Nest Secure Alarm System Tested

By: Brian Rhodes, Published on Nov 16, 2017

Google's expansion continues, this time into home security with their Nest subsidiary's move into alarm systems.

They paid more than a half-billion dollars to get into consumer video surveillance, with Dropcam. Then they damaged it severely, stumbled for a few years, and now are pushing into the large and lucrative alarm system market.

Nest Secure claims:

A whole new kind of security. Most security systems are designed around intruders. But you’re not an intruder. Nest Secure is easy to live with. And it’s only tough when you need it to be.

But how well does it actually work?

We bought and tested Nest Secure, and inside you will find the following insights:

  • What are the Pros and Cons of the System?
  • The Nest Detect Combo Sensor Has Both Benefits and Weaknesses
  • The Wireless Nest Tags Are Not Like Access Fobs
  • 3rd Party Monitoring Is Limited To One Option
  • The Nest App is Good, but Web Browser is Weak
  • How Nest Secure Compares Price-wise To Simplisafe and other DIY offerings
  • Should Total Connect And Alarm.com Be Worried?

Inside read our test findings complete with four detailed video segments.

******'* ********* *********, **** time **** **** ******** with ***** **** **********'* move **** ***** *******.

******** **** **** * half-billion ********* *** **** ******** video ************, **** *******. Then **** ******* ** ********, ******** *** * few *****, *** *** are ******* **** *** large *** ********* ***** system ******.

**** ****** ******:

* ***** *** **** of security. **** ******** ******* are ******** ****** *********. But ***’** *** ** intruder. **** ****** ** easy ** **** ****. And **’* **** ***** when *** **** ** to be.

*** *** **** **** it ******** ****?

** ****** *** ****** Nest ******, *** ****** you **** **** *** following ********:

  • **** *** *** **** and **** ** *** System?
  • *** **** ****** ***** Sensor *** **** ******** and **********
  • *** ******** **** **** Are *** **** ****** Fobs
  • *** ***** ********** ** Limited ** *** ******
  • *** **** *** ** Good, *** *** ******* is ****
  • *** **** ****** ******** Price-wise ** ********** *** ***** DIY *********
  • ****** ***** ******* *** Alarm.com ** *******?

****** **** *** **** findings ******** **** **** detailed ***** ********.

[***************]

Pros ** **** ******

******* ****** *********** ** good, **** ** ****** or ***** ***** ******, nor ************ ***** ** a **** ** * common *********** ******* ** a ******-***** ******** **** no ****** ********** ***** exceeding **** **** ** feet.  

***** *** ****** **** Secure **** ****:

  • ***** ******** ********: **** ******'* ******** ** ******* flimsy *** ******* *****, and *** ****, *******, and **** *** ****** enough ** ********* ******** use. **** *********** '***' installation ******, ******* *** strong ****** ** ****** magnetic ****** ****** ******* than *" ****, ******** steady ******** ************* **** 60' ********* **** ** easy-to-use ***.
  • **** ******, ***, *** Fob *******: **** ****** ***** options ** ********* **** the ******, *** **** done ** ** * reliable ******, **** ************ coded ****, ****, *** app *****.
  • **** ****** ******: ** ****** ** special ******** ** ************* to **** ****** *** were **** ** ********* with *** ****** **** fully ****** ********* *** free, ****** ***** ********* that ******* ********** ************* or ****** ************ **** to **** **** ******.
  • **** ********** *****: **** ****** ***** can ********* ****** **** video, *** ** **** force *** ** *** cameras ** ****** **** intrusion ***** ****** *****.

Negatives ** **** ******

*******, **** ** ***** to **** **** *** issues ****** ******* ** the *** ****** *** to ******* **********:

  • **** ****** *******: *** ****** ***** sensor ** *** * good ****** ******, **** weak ***** **** **** modest **** *** *** outperform.  *** ****** ********* band ** ~**' ******** the ****** **** ***** generally ****** *** ***** and ****** ** ** ***** immediately ** ***** ** doors ** ********, ******** positions *** ********* *******.
  • ***** *****:****'* ***** ***** *********** is ***** ** ** dBs, ***** ** *** loud ****** ** ** distractingly ***** ** ******* rooms ** ********* ******, and *** ****** **** not ******* ******** ******.
  • *** ****** *********** *******: *** ****** ****** uses * *** **** includes ** ********** ****** detector. *******, ***** *** limited ***** *** ******* positioning ** *** *** for *** ** * keypad *** ******** **, users *** ** ****** to ********* ******** *** unit ** *** *** have * ******** ***** for **, *********** *** 'all-in-one' *********** ** *** device.
  • ******* ******* ******: **** **** ******** one ******** ****** ****, and ****** ******** **** recessed ********, **** ***** PIRs, *** *****-****** *** not *********.
  • ** *** ******* *******: ****'* *** ****** offers ****** ********** ****, but **** *** ***** interfaced ********. ***** **** need *** *** ** local ******** ** ******** or ****** *** ******.

