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Does the job but is the cost justified?Posted
The Honeywell home wireless kit is supposed to be an entry level smart home automation system that provides built in home security with Alexa to help serve as your assistant. And while it may serve to provide its base function the question really remains for the consumer is, is the cost really worth all the hype? In this review im going to go over its functions and how well they work. My goal is to hopefully provide some insight as to rather or not this will end up being a good buy. First off lets talk about what you can expect to receive out of the box. Keep in mind that this is a starter kit only. You will get the base station, which serves as your camera and Alexa built in, power cord, wireless keypad, two sets of window/door sensors and instructions. Set up is done very easy and the free app, which is pretty much necessary, will walk you through the set up. I had mine all set up and ready to go in five minutes and that includes mounting the sensors. Mounting of the sensors can be done one of two ways, you can drill them in however no screws are provided or simply pull off the adhesive strip they come with and stick them on (this is the route i went). Through the app you can label what sensors are where i.e. front door, window, etc. Location does play a part in how the alarm will react. For example sensors placed at a door and labeled as a door will cause the alarm to do a countdown if the security system is tripped. This gives you about 30 secs to disarm it. Sensors placed on windows will not give you a countdown but will sound the alarm immediately if they are tripped once the alarm is set. This is a pretty smart design and one that i was surprised to see. You have different entry/exit delay settings you can have to fit your style. You can choose from 15,30,45, and 60 second countdowns. Now through the app there are a few functions you can control. You can control how you wish to arm the system, which there are four functions provided. Home, away, night and off. Home means your sensors will not activate the alarm however every time a sensor is activated it will give you a little ring from the base station letting you know that someone opened a door or window. The camera will not be on or record in home mode however there is an option to change that if you would like it to record in this mode. Away mode will arm the system and trigger the alarm if any of your door/window sensors are tripped. In this mode the camera will record anything that triggers its motion sense. The camera itself will not set the alarm off with its motion sense so if you have pets you don't have to worry about them activating the alarm. Night mode is the same as away mode with only one slight difference. In night mode the camera will not record if it detects motion unless the alarm is going off. However there is an option to change this if you would like it to record while you are sleeping. The off/on mode simply powers the system completely off so that no recording or functions are taking place. This function seems more for use of party's or simply if you want some privacy. There is night vision built in and well....its night vision. The quality is ok and everything you would expect to receive for night vision. As the sun goes down and night vision comes on video quality does drop but quality will all depend on your available light source for the camera to function. The app also allows for Geofencing. What Geofencing does is it allows you to set a perimeter around your home however big you want it to detect when you are near. It can be as small as a city block or as wide as a 100 miles out. What this does is when the alarm is armed it will automatically disarm it for you once you enter the set perimeter via gps. This is kinda of a nice feature to have so you don't have to fumble around with the key fob or pull out your phone to disarm via the app. The app will also let you set up people detection and set up what times you wish it to be active. This was one area that i felt was pointless and dumb. You only get a 2 hour window that camera will monitor faces. All it really does is lets you know under your notices that a person was recognized in your home and uploads the video clip. There is an area where you can supposedly train it to recognize people such as family or friends but as of right now that function is very basic and doesn't seem to work well. Maybe they will improve this function with future updates. So to recap the only real difference about people recognition is its labeling. Depending on your set up, when motion is tripped the camera will record either way, however if it is within that 2 hour window of people detection then it will simply label it as person detected if it detects a person, that's it! Now lets talk function of the actual system. First lets talk about the base station. The base station houses Alexa and if you have an Alexa app simply say "hey Alexa" followed by whatever you wanna ask. If you own an Alexa you already know the drill so i won't waste time on it. There is a mute button there and an action button in the center. If your base station is flashing amber or red or is acting weird simply tap on the center of the head and the base station will alert you to any problems it may be facing and how to correct it. The base station also has a built in volume control. Simply move your finger around the edge of the top of its head either clockwise or counterclockwise to raise and lower volume. The base station also has a rotating window that will close the camera lens shut in case you don't want it recording whatever it is your doing. There is a built in two-way mic also. So if you are at work and you see your kids in the kitchen you can talk to them and they can talk to you. Sound quality was actually very clear and the mic worked pretty good. The volume is a little low when using the app to talk to someone through the camera