Smanos W020i WiFi Alarm System + HD WiFi Camera is better then great. It works.
One thing that’s always turned me off to home security systems was the thought of having to pay a monthly fee to a company to ”Watch over my home.” In my opinion, this leaves too much room for error. There have been too many times that I’ve seen people get distracted and screw up their jobs. So, it comes down to that old adage, if you want something done right, do it yourself. In addition to that thought, I really don’t care to add another monthly fee to my list of bills. This is where Smanos comes into play.
Smanos is a WiFi Alarm System that let’s you be in charge. You monitor the system and you set it up. I have been looking at similar security systems for quite some time and I came across the Smanos system. I was interested, but had concerns. First, how well would it work, and second, how fast would it work? With Wi-Fi set-ups, you never really know how quickly it will connect to your network and send you a notification. There is sometimes a lag that could mean the world in a life or death emergency. For example, let’s say you were sleeping and someone breaks into your home through a door or window. But, there is a lag due to network issues and you don’t hear the alert in time? This is was a concern to me and something I was eager to find the answer to.
Testing the Smanos System
Smanos has several different set-ups for their Wi-Fi Alarm Systems. I had the opportunity to test out the W020i, which includes two window/door sensors, an HD camera, and alarm base with remote. I was a bit worried going into this testing process because it’s completely wireless (minus the power cables). Even the connection between the sensors and the alarm hub is wireless. So, would I have any lag to the alarm when the doors or windows were opened? The answer is, “NO.” As soon as doors were opened, the alarm would sound.
The other burning concern I had with this type of system was the length of time it would take from when the alarm was tripped to when I would receive an alert on my smart phone. I tested this two ways – on the WiFi network with the alarm system and on a cellular connection. When I was connected to the same WiFi network as the Smanos system, the push notification was immediate. As soon as the alarm was set off, a ping happened on my Apple Watch letting me know that it has been tripped. When I was on a cellular connection, usually LTE, I found there was a small delay, but it wasn’t anything huge. We are talking only seconds – not minutes.
Over a few weeks, I tested this connection countless times and each time doors or windows were opened, I received a notification within 4-5 seconds. I really find this to be amazing. Even most standard alarm systems won’t get that fast of a response. When the alarm is tripped, I can quickly pull up the camera feed and know if there is actually an intruder or if it was just our family dog walking through the room. This visual let’s me know if I need to contact the police.
Over the past several years, I’ve set-up my fair share of wireless/home automated systems. There is usually a very standard way to set-up devices and Apple does make integration very easy. The first step is always to connect the device to your WiFi network. In the past this has been a spotty process at best, but now, all you have to do is go to your Wireless Network settings on your iPhone and select the device as the network. From there, the device will pull your network settings and connect to your WiFi with little interaction from you. I have worked with some devices that are supposed to just work, but end up with a very long-winded set-up. Smanos really did their system right and it worked flawlessly throughout the set-up process.
To start, you simply plug the hub into power, and then connect it to your WiFi network using the Smanos app. Once it’s connected, you place your sensors, which, by the way, come with either screws or adhesive fixtures, and then you add the sensors, one by one, to the app. This process is also very, VERY easy. When you add the sensor, the app will ask you to open the window or door, and it detects it automatically. You then name the location (a.k.a front door, bedroom window, etc.) and then it’s set. To be completely honest, from start to finish, including the installation of the sensors, this process took me about 10 minutes to get it all up and running. The system is very intuitive and works incredibly well with the iOS app.
HD WiFi Camera
Smanos has a WiFi Camera, the IP6 HD, included with the W020i system. The camera has a smaller body (80 x 80 x 150 mm) and records 720P HD video resolution. The picture quality is pretty good. The example below is of a real still photo taken from the camera. Even though it’s not the best picture I’ve seen from a WiFi camera, it’s still clear enough to decipher what is happening in the room and would be helpful in determining if there is a real emergency happening. The IP6 HD also has a built-in MicroSD card slot and will accept cards up to 32GB in size. One of the reasons I like the Smanos IP6 HD camera is because it does not require a paid cloud service for saving video recordings or still photos. Many other WiFi cameras do. Smanos allows you to save your media directly to your iPhone or to your Micro SD card so that you have a record of events you want to keep.
In addition to the enormous benefit that Smanos provides with the flexible recording of video, the IP6 HD is designed to work as an integrated part of your system. Set-up is just as easy as the sensors and alarm hub. The camera has a high-caliber Sony IMX225 image sensor with a super wide-angle 5-megapixel lens that works in very low-light conditions and has a built-in HiFi microphone with speaker that allows you to use the IP6 HD as a two-way intercom. It’s a great option not only for security, but also for communicating with people at home when you’re away. The audio levels could use a little work, but that could be solved with a firmware/app update in the future. Overall, it’s a very good camera.
In addition to testing out the equipment and the app, I also called their support hotline and spoke with a very knowledgeable and friendly customer service agent. He was very well-spoken and based in the U.S. I really appreciate good customer/tech support because I’ve had a lot of bad experiences through other companies in the past. Smanos did a nice job of having an easy to use system and pulling in good resources for customer assistance.
Smanos really gets it. They understand that not everyone is made of money and they want to build a product to keep you safe. The Smanos Wi-Fi Alarm System is something you buy once and use to keep your home and family safe without worrying about making another monthly payment. To be honest, I had not really paid much attention to Smanos before going to CES. I made the mistake of assuming that just because they sold home security systems that they would charge a monthly fee for monitoring. I also made the mistaken assumption that because it was a WiFi system that the video and timing of the alarm would not be on point. I can tell you now after meeting with them, learning more about the systems they sell, and seeing how down to earth they are, I am kicking myself for almost missing out on a great way to keep my home safe.
One of the things I like so much about Smanos as a company is that they have designed their systems to be interchangeable and customizable to your needs. Let’s say the W020i WiFi Alarm System is not your cup of tea. Maybe you want to know your family’s security is in sturdier hands then just your home’s WiFi network, or maybe you don’t have great network connection. Smanos also carries models that work with standard phone lines. So, if you’re still rocking a landline, they have you covered. I have a friend who lives outside of cable Internet access and they decided to kill the landline phone because everyone calls them on their cell phones. Smanos also has them covered with GSM base units. No matter what your situation, Smanos has a unit, camera, and sensors that will work for you. I absolutely love mine. The only real complaint I have is that the alarm siren isn’t quite loud enough for me. I’m a bit hard of hearing and having a louder siren, or the ability to attach additional sirens, would be a nice option. It would definitely help ward off someone coming in a window at the opposite side of your home where the base unit is sitting.
At one point in time, I owned a bunch of Dropcams that I absolutely hated. Smanos is replacing those to be my dedicated home security system. The only downside is how many windows and doors I have in my home. Now, I just need to buy more sensors to mount on all of them.