A cheaper entry-level system, the Abode Security Kit offers most of the features of its big brother, including powerful automations, professional monitoring and responsive control. This model also brings Wi-Fi to the Hub. There’s no Zigbee/Z-Wave support on the hub, which isn’t a big loss, but it’s a shame that HomeKit is missing. Overall, the Abode Security Kit doesn’t work out that much cheaper than the Smart Security Kit, so I’d spend the extra to get all the features.
- Good value
- Powerful control
- Flexible cloud plans
- No HomeKit support
- Keyfob icons hard to understand
- Security optionsWindows/door and motion sensors are avialable.
- IntegrationsWorks with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Nest and more.
As good as the Abode Smart Security system is, the base price is quite expensive and it comes with a Zigbee/Z-Wave hub that many people won’t use. To cater for your more average customer, there’s the Abode Security Kit, which ships with a cheaper hub that covers the basics.
The overall system is as good as ever, with my only complaint that HomeKit support is not available on the new product.
Design and installation
- Small Hub can connect via Ethernet or Wi-Fi
- Comes as a kit
- Works with Abode sensors
The Abode Security Kit ships with the new Smart Security Hub. This kit costs £197.99 and gets you the new hub, a Key Fob and a Mini Door/Window Sensor. That’s almost £100 less than the Smart Security Kit, which costs £294.99 and gets you the more powerful Smart Security Hub, two Mini Door/Window Sensors, one Motion Sensor and one Key Fob.
Even buying the additional motion sensor (£44.99) and Mini Door/Window Sensor (£33.50), there’s a £20 saving over the Smart Security Kit. That’s not life-changing sums of cash, but potentially worth it if you don’t need or want the extra features that the more Smart Security Hub has: support for Zigbee and Z-Wave devices, and Apple HomeKit support.
Installation of the system is easy. Abode provides a cheat sheet to get you started, showing how to connect the Hub to your home network via Wi-Fi. Via the Abode app, I then had to enter the code printed on the installation sheet to get the Hub to install.
Once connected, there’s an option to connect the Hub via Wi-Fi. As I have Ethernet around my house, I prefer this connection as I find it more reliable.
The setup routine also got me to turn on the power switch, which activates the internal battery, which gives around five hours of backup should there be a power failure.
Cleverly, the kit that I was provided came with the Mini Window/Door Sensor and Key Fob pre-paired, so there’s no work to do there. Additional door sensors, key fobs and motion sensors can be bought to fill out the package: at a minimum, I think it’s worth having a Window/Door Sensor connected to each easily-accessible door or window, plus a motion sensor in corridors.
Abode also sells glass-break sensors, which could be useful if you have windows out of sight that you think a thief may break to come through.
Features and performance
- Customisable modes
- Responds quickly
- SIM backup via a plan only
In its default configuration, the sensor is called the Door / Window Sensor, but you can rename it so that it makes more sense, such as Front Door. It’s worth diving into the settings to configure how the sensor works: it’s configured as a door sensor, but you should change this if it’s connected to a Window.
Sensors can also be adjusted to work differently in different modes. The default configuration is that sensors are active after a countdown timer in both Away and Home modes. You can set them to Inactive for a mode. For example, you may not want a window sensor on a bedroom window to be active in Home mode, so you can open the Window at night.
It’s also possible for a sensor to be active immediately when a mode is selected. That’s useful for rear entrances: a backdoor, for example, arming as soon as the alarm is put on. Active devices immediately also sound the alarm the second they’re triggered. That’s useful for non-entry sensors: those that are windows and doors that you don’t open when you come into the house.
Sensors that are active after a countdown trigger don’t become active until the countdown to arming has finished; when activated in an alarm mode, they trigger the Hub to beep and start its countdown, giving you time to get into the house and turn the alarm off.
By default, Abode sets the countdown to arm time at 60 seconds, and the same for the entry countdown. You can override this if you need more or less time.
If you try to arm the system while a sensor is open (for example, you’ve got the front door open), then you’ll see a warning in the app telling you which sensor is currently open. Sensors can be bypassed but will become active the second they close; for example, I can set the alarm with the front door open and then close the door.
That’s better than the Ring Alarm, which disables sensors that are open. If I want to go out and have my front door open, then I have to close it, set the alarm, and then open the door.
With the key fob, you can just go out and then activate the alarm. My only complaint about this device is that the symbols on it are a little hard to understand: the small circle is armed, two circles is home mode, and the X disarms.
Guests can be invited to the system via an email link to the app. You can, of course, buy additional Key Fobs or buy the optional keypad if you’d prefer.
Although the Abode system can be used without a plan, you only get basic push notifications, can’t access the timeline or store any video for cameras or the Abode Doorbell. It makes sense, then, to upgrade to a Plan.
Standard costs £7.99 a month (similar to the Ring plan) and gets you seven days of video history, home automation (you can set the alarm to disarm and arm based on your location, plus a few other routines), and more in-depth notifications.
Upgrade to the Pro Plan, and the Hub’s SIM card is enabled for 4G backup, protecting you should your internet fail, and video history is increased to 10 days. More importantly, you also get 24/7 UK Accredited Professional Monitoring, although this does require an internal camera so that the monitoring team can verify a break-in and call the police on your behalf. If you don’t have cameras, the team will call all keyholders to tell them.
Automations are a powerful part of the system and can do some clever things. For example, I can get a custom alert should my front door be left open for more than five minutes, or have my alarm arm and disarm based on my location.
While third-party Zigbee and Z-Wave devices can’t be connected, the system can connect to Bose, Ecobee, Sonos and Google Nest devices. For example, I put my Nest Thermostat into Eco mode when I set the alarm. iFTTT support also opens up connections to thousands of other devices.
Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant support are built-in, giving voice-activated arm and disarm options, provided you set a voice PIN. Plus, Alexa routines can be created using the Abode hardware as triggers.
IFTTT support is also available, say, changing the mode of an Arlo Pro 5 camera system when the system is armed or disarmed.
I’ve found that this Hub responds quickly to the keypad and app, working reliably every time that I’ve armed and disarmed it. And, I found that alerts came through quickly when I triggered the alarm.
Should you buy it?
You like Adobe and don’t care about HomeKit: If you like what the Adobe system offers and don’t care about HomeKit, then this kit is great value.
You want more features and HomeKit support: For only a little more, the Home SecurityKit offers more features and wider support.
I really like the Abode system. It’s reliable and powerful. In most regards, the new Abode Security Hub and Kit are great, bringing the same excellent features at a lower price.
As good as the system is, it’s not that much cheaper than the Smart Security Kit, which comes with a couple of additional sensors, and adds HomeKit support along with Z-Wave and Zigee device support. I’d rather pay the extra for HomeKit support, foregoing Wi-Fi; if you don’t care about HomeKit, then the new system is good.
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