What’s the one thing keeping you from installing home security at your place?
I know it is. It’s cost. I’ve researched, I’ve felt that nagging sense in the back of my head that we should be protecting ourselves and our property somehow, and yet it all came back to cost.
Not only would it cost an arm and a leg just to buy the equipment, it would cost money to install — and then it perpetually costs money to have someone in a remote location monitor it for you.
Smanos is different.
HARDWARE / DESIGN
My first interaction with Smanos came about at CES 2016 this year, where they happily gave us a tour of their booth and their upcoming tech — like the upcoming video doorbell and their “UFO” camera that has no blindspots (check out our full video coverage in four parts here: 1, 2, 3, and 4). From there I convinced them to let me review one of their available systems, and they sent me one of their W020i samples.
I’ve been testing it for close to two months now.
Usual review periods have a turnaround from 14-30 days, but somehow that didn’t feel right for a security device like this. I wanted to use the hell out of it, and, as dark as it sounds: I wanted enough time to pass to see if anyone tried to break in (nobody tried, luckily) and how the system would truly work in a real situation.
The good news is that we’ve lived with the system for a while now and we STILL love the look of the hardware. All of it is a white plastic with an elegant and curved design — there are no harsh angles, and the green/red lights on the base unit (the W020, which houses the alarm) give off a gorgeous glow.
The door/window sensors are likewise rounded, and small enough that they’re out-of-sight and out-of-mind for the most part, unless you’re really looking for them. The HD WiFi security camera (which uses a Sony 1/3″ CMOS sensor for amazing low light capabilities) is also unobtrusive and is a classy white/black design.
In the box was: the alarm base, two window/door sensors, a remote, and the WiFi camera:
SETUP / INSTALLATION
I was initially nervous for a couple of reasons:
- I have two young children, and I didn’t want to accidentally set off the device while they were around. Scaring kids is the worst, especially when you have to live with them and handle the fallout. The solution was to do it while they were out of the house with my wife, just in case I screwed up.
- I pre-read the installation instructions beforehand, and there was one instance that wasn’t exactly clear — when installing the door/window sensors, it tells you to be careful not to trigger the tamper-proof pressure switch on the back of the device during pairing and installation. When I think trigger, I think pressing something down. In this case, though, they meant releasing the switch, not pressing it. You’re supposed to have it pressed down when pairing the device, which seems like an easier way of saying it instead of “triggering.”
After crossing those hurdles, everything was a breeze. Pairing the sensors went off without a hitch, pairing my phone was also simple, and I didn’t accidentally set it off at all. I DID set it off intentionally, just to make sure things were working. They were, and that sucker is LOUD.
SOFTWARE / APP
I also really really like the software and app functionality. Everything is clean and intuitive, and I had no issues adding my sensors and re-naming them to their locations in the house.
In the initial set-up, each sensor is just referred to as a “zone,” but you can re-name them to more accurately reflect where you’ve put them. Like “front window” or “back door.” That way when something is triggered while you’re away and you get the instant notification on your phone, you know exactly where things are happening at home.
Inside the app, which you can lock with a key code, you can remotely lock, unlock, and stop alarms. You can also view the live camera feed, which also records to a local SD card in 720p on a loop. The app will instantly alert you not matter where you are in the world if someone triggers an alarm, as the base station is connected to WiFi.
What happens if the internet is out?
The alarm still sounds, but you won’t be notified until it comes back on. Luckily you still have your camera set up as backup if you can’t act immediately.
What if your power goes out?
The batteries inside the base station and the batteries inside the door/window sensors ensure that the alarm will still sound regardless.
PRICING / COST
Best part: you can buy the system I was sent for $249.99 right now (like at Home Depot if you want). There are no monthly fees. None. That price gets you everything I tested, and it accepts a bunch more sensors along with it — if you want to cover all your doors and windows, it’s not going to break your bank doing it. A pack of 4 door/window sensors is about $100, and that alone will bring you to a total of SIX covered entry/exit points in your house.
On top of that, you can add a plethora of other sensors as well, like PIR motion sensors, flood, gas, and smoke detectors.
What are you truly getting through a service like ADT and that monthly cost? You’re getting someone who will do something you can easily do yourself. They get an alert, they call the cops for you. With Smanos, you get an alert instantly on your phone and YOU call the cops.
You also have the HD footage from your camera to help. The value in this DIY system is insane and it pays for itself so fast, and is more than enough deterrent for criminals (they even send you decals to put on windows).
While I haven’t had a chance to get my hands on any of Smanos’ competitors, I’m still confident that based on what I’ve experienced to absolutely recommend the Smanos W020i. You don’t really have an excuse to put off home security anymore.