Kevo Plus – Smart Lock adds Internet
We have been using our Kwikset Kevo since early 2014. It was one of the first smart home locks on the market and it appealed to us since we already had Kwiksets in our house and it was as easy to install as a traditional deadbolt.
One of the things we found most interesting about the Kevo was its use of Bluetooth 4.0 technology to open the lock, rather than relying on the Internet or WiFi. The Kevo lets us in the house by tapping on the ring on the outside, assuming that we have our smartphones with us, logged into the Kevo app. It calibrates the system to know whether or not we are inside or outside the door, so it won’t lock us in when we are trying to get out or open when our phones are on the kitchen table. We can also use a key fob to open the key without a phone, and we can share keys with friends if necessary. It also opens with a regular Kwikset key.
At first we really liked that we could not open the Kevo locks over the Internet. Since the locks are locally controlled the response time is very fast, and we have never had to worry about people hacking our lock remotely. However, there have often been times when being able to open the door far from home would be handy, and it is always nice to be able to verify that the doors are truly locked. So when Kevo announced at CES in January that they would be adding remote capability, we were excited to try it.
Fast forward many months and the Kevo Plus was finally released in October. The $69.99 upgrade includes a Bluetooth gateway that plugs into our WiFi router, and with the app upgrade, we can now lock and unlock our doors from anywhere.
The installation of the gateway was simple, we just plugged it into our WiFi router, upgraded the app and followed the directions. Our only issue is that we had to unplug another smart home device gateway from the box in order to make room. With all our gadgets we are running out of ethernet ports.
So far the Kevo Plus has been a great addition. While we don’t really use it to lock and unlock the doors that often, it is reassuring to be able to make sure the doors are locked when we aren’t home and most recently, we were able to let our housekeeper in when we were away.
The Kevo itself has greatly improved over the last couple of years. When we first got it, locking and unlocking could be really slow, and you had to have your phone practically right next to the lock for it to work. Now we can tap the lock on the way to the car and it locks itself, and it works when the phones are deep in our pockets or in a purse. We have had to change the batteries on both locks just once – they lasted well over a year – and have done a few upgrades to the locks without issue.
Since we installed our Kevo, there are now many other competitors in this space, but with the Kevo Plus, we now have both a great performing smart lock and the additional peace of mind to know whether the door is really locked.