Summary: The Protect America Home Security System is a DIY home security and automation system that gives you professional monitoring round-the-clock. Most of the hardware that comes with the system is cheap but it comes with a hefty monthly subscription fee and you need to subscribe to a three-year contract.
Advantages:
• It is easy to install and configure
• It has a loud siren
• It offers round the clock monitoring
• It has responsive sensors
Disadvantages:
• Its accessories are expensive
• It requires a three-year contract
• It requires an expensive subscription if you want to use interactive features
• It has a small control panel screen
If you need a completely monitored home security system for your home and you can’t afford to pay high installation fees, you should consider a DIY package from Protect America. The systems come with pre-paired sensors, they are easy to install and have the optional ability to control Z-Wave smart home devices. The package reviewed was the Copper package. It was easy to set up and it was quite responsive. Most of the hardware come free, but a Protect America System costs more than a SimpliSafe system which is comparable. The review unit used costs $41.99 per month. And you must subscribe to a three-year contract. The SimpliSafe system costs $259.95 which is cheaper on the long run.
Pricing and Packages
There are five packages available for the Protect America home monitoring system. The packages are designed to accommodate various home sizes. Every package can be ordered with broadband, landline or cellular monitoring. Every package needs a three-year subscription plan. Landline is the most affordable of all three and it connects to the monitoring service by utilizing a normal telephone line. The system can be disarmed and armed at the control panel. The monitoring service will contact emergency agencies whenever needed. If you use the landline, you can’t use the Smart Connect mobile app or any control feature for door locks, thermostats, switches etc. The Cellular service is completely wireless and costs the same as the Broadband service. The Broadband gives you the same features as Cellular but they do not work wirelessly. The Broadband provides you with Smart Connect mobile control and emergency dispatch. If you order for a $35 Z-Wave radio daughterboard, the system will interact with Z-Wave home automation devices. The Broadband service needs a wired connection to the router of your home.
The simplest package is the Copper package. It comes with three entry sensors, a yard sign, a control panel, three window stickers and a motion detector. The Copper package costs $41.99 monthly for cellular/broadband service while it costs $19.99 monthly for Landline service. The other packages have more entry sensors than the Copper package so they cost more. The Bronze package gives you 6 sensors and it costs $47.99 monthly for cellular/broadband service. The Silver package gives you 9 sensors and it costs $49.99 monthly for cellular/broadband. The Gold package comes with 11 sensors and costs $51.99 monthly. The Platinum package comes with 14 sensors and it costs $54.99 monthly.
You don’t have to pay for hardware like you will do for the SimpliSafe home security system but in actual sense, Protect America costs more if you get your calculations right. The Copper package with cellular service costs $1,511 for a three-year period for a Protect America system while an equivalent SimpliSafe system costs $1,160 for that same time duration. A Livewatch Plug & Protect IQ 2.0 system costs $1,496 for a three-year period while a Vivint Sky system costs $1,997 for a three-year period. But Vivint will come over to your house and install everything. The hardware is also included in the subscription price but you need to commit to a 5-year plan.
For the Protect America home security system, individual prices of devices are more than that of other systems. Extra entry sensors cost $39.99 which is high compared to LiveWatch’s which cost $29 and SimpliSafe’s which cost $14.99. A smoke detector from Protect America costs $99 while a smoke detector from Smanos and SimpliSafe costs $29.99. Other devices from Protect America include key fobs which cost $49.99 each, indoor Wi-Fi cameras which cost $189.99 each, panic buttons which cost $39.99 each, wireless external sirens for $99.99 each and glass break detector for $79.99 each. We tested these devices with the system.
Features and Design
Streamlined control panels with 7-inch touch screens came with the LiveWatch and Vivint Sky systems but Protect America comes with a bulky Simon XTI touch screen control panel which has a very small 3.5-inch display. This doesn’t go well as the control panel is quite large. The control panel is attached to a mounting bracket which makes it sticks out about 2 inches from the wall.
The touch screen contains icons for home automation devices, motion sensors, door sensors, and glass break sensors. Whenever a sensor is triggered, the voice activated panel will let you know the sensor that has been triggered followed by some beeps. At the center of the display, there is a button for disarming and arming the system. At the upper left corner of the screen, there is an emergency button that leads to another screen where a Panic button can be pressed to set off the siren. You can also press a Fire or Police button that will call your local authorities. At the bottom right corner of the screen is an icon for settings. In this menu option, you can view event history, run system tests, turn alert chime on and off and control door locks and installed lights.
The Smart Connect mobile app which is available for Android and iOS devices has a lot of icons to guide you through the various menus. The mobile app is easy to use. The main menu has icons for controlling and viewing the status of Locks, Lights, Videos, Garage Doors, Scenes, Appliances, Thermostats and Activities
If you tap the Security icon, it will open a screen with Disarm and Arm buttons. The buttons at the bottom will allow you to view disable/enable sensor delays, silence alarms and sounds and view Zones (the location and name of each sensor). You can then return to the main menu to use the quick access bar at the bottom of the screen or access other icons. The Appliances and Lights, Garage Door, Locks and Thermostats icons can be used to control Z-Wave devices added to the system. The Activity page will show all alarm activity along with disarm and arm activity and Video page for viewing live and event triggered video. The settings icon takes one to a page where Z-Wave devices and cameras can be removed and added, email and push notifications can be enabled and a format for recorded videos can be selected.
Installation and Performance
Each sensor is paired to the panel and labeled before they leave the factory. This makes for a quick and straightforward installation just like the LiveWatch Plug & Protect IQ 2.0 system. You plug in the control panel, place each sensor on a door and then position the motion sensor to monitor your front door. The next step is to call Protect America to activate the system. The call lasts for about 15 minutes and every sensor were tested including the Fire, Police and Panic button. Your email address and phone number will be verified for alerts and all basics will be explained to you. The camera takes about 3 minutes to install. This was unlike the LiveWatch camera installation which took almost an hour to install because of a glitch.
The system worked perfectly fine. The panel responded immediately any sensor was triggered and whenever a four-digit code is entered. The siren was loud and was heard throughout the house (both upstairs and downstairs). When the system was armed, the camera recorded videos whenever any sensor was triggered and push alerts were received with a link to the video of the event. Whenever the system was disarmed and armed, push and email alerts were received. The live and recorded video from the camera was sharp both in the night and in the day.
Conclusion
The Protect America home security system is quite easy to install and offers 24/7 home monitoring. It is easy to use and highly configurable just like most DIY systems. It comes with a well-designed Smart Connect app which makes it easy to disarm and arm the home and control home automation devices with your smartphone. The siren is loud and the sensors are responsive. But the touchscreen of the control panel is small and the control panel itself is too large.
The Copper package comes with free hardware but you must get a three-year contract that is more expensive than plans from SimpliSafe and LiveWatch on the long run. If you break your contract, you must pay a penalty but the SimpliSafe system does not require any contract of any form and it allows you to choose between monitoring your system yourself or paying for professional monitoring. If you want to control Z-Wave home automation devices, you have to pay an extra $35. The Vivint Sky system is a great choice if you need a professional to come to your house to test and install everything. The Vivint Sky system requires a commitment of 5 years, but it is less expensive than what a similar package from Protect America costs for the same period. The Vivint Sky System will give you a better-looking touch-screen panel with a better and bigger display.

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