Many of the latest home monitoring and security products have been cameras. These compact wireless devices let owners take a live peek, remotely, as needed. The costs are very reasonable, too. But not everyone needs a camera for each situation. Sometimes a simple window and/or door alert is all it takes for notification and peace of mind.
Design & Installation
The Skylink Alarm System Starter Kit hub reminds me of your everyday thermostat you’d see in homes or offices. It’s a pale ivory, nondescript something that just blends into the background of a living room. It’s not very outdoor-looking. The hub comes equipped with a wall adapter for power, but it also has a compartment for 4x AAA batteries. So if/when the power goes out, the hub will still be up and running. But then if the power is out, the home router will also likely be down. Hm. At least the alarms will continue to operate.
Also included in the kit are a pair of window/door sensors and a motion sensor. The motion sensor takes a single AA battery, and the other pair each require AAA batteries (none are included) to work. You’ll notice a quick flash of an LED once the batteries are in, showing the devices are ready to go. Mounting tape and screws are provided to set the sensors up where desired.
The physical installation is quite simple. It’s all plug-n-mount. As far as instructions go, Skylink does a great job at being both clear and thorough (in color!) with the setup guide. It covers both the hardware as well as the SkylinkNet app. The overview is especially helpful for those who might be connecting additional Skylink products along with the alarm system.
If you already know where you want everything placed, installation takes mere minutes to complete. Then you’re off to download the app, configure, and learn. This part probably takes a little longer, but it isn’t much at all. Thumbs up!
SkylinkNet App & Performance
Download the app, create an account, and verify via email. The app is pretty clear in terms of stepping new users through the setup process. All of the main features are represented by an icon at the bottom of the app. The only area that has a sub menu system to navigate is the system settings. Alarm setting, event log, and hub selection are easy-adjust options.
Although I don’t prefer multiple menu depths, the SkylinkNet app does keep it pretty lean. You’ll only have to go down more when adding new devices, since there are a variety of products and choices to make. Once everything has been added, it all shows up individually on the home screen. If you’ve tested each unit after adding, you’ve likely noticed the abundance of push notifications. These can be turned on/off per device, depending on what you need.
A word of warning: when you’re testing the alarm/siren, make sure your mobile device is not paired with a Bluetooth speaker that’s set to max volume. You’re going to freak out the living creatures in the house. True story. I still giggle when thinking about it (poor dogs!).
Overall, the SkylinkNet app is very usable on Android. I like the clean interface with big text, however it could use a little visual optimization. Parts of text here and there are cropped halfway up from the bottom. Though it could just be due to the size of my Galaxy Note 4. Hard to say. I’m sure this will be corrected, since the Android app only recently became available.
The door/window sensors work very well, and the two parts can’t go much further than a centimeter before triggering. Push notifications come almost instantly, along with the change of icon graphic within the app. Blue closed, red open. Since the alarm sound and push notifications are easy to toggle, you can always change your mind on how you want alerts.
As for the alarm, which is built into the base hub, it’s no joke. This thing pushes around 110 decibels and is very uncomfortable to bear for long. You can disarm the system at the hub (via the hub code created during setup), with the remote, or with the app. The fastest way is with the remote, since the app requires you to enter your passcode to get in. Keep this in mind as you’re testing it all out.
The sensors have an option to chime when triggered. You get a two-tone sound that’s loud, but not quite as loud as the alarm. It’s a nice feature to have for, say, a place of business to alert someone in the back that a customer has walked through the front door. It’s the kind of thing I’ve heard often while entering auto body shops with noisy garages.
Although the package doesn’t mention operating range, I’ve found that the door/window sensors work up to about 15 meters (51 feet) away, through an interior wall and brick fireplace. That’s not too bad. For my home use, it’s certainly more than enough. For businesses? It all depends on location.
The only thing that feels slightly out of place with the Skylink alarm system starter kit is the motion sensor. I’m still kind of baffled by its range and sensitivity. There are no options to adjust any aspect of it, and I can’t seem to trigger it consistently. It works, yes, but maybe only to about five or so meters. It catches both abrupt and casual movement so long as it’s full body, down to the size of small dogs or a 2-year-old.
Even then, it’s hit and miss. I’ve been able to tip-toe back and forth in front of the motion sensor, or march around wildly without it going off. But then if I stand up from my chair, it’ll detect that. But it ignores me waving and gesticulating at it with two hands, all from the same spot. It mostly (about 75 percent of the time) sees the dogs going in and out of the backyard, but, again, it’s inconsistent. The door/window sensors are much better.
Overall, the Skylink Alarm System Starter Kit presents a great security/alert system that can be used by itself or in conjunction with other home monitoring devices. Installation and setup are easy, so anyone can get it all done within 30 minutes, start to finish. Aside from the batteries, the kit contains everything one needs for mounting and connecting.
The hardware works, plain and simple. Although the motion detector isn’t quite as reliable as the door/window sensors, it’s certainly better than nothing. The effective range should be adequate for most home users. Thankfully, the SkylinkNet app is clean and responsive. There are many similar apps out there that can’t say the same.
Given the scope of products that the app can handle, it’s nice to have options that aren’t cluttered or confusing. The learning curve is minimal, which makes this kit is a great way to start off or add to a home’s security. Best of all, there are no fees or subscriptions to hassle with, making the Skylink alarm system kit a great buy.