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No smart home would be complete without a smart router and the Securifi Almond 2015 goes that extra step with a touchscreen for easy of installation and managing smart home devices.
That makes it a boon for those who struggle to login to their current router via a browser, and are less sure of what to do when faced with the many highly technical options.
The Almond 2015 also acts as a wireless bridge range extender, so if you have one router already, you can use it to expand the coverage of your WiFi around the home, up to 5,000 square feet.
And, as it is ready to act as your smarthome hub out of the box, all of that for a relatively affordable price for the new model makes it quite the bargain. The new Almond can provide a great way to start managing your technological home, even if you’re not that up on the gadgets that make the magic happen.
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Key Features of the Securifi Almond
The Securifi Almond 2015 comes in a very small footprint for a router, at just 12 x 11 x 5 cm, it doesn’t loom on the desk or lurk in the corner like some routers. That’s just as well as the 2.8-inch touchscreen needs easy access, and you’ll want it to look good in your smart home, with all those other well-heeled gadgets.
The arched tower design makes the Almond something that will look stylish wherever you put it. However, that glossy plastic does make it quite a fingerprint magnet, if you need to support it when tapping the touchscreen, then it will end up looking rather smudged.
There are two smart home models of Almond with more radio features, greater range and app support the higher you go. The high-end Plus model has a 3.5-inch screen, ZigBee and Z-Wave support plus more ports, but costing much more is less of a bargain than the smaller 2015 model.
Pros of the Securifi Almond
Simple to Use: Whichever model you choose, setting up the Almond is simplicity itself compared to most traditional routers. The touchscreen provides a painless and direct process to putting the router in the right mode, setting the password and launching you into control of your smart home.
Functional Design: A lot of careful design has gone into the screen and the user interface to make the Almond something that anyone could use. Updating the router’s software is just a matter of tapping the Software Update button, nothing more complicated.
Built for Smart Home: In use, the Almond provides steady if unspectacular WiFi performance, but its ability to help manage your smart home puts it far above what most routers will offer. You can protect the settings and smart home devices from change by setting a PIN to lock the screen.
Smart Integration: It allows users to link to hundreds of different smart home sensors, create rules to manage them, and you can still access everything through the usual smartphone app for remote flexibility.
Alerts: It can provide instant alerts if a door or window opens, monitor your motion and smoke or CO2 sensors, with an iOS and Android app for when you’re out and about.
Cons of the Securifi Almond
Not the Best Router: The Almond isn’t the most advanced of routers, with dual antennas on the 2015 model. Only the more expensive Almond+ model offers a more powerful 3×3 aerial configuration, that’s the one you’ll want for 5GHz WiFi too, as the 2015 model only runs at 2.4GHz, limiting range and data throughput.
No DSL Modem Included: It also lacks a DSL modem, so most users will have to plug it into the cable or ADSL modem, so you can’t get rid of that big box with its flashing lights just yet.
Android App Needs to Catch Up: An issue at launch was the lack of an iOS app, but that’s now been fixed and it has been regularly updated to add new features, with the new 1.5 edition adding support for Philips Hue lights.
However the Android app is up to version 4 with Nyce sensor support, which suggests some disparity between the two.
Limited Ports (on “lite” model): The smaller model also only has two Ethernet ports, which is a pain if you want to plug in more than a wired PC connection and PlayStation or other device for guaranteed networking performance.
Just a 1-Year Warranty: The one year warranty also seems rather light for a device that could be prodded and poked for many years to come.
No Inherent Security Features (despite the name): Finally, from a company called Securifi wits its big shield logo, we were expecting perhaps some additional beef to your Internet security when it comes to the Almond router, but there’s no sign of any extra features to protect your Internet connection
Final Recommendation – Is the Securifi Almond Worth the Investment?
The touchscreen on the Almond routers is a big step forward in design terms for a technology usually obsessed with flashing lights that don’t mean anything to most people.
The ability to easily switch it between router and range extender duties also adds a great layer of flexibility. This is a nice “perk” in contrast to typical smart hubs which just focus on automating.
Focusing on the smart home market also gives it a greater purpose than most devices which just sit in the corner throwing data around through the air.
While many may be happy controlling their smart home through a phone or tablet app, or a big wall-mounted screen, this provides a third way, while allowing those other methods to be used.
Everything the Almond routers do has been well thought out, thoroughly considered and the user experience is second to none.
For the smart home owner that doesn’t want to be wading through browser screens and PC menus, this will come as big relief and adds a degree of smartness to an area of the home that often feels rather dark arts to most.
Of course, if you know your NAT from your MAC, then there are more powerful routers out there, but the Almond range does have that tempting touchscreen to turn a boring standard router into something far more useful. It’s a tricky line to judge, and will largely depend on who the end user is going to be.
In short, the Almond is a more user friendly “bridge” smart hub. While more technical, in depth, smart home systems will want to opt for the beefed up “Plus” kit, the price makes it a steep ask compared to other smart hubs.
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!