- Easy to configure
- Well priced
- Uses same app as for Y-Cam’s cameras
- No pet-safe sensors
- App doesn’t always give helpful error messages
- No IFTTT channel
- Internet-connected with optional mobile data backup
- Eight-hour battery backup
- Wireless window/door and motion sensors
- Android and iOS apps
- Manufacturer: Y-CAM
- Review Price: £150.00/$225.00
WHAT IS THE Y-CAM PROTECT ALARM SYSTEM?
Traditional dumb alarms are fine, but what’s the point of a siren going off at home if you know nothing about it? Smart alarms, such as the Y-Cam Protect Alarm System, are a much better idea, as they can be set and monitored over the internet, letting you know what’s going on at home.
Integrating with Y-Cam security cameras, this alarm could be a good choice for anyone that already has some kit, but it needs a few more sensor options before it’s ready for everyone.
Y-CAM PROTECT ALARM SYSTEM – DESIGN AND BUILD
Internal alarms are designed to be unobtrusive, so that they’re hard for burglars to spot and don’t ruin the look of your home. Y-Cam’s window/door sensors and motion sensors all fulfil that brief. In plain white plastic, these sensors blend in neatly into most homes. The window/door sensor feels well made, and it’s easy to attach in place using the pre-attached 3M sticky pad.
The motion sensor feels a little cheap. The opaque window covering the sensor was a little wobbly on my sample. Ultimately, once I’d attached the sensor to the wall via its sticky pad it looked fine and, as it’s not a product that will get handled, build quality isn’t so important. The sensors are all battery powered, and should last one year on a set of batteries, with the app warning you when they’re going flat.
The Hub is the brains behind everything, also doubling up as ahas done a good job here, and the box feels tough and weighty. It needs to be plugged into the mains and via Ethernet into your router. You can also wall-mount the Hub; if you do, I recommend placing it high up so that it’s harder to tamper with.
The Hub is battery backed so that if the power goes out, you’ve got eight hours of backup. If you pay for the optional mobile data option, you’ll need to attach the optional antenna, too.
The small rectangular key fob looks great and is nice and light, so you won’t notice it on your keyring if you carry it around all day.
Y-CAM PROTECT ALARM SYSTEM – FEATURES
The simplest way to get the Y-Cam Protect Alarm System is to buy a kit. The basic kit (£150) ships with the hub/internal siren, one motion sensor, a window/door sensor and keyfob. Other kits with more sensors are available, although you can buy additional keyfobs and window/door sensors for £20 and motion sensors for £25. That puts Y-Cam at around the same price as the Yale Wirefree Alarm range. It’s a shame that Y-Cam doesn’t have any pet-safe motion detectors, as it may make the system unsuitable for anyone with a cat or dog.
Every sensor has a tamper alarm, so if they’re removed from their location, the siren is triggered automatically.
Setting the alarm up for the first time is easy using the Y-Cam app. Smartly, Y-Cam uses the same app for security and its cameras, giving you one place to monitor everything. To add a sensor, you just need to type in its ID, and the system automatically finds it. I had my sensors connected in a matter of minutes.
For the best experience, you can upgrade to the Plus system, activating the Hub’s built-in SIM card. This means that your alarm will continue to work if your broadband connection goes down. Y-Cam pre-fits a SIM card and has roaming deals with O2, EE and Vodafone, so you should be able to get a signal no matter where you live.
Enabling mobile data requires you to upgrade to the Plus service, which costs £5.99 a month, or £60 for a year. For that, you also get 30-days of cloud storage for footage from any Y-Cam cameras, SMS alerts and a customisable Plus button. Activated via the remote, you can programme the Plus button for a variety of jobs, such as sending a text alert to a neighbour.
It’s a shame that there’s no IFTTT channel support, to automatically turn on a security camera or lights if the alarm is triggered.
Y-CAM PROTECT ALARM SYSTEM – PERFORMANCE
You can enable the alarm using the key fob or app. When it turns on, a clear voice from the Hub lets you know that the alarm is on. Following the beeping, you’re given enough time to get out of the house before the alarm is finally alarmed.
Annoyingly, if a window/door sensor is open when you try and set the alarm, the action fails. The app just tells you, “Error, Command failed on hub.” You don’t get told which sensor has the fault, which makes fixing the problem a manual one of checking sensors.
It’s strange that there’s not a more helpful error message, as the system is capable of detecting individual sensors: when the alarm is triggered, you get an in-app message telling you which sensor tripped.
If a window/door sensor is triggered, the Hub starts to beep, giving you enough time to deactivate it if you’ve just entered the home. Motion sensors trigger the alarm immediately. The Hub is exceptionally loud, playing a siren that cycles between low- and high-frequency sounds. You also get a warning in-app, so you know that your alarm has gone off no matter where you are in the world.
For night-time use, or extra security during the day, the Y-Cam Protect Alarm System also has a partial arm mode, called Home mode. This turns on window/door detection only, ignoring any input from motion sensors. I’d have liked this to have been more configurable, say enabling the motion sensors downstairs, but leaving upstairs turned off.
Turning on Home mode sees the Hub belting out, “Y-Cam Protect Home mode armed.” It’s a little loud and could wake up anyone sleeping at home; a simple low-volume beep would be neater.
SHOULD I BUY THE Y-CAM PROTECT ALARM SYSTEM?
The Y-Cam Protect Alarm System works well, and it’s good to see that the Hub has battery back-up and an optional mobile connection. Giving you remote access to your alarm wherever you are is fantastic, and far better than an alarm just going off when you’re not there to deal with it.
However, the system is a little limited and needs a wider range of sensors, including pet-safe motion detectors. As it stands, the Y-Cam Protect Alarm System may not be suitable for all. It’s also better value, if you take the Plus option, if you have Y-Cam cameras, too.
The D-Link Smart Home Security Kit is slightly better value, and the starter kit also has an integrated camera.
A neat and simple alarm system, but a few more configuration options and pet-safe motion detectors would make it even better.