If you are looking for a basicextremely basic: DIY security system, take a look at X-Sense. The company, best known for its range of smoke detectors, offers a basic system that works quite well and costs next to nothing.
The X-Sense Home Security Kit is available in two versions – there’s the $ 130 5-piece kit reviewed here, which includes a hub, a motion sensor, two door / window sensors, and a key fob with remote control. For an extra $ 40 you’ll get the X-Sense 8-Piece Kit, which adds an additional motion sensor and two more door / window sensors. The only type of additional sensor that works with the system is your Wi-Fi smoke detector, which is sold separately.
This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best smart home systems, where you will find reviews of competing offerings, as well as a buyer’s guide on the features to consider when purchasing this type of product.
The centerpiece of the kit is the hub, an elegant cube-shaped device with a ring of light around the top that indicates the status of the alarm. In addition to serving as a connection point for the sensors (up to 32 sensors and 6 remotes are supported), the device includes a siren (reasonably loud, although a dB rating is not provided) and a battery that provides up to 12 hours of backup . if the power goes out. There is no LTE backup in case the broadband connection fails.
The unit connects to your home network via 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi (only), but connects to sensors via a long-range RF connection using an unspecified protocol. The company says it can detect sensor pings up to 1.25 miles (line of sight); In real world testing (with typical suburban obstructions), I was able to achieve a sensor range of approximately 400 feet.
The sensors are large and bulky, in part because each relies on a large 3-volt battery for its power. On the bright side, this can provide a lifespan of up to 3 years, per X-Sense, although it certainly won’t do much for your décor.
Setting up the hub and sensors is a relatively straightforward process that involves installing the battery, scanning a QR code with the X-Sense Security app, and pressing a button on the device when prompted. The following steps are typical: Assign each sensor to a room and give it a name, after which the system will be up and running.
A handful of additional little settings are available if you search through the menus, including the option to play one of a variety of chimes when doors are opened or motion is detected, and the inclusion of five levels of motion sensor sensitivity. A history dashboard records all activity, with each day recorded separately.
The system offers the three common operating modes: Disarmed (nothing is registered, but the chimes continue to ping); Start (the system is armed and the sensor trips are recorded, but the alarm does not sound); and Away (the alarm sounds when any sensor is triggered). Each mode can be modified a bit, so if you want the system to ring when doors or windows are opened in home mode, but don’t want an alert when the motion sensor is triggered in that mode, it’s easy to set up. until.
All of this works erratically, although it is never as robust as some of the more mature alarm system options on the market. The app is prone to getting stuck with doors appearing “open” when closed, and sometimes you can lose your connection to the app entirely. There can also be a significant delay in transmitting commands from the application to the hub, particularly when you try to disarm the system after logging in and the entry delay countdown is active. Worst of all, the siren sounded multiple times after I put the system into “disarm” mode and received an audio confirmation from the hub; I even encountered this kind of random siren behavior after having completely disabled the sirens.
False alarms like this are a headache, but they can be less of a headache than with other security systems, because besides the siren, the only communication the system offers are push notifications to your phone. There is no email / text option and in particular no professional monitoring service is offered. (X-Sense didn’t even know what that was when I asked him about it.) There is also no connection to third-party services like Alexa.
That said, this is a system that is designed to be affordable and easy to use; something that covers the basics and nothing else. On that front, it is quite successful. For a more sophisticated and reliable DIY home security system, with the option of professional monitoring, take a look at the offerings from Abode, Ring, or SimpliSafe.
Update, October 27, 2021X-Sense asked us to retest their security system, saying that false alarms like the ones I found were not normal and expressing concern that we may have received a faulty unit. After further testing with a second system, I discovered that the problem is probably related to an issue with the mobile app not saving settings correctly.
Even after turning off the siren and saving the modified settings, sometimes that change was not reflected in the unit and the siren would sound even if you thought you had disabled it. I found this problem on the replacement unit, and it is likely what caused the false alarms on the original unit, although the problem was much more severe with the initial test unit than with the second.
Ultimately, this is probably the case with a relatively new and immature app that is going through some growing pains, and until it is fully resolved, users should be careful to check all settings to make sure they have been saved. correctly.