When you think of alarm systems, you usually think of professional installation. Sure, there are plenty of DIY home security systems out there, but most fall short of the ones with professional installation and service plans. But, alarm systems from the likes of ADT or Protect America are pricey. There are equipment and installation costs, plus monthly service costs that usually cost between $50-$100. Most of these service plans require a nasty contract, too.
SimpliSafe 2 aims to change all that. It’s a home security system that is as good as what the big boys offer, but without the highway-robbery prices. The SimpliSafe 2 is a home security system you can install yourself, without paying activation or termination fees thanks to a pay-as-you-go monthly subscription. However, our SimpliSafe 2 review found that there are some concerns that need to be taken into account before jumping into this take on DIY home security.
SimpliSafe 2 introduces a whole new suite of features that can even give more expensive services a run for their money. Our SimpliSafe 2 review kit came with a slew of devices and accessories in the box, including entry sensors for doors and windows, motion sensors, a panic button, a keypad, and a keychain to arm and disarm your system. We were a bit intimidated at first, but within 30 minutes we had the entire SimpliSafe 2 review kit set up around our apartment. Not only was the set-up process very straightforward, but the base station actually guides you with voice directions! The keychain remote doubles as a USB key, which holds the installation files. We also found customer service for the SimpliSafe 2 to be very friendly and patient with us during the review process.
When setting out on our SimpliSafe 2 review, we immediately appreciated the fact that the Simplisafe 2 system is totally wireless. The base station operates over a built-in cellular module with a GSM SIM card inside of it—no landlines required, no worrying about burglars cutting cords. Furthermore, all of the entry sensors, motion sensors, and panic buttons are wireless and battery operated.
What really captured our attention about the SimpliSafe 2 was the email and text message alerts. The SimpliSafe 2 system will notify you if a sensor is triggered, the base station is unplugged, or the alarm is turned off, plus several optional alerts about temperature or carbon monoxide. We found the alerts to be reliable and prompt. Another neat trick is that you can log in to your SimpliSafe account online to turn off the alarm remotely.
We were planning a glowing SimpliSafe 2 review right up until we went away on a two-week vacation. While lounging around on a beach on the coast of Italy, we received an email letting us know that the alarm had been set off. We then received a phone call from the emergency dispatch center telling us the SimpliSafe 2 alarm had gone off, and that the police were on their way. Needless to say, we were unnerved, but tried to remain calm. The dispatcher told us that he would call us back once he had heard back from the police.
After 45 minutes, we still hadn’t heard from him, so we called back the emergency dispatcher, who told us that the police still had not reported in. Panic started to set in—not knowing what was going on back home didn’t exactly give us peace of mind. When I asked to speak to someone at SimpliSafe, the emergency dispatcher said that SimpliSafe is a separate entity and that I should call them. I called SimpliSafe to get some sort of status update, but they were not yet open for business, as it was it was too early in the morning. After that, we never heard back from the dispatcher and never got an update from SimpliSafe or anyone else about what had actually transpired in our apartment.
There is no better way to ruin your day at a Mediterranean beach than to discover that your apartment might be getting broken into while you’re thousands of miles away and can’t do anything about it—and there is no way for you to know what happened. The only saving grace was that I was able to log in to my SimpliSafe account to disable the SimpliSafe 2 alarm. That way, at least I knew I wouldn’t return home the following week to an angry neighbor tormented by an incessant alarm.
It wasn’t until we returned home that we finally felt at ease. Fortunately, there had been no break-in. Instead, we found that the wireless sensor had fallen off the wall and accidentally triggered the SimpliSafe 2 alarm.
As relieved as we were to find the apartment safe and sound, the experience left us wondering where we should point fingers. On one hand, the emergency dispatcher is probably the same one used by many other home security systems. On the other hand, we could also point fingers at our local police for their reaction to the dispatcher. Do we blame the emergency dispatcher for never following up to let us know what the police had discovered? Or do we blame the police for not reporting back to the dispatcher? Did the police ever actually go out to check if our apartment was being broken into? And if they didn’t, how truly useful is it to have an alarm system with an emergency dispatcher on call? Last but not least, is it the responsibility of SimpliSafe to make sure that the police are on the scene and that we are updated with progress about a possible break-in?
Despite this incident, our SimpliSafe 2 review still turned out to be mostly positive. SimpliSafe 2 is very affordable, easy to set up, wireless, and the instant email and text message alerts are very reliable. There is no question in our minds that SimpliSafe 2 is a lot better than some more expensive home security systems. When it comes to technology, SimpliSafe 2 gets an A for ease of use and reliability. However, the reliability of the emergency dispatcher service does concern us. We would also love to see a video surveillance option for the SimpliSafe 2. We think that a system like DropCam would be a perfect fit for the SimpliSafe 2. Had we a video surveillance system to use while we were on vacation, we would probably have rested much easier knowing that it had been a false alarm.
Unfortunately, we never did a SimpliSafe review, so we can’t compare how this system matches up with the previous generation. Based on our experience setting up the SimpliSafe 2 review kit, we feel confident in saying that the convenience of set-up is an improvement over the original SimpliSafe and many other competitors. That said, if the system doesn’t work when you absolutely need it to, that’s a big drawback. Even if the breakdown came from the police or the emergency dispatcher, you have to figure that the lines of communication would be better when dealing with more experienced companies in the security world. But, if you can’t afford those higher-priced systems, our SimpliSafe 2 review finds that this new system can be a serviceable low-cost alternative.
Pricing for SimpliSafe 2 starts at $269 for a kit with a base station and some sensors. The monthly service costs $14.99 for the basic service, while the 24/7 Total Alarm Monitoring + Online Command, which includes email and SMS alerts and fire, flood, carbon monoxide, and freeze monitoring, costs $24.99.
The Good: Wireless, easy to set up on your own, no contract required, low monthly service fee, clean and modern aesthetics, configurable text message email alerts, can turn the alarm off remotely via the web
The Bad: See the incident above, wireless sensors can fall off walls without extra reinforcement and can trigger the alarm accidentally, needs a video surveillance option, SimpliSafe customer support is not 24/7