Gadgets simplisafe

Published on March 17th, 2014 | by Greg


SimpliSafe Home Security System: Easy Install, No Long Contracts

Do-it-yourself home security has long been a dream for many folks, and it’s now moving into reality alongside other home automation technologies that have slowly crept out of the lab and into homes within the last decade or so. For many people, a deadbolt isn’t enough, but they don’t want to deal with the expense of hiring a company like ADP with a long-term contract and commitment. After all, much of the technology is now simple and affordable, so it takes only a company willing to do the work of creating a system that connects the dots and different pieces together.

The SimpliSafe Home Security System combines all of the traditional elements that you might need- the base station, a wireless keypad that you put near the door to lock and unlock the system, a keyfob for immediate arming or disarming as well as triggering a panic button, as well as a variety of wireless sensors. We tried out the Classic Package, which comes with four entry sensors (basically mountable intrusion detectors, perfect for use on windows or doors), a motion sensor, a smoke detector, and a siren. And you can purchase additional items separately, including carbon monoxide sensors, and water and freeze sensors. Everything is white, so it blends in pretty well.

The included siren rings out at 105 decibels, certainly enough to attract the attention of anyone nearby. But SimpleSafe does offer an optional monitoring plan as well, for $14.99/month, with no activation fees or setup costs, and the wireless cellular equipment already installed in the hardware and ready to go. You don’t need a landline telephone, which is great, and saves additional money for many folks. Especially in cities and urban environments, it doesn’t make sense to install a ton of hardware- this is a package aimed at those who want extra safety but don’t have fifty windows and doors on a house that they own. The company does charge you additional money for text alerts ($19.99/month), though, which is unfortunate since they should be able to rely potentially on home wireless access.  And if you want smartphone monitoring, it’s a bit more on top.

But for New York and other big city denizens and apartment dwellers, it makes perfect sense. It’s easy enough for even just about anyone to install, given a bit of time- it’s mostly adhesive backed sensors, and a little configuration. The batteries in the units are rated to last five years,  and if the equipment looks and feels little basic, it actually works quite well and performed without a hitch in our tests. The motion sensor won’t trigger for things under 50 pounds- no worries about pets- and didn’t set off false alarm for shadows. Unlike the iSmartAlarm system that we reviewed previously, there are no security cameras available as part of the SimpliSafe portfolio, which is unfortunate and the only major item missing. The Lowes IRIS system goes even further, offering smart locks and even a thermostat, but isn’t built as a security system first and foremost and lacks a 24/7 monitoring component that is key (as does the iSmartAlarm). With SimpliSafe, you also can’t add Z-wave or alternate accessories from other manufacturers.

But you get everything you need, in one easy-to-use box, and the ability to add functionality as you wish. The system has a cellular backup built-in, and live monitoring- and we can attest that the siren really, really works. Many homeowners can save on insurance with proof of an alarm system, meaning it can pay for itself. And it’s fairly priced, running between $230 to $540 depending on options, with the mid-range Classic System costing $350 as tested.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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