The user of smarter technology in the home is the big trend in consumer electronics in 2016, and one of the biggest sectors that it touches is home security. Today we’re looking at the iSmart Alarm, an affordable £60 home security solution which is the best Do-It-Yourself solution on the market so far this year.
This simple gadget, which you can learn more about on the official website found here www.ismartalarm.com is an attractive mix of retro Apple iPod styling, some cool but understated features, powerful functionality and in our opinion, the right blend of enough technology to be good without having useless over the top stuff thrown in. Its an elegant solution which we feel competes favourable with much more expensive offerings, and assuming your house is neither A) huge (meaning you may need to spend more to add additional sensors and detectors) or B) full of seriously valuable gear, in which case you may want features like live police pinging, then you can do much worse than invest in the iSmart Alarm.
When it comes to smart tech and security, you’re not lacking for choice. Upper end solutions tie together live monitoring with instant links to the local police or a security company of your choice. When the motion sensor triggers, the smart tech pings the cops for you. Its fast, gives a huge amount of peace of mind, gives you a better chance of catching an intruder and is truly a next-gen solution. Except the next gen element can still be found wanting, and the police can still end up getting called to deal with a cat which has walked across your porch.
The iSmartAlarm doesn’t do this, quite simply because this cheaper DIY solution doesn’t include the technology. What it does give you is a set of simple motion sensors, a text message and/or automated call to alert you – leaving you to judge whether to call for help – and a package of great tech with no ongoing payment plan – unlike other vendor solutions.
For me, the iSmartAlarm is a no-brainer. At this price point, quite frankly why would you not invest in this solution if you are considering a new home security solution? When you compare it to more traditional home alarms, it comes out all singing and dancing with its iCamera filming what’s going on and its automated pings to alert you to danger. True, you may not trust it to guard a family treasure, or a Porsche, but for the regular home which needs a security over-haul, its a solid choice.
iSmartAlarm – what comes in the box?
The general idea behind this solution, much like you’ll find with other vendor offerings, is the ability to pick and choose the components, and the number of these components that you need. So these systems are highly adaptable, but there are some of the peg solutions that we can look at – two to be exact.
For around £60/$99, you get a single motion detector, a couple of contact sensors which are used on doors or windows, detecting when the deal breaks and the door/window opens unexpectedly, a couple of remote tags that you are meant to put on your keyring, allowing you to arm and disarm the system and the CubeOne, which is the CNS for the entire solution, complete with a panic alarm incase of home intrusion.
The next package up comes in at $250, around £130, and this is where you the get the iCamera, which whilst a little temperamental, it does add a significant feature which is worth having.
Irrespective of whether you want the iCamera or not, you can buy additional sensors, sirens, remotes and if chosen – additional iCameras too. All of this adds a flair of customisability to proceedings, which is something that we value hugely in the entire iSecurityAlarm system.
Finally you get the companion app, which frustratingly is only currently available on iOS – although it is coming to Android soon (or so they promise). This is a simple app, which hasn’t exactly gone to town on data visualisation or any funky data collection. Its a 4 button control pad, used for arming and disarming the system predominately.
What I do like about the app is the ‘home mode’. It instantly knocks out the motion sensors but keeps the window sensors active. I really love this feature for nighttime, especially if there are vulnerable access points – like smaller windows and doors – which are a significant distance away from the bedroom. Its an Armageddon situation, but if it was to happen, I would value all of the warnings possible.
The app also plays with the iCamera, if you chose to take the bigger package. The app shows you what the iCamera is seeing, and you can manover the camera using the app – which is a seriously cool feature. You can use the app to set the angle of view that the camera takes as default, for example aiming it at the most likely point of entry, and if the alarm ever fires, the camera will immediately post what it sees to the cloud. There is no local storage, so if an intruder sees the camera and destroys it, the evidence is captured. If a thief or intruder was to attempt to destroy the camera, its arguably the best case scenario, improving the likelihood that their face will be captured.
Setting up the iSmartAlarm was simple, setting up the iCamera can be burdensome
I found the whole set-up process to be easy, but a word of warning, there are stories online of people having a lot of difficulty with the iCamera. Apparently iSmartAlarm acknowledge that their iCamera is pretty temperamental with around 10-15 percent of wifi routers on the market, which is significant enough to cause alarm (pun intended). Cnet have highlighted the issue here, and its worth considering.
We did not find the installation of the iCamera to be a challenge, so it obviously liked our BT Router. The systems brains, the CubeOne, is a total doddle to instal. It is literally a case of plugging it in – the ultimate plug and play, and the rest is carried out via the app. The sensors and detectors easily connect up with the app and you’re off. We had the system linked up and talking in under five minutes.
Our concluding thoughts on the iSmartAlarm solution
In our experience, the majority of you are wrestling with the whole ‘need vs want’ battle when it comes to smart home security. Many systems cost upwards of £1,000, often case with ongoing subscriptions which add a monthly cost on top. These represent a ‘want’ over need for most of us. We see this solution as being different.
With no running costs, who wouldn’t spend £60 to get the peace of mind that this offers? assuming your house doesn’t have a serious amount of vulnerabilities, I would buy this just for the window and door detectors. I certainly find the idea of having a solution which protects my family reassuring, and the iCamera means that if the worst happens, heaven forbid, then I at least have a chance that the perpetuator could get captured on film and locked in the cloud.