ismart alarmstars37Rating: 3.7 Reviewed by Paul

 

The iSmart Alarm System is a DIY wireless security system. You monitor and control it yourself with your smartphone. There is no long term contract to sign or monthly monitoring fees.

You can set and disarm the system remotely using Smart Phone App. It works with the

                   buy5._V192207739_                          iPhone, iPad  and Android. When there is an incident when the system is armed it will phone you and 2 others and send you a text notification of it. If you have the upgraded system, the Premium Package, you get sent a photo taken by the iCamera to see what is going on.

On an ongoing basis you can see when people arrive and when they leave home. Plus see the status of the sensors from anywhere that your smart phone can work.

This is a new product and is being updated on a regular basis with new devices being planned to be released in the near future. It initially worked with only the iPhone but has recently been rolled out to other smart phone devices.

Installation

The system comes pre-programmed so the sensors, remotes and the CubeOne (control unit/panel) all work together out of the box. You need to plug the CubeOne unit(the “brains of the system”) into your router using the Ethernet cable and into power supply and download the ismart app to your smart phone. CubeOne finds the sensors and downloads them to your phone.

You do need to check that you router is compatible with the Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11 b/g standard and your smart phone is supported before installing. You can check the devices supported by going to the FAQ page on iSmart’s website here: https://www.ismartalarm.com/support/faqinfo

This initial set up can be done within minutes. The installation of the window/door contacts and motion sensors is done by using the double back tape included.

Instructions are included in the manual and also the ismart app can help you with setup. This package requires little technical or DIY skills. (However see below about the camera).

Contract

There is no contract required to install this as it is self monitored. The functionality of the system to send notifications to your designated phones and storing of recorded incidents is included in the price of the equipment.

Support

The Company can be contacted between 8.30 and 5.30 pm PST time. They also operate a support ticket system on their site to help with your specific issues. Plus there is a forum where you can ask more general questions.
It seems when they first started they were not the most responsive but recently they appear to have improved and they are now more active on the forum.
When I contacted them with a few questions using their support ticket system they responded  to me within a couple of hours.

Camerascamera

A camera does not come with the Preferred package but is available with an upgrade to the Premium package or you can buy at a later date by contacting the manufacturer.  When the alarm is triggered it will take a photo of the location you have set and send it to you with your notification.

You can control the camera remotely through you App to stream video and take snapshots from the camera. You can pan and tilt the camera to look around your house. The quality is reasonable during the day but at night it’s vision is poor.
Currently the system can only support one camera and some people have found it very difficult to set up (company is working on this and will help you sort if you are experiencing an issue).

Video Storage

You can control the icamera with your App to tilt and pan it to see what is going on at home. The video is streamed to your phone and you can take snapshots. The snapshots can be stored on your phone.

Alarms

There is only one siren included with the system at the moment. It is an internal one and is included in the CubeOne unit and is 100 db loud, which is about as loud as a power lawn mower. This is loud and may be enough to scare away an intruder but will not sound that loud outside. If the intruder is familiar with the system they’ll know they can turn it off but by that time you should have been notified.

Notification

The system can phone and text up to 3 people set in the system when the alarm is triggered. If the call is answered it plays the message as to the nature of the alert. If the call is not answered a message is left. In addition all people (this can be as many people you want) set up on the App will receive a push notification and email when the alarm is triggered.

The app will alert all people set up in the system of a break in or other activity by phone call, SMS message, push notification (Your App can send a message to your smart phone letting you know there has been an incident even when App isn’t running on phone) or email at the time the alarm is sounded and is usually received within 5 seconds of the alarm being triggered.

There is a log kept of all incidents kept on the Ismart’s servers. This can help you keep a track of the coming’s and going’s of teenagers, for instance, as you can get notifications when doors are opened and movements logged even when the system is disarmed.

No separate phone line is needed as it uses your internet connection.