Expensive *** **** ** ********

*******, **** ****** ** expensive *** **** *** offer *** ******* ** exceptional ******** ** ******* the ****** *****. ******** to ***** *** *******, Nest ****** ** ** the *** *** ** the ******* ***** ***** at ~$***, *** ********** Nest ******** **** **** cameras, ***** *********, ** thermostats *** ***** ***** with ********** ******* *-**** or ****** *******.

System ******** ********

*** ****** ** ******** of ***** ******** **********:

  • **** *****: *** **** base ******* **** ******** a ****** ******, ********** siren, ******, ***** ******, and ****** *******.
  • **** ******: *** ******'***** ****** **** ** a ***** ************* ***** ******** ******** and ****** ** ***.  See *** ******* ***** where ** ******* ** depth.
  • **** ***: ** ******** to *** *****-** ****** and ********** *** *******, Secure **** ******** *********** keyfobs ** ***/****** *** system.

*** ***** *** ******* $499 ***** **** *** Guard, *** *******, *** two ****. **** ***** will **** ** ******** at ***** *** ** two ********** ******* ** monitor ******* ******, ** the ***** *** (***** below) ** ***** *** small ********** ** *****:

*** ***** ***** ********* these ********** *** *** they ****** ** ***:

Siren ****

*** *** ******** ** integrated ******, *****-***** *** ring, ******* ******, *** integrated ***** *** ***** alarm ************. *******, *** siren ** ***** ** a ****** ** **, and **** **** **** alarm ****** **** ********, it *** ******* *** hard ** **** *** in ******** *****. *** siren's ********* ** ****** sufficient *** ***** *****, but ****** ****** ** multi-floor ********* ***** ****** miss * ***** *****.

Nest ****** ***** ******

*** ** ******'* ******** features ** * *****-******** sensor ********** ******. ** ** *** only **** ********* ** Nest ****** *******, *** it ******** ******** ****** technologies ** *** ******. ****** is **** * ******* mount ******** ***-***** ****/****** contact *** ** ********* based ****** ******:

*** **** ***** **** ****** works ******** ** * split ******* *** ****** ** a ****** ******.  ** more **** *** ****/***** events, ****** ********** ******** magnetic ******* ******** ***% of *** ****, *** as * ****** ****** it *** ******* ********* motion ****** ** **** in * ****** **** of ~**' - **' wide ** ***** ** the ****.

** ******** ******* ** the ****** ** *** onboard *** *** ** used ** * **********, casting ***** ***** **** the **** ***** **** the ****** ****** ******* movement; *********** ***** * big **** *** ******* out **** ** *****, or ******* **** ****** in * **** ****. However, *** ******** **** has ** ******** ***** size *******, ** **** ******** use ** * ********** will ***** ******** ********* faster *** *** ******* is ******** ** *******.

*******, ******* *********** ** roughly ***** ** ***** wireless ******** ********, *** far ******** ** ***** PIR ****** *******. *** video ***** ********* *** combo ****** ** ****** in ******:

*** ***** ***** ******** a ******** ** **** and ***** ******* ******* PIRs *** ******:

***** **** **** ****** PIRs ***** **' ****** and ***** **** **** than $** ****, *** fact * ****** ****** can **** ******** ******** movement **' *** **** $60 ****, ********** ***** and **** ***** **** likely ******* ******** ******* costing ** **** ****, significantly increasing ****'* ****.

Improved ****** ******* ****** 

***** **** ****** ******* are **** *** ***** contacts, **** ****** **** need ** ***** ** sensor ******* *** *********** types ** ******** ****** effectiveness.

***** *** ***** ********* routinely ***** * ** more ******** ****** ***** for ******** ************. *************'* *********** *** ******** observes **** ****, *** ***** ****'* substantial '**** *******' **********, adding **********/****** ********** ******* should ** * **** priority.

Integrated **** ***** ** ******

****** ********* ****'* ******** camera **** **** *** featureset, ******** *** ***** to **** ****** ********** to ***** ******. *** granularity ** *** ******* is ******, *********** ****** an ****** ** ****** on ***** ** ***, but ** *********** ***** can ** *******. (*.*.: Record ******* ******* **** after * **)

*** *** ************* ****** is **** *****:

** ***** ** *** or ******* *********** ** video **** *********, **** shows *** ******* ***** of ****** ****** ******* as ***** ***** ***** under *** ****:

***** **** **** ***** will **** *** ******* in * ******* **** system, *** *** **** is ********* ** *** difficult ** ********, *** larger ******* **** **** alarm ****** *** **** cameras ***** ******* **** the **** ** ******** alerting (*.*.: ******* *** alarmed ****** ** *** top) ***********.

Nest **** **** *** **** ** ****

*** ** *** ******* ways ***** *** ** disarm *** ****** ** via **** ****, * fob ******** ** ******** users. ***** **** ***** system ******* ** ******** with * ***, ** were ******* ** **** out ** ****** ********** copiers ***** ** **** to **** *** ***** tags, ********* ** * major ******** ***** *********** for **** ******** *******.

