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Should I buy a Kwikset Obsidian smart lock?


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OFFLINE   sincity

sincity

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The bottom line

The Kwikset Obsidian Electronic Touchscreen Deadbolt is one of the best smart locks currently available. It’s a stylish and secure replacement for your standard deadbolt, and it’s completely keywayless—so don’t forget your master code. 

Depending on the model and color, you’re looking at anywhere between $120 and $230 for the Obsidian deadbolt, or $280 for the Alexa-enabled Obsidian bundle with Amazon Key and Amazon Cloud Cam

If you want to lock your door remotely with your smartphone or have Alexa do it for you, you’ll want to invest in the more expensive option. 

Even with the non-smart home option, though, you’ll still get a secure, sleek touchscreen lock that prevents would-be thieves from using your fingerprints to guess your password. 

Kwikset Obsidian: what you need to know

The Kwikset Obsidian smart lock kit provides the pieces you’ll need to uninstall your standard deadbolt and mount the exterior touchscreen and interior latch. But if that sounds intimidating, you’ll have to shell out an additional $99 on Amazon for “expert installation”. 

The touchscreen and front half of Obsidian matches its name (solid black), while you have two options for the back half that rests against the door: bronze and nickel. 

The base edition lets you make 16 user codes and one overriding master code, while with the Alexa edition you can create up to 30 user codes. You’ll have to create or delete codes via the touchscreen for the former, while you can control this via the Alexa app for the latter. 

Obsidian eschews keys entirely, so your only point of entry is the touchscreen, which runs on four AA batteries. If the batteries die, you can tap a 9V battery against the contact terminals on the bottom to temporarily turn it back on. 

To replace the batteries, you have to partially disassemble the lock to access the battery compartment. So, keep your installation manual handy and invest in long-lasting batteries, because some users report them dying every six months or so. 

Normally, touchscreen-only locks get smudged over the numbers you use most, which people could use to guess your password. But Kwikset’s SecureScreen tech randomizes the numbers every time you try to unlock it, solving the fingerprint issue. 

Obsidian also has an option to auto-lock after 30 seconds, provided the door is closed. But, it has no security alarms to detect when a door is left (or forced) open. 

Amazon Cloud Cam and Home Connect editions

Kwikset released the Amazon Key edition of Obsidian, along with two other locks, this April. It also plans to release a Home Connect Obsidian deadlock “soon” that will support Z-Wave smart home devices and Samsung SmartThings (no official date announced yet).

With the Amazon Obsidian edition, you can connect your Amazon Echo or Alexa app to your deadbolt, and ask Alexa to check whether it's locked or unlocked, and lock it remotely if necessary. 

You can also create or delete codes using the Alexa app, or assign specific codes temporary access or recurring schedules based on your needs. 

Plus, with the Amazon Cloud Cam connected to the deadbolt, it will automatically videotape clips of anyone entering or leaving the house. You need the Cloud Cam connected in order to enable Amazon Key and let delivery drivers into your home, although keep in mind that Amazon Key may have security issues that could leave your house vulnerable. 

The Home Connect edition will reportedly cost the same as the Alexa model ($230), and will feature wireless connectivity and encryption, online firmware updates, SmartThings support and IFTTT support for smart light control, CNET reports. 

Should I buy it?

That depends a lot on what smart home ecosystem, if any, you subscribe to. Google Home and Apple HomeKit users, for example, may want to pass on Obsidian, since Kwikset has no announced plans to add support for either smart speaker or their respective smart tech families. 

Samsung, Wink or Iris proponents, meanwhile, should probably be patient and wait for the Home Connect edition to come out, or should look into the Schlage Connect smart deadbolt instead. 

Amazon Prime subscribers and Echo owners, on the other hand, have little reason to pass up on the Alexa model if they’ve been waiting for a smart lock. It ties in perfectly with the tech and services they’re already familiar with, and has plenty of security measures to keep them safe. 

If you don’t want to go through the hassle of replacing your deadbolt entirely, or lose the option to use a manual key, then we’d recommend looking into August Home Smart Locks instead, since they can simply attach directly to the deadbolt you already have. 

On the whole, however, we think Kwikset Obsidian could be one of the slickest, most secure touchscreen option on the market. 






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