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Schlage's Nexia Home Intelligence system is less than the sum of its parts

Michael Brown | April 26, 2013
Schlage was an early player in the electronic home-control market. Back in 2010, the company offered DIY kits that included an entry lock with an electronic keypad. More recently, it has rebooted its efforts and given the product a new name: Nexia Home Intelligence. With Schlage now shipping its second generation of electronic entry locks, I decided to take a fresh look at its home-control system.

The video camera

I didn't have an opportunity to review Schlage's new outdoor video camera, but the indoor model seems expensive considering that it has neither a motion sensor nor LED illumination for night viewing. You can program the camera to record clips in response to other system events, such as when the door/window sensor is triggered, when someone enters a code to unlock the deadbolt, or when the stand-alone motion sensor is activated.

You can also link devices to the camera and control them while you're viewing a video stream. If you want to let someone into your home while you're away, for example, you can link the camera to the deadbolt and activate the lock while you're watching the door. Another option is to link a lighting module to the camera and turn the light on if the room is too dark to see. I wish that my Vivint home-control system had this feature. (Instead, to turn on a light, I must exit the video stream, turn on the light, and then navigate back to the video).

A basic Nexia service plan includes 75MB of online video storage and 4 hours of playback time per month. You can also download video clips to local storage, which is useful if you need to provide forensic evidence to law enforcement in the event of a break-in or to help officers investigate other criminal activity that your cameras have recorded. Though the system logs the date and time of each video clip it records, it doesn't stamp this information on the video itself. If you need more storage, Schlage offers optional service plans with 250MB of video storage for an additional $3 per month or 1GB of video storage for an additional $5 per month. Both of those plans include 5 hours of playback time.

The active half of Schlage's door/window sensor ($40 street) isn't the biggest I've ever seen, but it's surprisingly large for a modern device. Schlage provides both brown and white shells to help it blend in to your décor. The system can generate an email or text message when a sensor is activated, and open and close events can trigger system events, such as turning on a light or activating the video camera to record a clip. You can see their current state when you log in to your Nexia account.

The Nexia Home Intelligence Web portal lists your home-control devices (including ones you might not have set up) in a column on the left. An array of tabs for other user-interface screens appear across the top. The dashboard displays a photo of your home (which is handy if you have a vacation home or properties that you rent) and a log of recent system events.


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