** ***** *** ********** card ******* ** ***, using **** *** $** *** ****** **** Copier *** *** ****-******** **.***** ********* ****** ** **** *** ****, but ********** **** **** are *** ********** ** either.  *** ***** **** below ***** *** ***** test *******:

***** *** **** **** not ********* **** *** common ******* ** *****, they *** ***** ********** to ******, *** **** makes ** ******* ****** **** are ********* ** *******. Our ******* **** **** the **** ****** ** not *** ****** ** frequencies.

Browser ******** *******

****** ****** **** * local ******, * ********** app, *** *** ******* interface. ** ***** *******, the *** ******* ** least ****** ******* ** does *** *** ** disarm ******** **** *** portal, ******** ***** **** products **** *********** *** cameras *** ******* ********.

** *******, **** ***** will **** *** *** best *** *******, ** it ****** *** **** mix ** ****** *******, integrated ****** **********, *** convenience. *** ***** ***** contrasts ***** *******:

Moni ********** ****

**** ***** *** *******, ****** does *** ******* ******* station ********** *** *** be ****-********* ** ***** via **** ***** ** via *** *************. *******, a ****** **** *** **** *********** **** ***** ***** * ~$50/ ***** ******* ******* option *** ************ ********** that **** ******* * cellular ****** ** *** Guard ***.

***** *** ********, ***** Moni *** *** ***** monitoring **** ** *** only ****** *** ****** users.

*************, ****** ****'* ****** ********* ********** **** * ********** wireless ****** *** ***** ****** only ~$*** (~$*** **** than **** ******) **** the **** ~$** ******* monitoring ****.

Nest ******** ** *** *** ****** ******

** *** *****-*********** *** alarms ******, **** ****** is ***** *** **** expensive *********, **** ** exceptional ******** **** *********** it **** *** ***********. For *******, ***** **** ****** runs $*** **** $**/***** if *********, **********'* ***** system (with ** ********** ******** contact *** **** ***) runs ~$*** **** $** per ***** ** *********. 

*** ***** ***** ***** that ******** ** ******* *** systems **** ********** *** Canary, *** ~$*** **** system ** *** **** expensive, **** ****** **** account ******* **** *** $169 ****** ***** ***** be ****** ** ***** the **** ****** ******* and ***** ****** ** the **** ********:

****** ****, *********** ****** a ***** ** ****** types, ********* ******** ********, PIR ******, ** *******, Smoke *********, *** ******** sirens. ** ***** ** monitoring '******* **********', **** lacks *** *********** ** detect ****** ***** *********, but ********** *** ********* often ** ****.

Versus *** *** ***** *******

**** ** *** ********** with *-**** ** ****** alarm *******, **********, ** thermostats, a *** ********** ******** to ****** ******* ***-***** automation ********* **** ***** Connect ** *****.***. 

*******, **** ** ********** with *** *** ***** of ********* *******, ********* Cameras, ***** *********, *** WiFi ***********.

**** ********** ** *****.*** ****** *** ********* ***** ******* *.* Tested, ****'* ****** ******** is ****, **** *********** adds *** ***** ***** storage, ****** *** $** - $**/***** ***** ******* fee ** *** '*********' platforms. *******, ***** *** higher ******* **** ** Nest ***** ********, *.*.:$*** **** ********** ******$** *-**** ****), *** ******* *** Nest ******* ******** ** not ********.

Comments (6)

Overall, contact performance is roughly equal to other wireless magnetic contacts, but far inferior to basic PIR motion sensors.

But it is a PIR device right, even if a limited range one, or?

Nest does not say for sure, but it certainly uses IR and heat to detect motion.

No concrete tech specs on the sensor type are given, but the company's demo video for the sensor divulges what the motion part looks like under the housing:

Agree.  Thanks! 

They made it “discreet” and indiscrete at the same time :)

 

I see they tested the sensor with a human and "small" dogs.  Seldom do I have problems with dogs the size shown in the video tripping a motion detector, especially when they're calmly walking through a home.  That border collie looks old and tired, and in terms of false alarms, it might be close. But when a dog is running and jumping it's quite different. Cats are the biggest problem with pet immune detectors.  I will not  recommend a motion detector when a cat or cats are going to be left alone in the home with the system armed. 

They specifically mention the sensor will avoid small dogs. DIY consumers might see their marketing material as a green light to use this alarm system while leaving pets at home.  I think they'll be disappointed.

Also, if you want to take full advantage of the sensor's features, you'll have to install it at a most conspicuous location.  I try to make wireless sensors disappear if possible and sometimes that means installing them low against door trim or behind window covering.  With this sensor you may not have many options.

The weak siren is disturbing in that it may not persuade an intruder to leave the premises right away, and with the response time of law enforcement today becoming longer, I think this just gives people a false sense of security.

But, this is DIY, so it's what I would expect to see.  I would not install something like this in my own home or a home of a loved one.

The strength of this solution is the ongoing integration support within the entire Google/Nest Ecosystem.  Nest devices are also embracing support for Amazon Alexa devices.  This positioning is the long term threat to the existing residential DYI market.

Sub $10 motion sensors are hard wired devices.  This kit looks suitable for an apartment or small home only.  Does anyone know what RF freq is used?  All of the new 2.4ghz kit is useless in our market because of our steel deck and cinderblock wall construction.  It's ruled out Honeywells Lyric for us.

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