In a previous review we looked at the Samsung SmartThings home security and automation hub. SmartThings was a successfully funded KickStarter campaign before being acquired by Samsung. They continue to operate as a brand, but via Samsung’s Open Innovation Center.

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SmartThings is basically an IoT command center to connect all of the many devices that aid in home automation. The Hub comes with a starter kit that is accompanied by motion sensors and a multi-purpose sensors that that monitor temperature, vibration, door and window openings, and serve as smart plug and presence sensors for kids.

We’ve explored the SmartThings hub before, but now we want to take a look at the sensor devices. Are they as good as advertised?

The Specs

The SmartThings sensors are small. Around two inches wide, two inches tall, and .08″ thick. They detect motion within about 20 feet, but the range is 50-100 depending on the home’s construction. They have a 120° angle, and similar to other smart devices send send alerts to your smartphone or tablets. Sensors are powered via two AA+ batteries or a micro USB cord (doesn’t come with the system), and they are wireless and easy to install. 

The sensors are Z-Wave, Zigbee, IFTTT compatible and work with many other smart devices like Nest’s Thermostats or Philips’ Hue LED Bulbs. The sensors and the rest of SmartThings are also compatible with Boss, Schlage, Yale, Cree, Osram Lightify, Honeywell, First Alert, and other brands.

With these sensors customers will receive alerts if motion is detected. Customers can also automate lights when entering or leaving a room, automate other areas of the home like doors, windows, drawers, garage, or anywhere that can accidentally be opened or closed, and through SmartThings you can also track activity. These sensors are capable of monitoring temperature and vibration as well. 

The most frequent places sensors are placed are doors, windows, drawers, garages or other areas that can accidentally be left open or closed, but they can be used on any area of the home that has motion. 

SmartThings sensors can potentially save you energy by automating lights and other appliances in the home by not being on when they aren’t needed. So, through the product customers can save both energy and money.

The Problems

SmartThings doesn’t come without its flaws, however. Some users have been pleased with the product, but many have reported that only certain aspects of the automation tools actually work. Users said the automation would work sporadically, and this included the system reporting motion when there wasn’t any, or not reporting motion when there should have been. Also simple things like items not going off or on.

CNET has a more in depth look and customer account on some of the troublesome issues with the device, like false alarms, no alarms, various glitches, et cetera.

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The other main problem with these sensors is that you will need to have the SmartThings hub to actually be up and running. These tools don’t operate as individual home security offerings, so you’ll have to have a combination of mix and matched equipment. This also means that your home security system won’t be monitored and have the assurance of professionals responding to a burglary. 

Outside of the lack of all-encompassing home security, SmartThings will be pretty expensive. Water Leak Sensors are $39.99, Arrival Sensors are $29.99, and Multiple Purpose Sensors are $39.99, so once you’ve accounted for all the sensors that you need and SmartThings hub, you’re sure to have racked up quite the bill.

We suggest that you stick with an all-inclusive and monitored home security system.