With so many smart gadgets already in my home like connected lights, a Wi-Fi vacuum, and a smart space heater, adding a smart lock seems to make sense. Yes, security concerns have kept a lot of folks from investing in this technology, but I’ve got to believe that major manufacturers have this figured out. With strong confidence I installed the Weiser Premis digital smart lock with touch screen on my front door for testing and review.
What can Weiser Premis smart lock do?
Using the iPhone, you can open the lock with the free Weiser Premis app, or by asking Siri to do it for you.
There’s also a set of physical keys in the package so you can lock and unlock the old fashioned way.
Installing Weiser Premis lock
I must admit I wasn’t looking forward to installing the lock, assuming it would be tedious and complex. Boy, was I wrong.
The installation is made easier through interactive instructions inside the Premis app. The installation guide is reminiscent of a choose-your-own-adventure story; you select yes or no to certain questions, and the app will step you through exactly how to install the lock on your particular door.
I did hit a snag early on when I removed the older deadbolt from my door and found it was several inches longer than the ‘standard’ deadbolts included in the Premis kit. While one of the included replacement deadbolts was adjustable, it was still well short of fitting into my door.
I reached out on Twitter and via phone to Weiser’s customer service. I got a pretty quick response on Twitter that said my door was old, and the Premis wouldn’t work in it.
I got a different response by phone. A very helpful rep told me that while the lock was indeed designed for a smaller deadbolt, Weiser did have a specialty 5″ deadbolt that they’d be happy to put in the mail right away. Hallelujah!
In essence you remove your old deadbolt hardware and lock, and replace it with the Premis versions. The Premis front keypad is then wired to the rear thumb bolt so everything is electronically connected. In my case everything fit perfectly, and took about 15 minutes to complete. If you were installing this on a brand new door, there are some additional steps, but a pattern for cutting into the door is included.
How to re-key Weiser Premis
Helpfully a re-keying kit is included with the Premis, so you can easily re-key the new Premis lock to match your old lock if you wish. While I was hoping to take advantage of that, yet again my apparently aged door confounded the situation. My keys are too big to fit the new lock. So I added one of the included physical keys to my key ring instead.
The lock conveniently runs off four AA batteries and you can check their status inside the app. A warning light on the inside of the lock will also come on when the batteries are dying. Weiser say the batteries, based on 10 operations per day, should operate the lock for over a year. With my longer 5″ deadbolt, Weiser’s customer service rep did warn me I should expect shorter battery life.
Allowing access to family & guests – Weiser Premis
Using the Premis app, you can set up the lock to connect with Apple Home Kit. With Home Kit configured, you can ask Siri, Apple’s digital assistant, to lock and unlock the door using just your voice. I found that Siri was able to lock and unlock the door quite quickly, and I did not experience any connectivity issues or problems with this method.
You can use the Premis app to assign user codes for up to 30 people from your kids, to your friends, housekeeper, contractor and more. You can control the specific days and times that the codes will work so that your cleaner’s code, for example, will only work during the day, not at night. The Premis app will keep a record of who’s using their codes to access the home.
That also makes it great for tracking kids’ curfews too.
It’s also possible for you to remotely open the lock yourself from the app if you don’t want to share a code. You do need to have an Apple TV in the home for this function to work. More on that in a sec.
Never wonder if you left the door unlocked again
Are you the type that endures the nagging feeling of forgetting to lock the door? With Premis, you can assuage your fears. Use the Premis app to check if the door is locked. If it’s not, you can lock it remotely, though your lock needs to be connected to your Apple TV if you aren’t in Bluetooth range. Whether you’ve left for work, Europe, or you’re already upstairs in bed and don’t want to get up, just open the app and you can see what the lock’s status is and change it if necessary.
How Do I Pair Premis With My Apple TV?
Amazingly, there is no need to pair a Premis lock with your compatible Apple TV. As long as the lock is within range of the Apple TV, and the Apple TV is logged into the same iCloud account as the enrolled Apple device, the lock can be remotely operated.
I ran numerous tests locking and unlocking the Premis from work and elsewhere and the lock performed perfectly each time.
Weiser Premis – Security & encryption
The Premis lock uses standard 128-bit AES encryption and session-based Station-to-Station protocol which is encrypted with HKDF-SHA-512 derived keys based on per-session Curve25519 keys. What the heck does that mean in English? In essence it uses bank level encryption to ensure when you hit lock/unlock the signal that is transmitted wirelessly from the lock to your phone or the AppleTV is encrypted, making it virtually impossible from someone who may be trying to hack your door to do so.
A reader on Twitter asked if it’s possible to have a stranger who’s gotten their hands on your phone to open the lock using Siri. I checked and the answer is no.
Because the iPhone demands you use your fingerprint or enter your passcode when it’s locked and Siri is requested, someone couldn’t gain access to your home. Unless of course, your phone doesn’t use any security features enabled….
Can I use Weiser Premis with Android?
Smart lock proximity
You don’t need to be too close to the door to get the lock to function. I find that I can use Siri to control my lock from my driveway without problem, and since I have Apple TV, I can use the lock from anywhere I have a connection.
Overall Review of Weiser Premis Smart lock
I have to say I was very impressed with the Weiser Premis. The last smart lock I reviewed was a dismal failure (and has since folded up its tent) so I was pretty pleased to find this technology works great. The app and Siri are quick and responsive, so I’m not left outside my house waiting 10-15 seconds for the lock to operate, as I was with that other lock I tried. The lock has opened and closed for me every single time on the first try, over my two week testing period.
The installation was dead easy, despite my deadbolt being different. I found the in-app step-by-step instructions very easy to follow and understand.
It’s so convenient using the keypad to enter, or Siri. Being able to check on the lock via the app is very handy for those absent-minded moments, and having a list of when family members or visitors access the door is a great feature too.
If I had one piece of constructive criticism, it would be nice to have geofencing unlocking and locking. Once I get a few hundred metres from the house it would be awesome if the lock would automatically engage. While you can set up this function (in theory) using something like IFTTT, (read more here) in this specific case I was unable to find any recipes to get this set up with Weiser products. It seems Apple HomeKit has not enabled this feature for security reasons.
Nonetheless, I’m in love with this lock and use it daily. It’s made life with our housekeeper easier, it means I don’t need to take house keys when I go for a walk or bike ride, and it means I can open the door for my neighbour if he wants to drop his dog off for us to babysit. Not to mention the infrequent times I lock myself out of the house, I can easily get back in.
I highly recommend the Weiser (also called Kwikset in the USA) Premis as a great choice for a smart lock.
It sells for about $200 on sites like weiserlock.com or Amazon: