After a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised almost $400,000—nearly twice its original goal—the Sentri home security control panel is now available for preorder. Sentri has already shipped its first production run to backers who funded the campaign between June and July 2014.
Myriad sensors behind Sentri’s 10.1-inch touchscreen monitor environmental conditions inside your home, including the temperature, humidity levels, and air quality (CO2 levels and the presence of volatile organic compounds, but not carbon monoxide). The Sentri also reports the current time and the local weather forecast. An onboard security camera with a motion detector, infrared night vision, and a 120-degree field of view can monitor what’s going on inside your home while you’re away (the panel has “home” and “away” settings to ensure privacy).
In addition to its onboard sensors, the Sentri can also work with third-party connected-home devices, including the Nest Learning Thermostat, Philips Hue light bulbs, and Belkin’s WeMo switches. “Instead of shuffling between a bunch of apps,” said Sentri co-founder Wendy Qi in an embargoed interview last week, “you just use the Sentri app on your smartphone.”
The Sentri does not support third-party motion sensors and cameras, however, so while it can send you an alert with a snapshot if its camera detects motion inside the house while it’s set to away mode, it can’t warn you if someone opens a door or window while you’re gone. You won’t know there’s an intruder unless he or she walks into the Sentri camera’s field of view.
On the bright side, there’s no subscription plan attached to Sentri, and the company will store an unlimited number of video clips in the cloud “…for now, but that will be reassessed at some point,” according to Qi. Another good feature: The Sentri operates on AC power, but is outfitted with a battery backup. “We’ll send you a mobile alert if the power goes out,” Qi said, “and you’ll get another alert when the battery gets down to 20 percent.”
Why this matters: The Sentri sounds a lot like the Canary home-security system I reviewed back in June, but the folks at Sentri were just a little more ambitious. Interacting with a big touchscreen is a lot more satisfying than pulling your smartphone out of your packet, and supporting third-party devices—especially lighting controls—makes for a much better security system.
To be fair, I’ve had my hands on a Canary for a full review. I haven’t had that opportunity with the Sentri, yet; stay tuned for that.
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