Home security continues to be a major selling point for smart technology, with most vendors putting out at least a camera. iSmart is one of the more joined up offerings with a whole kit to help protect your home.
The company’s premium bundle includes everything you need for a self-installed, self-monitored and controlled system with none of the cloud or remote monitoring packages that some competitors like to push on customers.
The iSmart comes with a cube base unit, a camera, one motion detector and two contact sensors and two alarm fobs. Using the fob or an iPhone app, users can arm, monitor and disarm the security system from anywhere.
The app will help show who is in the property, when people come and go and which features are enabled, disabled or inoperative.
The App can send an alert via a phone call, SMS text message, push notifications or email to report irregular, unauthorized activity or a break in, while the alarm will alert you if asleep, or neighbors if you are out.
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Placing your iSmart equipment is key to a secure home, and you may be with with the features in the $279 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here) Premium kit or may want to order extra kit for other rooms. A range of better-equipped packages up to $500 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here) are available on the company site.
The star of the show is the CubeOne control unit. This smart box is a 100mm x 100mm x 105mm box that uses WiFi or Ethernet to connect to your home network.
Inside is the 100 decibel alarm and connectivity to all the other components. It looks good, but you might not want that alarm going off in your living room which is where most routers are located.
The iSmart iCamera which requires external power produces a low-resolution 640 x 480 image, covering 90 degrees field of view. That is way down on the likes of the HD wide field Nest Cam and others, but enough to get an idea of what’s happening.
It offers night vision and pan up and down 110 degrees and rotate horizontally almost all the way round to provide an excellent field of vision.
Additional features are the two door or window activity detectors, that need to be firmly attached around the property, a motion detector for halls or open spaces and the fobs for enabling or disabling the alarm without a phone.
Pros of the iSmart Alarm DIY Security System
The iSmart system is pretty easy to set up initially in an ideal environment, and once running provides a smart way to keep an eye on your home.
However, it only supports iSmart devices and while there is some IFTTT connectivity so you can control your home lighting when you come home and so on, it doesn’t feel as smart as it claims.
If you want to alarm your office as well as your home, or another property, then the app will monitor all these locations for you which is a reasonable advantage, and the app itself is useful and practical.
The main plus point is no extra fees, unlike many services, but it is down to you or your family to keep checking the alerts, and being able to see what’s going on.
Cons of the iSmart Alarm DIY Security System
The first issue with the iSmart is that if you lose power, then you lose the alarm and other Internet-enabled functions.
While you can get a UPS power unit to keep the alarm running, you are still pretty much in the dark, but that’s the same with most other systems. There is a battery powered satellite siren at extra cost, but it really should be in the Premium package.
Other cons are more specific to the product. The door sensors only fit on flat surfaces, no good if you have curved window frames or arches, and they have to be really tight fitting to register, which not every property has.
Then there’s the camera which really isn’t sufficient for identifying people and the motion feature results in a lot of blurring so in a fast moving situation, its narrower field of view makes it less useful than some rival cameras.
The camera is so bad it only gets a 2.5 star rating on the company’s own site, definitely the weakest link in the range.
Further problems include the hubs with raised buttons that make it easy to enable or disable the alarm by accident and the motion sensor which is pretty dumb and will be triggered by pets, your Roomba doing its rounds and any other movement.
While the iSmart Premium is a neat idea, it is poorly executed with some flawed components and a generally poor camera.
The company also seems unwilling to improve things with slow firmware updates, no new hardware updates, and while the modular features make it easy to help protect your home, there seem to be too many compromises and complaints from users to make this easy to recommend.
If your home happens to have the right sort of doors and windows, there’s nothing that goes on in the day while you are out, then it might do the job.
That’s how the marketers envision things, but in reality, there’s always stuff going on and it seems this will send an endless series of alerts to the home owner, who either has to set up an endless series of exceptions or rules to avoid being hammered with messages.
That’s not our definition of smart, so either wait for the company to come up with a better product, or spend your money elsewhere.
Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn’t have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!