Remote Monitoringcontrol

Remote monitoring of the system is done by way of the iSmart app. The app covers the iPhone and iPod and recently an android app has been released for other smart phones

You can set the system so you get a notification when the alarm is armed or disarmed which can be useful to know for various things like when your children get home from school as the remote tags can be assigned to a specific person.

The App which is available for Iphone, Ipads (can’t take calls), Android but not Blackberry or Window devices has 4 screens:
(a)Control
Here you have 4 options – set the alarm in home or away, disarm the system or press the panic button.

(b) Monitor
This is where you can see the status of the people added to your security network –home or away and the time their status changed.
The safety monitor of the section allows you to see what status the alarm is in – home, away or disarmed. It is also shows the status of the sensors e.g. front door closed, back door openmonitor

(c) iCamera
If you have the iCamera this allows you to view what is happening in your home and control the camera to pan side to side and up and down. You can also take snapshots and save them to your local gallery and upload to the cloud.

(d)More
This gives you 5 options:

(i)    Profile – you can make changes to your personal profile

(ii)    Family settings – add people to your network

(iii)    Device settings – where you can add or remove devices to your system. This is where you can see battery status of your devices. Also this is where you set the timer delays for arming and the time between an alarm being triggered and siren being sounded and phone call being made. You have the option for choosing the loudness of your siren up to 100 db.

(iv)    App settings – you can turn off/on receiving notification of changes of  monitor statuses

(v)    Help Center – where you can learn more about the Alarm System

When the system is disarmed it can be set to log when window/doors are opened which could be useful for monitoring when people come and go such as a cleaner or teenagers.

Anything that goes on in the system including monitored door opening/closing times are stored in the cloud even when system is disarmed for 90 days.

The information you can see on your App is also stored on the company’s secure server – device IDS, logs for each device, account information, alert numbers and device settings and at the moment there is no time limit on storage.

The Superuser and administrator are the only ones that have the ability to change settings and remove/add member or devices to the iSmartAlarm iSA3 Preferred Package Home Security System.

Battery

Batteries are needed for the wireless sensors and remote tags and are included when you buy the system. The App will let you know when the batteries need replacing and the LED on the sensors will flash 3 times in 3 seconds. On normal everyday usage the batteries should last on average 12 months.

Motion Sensor – This requires 3 AA batteries and they are accessed by unscrewing the back lid.

Door window/contacts – These require a C2032 battery. There is a slot at the corner of the sensor where you squeeze both sides of it and the battery compartment can be removed to replace the battery.

Remote tag – This needs a C2032 battery. It is accessed by unscrewing the back lid.
The CR2032 battery can be found at most outlets that sell batteries including online stores like Amazon and Home Depot.

Sensors/Detectionmotionsensor

There is one motion sensor included in this system. It is a passive infra red sensor and is effective up to 33 feet and a horizontal angle of 90 degrees coverage.

The mounting included is flat so it cannot be easily mounted in the corner where the sensors can then easily cover a room. If you have pets it will pick them up moving around your house.  You can tilt and moved from side to side to change the view to the one you want. If you have pets the sensor is likely to pick them up when you have the alarm set in home mode. To prevent this you can tilt the sensor upwards so it won’t pick them up.

Door/Window Contacts

These are made up of a sensor and magnet. They are mounted by using the double backed tape provided. They can be used on any type of window or door including sliding doors. They need to be mounted within ¾ inch of each other to work. When moved apart more than this they will trigger the alarm.  The tape works well but you can also use 3M double sided tape to affix the contacts.

Panic Button/Duress Codes

There is a panic button on the remote tags and smart phone app. When this is pressed or tapped twice the siren sounds immediately and everyone set up in the network will receive notification of the emergency.
There is no duress code with this system. Therefore, if you are forced to turn off the alarm by an intruder there is no notification sent that this was done under duress.

Setting The Alarm

The alarm can be set in home and away mode using the remote tags and your smart phone. Home mode arms only the remotetagwindow/contacts and the away mode arms all the sensors. You can also use them to disarm the alarm and there is a panic button.

