A Few Things To Know Before We Begin
I never thought I needed a home security system. I live in one of the “best” rated cities in my state and I have an army of dogs that lose their minds anytime they hear the slightest noise (don’t get me started on when the doorbell rings). So, it was a bit surprising when a rash of car break-ins struck my neighborhood, and my husband’s vehicle was targeted. While there was no threat to me or my family, it’s unsettling when a crime happens to you.
The first thing we did, besides filing a police report, was buy a Ring doorbell and outdoor camera. At first, I thought it was a bit excessive, but once installed, I felt a bit more empowered knowing I could monitor pretty much anything going on in the front portion of my house.
For consumers like myself who are thinking about incorporating home security elements to their home, there’s no shortage of options to choose from. The fact that home security cameras and other features have become more affordable, simple to install and use, and not to mention practical, is definitely a plus.
In fact, there are so many options that you’re probably looking for true-blue reviews that can help you understand what security features you need and which systems are compatible with your budget. I had the opportunity to test Abode Home Security and provide a personal review on what I thought of it.
So, without further ado, here’s my review of the Abode home security systems.
The Basics of Abode Home Security
Created by a former ADT executive, Abode is one of the newer do-it-yourself home security systems on the market, competing against some of the better-known DIY home security companies like SimpliSafe and Frontpoint. Abode is a self-monitored system, but you can opt into professional monitoring for a monthly fee.
All Abode home security packages include remote access via smartphone with instant notifications, web portal access, three days of timeline history and media storage. In terms of equipment you can choose from two starter packages – the Smart Security Kit and the Iota All-in-One Security Kit. I was able to test both, so I’ll itemize their differences.
Both systems have three modes – standby, away and home.
- Standby Mode turns off the intrusion protection (door/window sensors and interior motion cameras) but leaves other sensors such as flood/water sensors and CO sensors enabled.
- Away Mode turns on all protection, including intrusion protection and interior protection devices.
- Home Mode turns on the perimeter protection (door/window sensors, glass break sensors, etc.) and turns off interior motion (cameras, motion detectors, etc.)
Whenever you arm or disarm the Abode system, there is a 60-second delay by default. The delay timers are designed for when the user wants to arm the system before leaving the home and disarm the system after entering the home. You can change the delay time or disable it completely through the Abode app. I have to admit the 60-seconds of beeping annoyed me, but it also reassured me at night to know that the system was armed, and the house was secure.
I quickly discovered that the motion sensor, when set on the away mode, is not pet-proof in a home like mine. The first couple of days after installing the systems, I realized that I needed to find a spot where the dogs wouldn’t trigger the sensor – which is impossible with four dogs. I first placed the motion detector near the front door of the house, thinking the dogs wouldn’t be hanging out in that area. But apparently, my dogs wait by the door when I’m gone (aww). I then placed it on the kitchen counter – again thinking the dogs wouldn’t be hanging out in the kitchen. Turns out that wasn’t a good place, either.
It was trial and error to find an ideal spot where the motion sensor could identify suspicious movement of a person who wasn’t supposed to be there, rather than my dogs. Unfortunately, after numerous motions detected and subsequent sirens going off (I’ll talk about this a bit later), I was forced to set the system to the home mode when I left the house.
For the first couple of days, I was regularly alerted when the motion sensor picked up movement via push notification, email and a photograph of the event. Notifications are customizable in case you prefer one over the other. You can also set phone call notifications if the alarm is triggered.
Three different types of message alerts are pretty impressive, considering I rarely view my personal email, other than first thing in the morning when I wake up, and hardly answer phone calls while I’m at work. The push notifications are my favorite since they’re discreet enough that I don’t have to answer the phone if I’m in meetings or constantly check for emails.
With that said, the downside was always carrying my phone around in anticipation that I would miss a notification. I forgot my cell phone at my desk a few times while I was in meetings and came back to numerous alerts and auto-dials from Abode (these are automated phone calls if you have a self-monitored system) and my husband alerting me the system was tripped and sirens were activated. This is great if you don’t have pets in the house! The Abode siren is 93 decibels, which is equivalent to a very high-pitched power mower. Not great for dog ears…or anyone’s ears for that matter.
While constantly keeping your phone close can be a bit annoying (I’m probably one of the few people that don’t take my phone everywhere with me), it’s also part of self-monitoring your home. If that’s not something you want to do, then you may want to consider paying extra for the for the monthly monitoring service – which by the way is contract-free! You can even get temporary monitoring if you’ll be out of town and unable to self-monitor.
Abode Iota Video Quality
The 1080p video camera in the motion sensor is pretty good, providing a generous field of view and with sharp and clear video during the day, as well as illuminating rooms using infrared with night vision in low-light or darkness. In fact, the video was enough to give to the police for identification – if I ever needed to. With that said, the camera is a bit slow to load if you’re trying to stream live video remotely. There’s also a pretty significant video delay. I’m not 100% sure if it’s due to wi-fi or cellular service, but my husband and I have separate cell service and we both noticed the loading delay.
In my opinion, I don’t know why anyone would have a home security system without a video camera – especially when self-monitoring. Being able to see why the alarm was tripped gives me some clarity into the situation and reduces my anxiety.