Abode is a smart home security system that finally makes sense

It wasn’t long ago that outfitting your home with a security system required an appointment with a great monitoring company, a potentially expensive estimate, and then a lot of digging, wiring, and testing. Today, thanks to the massive popularity of smart home devices, you can order a security system in a box, slap a few sensors on the walls, and turn your home into a Fort Knox in less than an hour. I know this because I spent a good portion of my week testing Abode’s home security system.

Let me start by saying that I am a smart home skeptic. Sure, I’ve played with automated lightning systems and smart thermostats, but none of them ever felt like a solution to a problem I already had. I’m not saying that smart home stuff doesn’t make life better for some people, I wasn’t one of them. This is, I think, so far.

I had the opportunity to try out the Abode security system at home, using the Abode Starter Kit (which includes two window/door sensors, a motion-sensing camera, a wireless remote control, and a gate pivot that ties it all together) along with two additional door sensors and a sensor Break glass to alert you that a window is broken.

Abode boasts that you can be up and running in just five minutes, which is a bit silly considering that finding a decent place to put the gateway, connect it to your router and power source, and let it perform its initial boot up took about that long on its own. However, actually installing the sensors and the camera was very easy, and the Abode app guides you through the process with ease.

No tools required (although you’ll probably want a screwdriver to hold the batteries in the camera, so you don’t use your nails or anything else) thanks to the adhesive mounts, and the gateway and app are instantly connected and recognize each sensor individually. installed. This is of course what you should expect from a smart home security system that touts itself as foolproof to setup, but what I didn’t expect was how impressive the sensor range would be.

I live in a big, old house, which means that even my $400 router fails to push my wifi signal from my office (at the front of my house) to my door. Since I installed an Abode gate in my office, I was very worried that placing a sensor on my back door would be a no-go. Fortunately, this wasn’t true even from yet, and the sensor was connected right away without a problem. I’ll base it on “AbodeRF” technology that the company says proved reliable three blocks out of town when tested in bustling Palo Alto.

Everything about the Abode system is customizable. You can add as many different sensors as you like, and while I haven’t tested them, the company offers sensors for temperature, smoke/fire, water leakage, and occupancy, as well as streaming cameras.

This level of customization extends to the settings of the system itself, allowing you to adjust the delay between active modes, the volume of bells and alarms produced by the gateway, and the frequency of notifications sent to your email or mobile application. You can also link the system with IFTTT to create automation based on specific triggers, which is great if you want to link your security system with other smart home gadgets.

Changing settings and adding automation requires logging into the Abode web control panel. It was nice having them all inside the same app, but that’s definitely something to add later.

As for how the system actually works, I was impressed not only by the accuracy but also by its speed. There is virtually no delay between notifications when doors or windows are opened, and when I put the system into the more sensitive “Away” mode, it went into panic mode as soon as I stepped in front of the action cam. Fortunately, I took Abode’s advice and put the camera high up on my wall so my cat and dog wouldn’t set off a false alarm while I fell asleep.

I also took the opportunity to test the acoustic glass break sensor by breaking the glass well. I grabbed a glass bowl, a plastic bag, and a hammer and sat about 15 feet from the small white listening device. As soon as I hit the bowl, it sent a high pitched squeak of cracked glass into the air, the sensor activated. It couldn’t have been more perfect, but I was still curious about the false alarms, so I streamed half a dozen “glass-breaking sound effects” videos on my living room TV, and as the volume turned up, I subjected the sensor to the sensor Artificial smashing sounds. Peep did not happen.

If there’s one thing I’d like to change about the dwelling, it’s the beep and notification sound in the gate hub. The alert is completely deafening, which is great for a security system, but the “doorbell” sounds it makes can be, well, more door ringing than the senseless whistles it’s currently making. You can completely mute the bells, but I’m more like knowing when someone comes or goes, and I like that the sound is somehow customizable. Of course, this is obviously pretty simple in a really powerful package overall.

I like the Abode system because it’s great for self-monitoring, but the company offers monitoring plans as well. For $10 a month, you get a cellular backup in case the internet goes down, and a full two weeks of temporal storage (as opposed to three days with the free plan). For $30 per month, you’ll benefit from 24/7 professional monitoring whether you’re at home or abroad, and three months of temporal storage. Even if you don’t want to stick to a plan, you can still buy a professional on-demand monitor for $15 a week (or $8 for three days) if you’re going on vacation and want peace of mind.

At $299 for the starter kit, the Abode is an investment, but not a huge one. If you’re looking for a great self-monitoring security solution with a focus on ease of use (and ease of setup), it’s hard to beat.

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