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Like it, but want to love it….Posted
As the review title indicates, there are a lot of good things to like about this DIY home security system, but at the price point, I want to (and need to) love it, and I'm not there yet. The cost is a lot for what is a bit of a middling security experience. Packaged components out of the box are the base station, keyfob remote, a pair of sensors and power cord. Bear in mind this is a starter kit, and after installing the two door sensors, it feels short for my small house in terms of parts. The base unit itself is a stationary 1080p camera on top of an Alexa Z-wave hub and speaker unit, including a light feature base (colors and strobing for various modes and functions) and decently loud siren functionality. Well-constructed and sleek, but with its own shortcomings (see below). The key fob has four buttons covering the basic security modes- a little large for a keychain, and too small to be a real remote, this unit lies somewhere between. The door/window sensors are well made, and were easy to apply to both a standard front door and a sliding patio door. The setup was a breeze after downloading the intuitive looking app and essentially identifying and registering all of the aforementioned pieces. Everything went as advertised, and within no more than 10 minutes, we were ready to experiment and learn the system. This is where we started to identify what felt like shortcomings for the end user. This base unit is great looking, but as a stationary camera unit, the only place that made any sense for security purposes in my house was on top of a china cabinet, where it could capture both front and rear door. I love the 140+ degree angle of view, it really does well getting the whole house front to back in, but as a cylinder-based design, this really begged for some ability to pan or move the camera. I have a much lower end camera in my basement to watch my dog when we are at work, and for less than $40, I can pan almost a full 360 in most directions. This at least could look at left-to-right action. Night vision and motion detection were pretty spot on, although I was getting more than a few random motion alerts during the day with no corresponding video capture of anything of use, indicating a false alarm. The live-streaming was a good experience, but the feed would have difficulty loading about 25% of the time. Overall ability to review 15000 video clips over 30 days for free is great. In general, we loved the capability to peek in during the day while at work, whether to check on the house or see my kids get home from school. The two way mic works good as well, good for a quick hello to a child just home from school. The sensors worked spot on every time, and although the alerts seemed cumbersome to me at first (you can customize when and what type of alerts you get. @@@@@@@ , I really started to get a sense of personal security while away when I received indication that the front door opened and closed just when I expected the kids home from school, or my wife home from work. Facial recognition was not the opportunity it should have been, and isn't close to there yet. It (mostly) recognizes my face, not so much my wife, and only allows for two profiles in total. I could set up the kids, but the odd ability to only use the facial recognition for a two hour window has me ignoring the feature completely at this point. At the price point, it should be a home run feature, not a lingering unfinished detail. Another great feature is the Geofencing ability, which creates a circular zone around your phone location to auto-enable the away mode once you get out of a certain range. This starts with a 60 second countdown (beeps) before arming that allows family members without phones (kids) to hit the fob and let the system know they are still home. My only issue with this feature is that the smallest zone is still a little too large, I can be out at the convenience store getting milk and I'm still 'home'. I also happen to own an Amazon Alexa tall speaker, and was really hoping to retire that one to another room, but the Alexa functionality in this unit is so limited (at this time, Honeywell has promised it is seeking to expand this) it really offers no real reason to get rid of the other one yet. Outside of the basic command functions that allow you to set the level of security you want, it is otherwise really basic in scope, and misses some real opportunities with SMS, music streaming, etc. Some of those to come, from what I have read, but it doesn't live up to the price point. Some real shortcomings out of the box that may have you reconsider your choices is a lack of professional monitoring as an option, or cellular backup. It is really a simple self-contained solution, but one that is really small in its offering for the asking price, and a bit of a mixed bag for what you get. To feel complete for a small house, I will need another camera for a separate level, an exterior camera and at least two more sensors for other doors to complete a 'base' package, but that would bump the costs to almost $900. There are too many vendors offering similar parts and pieces or entire packages for less that are more feature-rich, I'm not sure that the benefits exist yet with this particular system to justify the costs. Honeywell could provide some software updates that unlock some of this potential and erase some of the doubt over lack of features, or polish to the features it has, but it isn't there yet. I like it enough to use it, but I should love it at the cost required to get in the door. Not recommending at this time, but I'm hoping time and updates to the overall software allow me to revisit my first impression. It really is a great base to start from, but not at the asking cost and 'alpha test phase' feeling. Needs some maturing.
