Piper NV - A Modest Review
The Piper NV is a fine device for checking up on your home when you're away. However, it seems to miss the point when it comes to home security.
Some basic requirements that I have for a home security system:
- Alert me if there's a problem
- Don't alert me if there isn't a problem
- Don't occupy a lot of my time or thought
One of the major complaints people have about this device is that the alarm is quite loud. I personally have no issue with this as it's just loud enough to potentially be heard by my neighbors, which is exactly what I want in an alarm system.
The camera, while HD is no where near good enough to identify the face of a stranger. However, if you consider most basic alarm systems are composed of trip-wires, I can consider this to be a comparable system. Unfortunately, it doesn't allow you to configure the sensitivity of the device, which limits it's effectiveness, but is still useable.
The night-vision capability really is a must-have for a device like this, especially if you turn off your lights when you leave your house at night. That part works great.
I don't have any pets or children, so I don't get any false positives. However...
The Hassle of Disarming
The only way to disarm the device is to use your phone. And the only way to communicate with the Piper is with a working WiFi connection. Which means if the alarm goes off and your WiFi router is down (maybe the power is out?) you're looking at a rather inconvenient way to disarm the device. This should be a rare occurrence, however, so that may not be a huge deal for most people. In more typical day-to-day activities, you're bringing in groceries from the car and don't necessarily have time (or the forethought) to disarm the camera.
Fortunately the designers came up with a clever reminder chime to let you know the alarm is active. Unfortunately this chime is only 10 seconds long, which is barely enough time to take out your phone, load the app, have it recognize the device, and disable the alarm before it goes off. Fortunately, the designers allow you to add more time between an alert event and sounding the alarm. Unfortunately, they decided the reminder chime should still only happen 10 seconds before the alarm actually sounds. The net result of all this is that you'll be coming home to loud alarms until everyone in the household gets used to checking their phones every time they walk in the door.
Curiously the PiperNV does not support multiple users. A quick call to customer service, however, points out that you can access the camera from multiple devices as long as they're logged in as the same user.
I really want a security system that I don't have to think much about, and that includes arming or disarming. Since the PiperNV requires an smartphone to operate, you'd think it would be able to detect the presence of household smartphones and arm/disarm as necessary.
While the PiperNV has a number of good things going for it, I'm not sure if I'm going to keep it. However from other reviews I've read, this is a relatively new market and there really aren't many better alternatives.