Abode’s security-focused smart home system has been on the market for barely a year. When reviewed in March 2017, we found it to be a surprisingly capable system that covered the basics; one that beginning users could get their arms around. The system wasn’t perfect, but it did display a maturity that we seldom find in crowd-funded projects.

One year in, Abode is making some changes to its starter kit offerings. While the core hardware—a chunky gateway that is wired to your router—hasn’t changed, the sensor bundle has. Out goes the lackluster integrated camera/motion sensor; it’s now replaced by a standard motion sensor with no camera included. The two door/window sensors have been reduced to one, while the remote control key fob, a godsend that simplifies the process arming and disarming your system remotely, remains in the box. 

Abode’s new baseline starter kit, reviewed here, costs $279. Two other kits are also available: The Connect bundle adds one year of 3G radio backup and costs $329, while the Secure bundle includes the radio plus one year of professional monitoring that calls the cops if a break-in is detected. The Secure bundle costs $379.

Editors’ note: This review, originally published March 8, 2018, was updated on May 16, 2018 to report that Abode has enhanced its Alexa skill to enable users to unlock supported smart deadbolts using a voice command. The company has also added the ability to monitor and control smart home devices connected to the Abode hub directly from the Alexa app. We have not evaluated this change, but details from Abode are available here.

Abode app Abode

Abode’s timeline is easy to understand at a glance.

There are no subscription fees associated with the Basic bundle, but the Abode app maintains just three days of history before its logs are wiped. After the first year, you’ll pay $10 per month ($96 if paid annually) to continue the Connect bundle’s 3G service with 14 days of history, or $30 per month ($240 if paid annually) to continue the Secure bundle’s 3G service with 90 days of history plus professional monitoring.

Other discounts have shaved the price of outfitting a larger home considerably: Installing Abode in a home with 12 doors or windows and three motion sensors, plus professional monitoring, will now run you just $762, nearly $200 less than the same setup from a year ago.

As a security system, very little, if anything, has changed. Setup is streamlined and painless. Once you set up an account with Abode, a six-character code is used to connect your gateway to that account. Sensors are detected automatically, without having to scan codes, punch buttons, or tap in identifying information. Other devices, like the key fob that makes arming and disarming your alarm a snap, come pre-paired and ready to go right out of the box.

The app has also been refined a bit, though it still revolves around three operational modes: standby, home, and away. In standby, the only evidence of the system is a convenient chirp any time a door or window is opened. In home mode, door and window sensors being tripped will set off the alarm: a 93dB siren integrated into the gateway. In away mode, the motion sensors will also work. There’s no way to change any of these settings, or even to adjust the sensitivity of the motion sensor—a pet mode is still nowhere to be found. Geofencing, which lets you arm the system automatically when you leave the home, still works well.





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