To confirm the system has been armed it chirps once and when disarmed it chirps twice.

The remote tags can be attached to your key ring for carrying around with you. There are 4 symbols on the tags to indicate which button does what. They can be a bit hard to see as they are the same color as the background. You do need to be careful the buttons are not pressed by mistake while they are in your pocket as this is easy to do. In one review it was suggested you store it in a tic-tac case to prevent this. When you are more than 330 feet from the CubeOne, the tags should not be able to communicate with it, but the pressing of the buttons can drain the battery quicker.

You can add as many people as you need to the system to use the App to set the alarm. They can access the arm/disarm or panic controls. If you have an icamera they can access that too.

Control Panel

The control panel in this system is called CubeOne. Unlike other systems there are no buttons to press. It is a stylish looking cube cubeonethat includes an LED light that provides information as to system’s status and it houses the siren. It needs to be stored close to your router as it needs to stay connected to it by ethernet/network cable.

After setting up the LED Light flashes white when the siren is off and flashes red when the siren is on. If there is a communication error it will stay red.

There is no backup battery with the system so if there is a power outage the CubeOne is off and will not be able to detect, sound the alarm or send notifications.

The setting up of your system and changes to it are done through the smart phone App.  With the ismart app you can arm in home and away mode, disarm it and hit the panic button as well as set the time delays between the setting and arming the system and the time between a sensor being triggered and the alarm being sounded and notifications being sent. See remote monitoring for more details.

Timers

ismartAfter the recent firmware update you can set the delay on arming anywhere from instant up to 5 minutes. You can set the system to beep at you to let you know that system is in the process of being armed.

You can also set the time between the sensors being triggered and the alarm being sounded from instant up to 10 minutes.

Protection against it being switched off

If internet connectivity is lost you will receive an alert. The alarm will still collect and store the data and send that to you when the connection is restored. The siren will sound.

If someone cuts the power after they break in you will get notified as well.

There is no back up battery and in one review it was suggested to use a UPS as an alternative.  A UPS is a Universal Power  Supply that is used to protect equipment from power surges and short interruptions to power supplies. You can get them on Amazon  from $70 upwards.

Coverage

The sensors and remote tags work up to 330 feet from the CubeOne but this may be less if the signal needs to travel through walls etc. Currently there is nothing provided by the company to extend this coverage.

Wireless or Wired

This is a wireless system with the sensors and remotes communicating with the CubeOne using 908 mhz frequency. The CubeOne needs to be plugged into the router to be able to send out the notifications to the phones registered on the system. The CubeOne is also needs to be plugged in to the wall for power.

Zones

You have the ability with this system to name all the sensors with descriptive names such front door or kitchen etc. In this way you will know which sensor has triggered the alarm when you receive the notification on your smart phone. Therefore each sensor can be its own individual zone as can the remote tags and smart phones.

Dimensions

The dimensions for components included in the Preferred package are:

Cubeone Hub – 3 15/16 inches by 3 15/16 inches by 4 9/64 inches (metric 100mm by 100mm by 105 mm)

Window/Door Sensors – 1 31/32 inches by 1 31/32 inches by 0 33/64 inches (metric 50 mm by 50 mm by 13 mm)

Motion Sensor – 3 15/16 inches by 2 23/32 inches by 1 31/32 inches (metric 100 mm by 69mm by 50 mm)

Remote Tags – 2 23/64 inches by 1 3/16 inches by 0 25/64 inches(metric 60 mm by 30 mm by 10 mm)

iSmartAlarm iSA3 Preferred Package Home Security System Featuresdoorwindowcontact

This system comes with following as standard:

1 CubeOne Hub – this is the brains of the system and sends the notifications to your phone when a sensor is triggered. It also includes the 100 db siren.

2 Window/Door Sensors – these magnetic sensors come in 2 parts – a sensor and a magnet with one part placed on the door or window and the other part placed on the frame in this way they will detect when the door or window is being opened.

