Abode Smart Security Kit Review, Pros & Cons and Specs 2022
THE BOTTOM LINE For Abode Smart Security Kit
Abode Smart Security Kit is a great system that provides professional monitoring without any contract. It starts with the basics, but is highly extensible with support for plenty of third-party tools and services.
Abode Smart Security Kit PROS
Easy to install
No-contract monitoring plans available
Works with lots of third-party devices
Amazon Alexa voice control
Zigbee and Z-Wave support
Works with Apple HomeKit
Mobile and web access
Abode Smart Security Kit CONS
Can’t manage notifications from mobile app
Doesn’t come with control panel
Abode Smart Security Kit Review
The Abode Smart Security Kit (starting at $229) finds the perfect place among a professionally monitored and self-monitored security platform. It’s easy to install and can be paired with dozens of Z-Wave and Zigbee smart home devices including door locks, lights and smart switches to provide complete home coverage. It also supports Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT. Door/window sensors are heavy, but that doesn’t stop the Abode Home Security Starter Kit from winning the Editors’ Choice Award for DIY Home Security Systems.
Abode Smart Security Kit Features and Plans
The Abode Smart Security Kit comes with a gate pivot, door/window sensor, keychain, and motion detector. The black and white gate measures 7.7 x 1.7 x 5.7 inches (HWD) and has a small LED status light on the front that is normally off but turns red when an alarm is triggered and the gate turns yellow when there is a connection problem with the road. itself or one of the sensors. Around the back is a LAN port, SIM card slot, battery spare key, and power connector.
Inside is a rechargeable battery that provides up to 12 hours of power when powered off. There are also RF, Zigbee, Z-Wave and cellular radios to keep you connected to the portal if you ever lose your internet connection. However, you must subscribe to the Abode Pro plan (described below) to take advantage of this feature. Inside there is also a 93dB siren that will sound when the sensor is triggered while the system is armed.
The door/window sensors come pre-assembled at the factory, and measuring 1.2 x 3.2 x 0.8 inches, they are significantly larger and bulkier than most. The sensors (1.0 x 2.7 x 0.4 inches) that come with the Vivint Smart Home system are half as thick. The motion sensor measures 3.5 x 2.6 x 2.0 inches and uses PIR (Passive Infrared) technology to deliver a motion detection range of up to 35 feet. Runs on two AA batteries (included). Abode also sells a wide-angle action camera that takes three photos at a resolution of 640 x 480 when turned on. The camera has a 90-degree field of view and uses the flash to capture color shots at night.
The key fob is also black and white, measuring 2.0 x 1.3 x 0.4 inches, and has an arm remote button that activates all sensors, and a home button that activates all sensors and all internal sensors. (allowing you to walk around the house without triggering the alarm), and a disarm button that puts the system into standby mode but keeps the water and fire sensors active. While Abode doesn’t offer a full control panel as the Cove, Frontpoint, and Vivint do, it does offer 2 keyboards ($99) that you mount to the wall to arm and disarm the system. It can be used for without the need for your mobile device.
It’s worth noting that Abode also offers an iota security kit starting at $329. iota is a comprehensive system that includes a base station hub that provides two-way audio and has a built-in camera, siren and motion sensor. Like the starter set, you can expand it by adding ingredients. By comparison, the Starter Kit Gateway is basically just a hub – you have to add components like cameras and motion sensors to it.
Speaking of components, you can control dozens of Z-Wave and Zigbee devices with the Abode, including door locks and garage door openers, water and flood sensors, glass break sensors, light bulbs and dimmers. Most of the add-ons are reasonably priced, but in most cases they are a bit more expensive than you would pay for SimpliSafe components. For example, Abode charges $32 for its door sensors compared to SimpliSafe’s $14.99, and Abode’s glass break sensor costs $50 compared to SimpliSafe’s $34.99. Other Abode components include a water leak sensor ($60), outdoor siren ($99), Abode Cam 2 indoor/outdoor camera ($34.99), and the more powerful Abode Outdoor Smart Camera ($259).
The Abode Smart Security Kit supports the most popular voice command services, including Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri and Google Assistant, and integrates with other smart home devices through Apple’s HomeKit platform and IFTTT software. For example, you can create scenes in HomeKit to make the system work with other HomeKit devices, and you can use the IFTTT applet to tell the Abode system to turn on the lights at a specific time, send an email when the alarm goes off, etc. Send and/or play back the video recording to a third party camera such as the Arlo Pro 3.
