With the vast number of expensive gadgets most homes have these days, where a smart phone or tablet costs over £1000, keeping your home secure is always one of the top priorities. With the development of the smart home over the years we have seen all kinds of devices such as cameras, heating controls and doorbells. One item that wasn’t quite there was the alarm system which at least had become wireless but was holding onto the old-style sensors and main control panel with little or no smart home integration.
Thankfully, that has now passed with Smart Alarm systems available from a variety of manufacturers. One such manufacturer is Ajax (no not the cream cleaner or the Dutch football team), a brand that we imagine is not familiar to many forum members. Ajax are a Ukrainian company, formed in 2011, they supply professional security systems to 93 countries around the World with HQ, R&D and manufacturing in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Their smart security system product line includes 27 different products from control panels, sirens, cameras, sensors and more. Our review today features 10 of their products which are the smart hub 2, wireless touch keypad, smart smoke detector, PIR motion detector, wireless indoor siren, door sensor, flood detector, smart socket, panic button and remote key fob. Ajax products are only available to buy via professional installers and are currently not available for self-install. As you can imagine that comes at a price with the system above (excluding the smart socket as that isn’t available for the UK market yet) costing £980.00 fully installed. Read on to see how we get on during our tests and if it is worth what seems to be a particularly high price….
Design and Specification
Most of Ajax's 27 products are available in either white or black. The overall design theme is very sleek and modern and would not look out of place in any smart home. The items we were sent are all white and starting with the core of the system, the Smart Hub, this is a small plastic disc with the Ajax logo illuminated to the front, measuring 163 x 163mm and 36mm thick and weighing 362g. It features a single ethernet socket, power connection and 2 x 2G SIM card slots. The smart hub which features a battery backup, can cater for up to 100 connected devices, 50 users and across 50 different rooms.
The next item is the wireless touch keypad. Again, this has a very sleek modern look to it. The keypad measures 150 x 103mm, 14mm thick and weighs just 197g. The keypad illuminates only when used and otherwise is just there on the wall looking all fancy quietly doing its thing. The rest of the range all follow the same modern design, such as the wireless indoor siren which is barely as big as a coaster with the Ajax logo and a grey fabric covering to the front, although it still packs a meaty punch with a 105dB alarm.
The smart smoke detector has the usual smoke alarm features you’d expect, but also includes an alarm if a rapid temperature rise is detected, anti-tamper warning and it can work autonomously without the Smart Hub. The PIR motion detector features a photo alarm verification, whereby when it is triggered it takes up to 5 photos at 640 x 480 resolution. It also features pet immunity where it will not trigger if a pet of less than 20kg is in range.
Apart from the hub, keyfob and panic button, the other devices we were sent all feature temperature sensors and anti-tamper warnings.
Ajax's key feature to the whole system is its proprietary communication protocol called Jeweller. This protocol ensures secure communication and has an operational range of up to 2000mtrs and high energy efficiency with the batteries in most of the units lasting between 5-7 years. The data is also encrypted, preventing the devices from being spoofed and to cover all bases, if someone tries to jam the system, the Jeweller protocol will automatically switch frequencies. With the 2 SIM cards fitted in the hub, the system has three independent communication channels to ensure you always get notified of an event.
If the Jeweller protocol wasn’t enough already, for the motion cams Ajax uses its own Wings radio protocol which is high speed, based on Jeweller, and has its own dedicated antenna in the Smart Hub. Via the Wings protocol, Ajax guarantees delivery of the photo confirmations even if the signal level is unstable. This really is a state-of-the-art security system.
Installation and Set Up
The Ajax products are unavailable to buy for self-install and are not listed on any of the popular sites such as Amazon. To purchase this, you must go through one of their professional installers of which they have 45 partners in the UK to choose from.
The lack of self-install options is one of our issues with this system. Ajax has made everything so perfectly, with an App that is extremely easy to use and products that are very easy to install, that you really don’t need any technical knowledge. If you can use a smart phone, you can install this system.
Starting from the beginning, once the App is installed and your account set up, you create the rooms in the house where you are going to have each device including taking a photo of the room. Then you proceed to add each device to your account which simply entails scanning the QR code on each device and following the very easy instructions.
Once you have added all the devices, you can then proceed to configure the options on them all, although the default should cover most uses. Starting with the Smart Hub this includes many settings including adding users, altering the network connection, setting up a Geofence so that you automatically get reminded to arm when leaving and disarm when arriving (although an alarm going off at 105dB is probably enough of a reminder if you forget to disarm), creating schedules and setting up groups which allow you to divide the premises into multiple areas and arm them separately. The last entry of note in the Hub settings is the option to choose a security company and monitoring station if you choose to have the system externally monitored.
Other devices such as the MotionCam have specific settings for sensitivity, image resolution whilst across the rest of the devices they all include settings for delaying activation when leaving and arriving , for example, whether 'To alert with a siren' is activated, or if the panic button should sound a siren or just be used as a control button to arm the system. The wireless indoor siren alarm level can also be altered between 81dB to 105dB and the length between 3 and 180 seconds. The siren also has the option of having an external LED fitted for monitoring of the system status.
Across all the devices, Ajax has really gone to town with the settings, covering everything you could possibly need and many options you had not even thought of.
After the simple install and set up, we tested all the devices and their various features. Ajax has produced devices here that work perfectly, exactly as advertised and are extremely easy to use.
From the Hub 2, the door sensors, the PIR detector with the photo verification and all the other accessories we were sent, they all just worked, no issues or App crashes, features not working or anything negative of any kind with the system.
