Review of LiveWatch Plug & Protect IQ 2.0
Lowest Price: $599.99
Manufacturer Recommended Price: $599.99
Summary: The LiveWatch Plug & Protect IQ 2.0 is a DIY home security system with home automation capabilities and professional monitoring. The camera installation is not straightforward and you need a paid subscription to enjoy the system.
• It has round-the-clock monitoring
• The sensor and panel installation is easy
• It has a touch screen control panel with camera
• It works with various third-party devices
• It requires activation fee and monthly subscription
• The camera installation has issues
• It is expensive
DIY home security systems provide cheaper means of protecting homes without needing to pay for professional installation. You won’t be forced into long contracts, but you will need to undergo the monitoring yourself in most cases. If you buy the LiveWatch Plug & Protect 2.0 system which costs $599.99, you will need to install the system on your own but you can select a monitoring plan that suits you. The door sensors and touch-screen control panel are pre-configured at the factory making the system easier to install. The system also supports some third-party smart home devices. The only hitch found was installing the camera which came with the system. The system is quite good if you are the DIY type looking for a system that won’t require a lengthy contract. The downside is that its accessories and monitoring plans cost more than the SimpliSafe Home Security Plan.
The LiveWatch Plug & Protect IQ 2.0 has a retail price of $599.99. The price of all the hardware changes when it is paired with one of the four compulsory one-year monitoring plans. The system comes with a motion sensor with a built-in camera, two door sensors, a 7-inch touch-screen control panel, window stickers, yard signs and a keychain remote.
Every plan available gives you more functionality as you spend more on them. The Basic plan which costs $29.95 monthly offers you round-the-clock monitoring and the ASAPer service from LiveWatch. The ASAPer service sends you alerts immediately any alarm is triggered. If you are not in a close position to the control panel, you can fix the alert from your computer or mobile phone before the fire service or the police get alerted. But you can’t arm or disarm the system remotely if you are on the Basic plan. To do that, you have to upgrade to the Mobile Pro plan which costs $34.95 monthly. It gives you everything in the Basic plan plus crash and smash protection which sends an alarm if someone tampers with your control panel, remote arming and Live Voice Assist which lets you communicate with the monitoring service through a speaker and the microphone of the control panel.
The Total Home plan costs $39.95 monthly and offers you everything available in the Mobile Pro plan plus it allows you to do much more than disarm/arm the system with your mobile phone. You can manage the system, view recent activity and schedule alerts using the mobile app. You will also get alerts when windows and doors are left open, devices are triggered and it will take photos using the built-in camera of the panel or an external camera. The photos can be stored on an SD card inserted in the SD card slot of the control panel. The plan will unlock the home automation functions of the control panel allowing you to control and create rules for Z-Wave thermostats, locks, garage door openers and lots more with the mobile app and control panel.
The Total Home plus Video Plan costs $49.95 monthly and it is the most expensive of all the plans. This plan gives you live video streaming capabilities and it comes with a 1280 by 800 resolution indoor Wi-Fi camera. The camera is the same one as that of the Vivint Sky system.
The plans offered by LiveWatch are more expensive than that of the SimpliSafe Home Security System. They require you to subscribe for a one-year subscription, unlike the SimpliSafe plan that has no contract. The Vivint Sky plans are more expensive than LiveWatch plans and they require a five-year commitment but the price covers the hardware. The Vivint’s $59.99 plan will give you three window and door sensors, a key fob, a seven-inch touch-screen color control panel, a motion detector and two connected home automation services of your choice. You could choose between a garage door opener, a video doorbell, a thermostat, electronic door locks and outdoor and indoor video cameras.
Additional sensors from LiveWatch are expensive compared with that of SimpliSafe. Door sensors cost $29 while they cost $14.99 from SimpliSafe. Smoke detectors from LiveWatch cost $79 while those from SimpliSafe costs $29.99. The Smanos W020i Wi-Fi Alarm System has its door sensors retailing at $29.99. The premium package from iSmartAlarm will get you two presence sensors, two door sensors, an indoor tilt and pan camera and a motion sensor. But you won’t get a control panel.
