Y-Cam Protect Alarm System Review
Excellent product with an unfortunate caveat!
What is the Y-Cam Protect?With all the expensive gadgets that are now littered around the modern home, keeping those valuables and your home secure is a real concern. But thankfully whilst the number of pricey pieces of kit has increased, so has technology to allow you to keep an eye on your home and ensure it is safe and secure at all times from anywhere in the world.
Whether that be with a traditional CCTV system or via the now widely available internet connected cameras, with motion detection and various fancy features such as cloud storage, remote viewing and notifications via smartphone based apps. There are plenty of solutions available that can give you that peace of mind.
One such solution we have for review today is from Y-Cam. Retailing at £150 Their ‘Protect Alarm’ is a network connected Intruder Alarm System featuring a motion sensor and door sensor together with a remote control and features Y-Cam’s ‘Triple Layer’ security of battery, internet and sim card backup meaning you will be alerted and protected even in the event of either power or internet failure. Full integration with their smartphone app means you can control the system and be instantly alerted of any activations. Read on to find out how the Y-Cam Protect Alarm performs in our tests.
Design and FeaturesAt £150 Y-Cam include everything you need to get up and running including a pre-installed sim card for the additional services which we will come to shortly. Out of the box we get a hub, door/window sensor, motion sensor and a remote control. The hub itself is white plastic with a grey circular middle, very similar in size to a router at just 157mm square. The two sensors are fairly compact in size and are also all white. Both sensors are of course wireless, include tamper switches and are easily fixed via the provided 3M tape. The remote control has an Arm, Disarm, Plus and Home buttons which we will discuss in more detail later.
One of the main selling points of the Protect Alarm is Y-Cam’s ‘Triple Layer’ security. This is provided in the form of an 8 hour battery backup should the power fail, internet backup should the mobile signal fail and lastly SIM card backup should the internet fail. So even if the very worst happens you will still get notified of an intrusion. Unless of course your house has been taken out by a nuclear strike, in which case you'll probably have even worse things to worry about.
To enable the ‘Triple Layer’ security you need to choose either the Standard or Premium service options. At £5.99 a month (or £59.99 per year) the standard option gives you all the protection and notification options you need to get the most out of the Protect Alarm plus if you already have a Y-Cam camera you get 30 days’ video storage thrown in, but only for a single camera. The Premium option at £9.99 a month (or £99.99) per year gives you all this but for an unlimited number of cameras. £4 a month extra seems a bit harsh to just to have more than one camera and no other extra services.
UPDATE AUG 2017
Y-Cam have now updated the Protect to include Alexa control.
Installation and SetupAs we have found in the past with our reviews of Y-Cam’s Evo and HomeMonitor cameras the installation is very quick and easy. Here with the Protect Alarm they continue that theme. Firstly, you need to download the Y-Cam App to your Apple or Android Smartphone then follow the very simple instructions. These include choosing which service option you want. This can be the no cost ‘Internet only’ option, the ‘Internet with SIM card backup’ or ‘SIM card only’ options. Both the last two options require either the Standard or Premium service subscription with the ‘SIM card only’ option being really only suited to installation locations that have no internet connection.
Once the service option has been chosen, you follow the rest of the simple menu instructions and then the hub is setup. Adding the two sensors and the remote to the system is done by simply clicking the add button in the app and that’s it. Short of physically placing the sensors in the desired location that’s all the installation you need to do. It should take barely 5 minutes altogether.
Along with this are the settings for the Plus service such as the phone numbers that are called or texted when an activation is triggered, what actions happen when you press the + button on the remote (do nothing, turn all cameras on and off or send instant SMS text alerts) and whether you want a voice call or just a text in the event of an activation. You also get to see the signal strength and which mobile network it is currently connected to. In addition, should you also have an Apple Watch the Y-Cam notifications will be sent to that device too.
Testing and System ExpansionFollowing the effortless installation, we found the Protect Alarm to work very well during our testing. The remote control features a Home button which when pressed disarms the internal sensors but keeps external sensors activated. For example, at night you can use this function to just arm the door sensors but keep any motion sensors disarmed, to save setting it off should nature call or if your cats start roaming.
When testing with various alarm activations, each time we correctly received instant notifications both via text and standard notification along with the hub itself giving voice warnings followed by a fairly loud alarm sound. The Y-Cam App keeps everything in one place, so following an activation should you have any Y-Cam cameras installed you can quickly check these too. Overall it did exactly what it should have done and did it well.
- Simple installation and setup
- Compact and unobtrusive sensors
- Easy to use app
- Excellent notification system
- System can be expanded easily
- Full functionality requires paid subscription
Y-Cam Protect Alarm System Review
Should I buy the Y-Cam Protect Alarm?For £150 the Y-Cam Protect Alarm system offers almost everything you need to keep your home secure in one reasonable package. With a central hub, two sensors and remote control it is a great starter system which can be easily expanded with additional sensors and an external siren box. The very easy to use App allows for full control and configuration of the system along with instant notifications should an alarm be triggered or if the power or internet fails.
With Y-Cam’s ‘Triple Layer’ security feature you can be assured those important notifications will reach you even if you lose power or internet. Plus, if you already have any of Y-Cam’s security cameras they integrate seamlessly into the App. Unfortunately, despite Y-Cam’s claims on their packaging of ‘no contracts or monthly fees required’, if you choose the free service route you lose the ‘Triple Layer’ security and several other very important features. It’s a rather naughty claim as nowhere on the box are there any caveats that key selling points require a paid subscription.
What alternatives are available?As you would expect Home Security Systems are very popular these days and as such it is a very competitive market with many systems available. Ignoring the traditional systems, there are now a whole host of ‘smart’ systems such as the very competitively priced iSmart Alarm which appears to offer much of the same functionality for £20 less or the Myfox Smart system available for around £250, suggesting that Y-Cam’s Protect system does offer good value for money.
Overall we were very impressed with the effortless installation and setup, easy to use app and that the system worked perfectly every time. If you can look past the fact that the additional paid subscription is essential and without it the system doesn’t do what it says it does on the box, then you have a very capable and easily expanded security system. One that we are happy to give an AVForums Recommended award to. A higher score would have been awarded had Y-Cam been a little more transparent with the features that are lost if no paid subscription is taken out.
Those looking to buy the Y-Cam Protect Alarm System can find it here
MORE: Smart Device Reviews
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £149.99
Ease of Use9
Value for Money8
Our Review Ethos
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