A great DIY security system
I’ve had the opportunity to work with lots of different home security set-ups. Some of them are just simple cameras and other include motion sensors for windows. I’ve tried to make my home as secure as possible with the aide of smart devices and connected apps. Since I’ve had a lot of experience with home security systems, I was excited to test out the new Honeywell Smart Home Security Starter Kit. The starter kit is made up of: a camera base station with Amazon Alexa built-in, remote control key fob, two access sensors for windows and doors, a mobile app with video and alerts.
The Camera Base Station features a 2MP HD camera with 1080p image sensor, 147º wide-angle view, night vision, and motion detection. Audio is captured using a 5W omnidirectional speaker and 3 microphone arrays and 2-way audio and an 85dB alarm are also included on the camera base station. The base station is the brain for the rest of the system. Any motion detected from the sensors are filtered through the base station, which sends the notifications to your phone. It connects to devices through Z-Wave.
One of the unique features of the Honeywell system is facial recognition and scheduling. You can program the camera to recognize certain faces and when they should be appearing. For example, if your child gets home from school at the same time every day, you can tell the camera to notice that time and face as ‘safe’. That way when they arrive at home when you are gone, the system doesn’t alert you to potential invaders. On the other hand, if your child comes home from school with a friend, the camera will see that person as a foreign face and send an alert to your phone.
Setting up the system is pretty painless. First, you download the Honeywell Home app. One of the things I noticed right away was that the app will ask for access to your HomeKit data if you are using an iOs device. This is because the app controls all of Honeywell’s smart home products — some of which are HomeKit compatible. The Smart Home Security Starter Kit is not compatible with HomeKit, but it will connect with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
Once you have the app downloaded and your account set-up, you connect the camera base by showing it a QR code generated in the app. This is the easiest way I’ve experienced to connect a smart device to an app. This process took a total of about 2 minutes. The door/window sensors are installed with the help of 3M tape. These are quite a bit larger than some other sensors I’ve used, but their battery is supposed to last up to 4 years without needing to change the batteries. The key fob can set the alarm system to one of its four modes — Home, Away, Night, and Off. This is a big convenience when you don’t want to pull your phone out of your bag or pocket when you’ve already got your keys out.
Once I had the system set-up, I found that it worked pretty well. I had the camera set up in my living room and I was constantly getting notifications for movement. The door/window sensors also worked well although I did notice that when the door sensor was tripped, I had approximately 30 seconds to disarm the system, while the window sensor caused the alarm to immediately sound. I also thought that the camera provided a very clear image and video captured from the motion that was caught by the camera. I love being able to arm the system by telling the voice assistant to do it. It’s a very easy way to make sure your system is ready for any unwelcome guests.
My final opinion is that it’s a great do-it-yourself security system but it’s a bit pricey at $450 for the starter kit. I have however used other security systems that include a camera, door/window sensors, a remote, and a hub. It retails for around for around $250 USD. The biggest difference between that system and this one is that the Honeywell system has an integrated Amazon Alexa device, which retails for around $80 on its own. The combination of the Honeywell hardware and it’s easy to use app could potentially add up to the $450 purchase price, but some may not see all the value there. I can recommend the system based on its ease of use and solid infrastructure. I would like to see the price lowered a bit so it’s more in line with other products in its category.