Features and Design
The control panel of the LiveWatch Plug & Protect IQ 2.0 is the pulse of the system. It has a seven-inch color touch display and it comes with Bluetooth, Z-Wave, Wi-Fi and cellular radio circuitry. There is a small integrated camera at the top of the panel that takes a photo anytime anyone uses the panel to disarm the system. At the bottom of the panel, there are Home and Panic buttons. There is an SD card slot at the left of the control panel. The panel also has a 91dB siren, two speakers and a microphone. It has a user interface powered by the Android OS. You unlock it with a four-digit passcode and it has colorful icons that are easy to navigate.
There are icons for seeing the present status of each sensor, seeing the weekly weather forecast, disarming and arming the system, checking the history of alerts and alarms and viewing photos taken by the camera of the panel. There is an App icon for configuring the photo frame capabilities of the panel and adjusting sound settings. At the Settings menu, you can set up security and alarm settings, manage users, set up wireless settings and run diagnostics.
You can manage the LiveWatch Plug & Protect IQ 2.0 remotely using iOS, Android and Web-based apps that are powered by Alarm.com. The app is user-friendly and allows you disarm and arm the system with your mobile phone, get notifications, view still images from the panel’s camera, check the weather, watch live videos from the indoor camera and control thermostats, lights, locks and some other home automation devices.
Performance and Installation
A great thing about the LiveWatch Plug & Protect IQ 2.0 is that it doesn’t require professional installation. When you order for the system, you will receive a call from a representative to discuss your order and you will be asked some profile questions like who the primary contacts are and which doors are being monitored. The sensors are labeled and paired with the control panel at the factory to make the installation easy.
The system comes with personalized illustrated instructions that include your account number and your scheduled activation appointment information. You plug in the control panel and you use the settings icon to perform a cellular test for checking signal strength. Then you place the sensors on the right doors using double-backed tape. The motion sensor is then placed in a corner of the living room using tape and the mount that is included. Now, you can place your activation call.
LiveWatch stated that the activation call takes between 20 minutes to half an hour. But it took over two hours due to some problems with installing the camera. The activation call will make ensure that everything runs well and you will perform sensor tests, Panic button tests and you will test the monitoring service’s phone call response time. You will also connect to Wi-Fi and run Dual Path (Wi-Fi and cellular) connectivity tests. The technician on the line was well versed and covered every aspect of the system in full detail.
Everything was smooth until it came to installing the Wi-Fi camera. The camera couldn’t connect wirelessly. It worked well with the Ethernet cable and LAN port but it didn’t work with Wi-Fi. Almost an hour was spent on the phone installing and deleting the camera with no success. The technician then reset something at the other end and the camera then connected wirelessly.
The LiveWatch Plug & Protect IQ 2.0 system worked very fine. Door openings and closings worked very fast and text and email alerts were sent instantly. The siren is loud enough to ward off intruders but it is not as loud as the siren of the Smanos system. The motion sensor detected human activity fine without detecting pet motion and the keychain remote was perfect. The 320 by 240 camera isn’t that sharp but it captures good images. The Wi-Fi camera outputs sharp colored videos in the daytime and good black and white night vision video up to 20 feet.
The LiveWatch Plug & Protect IQ 2.0 creates a reasonable balance between DIY systems like the iSmartAlarm, the Smanos W020i and fully monitored professional systems like the Vivint Sky. The system was easy to install save for the poor camera. It is easy to add users and arm the system using mobile and Web apps and the user-friendly control panel interface. When tested the system performed excellently and anytime a sensor was triggered, the system responded immediately with text and email notifications and a loud siren. The Plug & Protect IQ 2.0 is a little bit more expensive than the SimpliSafe Home Security System but the monitoring plans for the SimpliSafe are more affordable and you can choose to monitor your home yourself if you wish. If you need a professionally installed, fully monitored system, the Vivint Sky is perfect. But you will need to commit to a long service contract.
Review of LiveWatch Plug & Protect IQ 2.0