J

Sat, Oct 3, 2020 4:24 PM

One-month review

It's been a month since I replaced my legacy home security system with SimpliSafe. Satisfied overall but several aspects are disappointing. Here are my pros and cons:

Pros:
- Price. Equipment and service is less expensive than the competition. My local legacy provider wanted more $ for fewer sensors and features and monitoring service that was $15/mo more.

- Core security devices and sensors. These seem to be decent quality. Nothing I received was dead-on-arrival.

- Setup. Intuitive and easy to set up. Adding devices is easy.

- Interactive monitoring. The remote monitoring service is responsive and reasonably priced.  

Cons:
- SimpliCams. I didn't buy the system for the cameras, but SimpliCam leaves a lot to be desired. Image quality is poor, even on the highest resolution. Stuck with 480p in order to keep most of my cameras from disconnecting, even though I have a high-end router and good WiFi strength. The two-way audio is useless (same for the doorbell pro). Full duplex would be nice, but I'd settle for reliability - most of the time the mic button in the app doesn't even work.

The previous cameras I have (which I still use because they're better) came with practical features like an adjustable ball-joint swivel allowing easy positioning of the fixed cameras (SimpliCam only tilts up and down), and an ethernet connectivity option. My old cameras also allowed motion detection to be specified within a portion of the camera's field of view (to exclude moving curtains for example), or to record based on a level of sound detected - these features are present in 5+ year old devices but missing with SimpliCam.

- User interface. We have a webpage, phone app, and keypad options to access and use our SimpliSafe system. Each interface allows you to do certain things, but none allow you to do everything in a single place. It feels like each UI platform was developed independently with little coordination. Again some practical features would be nice like deleting timeline events, forcing firmware update checks, etc.

- Customer service and technical documentation. Not much to say here other than poorly responsive and generally unhelpful customer service, and non-existent or hard to find documentation online. Want to know the dimensions of the water sensors or find out details on the smoke detectors? Good luck.

Summary: I don't regret choosing SimpliSafe but I guess my expectations were too high. I've kept my old hardwired system working as a back-up for now until I'm comfortable SimpliSafe is up to the task. From my Google review: Overall I'm pleased with the system, it's performance and value. SimpliSafe as a company however feels more like an online parts warehouse for a DIY system than an actual security services and solutions provider. If you keep that in mind you won't be disappointed.
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