Simplisafe Wireless Home Security Systemfull Revision
Simplisafe has been in the US for some time, but has only recently been sold in the UK. It’s an intelligent alarm system that can alert you to a possible phone outage, but it can do much more.
With two subscription levels, you get professional 24/7 monitoring, which means that you and your designated contacts will be called and notified when an alarm is triggered. Go to the next level and the guards will be sent to check your home for signs, and if there is evidence of intruders in your property, the police will also be called.
In addition, there are sensors that can detect floods, fires and freezing temperatures, making it a well-functioning security system.
As with all alarm systems, the total cost will depend on the size of your home and the number of sensors required.
The £ 279 Starter kit (called The Foundation in the US, which costs $ 229) includes a base station, keyboard, door and window sensor, motion sensor, and camera.
For anything other than a small apartment, you’ll need more than that, and there are different sets – which don’t have direct US equivalents – from Essentials to £ 309 to Bamburgh for £ 504 that should be appropriate for those who live in the castle. No Bamburgh Castle, mind.
In fact, you probably probably use the Build My System option, which lets you determine which sensors you want.
For the average British home, the total amount will be approximately £ 500 if you want five input sensors (these protect doors and windows), a motion sensor, a glass sensor breaking a few key fobs and another camera.
Danger sensors, as Simplisafe tells them, are not included in this price. The smoke detector costs £ 29.99, the frost sensor £ 29.99 and the water sensor £ 19.99.
You may also want a panic button to silently trigger an alarm for £ 19.99.
The basic elements of the kit include base station, keyboard, and camera. The base station looks and works a bit like the curved Amazon Echo. It doubles as a siren, but also announces with a nice British voice when the system is armed and disarmed.
You can connect it using a Wi-Fi router, but a SIM card is available as a backup in the event of a broadband outage and an eight-hour backup battery is available in the event of a power failure.
Available in black or white as well as keyboard. This, like all other camera components, is completely wireless and runs on batteries. It is a nice and compact light and it lights up when you touch any part that is great in the dark. The display features an LCD display and a menu system that is controlled by pressing the outside edges of the screen.
There are three buttons: Home, Away, and Off. The only time you need to enter a PIN is to disable the system, but this can be avoided if you purchase one or more optional key fobs. They work like fob cars and have the same three buttons so you can deactivate the alarm before you get out of the car as soon as you get home.
The range of other sensors and components is somewhat more limited than in the US. For example, there is no video bell available on these banks.
The peculiarity is that there is no external siren as you can get with Honeywell’s security. You can buy an extra siren for £ 59.99, but that’s really for indoor use, and although it can be technically mounted outside under the eaves, it doesn’t look like a traditional doorbell to deter a potential thief.
Instead, Simplisafe combines a set of garden collections with a 6 × 6 inch sign. This is a accepted standard in the US, but not in the UK. We said the company is currently considering an external siren.
Last but not least, it’s the Simplisafe camera. It comes only in black and runs out of the net. It is a relatively standard Wi-Fi security camera that is needed, so the monitoring company has a visual verification that there is indeed an intruder in your house. That’s why you get one with each Simplisafe package.
When your kit arrives, everything is pre-paired with the base station and keyboard, so all you have to do is unpack everything, remove the tab to prevent the batteries from being discharged and the mats from the sticky mats before you push the sensors into position.
Input sensors are particularly good because they don’t have to be mounted in a particular orientation. Each part can be attached to the moving part (ie to the door or window) and the second part to the frame.
It doesn’t matter if these two parts are aligned: we found that the sensors still worked well, even though the doors were 10 mm wide around them. The blue LED flashes to indicate that the sensor has been started and you can choose to start the base station at the same time.
You can check that everything works as intended by enabling the keyboard test mode. Then, the base will indicate which sensor has been triggered when you turn it off. A simple hand trigger triggers a glass breakage sensor, but in normal use it is designed to ignore such false alarms and should not turn off even if you break a plate: only the broken glass sound is triggered.
Motion sensors are designed to stick to the wall about 2 meters from the ground and should not be turned off by pets.
The range of these sensors is very good: we connected the input sensor to the garden shed about 85 feet from the base station (with three sets of doors between them) and had no connection problems.
The battery life of all sensors is 3-5 years and the keypad AA batteries should last for about a year.
When you order Simplisafe in the UK, you have to choose between two Pro or Pro Premium subscriptions. The former costs £ 12.99 per month and the second £ 19.99.
You know how to decide to skip a subscription as well as buy a system, but without it most of its features will not be lacking and will not offer any alerts, no access to the camera source or no monitoring. In short, it will function as a traditional, disconnected alarm that only triggers the siren (s) when it is running, so it makes no sense.
Pro-tier provides you with 24/7 monitoring from Securitas that will call you when the sensor is running. If you do not answer, they will go through the list of secondary contacts until someone answers, but if no one does, it will simply cancel the alarm.
This subscription also allows a mobile connection to be used if your broadband connection is not available for any reason, and includes environmental monitoring – warnings from frost, smoke or water sensors.
Once you have signed up for Premium Premium, you will also receive a police dispatching center, but as stated, this will only happen if Securitas is able to access the camera’s source and find out that there is an intruder in your house. If nothing is displayed, Securitas will call you and your designated contacts instead to inform you of the alarm.
For privacy reasons, Securitas can only view camera shots for 15 minutes surrounding the triggered alarm.
Oddly enough, it’s only with this top level you can use with the Simplisafe companion app. This will give you instant alerts when you start the sensor and allow you to view the source and recorded clips from the camera. These are captured during motion detection and are also stored in the cloud for 30 days.
The application replicates the keyboard functions so you can change the base volume settings, how long the siren sounds when the alarm is triggered, and more.
You can also view the status of all sensors and warnings.
Although not as convenient as the driver, you can use the app to remotely control or disable the system. This could be useful if you forget to control it and leave it because you can control the system anywhere you have an internet connection.
During our month of testing, the system worked flawlessly. Thanks to a wrongly positioned motion sensor (we left it on the window sill), we were treated to call from Securitas after the cat had dropped it right in front of it.
This turned out to be a practical monitoring test that also informed us that the camera was not available, which means that the presence of the intruder could not be verified and therefore the police would not be sent.
The only way you or a secondary contact can prevent the police from being called is to say a “safe” word that you enter along with the address and contact information when you first set up the system.
Simplisafe is a great security system because it works well, is easy to install and use, and offers extra peace of mind from constant surveillance. There are no contracts that can tie you, but that is a point because the system does nothing if you don’t pay a subscription.
It is therefore not ideal for DIYers who want to save money by installing themselves: it’s for people who want a monitored system that keeps your property safe, even if you can’t watch it.
If you do not want to pay a subscription, you will pay a similar amount for competing intelligent systems that allow you to access and manage the application.