If you haven’t heard of Level before, that’s no big surprise. It’s a newer company in the smart home scene, but it has an interesting smart lock for you to consider. Instead of a bulky electronic box connected to your door, all the electronics hide inside your door. The new $329 Level Touch adds a Touch unlock feature to the concept.
Smart locks are incredibly convenient, thanks to routines, remote access, and the ability to leave without worrying if you have a key. But they can be unsightly, and usually require a giant electronic box attached to the back of your door. And if you use a pin-based lock, that further advertises your smart lock to the world.
Level smart locks are different. All the electronic bits go inside your door, in the cavity where the usual locking mechanism sits. The original Level Bolt (still for sale at $229) only replaced the interior cam and deadbolt shaft, you retained the exterior pieces, including your thumb turn.
The new Level Touch changes that, now you replace the entire lock, thumb turn, key, and all. It still looks like a standard lock from the outside, but the extra parts gave Level the room to add a Touch feature. When you touch the lock, it will connect to your phone over Bluetooth LE, confirm your identity, and unlock (or lock) the door.
That’s a big deal, the original lock relied on GPS location to unlock and lock your door, and GPS location on phones is notoriously inaccurate. The touch mechanism should help with that problem, though there’s still a question of speed.
You can also unlock the Level Touch with key, app, or an NFC key card. The lock comes with two NFC cards, so you can hand one out to a family member who doesn’t want an app or have a smartphone. The Level Touch works with Homekit, but not Alexa or Google Assistant (yet).
At $329, the Level Touch is among the most expensive in the market. But if it’s important to you that your smart lock looks like a standard lock (which is a facto if you belong to a home owner association), the Level lock is your best (and only) choice.