When any event is triggered, whether that be a cover being removed on a device, the hub losing power or internet or any other feature activated, you instantly receive a notification on your smart phone and smart watch if applicable. When the system is armed, if the PIR sensor is triggered, along with the instant notification, after about 10 seconds you will be able to view the first image taken by the PIR sensor.
The App itself is superbly designed and has everything on it you could possibly need. The home screen of the app has four options for devices, rooms, notifications and control. The devices tab lists all the Ajax devices installed, along with the battery life and signal strength to the Hub. The flood detector and smoke alarm also show a small ‘24’ symbol as both of these work autonomously even if the Hub is out of action.
The Rooms tab shows all the rooms you set up during install, a picture of them in case you forget what your house looks like and the temperature in each room providing you have a device installed there with a temperature sensor. Rooms can easily be added at any time and devices easily moved between rooms on the App. The notifications tab shows a list of any events, actions and notifications triggered by the system and the Control tab allows you to arm, disarm and trigger the panic mode on the system.
Within each device itself, you see a further screen showing the complete status of that device such as battery life, connection, signal strength, temperature and any other information relevant to that device. Pressing the little cog wheel will then take you to the settings for each device.
Starting with the Hub2, the settings are vast with options to add users, configure the ethernet connection, SIM card setup, geofence setting, detection zone test and setting up the groups feature and security schedule. The Service setting includes many advanced settings such as Server Ping Interval, Connection Failure Alarm Delay and more including altering the brightness of the Hub logo.
In addition, you have the options for the security company who installed it, the monitoring station settings and a PRO setting which is the link to the professional installer allowing them to configure the system remotely. Current estimated costs for the monitoring start at £220 per year. Although the system will work fully without any externally monitoring, none of the features or settings require any subscription to work.
Onto the wireless keypad, the settings here are altering the passcode, setting whether to use a passcode or keyfob only or both, duress code, auto lock settings if wrong password entered and altering the brightness and volume of the panel. The last device of note for the settings is the MotionCam which has options for delay when entering/exiting, sensitivity and image resolution.
All the devices have every setting you could possibly think you need and more you hadn’t thought of. This really is a superbly well designed and comprehensive system. Within each device’s settings, there is also a handy link to the user manual.
We really had to dig deep for negatives here and possibly the only things we could think of are the fact that there is no tablet version of the App and that there is no logging of devices when the system is disarmed, such as log of when the door sensor was opened and closed for example. There is also no integration with the likes of Alexa or Google Home.
The only device we couldn’t test was the Smart Socket as this is not available for the UK Market yet. It’s a shame as the device features look impressive with an LED ring light that changes colour in real time from green, amber and then red to show the devices which are using the most power and gives notifications about power interruptions.
In addition to the 10 Ajax devices we were sent, the Ajax range currently encompasses a total of 27 devices such as ‘Rex’ which extends the already huge coverage to 1800 metres and with 5 Rex installed the system covers a mind boggling area of 35km². There are three versions of the Hub, the Hub 2 which we reviewed, a basic Hub which loses the visual alarm verification from the PIR sensor and an advanced Hub Plus which adds 3G capability to the SIM card.
There are six different versions of the PIR sensor including one that does not react to airflow from an air conditioner or fire place and another that has a glass break detector, one that has a very narrow viewing angle and finally an outdoor version. Along with the standard door protector, there is an advanced version which adds a shock detector and tilt sensor and standalone glass break detector.
There are two versions of the smoke detector, the basic and the advanced which adds a carbon monoxide detector into the mix. There is a street siren which is reinforced, is louder than thunder and has bright lights to attract attention.
Other Smart Home accessories include the Wall Switch and a Relay for use with remote control devices such as a garage door. Finally, on this almost endless list we get various integration modules for connecting to third party systems and two power supply units to allow connecting the system to a low voltage supply such as in a caravan or motorhome.
If you were wanting to protect the Crown Jewels, then you couldn’t do much better than use an Ajax security system.
- Easy to use and feature rich app
- Impressive technical and visual design
- Professional grade components
- Huge operational range
- Operates and works perfectly
- Extremely comprehensive in every department
- Can be externally monitored (at a cost)
- Professional only supply and install
- No integration with Alexa or Google
- No logging of sensor operation when system disarmed
- No tablet version of the App
Ajax Smart Home Alarm System Review
Ajax has created a first here for this reviewer. This is by far the most comprehensive, well designed, feature rich and ‘all bases covered’, smart home product that we have ever seen at AVForums. Every product has been designed and setup to perform its relevant task perfectly along with a superb App that has more features and settings for the devices that you could possibly want. Every setting is covered and more.
The downside is of course the cost. Ajax has created this as a professional device, and from the way it works and the features included it most definitely sits in the professional category, but this can only be professionally supplied and installed, which given how easy it was to install unfortunately adds unwanted costs to the package.
Excluding the smart socket, the other 9 items total a mind boggling £980 supplied and installed. There is a more basic package including the Hub2, 2 x Motion Cam, 1 x Door Protect, 2 x Space Control, 1 x Street Siren and 1 x Home Siren for a more reasonable £699 fully installed.
It is unfair to compare the Ajax system to the relatively basic systems such as the Ring Alarm at £179, it’s clearly more in line with the professionally installed systems such as with ADT and Verisure for example in which case the costing probably wouldn’t be too dissimilar.
If you are looking for the very best smart security system, then the Ajax system should most definitely be one to consider.
Our Review Ethos
To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.