however voice quality is crystal clear and can be heard easily. The security system also allows for push notifications through the app. This is a nice feature to have because you want to stay on top of what is going on in your home however i think they kind of over did it just a bit. You get a notice for everything, and i mean everything. When the alarm is tripped the siren is very loud and high pitched. If you have any dogs the pitch of the sound will definitely get there attention. When the alarm is triggered the bottom of the base station will light up red and rotate similar to a police light. When the alarm goes off you will get a push notification letting you know what is going on and then you will be given two actions at that point. You can either silence the alarm and shut it off or another button is present on the app that simply says "call". If you push this button it will call the police for you on your phone. The base station also has a few smart commands you can give it as well. For example if your leaving for work you can say "ok security, im leaving" and it will automatically arm the system for the Away setting. Now just like all systems there is a price plan. You start off on the free plan which gives you 24 hour of cloud storage supports only 1 camera and 50 clips of video. The next two plans $4.99/mo and $14.99/mo. The 4.99 plan still only supports one camera but gives you 30 days of storage at 1500 clips. The 14.99 plan lets you hook up unlimited cameras and gives 60 days of storage at 3000 clips. Here's my final verdict. This is pretty much your basic set up and there really is nothing break away from this design that warrants this price point. While this set up does what it was intended to do it just does not seem practical for any home owner seeing as how one camera and two sensor is simply not enough. Whats even worse than that is the fact that they force you in to the $14.99/mo plan if you wish to add any more cameras on this system. So here is why i gave this 2 stars. I actually own 3 other security camera systems and none of them require you to enroll in their membership if you wish to add more cameras to your system. Not only that but at this price point i own a system that was about the same in cost and came with 4 cameras that all streamed 1080 with 4 window/door sensors. Simply put i felt Honeywell is doing their consumers an injustice by offering this entry level set up when there are many other competitors out there doing it cheaper while offering more hardware without forcing you in to a monthly plan. The only real use i could see anyone benefiting from this would be someone who lives in an apartment with only two entry ways. Other than that this just is not going to work for anyone who owns a home unless your willing to shell out more money for more hardware plus enroll in the $14.99/mo plan. Save your money and go with a different set up.
No, I would not recommend this to a friend
Hi Crasher! We take your customer experience very seriously and we truly appreciate the time you took to leave your feedback after working with this product. It is invaluable as we are always looking for ways to improve and this would not be possible without your voice. We would like to take a look further into this for you. At your convenience, please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org We have opened a case #00776759 for you. Thanks!
Not Ready For Prime TimePosted
I really wanted to like this thing. It started out great with easy set-up, but as time went by it slowly went down hill. The Honeywell Smart Home Security Starter Kit comes with the basics…a camera base station (that you need to plug into AC power which might limit placement of the unit for some people), two access sensors that mount to doors or windows, and a remote-control key fob (which is what you would give to someone you don’t want to have control of the system via the smartphone app). A rudimentary Quick-Start Guide is the only included documentation, and is sufficient to get things up and running, but doesn’t really help with questions that are bound to arise as you deal with the system on a day-by-day basis. I wish I knew if my experiences with this device were due to hardware defects in my unit, or if the problems I encountered are software based and will end up being corrected with a future update (which I believe happens automatically, as the unit did install an update during the initial setup). The base station itself is a nice looking design and your options to interact with it work pretty good for the most part. It has Amazon’s Alexa integrated into it and this is our first experience with Alexa as I have been hesitant to give Amazon access to our daily lives. Besides being able to talk to Alexa, the base unit also communicates with you via a variety of chimes and colors of light that emanate from the bottom of the unit when you give it commands from the phone app. The base unit has a ring at the top that turns to cover the camera if you want to be assured of privacy and a button on the top of the unit to mute the built-in microphone. To adjust the volume from the built-in speaker, there is a “rotary” touch surface around the perimeter of the top (nothing actually moves) and as you adjust the volume, the light at the bottom increases or decreases in intensity to let you know where you are setting the volume, then the light goes out. The base station also has a built-in rechargeable battery to power the unit in the event of a power failure (although the package states that it provides only about a 30-minute reserve). If you have a power failure, you will most likely lose your Wi-Fi and thus the base station’s ability to save video clips to the cloud and it’s ability to warn you via your phone app of any issues. The free app for your phone (I used the iOS version) is pretty thorough with a variety of settings and features. Following the Quick-Start Guide, the app helps you to set up the accessories that come with the