1 Motion Sensor – this sensor detects movement in the house and has an effective range of less than 10 meters and a detection angle of 90 degrees.

2 Remote Tags – these remotes have 4 buttons to arm the system in home or away mode, disarm it or a panic button

2 Sensor Stickers – these are for placing on windows to notify that the property is protected by an alarm system

Accessories

You can add up to 80 devices including sensors and remotes to the system as well as:

Icamera – takes photos of intruders and can be added by upgrading to the Premium package or by contacting the manufacturer direct. It can also be controlled by the smart phone app to shoot video and scroll around the room. Currently the system can only be configured to have one camera but there are plans to increase this in the near future.

Pros

Can control and monitor system from anywhere your Smart phone works

Installation and set up is straightforward

Company is proactive in making improvements to the software

There are no monthly fees and no contract

It is portable you can take it with you when you move house

30 day money back guarantee

1 year manufacturer’s warranty

Once set up it is hands free except for changing the batteries and accepting software updates

Batteries are easy to replace

Monitor system from your Smart phone and know what is happening at home and the comings and goings and doors/windows being opened

Cons

There is no backup battery included in the CubeOne

You only get 2 window/door contacts and 1 motion sensor which is not enough to cover a house so plan on spending more for extra contacts and sensors

It was  “buggy” to start with but seems to have improved with latest update although there are issues with Android app at the moment (check this)

You are reliant on the company’s servers being online to get notifications in the event the alarm is triggered

Can get expensive when setting up a large home but still cheaper than a monitored system with monthly fees

The remote tags buttons are sensitive and you can be changing alarm settings when it’s in your pocket

CubeOne (control unit) needs to be connected to router by Ethernet cable

The icamera is expensive and does not include audio

Limited scope for discount on home owners insurance

Is not compatible with Zigbee or Zwave devices

Can not set the alarm to come on at certain times of the day

No duress code

iSmartAlarm iSA3 Preferred Package Home Security System Price

The price includes 2 window/door sensors, 1 motion sensor, 2 remote tags, the CubeOne, the Smartphone App, self-monitoring and notification. The price compared to independently monitored alarm systems is well priced but you do not get many devices.

For a medium sized home you are probably going to want more than 2 window/door sensors to at least cover all the possible entry points to your house on the ground floor and the cost could be over $500 without a camera or $650 is camera is added. You can see more here: iSmartAlarm iSA3 Preferred Package Home Security System

The ongoing cost for the system at the moment is just for powering the system and replacing the batteries.

iSmartAlarm iSA3 Preferred Package Home Security System Consumer Ratings

Reviews for this product are mixed with some people loving it and the concept and others disappointed that they could not get the system to work for them. It seems the product was rolled out before it was completely ready.

It is a new product and the company has been working to improve the system but appears it has been “buggy” and the company has not been as responsive as it should have been. Also some people seem to have been unaware that the CubeOne needs to be attached to the router using an Ethernet cable to be able to send out notifications and enable the system to be remotely monitored.

A number of the positive reviews do talk about their journey they’ve been through with the system to get it working as they like. With help from customer support and the software updates they are now pleased with it. Some have improved their initial low ratings with recent updates.

It seems the company has been taking steps to iron out the bugs and the latest software update appears to have sorted many of glitches with it and provided more functionality.

Summary

If you are looking for an Alarm system that you can monitor your house with your smart phone without ongoing fees this is a system that is going to give this to you. It will notify you when there is an intruder or other activity you specify. The company has been improving the software with a number of updates and it now seems more stable. Plus it has a number of new devices that will help to give you more security options and also with home automation.

This is a new product that is being developed and there is some risk attached with this but the Company does seem to be on the right path to make it as easy as possible to have a self-monitored home security system.  It gives you a lot of control over how you want it configured and is flexible. This all makes it a good alternative to the monthly fee contracts. As it comes out of the box it would be fine for an apartment but for a large home you will want to look at buying additional window/doors and motion sensors for a better level  of security.

 

Filed under: Reviews

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