No, I would not recommend this to a friend
Handy and usefulPosted
Honeywell solution is good and basic with additional sensors for doors and windows. The base station has a built-in camera microphone and speaker, the speaker is Alexa capable for Amazon services. I have not used that function. The camera has a wide field of view with a clear HD picture. It can send you alerts when motion is detected along with alerts for when the sensors detect that a door or window was opened. Initially I had a problem with one of the sensors which required me to remove the battery and reset it before I was able to use it successfully. Overall this is a pretty good starter solution for those that want to basic home security system that is expandable with additional sensors and cameras. It was very easy to set up, you must download the mobile app to set up the system. There is an optional face detection feature available so you can determine when?known?people are detected. In addition you can have everyone in your family download the mobile app and set a geofence which will turn the system on and off depending on if a person is within the geofence. Tough order to have my kids use this feature as it increases the "creepy" factor from what they told me. But overall I think it would help as they never are without their mobile device and away mode you would cut down on false alarms or the need to manually engage. The System also comes with a key FOB which you can use to control the status of the system . Overall I found system to be pretty well integrated basic security camera with the additional functionality of having sensors that you can add for windows and doors. My wife found it pretty annoying that every time the door opened the system chimes but I found it functional. Also found it appealing that The system would log door entries where sensors were installed along with of course logging motion. I would recommend this as a basic system and I'm thinking about buying one for my elderly parent so I can keep tabs on them both visually and when they open an entry door. Pros: - nice looking device - more capabilities than basic security camera systems - polished mobile app - expandable with addition sensors and devices - geofencing capabilities Cons: -would be nice if you can pan and zoom camera, although it has a wide field of view - sensor setup can be tricky.
I would recommend this to a friend
Packaging: The starter kit comes with 2 sensors and couple of extenders along with a key fob. The included key-chain remote could use a few more inches of plastic, as it's too small to be a remote and too large to fit on a bundle of keys. This is not a very useful for me as I use phone to switch status. Setup: It took me less than 10 minutes to set up the Honeywell Smart Home Starter Kit. We will need to download the Honeywell Home app for iPhone or Android device. The setup wizard on the app was pretty simple and straight forward to complete the installation. Camera quality is quite good. The live camera feed is great for peeking in while you're not at home. Honeywell needs to improve facial recognition feature. I registered my face, but the Honeywell smart home security base station camera could not recognize me specifically, even as I stuck my face directly in front of the camera. It wasn't until I re-registered my face that the camera was able to accurately identify me. This feature is also limited to two face profiles, which seems extremely limited for any household. There is no professional monitoring available with the Honeywell smart home security kit which is a downside. Though we can get added benefits by paying a monthly membership fee - videos stored on Honeywell cloud. While the system is armed, an LED at the bottom of the base station will slowly pulse green. If a door is opened in the house, the base will switch to a white light and begin an accelerating 1-minute countdown. The 85-decibel alarm will sound off at the end, and while it's certainly alarming to anyone standing near it, the sound is not loud enough to attract attention from outsiders. I could barely hear the alarm over construction at my neighbor's house next door. The 85-decibel alarm is certainly alarming to anyone standing near it, but it's not loud enough to attract attention from outsiders. Honeywell has programmed some proprietary voice-activated security commands into the base station, which we can engage by saying, "OK, Security." When you use phrases like "I'm leaving" and "Bedtime," the base station will switch to Away and Night modes, respectively. Bottom Line: For do-it-yourself smart home security systems to be worthy buys, they have to be easy to set up and user-friendly. The Honeywell Smart Home Security starter kit certainly meets that criteria, but it simply costs too much for all the other stuff that's bundled in. The security camera works fine, but its facial recognition features are subpar for a device in this category. This product can have more improvements.
No, I would not recommend this to a friend
Wait for the promised Future EnhancementsPosted
The Honeywell Smart Home Security System is a great idea that is executed poorly and not ready for prime time: it has Alexa built in and looks better than an Amazon Echo, however, it will not perform one of the most important features of an Echo; music playback. It is promised as a future enhancement, but there is no ETA for it. As a security device, it is a camera/speaker combo that watches your home when you aren't there. It has a long-lasting battery backup, pairs seamlessly with Honeywell and other branded motion detectors (indoor and outdoor) and window alarms, and reports to your smart phone when any of the sensors are triggered. There is no monthly service fee required unless you want images saved in a database for up to 30 days. First you must download the Honeywell Home app and set up an account. That was pretty quick and easy, but the setup was a little troubling. It did not connect to my android phone right away, finally I reset my phone and it worked. There was no mention of this troubleshooting step in the app. The system does have people detection and you can add faces the system will recognize. This feature is supposed to tell you who has entered your home. It took several tries to get good enough pictures of each member of my household, and when those people entered the house, it wasn't always sure who it was. Maybe this will improve in future releases. One thing that I did not like was when I armed the system, there was no way to stop it. I had to wait for it to arm before I could set it back to home (disarmed). There is also no way to have the system call the authorities if there is a break in. You do get an alert on your phone and the siren sounds, but if you are away from home and do not have your phone at hand, you wouldn't know about it. You can only hope that the loud siren will scare them off. Overall, I found the Honeywell Smart Home Security System to be fairly weak. I could see this being a quick and easy system for a small apartment or perhaps an RV, but for a house, this wouldn't be adequate protection. For the price, this system should have all the items that are listed as future enhancements already available and working. It seems that Honeywell rushed this to market. Considering Honeywell's other high quality products, I expected better.