Abode offers two subscription plan options. The Standard plan costs $60 per year and is designed for users who prefer to monitor their systems themselves. It offers push and email notifications, unlimited camera support, seven days of access to video history and schedule, home automation capabilities, on-demand monitoring for three or seven days, and smart home integration. The Pro plan costs $200 per year and you get everything from the Standard plan, plus 24/7 professional monitoring, 30 days of video history and schedule access, cellular connectivity, home insurance discounts, and premium support.
You can save some money if you order the plan when you purchase the system. For $379.99 you get a Starter Kit and a year of the Standard plan, and for $319 you get a Kit and a year of the Pro plan. You can also use the no-plan option that allows you to self-monitor, watch live video, use smart home integration, and receive push notifications. However, you will not be able to access the recorded video or timeline video and you will not be able to perform home automation.
Easy Installation and Monitoring
The Abode Smart Security Kit can be controlled from a computer using an Android or iOS mobile device or a web portal. You can use the mobile application to place the system at home, away or standby, view your event schedule and photos captured, view live video from connected cameras, check device status, view pending alarms, and users. Can be used to add to the system via email . . Here you can add and edit emergency contacts and request on-demand monitoring, but you can also do things like add third-party devices, create custom automations, and manage notifications. The web portal will have to be used. In addition, the web portal dashboard screen provides a more comprehensive view of the entire system (cameras, devices, schedule, captured images, settings) than a mobile application.
In the Notifications section, you can configure email notifications and push notifications that tell you when the system is armed and disarmed, when the system is offline, when the device’s battery level is low, and when the automation is triggered. The Automation screen is where you go to set up arming and disarming schedules based on the time of day or location (geolocation), and the Quick Actions screen lets you create one-touch actions like “from all cameras capture video.”
Sensors and remote controls are factory assembled, making installation very easy. I connected the gateway to my router using the included Ethernet cable, installed the app, and created an account. Once I created the account and entered my address and phone number, I followed the instructions in the app.
First I inserted the gate activation switch (provided in the startup card) and it was connected within seconds. I clicked continue to configure my hardware starting with the door sensors. For Sensor A, the app wanted to know if I was using it for a door or window and instructed me to pull the clear plastic tab on the back of the sensor to activate it. I aligned the two components, labeled sensor (front door), hit continue, and they immediately connected. I added the second sensor and moved to the motion sensor/camera.
Using a small Phillips screwdriver, I removed the back cover and inserted three CR123 batteries (included). I replaced the cover, secured the camera with double back tape, and hit Snap a Photo to test it out. After the test image appeared, I named the camera and proceeded to pair the indoor broadcast camera. This requires another router port open during the initial setup, but the camera can eventually connect via Wi-Fi or stay wired.
After connecting the streaming camera to my router using the included Ethernet cable, I selected it in the setup menu and entered the activation key attached to its setup card. I was asked to press and hold the lower half of the button on the side of the camera for 15 seconds, at which point it was recognized. I set it up on Wi-Fi and waited a few seconds for the app to scan for available networks. I made my choice, entered my password, and was connected in seconds. I detached the camera and moved it from the front door driveway to its new location, and it was good to go.
Accommodation performed as advertised. The system responded quickly when the door/window sensors were opened and closed, and the interior siren was reasonably loud, albeit not as punchy as we heard. The motion sensor/camera was also responsive, but I found the 640 x 480 image quality to be a bit blurry. On the other hand, the image quality from the 720p indoor broadcast camera was much better. It provided color quality during the day and sharp black and white night video.
Push and email alerts are delivered instantly when sensors are triggered and when the system goes offline. I set up an IFTTT recipe to start recording the Arlo Pro cam when the front door was opened and it worked flawlessly. Alexa voice commands to arm and disarm the system also worked seamlessly.
The Best of Both Worlds
With the Abode Smart Security Kit, you’ll get everything you need to start protecting your home for less than $300. The system is easy to install and offers many affordable plug-ins. Abode Smart Security Kit flexible plans allow you to monitor the system yourself and pay for professional support only when you need it, or go with a 24/7 monitoring plan. By supporting Z-Wave and Zigbee wireless protocols, Abode Smart Security Kit can control dozens of sensors and home automation devices, has its own IFTTT channel, and works with more third-party devices than SimpliSafe. It all wins the Editors’ Choice Award for DIY Home Security Systems.