Kevo. Simple, quick, and easy! The whole process takes approximately 5 to 8 seconds, so it’s just as fast as if we’re using the physical key.

As an alternative, there’s a FOB key included that first needs to be programmed to be an authorized device with the Kevo. Once that’s done, it acts just like our iPhone in being an eKey. Essentially, we can put the FOB key in our pocket or backpack, so when it’s in close proximity to the Kevo, it allows us to unlock it.

Battery Life

As per the maker, the Kevo’s battery can last up to 1 year under normal usage.

With the 4 AA batteries of the Kevo, Kwikset says that it’s rated to provide up to a year with “normal usage.” Not surprisingly, the battery is still going after a couple of weeks using the Kevo day in, day out – so we’re not too concerned about it. Worst case scenario, if the battery goes dead, we can always resort to using the physical set of keys to unlock it. In the actual event that its battery is going, the Kevo itself will have its red LEDs lit up to provide on-going visual indication that its battery is low. In addition, it’ll send in-app alerts as well.

Conclusion


Kwikset gladly refers to the Kevo as “the key evolved.” We undeniably agree with this statement, seeing that the Kevo is an evolutionary step to the usual deadbolt lock. Despite that, it doesn’t come cheap! Rather, the Kwikset Kevo sports a retail price of $220, which is a pretty steep cost for anyone – more so when an ordinary, basic deadlock can be picked up for as low as $15 on the average.

Just like our wallets, our smartphones have become an integral thing that we remember to carry along with us at all time, so it’s nice that we can now ditch the usual physical key with the Kevo, as our smartphone (iPhone in this case) acts as it. Being able to unlock the Kevo with our iPhone, track who is entering who’s accessing the Kevo, and even sending eKeys to a friend/relative, all show us the smarter functions of this deadbolt lock – albeit, it comes at a steep price.

The more we think about it, we’d recommend checking out the Kevo – that’s as long as you can swallow its expensive cost. However, its limited support to the iPhone will hold back many people from picking it up. Still, we can sleep knowing that the company will eventually roll out support to other phones.

Pros

  • iPhone acts as our key to unlock the Kevo
  • eKeys allow us to give/remove authorization to users
  • Ability to see a history of who is accessing the Kevo
  • Battery life is rated for up to 1 year
  • It retains the distinct look of a traditional deadbolt lock

Cons

  • Support is limited to the iPhone
  • $220 cost is pretty tough to swallow
  • Installation can be a process for those with no experience

PhoneArena Rating:

7.5

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