No, I would not recommend this to a friend
Decent, but not worth the pricePosted
I used to having a self-monitored DIY system since that's what we've had for the last 13 years. Why pay someone to call the cops when I can do it myself when my alarm calls me (old one could call any specified number). So being as old as it was I figured why not get something a lot more modern. First of all, set up was a breeze. Turn it on, connect it to Amazon for the Alexa features (more features to come soon, like music), pair the fobs, motion sensor, and portal sensors - I bought an extra FOB and have orderded 4 more door/window sensors and just waiting for them to arrive. First thing I noticed about these sensors are that they're huuuuuge! My old sensors are about 2.5"x1" and use three watch batteries. These new sensors are roughly 1.5"x4" and use a lithum battery. I don't know if the lithum battery is better, but the watch batteries haven't been changed in 13yrs and the signal is strong enough to reach from one end of the house to the other. The smaller sensors are barely noticeable, but the huge sensors are big eye sore! That said the portal sensors work well. They have to be no further than .25" apart - I tested it and going even .375" caused quite a bit of miss readings on opening and closing - which is reported every dang time by the app. Door open, door closed, door open, door closed. Makes we want to revoke the notification permissions, but then I'll lose the ability to be warned when a real alarm comes in. Door open should be enough of a notification. If I wanna know if it's closed I should be able to just check the app instead of being bugged every time the door moves. The motion sensor is a bust. I think you have to be a pale person with white clothes in a bright room for it to register movement. My signal is strong and even when I put the sensor on top of the base it wouldn't reliably sense motion. The base unit senses motion very well with it's camera. Because of this I can't use the facial recognition since I now have to put the base unit in the more vulnerable area and the poor performing sensor at the front door. Another note, I now have two tears in my wall because of the motion sensor. I placed it where I wanted it and did the test, failed, check signal and it said poor, so I took it off the wall and moved it. Second location same problems, this time part of the all came off. Moved it to a third spot - same poor signal and results, another hole... then I saw the signal change to strong while I was holding where the second hole was. I doesn't give an immediate result for signal strength - I'd say it's about 30 seconds or more before it tells you the real signal. They freaking could have used a spinning "Hold on there" icon until it actually got the real signal instead of giving a false weak signal for a long period. After figuring that out I put it back in the original spot (which it doesn't stick to well anymore since it had parts of the other wall on it) and it said strong this time after I waited a while. Still doesn't sense worth a cuss. The base station is pretty nice and the camera performs exceptionally well. You can set it to use 720 or 1080 to ease up on bandwidth. It doesn't record all the time, but only when motion is sensed. I haven't checked to see how long it records and if it keep recording while motion is sensed (unlike that popular doorbell that only records for 30s whether or not the motion is still chilling in front of the camera). Even at 720 the video quality is very good, far better than the doorbell at the same res. I haven't checked the bitrate but the doorbell is ~800kb/s. Watching the bandwidth it seem the Honeywell may be about 1.5Mb/s but I haven't verified. 1080 has uploaded up to 4Mb/s but I'm not sure if that's my limit or theirs since I have this going through a cell connection. Speaking of connection it's ridiculous how so many of these devices don't allow advanced network settings. It's DIY yet they don't let the network be DIYed. I had to set up a rule in my router DNSMasq to route the unit to a different gateway - it has it's own hotspot and router that are connected to a UPS to keep it going when the power goes out. Seems all these Smart devices think we're to dumb to know how to set up a network. I recently reviewed a scanner that won't even let you connect without WPS which is disabled on all my routers and I WILL NOT enable it. The app is a weird one. It like inception where you have windows inside of windows and back arrows inside of the embedded window with it's own back arrow. There were quite a few times I hit the wrong back arrow (the main one) and then have to tap again to hit the correct arrow. There features are extremely bare. I like options and tweaking and signal strength (which you can do but not as easily as if it were just a menu option), adjust sensitivity on sensors, etc. It just not enough control for a DIYer. There is Geofencing which I haven't tested because 1) I don't know how it would work with multiple people who work on different schedules 2) wife doesn't wanna use the phone app (hence why I wasted $25 for another FOB). It would be nice to use, but being able to check the status while you're away is just as good. A couple features I'd like to see added are a glass break sensor. Since it has a mic it seems it should be easy to add with a firmware update. Another would be the ability to have custom alarms or alarms that go off when a knock or doorbell is rung - like a dog barking or any other random noise to make it seem like someone's home. The mic is already there. Make it more useful than for tell it to arm the system or tell me the weather. Honestly, if I had to buy it I'dn't. It's just too expensive for the features (some of which were unreliable) and the extra sensors run up the bill also (extra $200 for me - coulda bought a whole new system for that money! @@@@@@@ . One good thing about "Smart" devices is that things can improve with firmware. Maybe in a few months I'll learn to love it... right now it's not much of an improvement over a 13yr old system in guarding the house - the Alexa stuff is just useless fluff since the security is weak.
No, I would not recommend this to a friend
Hi MadSquabbles! Thank you for taking the time to give us your feedback. These comments go a long way and will be forwarded for further review. Thank you for helping make Honeywell better. -Jordan