- Comprehensive device list
- No contracts or mandatory monitoring fee
- Wide range of customization possibilities
- Amazon Echo compatible
- Low price
- No live chat
- Premium customer support only for high-tier customers
abode is a home security company who has decided to shake up the dusty old formula of home protection. Not only do they present customers with sensors that look good in your living room, but they also provide multi-functional equipment. The base station is capable of managing 155 connected devices and it has a loud siren to scare away intruders. The motion sensor also has a camera built into it that takes snapshots when someone moves by. And their environmental detector is capable of sensing temperature and humidity levels as well as changing lighting effects. abode isn’t afraid to let you fend for yourself through self-monitoring, but there are also two monitoring plans that require no initial contracts. Smart homeowners are able to integrate certain Nest products or manage their defense system via voice commands, courtesy of Amazon’s Alexa.
abode boasts quite an extensive list of security devices, each with a modern design so that putting these sensors all around the house won’t ruin the aesthetic. New customers will start building their defense system with the appropriately named starter kit that features all the necessary alarms they will need to put their mind at ease. The ‘brain’ of the system is the abode Gateway, a router-like device fitted with a 93db siren that is activated whenever a sensor is triggered. The device features a 12-hour backup battery in case of power outages, and additional cellular backup for those times when the internet connection drops out. The rest of the starter kit includes two door/window sensors, a key fob to remotely activate or deactivate the system, and most notably a motion sensor with a built-in wide-angle lens camera that takes pictures every time someone enters into its range.
The standard package can be further upgraded by purchasing additional abode security devices, which are sold separately. For homes with a balcony or numerous large windows it’s recommended to purchase a vibration sensor or an acoustic glass break sensor that picks up the frequency of shattering glass to trigger an alarm. Also available is a non-recording motion camera and an interior camera to keep an eye on your valuables. But those who venture deeper into the catalog will find some unique additions as well, such as the occupancy sensor that switches the lights on when sensing motion. Interestingly, abode doesn’t sell traditional fire or CO detectors, but instead provides a single device capable of detecting extreme temperature levels, humidity and light density.
Professional monitoring and corporate backup plays an important role in every home security service, yet abode decided to make this feature optional. Purchasing any of the packages includes the basic monitoring plans, which is essentially a synonym for self-monitoring. Homeowners receive access to the downloadable mobile application that runs on iOS and Android devices, allowing them to keep tabs on what is happening in their house. Whenever the armed security system picks up an anomaly – for example trembling on the glass or suspicious movements – you’ll receive a warning on your phone or via email. The plan also includes four days worth of media storage for your camera system. However, if you intend to leave the home for a longer period of time, then abode offers the option to opt for temporary professional monitoring, meaning that the HQ will watch over your property while you are traveling or enjoying a vacation.
Paid Monitoring Services
abode has two other monitoring plans, and both of them cost a monthly fee. The least expensive one is called Connect. It includes everything the Basic plan has to offer, except with an extended media storage and 3G cellular backup, ensuring the Gateway unit remains functional even if the internet connection is down – hence the name of the plan. The other option is called Secure, and it is what you’ve come to know as professional monitoring. Not only does it keep the base hub connected, but the monitoring staff will also check on your sensor’s status 24/7 from a UL certified central building. If you’ve chosen the Secure plan, then you’ll have unlocked access to the premium customer support as well.
abode already offers a comprehensive range of equipment but, as the saying goes, there is always room for improvement. The company itself doesn’t sell home automation solutions, but they have an open policy towards integrating other brands. abode has strong ties with Nest, which is proven by the integration of the Nest camera, carbon monoxide and smoke detector (that complements abode’s own environmental detectors), and the highly popular intelligent thermostat. Don’t worry if you already own some of these, though, since the smartphone app handles Nest equipment seamlessly. There is one new relationship with abode that’s worth specifically mentioning. Recently the home security company partnered with Amazon, and now the full system can be managed via voice commands. Just instruct Alexa through specified actions and you’ll be able to activate the security system, get access to event history and manage all the smart devices completely hands free.
Plans and Pricing
abode has decided to take a flexible stance on the cost of its monitoring, and avoids being pushy with the commitments. In other words, you’re not tied into a contract for a specific period of time. Instead the monitoring fee is charged on a month-by-month basis. Self-monitoring doesn’t cost a dime, although professional monitoring can be temporarily unlocked on demand. In this case, three days cost $8, while a full week of service will set you back $15. Homeowners who choose to roll with a more advanced plan, such as the Connect service, are charged $10 per month or $8 per month if paid annually. The most expensive monitoring plan is Secure, though, which costs $30 per month normally or $20 per month when paid annually.
Since monitoring is completely optional, the only mandatory cost is for the equipment itself. The aforementioned starter kit comes in at $299, and for your money you’ll receive the Gateway base device, two door/window sensors, the camera-equipped motion sensor, the key fob and some stickers. However, if you intend to opt for a monitoring plan, there is an option to buy a package with one of the plans preset, and earn a discount on the total price. The Connect bundle features the starter kit and 12 months of the Connect plan and costs $329, whereas the Secure bundle, unsurprisingly, offers the same starter kit alongside one year of the Secure plan for $429.
The smartphone app comes free with any of the purchases, however. abode is quite generous with the maximum number of devices you can connect to your system, allowing up to 155 sensors to a single Gateway. Naturally the price for each of the additional pieces of equipment varies. A single entry sensor costs only $29, while a glass break sensor is between $36 and $59, depending on the type. An additional indoor motion sensor for a wide-angle lens camera is sold at $115, and each indoor camera costs $149. It’s possible to buy spare accessories, too, such as an extra key fob for $27 or the temperature and humidity sensor for $49.
abode provides an informative website, richly detailing the specifics of every piece of equipment – a big help for homeowners trying to make an informed decision. The company isn’t currently rated by the BBB, but if you have any problems you can just give them a call or send an email explaining the situation. abode is more than happy to explain its available features and functionalities of the service in greater detail, too. We found the helpdesk section informative and you’ll find many answers in the FAQ as well. Sadly we do have one complaint, and that is the lack of a live chat function. Still, abode eagerly responds to feedback on its social media pages, where they also post special contests and content from time to time.
abode was a pleasant surprise for us. The company has introduced several innovative changes to the home security industry that we’d like to see other companies start to adopt. First of all is how abode emphasizes customer freedom and customization. There are some well-designed devices in the starter kit, but the list includes several other products that can be added to complement your purchase for a more bespoke home security system. The mandatory monitoring fee has been waived, too, which means it is possible to monitor the system yourself for free with the smartphone app, with the option to occasionally activate professional monitoring while out on vacation or away from home for longer periods of time. Last but not least, abode has integrated Amazon Echo among other smart home automation solutions into its service, allowing the sensors to be activated via voice commands. The prices are low enough, and with the right approach you can make sure your wallet can withstand the purchase. The only disappointment is how the premium customer support phone line is reserved for those on the most expensive monitoring plan.