camera base station. The Get Help section of the app is pretty lame just like Honeywell’s web site for this product. Other than the Quick-Start Guide that comes in the box, the only other documentation or resources I can find are FAQs, calling, email, live chat, and Twitter. I’m not sure if they expect any printed material to quickly be obsolete with changes that are in the pipeline for this system, or if they are just too lazy to put together a full set of instructions for this product. If you want access to stored video clips that are taken when the motion sensor is tripped, you have to have a $5 per month subscription, than can be cancelled at any time after the initial free 1-month trial period. A couple days after I received this system, we left for a five day trip. I was able to easily get the system set up before we left. During the trip we (my wife also installed the app on her phone and set up an account) both started receiving a bunch of “Motion Detected” notifications — many times, minutes apart. Looking at the “Live View” on the camera showed nothing out of the ordinary. This happened multiple days and continues to this day…only during the day however, and never at night. And only on sunny days, never on cloudy days. Of course the Quick-Start Guide is no help. There is not a FAQ on the web site about this topic, and I can find no detailed User Guide on Honeywell’s web site. We have no pets to cause motion and in the camera’s field of view there is nothing that moves (like a ceiling fan) or can be moved by a small breeze such as from an HVAC vent. The sun is not streaming through the window and directly into the camera lens — the window is at a 90 degree angle to the camera and the camera is a good 16 feet away from the window, thus not in any direct sunlight. And the television is not on for the camera to “see”. Sometimes when I try to use the Live View to see what is happening at the house, it fails to load — we have a really solid Wi-Fi signal at home with good broadband speed and at work I am on Wi-Fi with a fast business connection. The solution seems to be to close the app and relaunch it. If I had to do this occasionally it might be bearable, but I have to do it more than 50 percent of the time. The camera has a night vision mode and can be set to automatically toggle between regular, full-color and monochrome, night vision depending on available light. Quite often Live View will show in night mode during the day when the room is well lit. I have had it change to and from night vision during the day while I am looking at the live feed from the camera on my phone. Since with this system you are basically “self-monitoring” your home, you depend on the technology to warn you of any intrusions and to not beat you down with false alarms. My wife and I have started referring to the base station as “Shep”…as in the story of the shepherd boy who cried “wolf“ too many times. The things that work well, and consistently well are the door/window sensors, the geofencing function which sets the system to “Away” mode once both my wife and myself get far enough away from the house with our phones (this distance is adjustable via the app), and using the app to set the system to Home, Away, or Night modes. Notifications work well but are annoying when the base station is sending false "Motion Detected" notices every five minutes on sunny days. I will probably get a few more access sensors and place them on the other doors to the house and garage since their functionality is pretty solid. I was planning on getting an outdoor camera and motion sensor, but will probably hold off on that to see if the flakiness of the original camera base unit improves as software updates (hopefully) get rolled out. Amazon’s Alexa really provides no usefulness to me other than the entertainment value when she tries having a conversation with the radio sitting next to her during one of the radio shows my wife listens to, the Jason and Alexis show as someone quite regularly says “Alexis” and Alexa perks right up to see what is wanted of her. This system states that it can connect with other smart devices. We have a Honeywell Wi-Fi enabled thermostat that is controlled through another Honeywell smartphone app, but it does NOT work with this security system. Honeywell’s “Lyric” branded thermostats are supposed to work, but our thermostat is not a Lyric device. I would suggest doing some pre-purchase homework if you have other devices that you are hoping to integrate with this system. Would I recommend the Smart Home Security system…at this time, no, as it has too many inherent flaws that really need to be addressed before this can become a truly useful device that you can rely on rather than a cute piece of buggy technology that you just play with. I will try moving the base station around the room to see if the false alarm problem can be alleviated, but looking at where I have it currently sitting, I cannot fathom how sunlight can be causing this problem. And if it is indeed caused by sunlight, the whole system has bigger problems than I think it does. Honeywell…try harder, you used to be a top notch company years ago.
No, I would not recommend this to a friend
Hello there! Thank you very much for taking the time to rate the product and give us some feedback. Your experience and comments are valuable for us since we are constantly working to provide better products and service. We will take all your comments into consideration and work with our marketing and development team, we definitely want all our customers to have a great experience with the Honeywell Home Automation Kit. In case that you require assistance or have any other comments, please contact us at 1-800-633-3991, select option 1 and then 2, any of our agents will be happy to assist you. Have a wonderful week!
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 do not 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 wouldn'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