Hands On: Ease of Installation & Automation Highlight Kwikset SmartCode 916
CE Pro senior editor Robert Archer says the sleek touchscreen highlights the SmartCode 916 from Kwikset, but you can still use a traditional key as a backup.
Very high on the list of product categories that symbolize the evolution and growing acceptance of home automation technologies is door locks. Over the past few years the automation category has been bolstered by the entry of big retail brands entering the space, along with products from companies like Google’s Nest that have captured the attention of the mainstream. Providing a key piece that ties the connected home together, smart door locks double as a means of convenience and security for homeowners.
One company fueling the growth of this relatively new home automation category is Lake Forest, Calif.-based Kwikset. The company has devoted and continues to devote high levels of R&D to drive the growing maturity and usage of these products.
This past winter Kwikset added to its selection of smart door locks by introducing its SmartCode 916 product (MSRP $250). Available in three finishes — lifetime polished brass, satin nickel and Venetian bronze — this keyless, touchscreen lock is designed for home automation system integration via its inclusion of both Z-Wave and ZigBee wireless technologies. Moreover, it’s a nice upgrade for consumers that eventually want to get into automation, but for now are satisfied with lock improvements, keyless entry and a slick form factor.
Installing the lock at my house couldn’t have been much easier. I estimate that it took 30 minutes, and that includes skimming through the directions. After unpacking the unit and looking through the setup instructions, I fit the lock pieces together to get an idea of how it would work. In hindsight, this proved to be helpful for the actual setup.
After removing my old lock, I used the experience of fitting the lock together beforehand to learn that the main components don’t line up as the somewhat confusing directions lead you to believe. Nevertheless, it does physically assemble and mount within a matter of minutes, and once those steps are completed, it only takes an additional few minutes to program a personalized lock code.
With the lock installed, I tried the keypad and tested the daily use features of the lock. The keypad works well in a variety of weather conditions, and I think from an aesthetic perspective, the 916’s sleek looks deliver an air of toughness that people don’t normally associate with doors and door looks — think RoboCop (I got the satin nickel finish) without getting too industrial looking.
Adding to that level of toughness is the physical “feel” of the lock. The SmartCode 916 does not feel plastic and cheap. It feels well crafted, and sturdy.
Regrettably I wasn’t able to integrate the lock into my home control system. Going into my assessment I was hoping the Crestron Pyng system that I am also reviewing would be ready to integrate the 916’s capabilities. As of press time that was not the case unfortunately, but if Crestron does add the option for Kwikset product integration, I can do a follow up.
Putting the Z-Wave and ZigBee integration aside, other than the somewhat vague installation directions, the Kwikset SmartCode 916 is a reasonably priced, well-built and easy-to-use connected home solution that installs within minutes and adds a level of convenience to home ownership that is increasingly being sought out.
More concisely, it’s a terrific product that dealers should definitely check out and consider offering to more automation- and security-system aware public.
CE Pro Verdict
Pros: Installs quickly and easily; keypad is easy to operate; product is well manufactured.
CONS: Not really a criticism, but experience installing the lock will facilitate faster install times; directions weren’t as clear as one would hope, but it’s not a major hurdle to overcome.
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Bob is an audio enthusiast who has written about consumer electronics for various publications within Massachusetts before joining the staff of CE Pro in 2000. Bob is THX Level I certified, and he's also taken classes from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). Bob also serves as the technology editor for CE Pro's sister publication Commercial Integrator. In addition, he's studied guitar and music theory at Sarrin Music Studios in Wakefield, Mass., and he also studies Kyokushin karate at 5 Dragons in Haverhill, Mass. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Robert at firstname.lastname@example.org
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