Novi brings a new level of simplicity to DIY security

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Novi Security

Apartment dwellers, listen up. The Novi by Novi Security is a portable $199 (about £116 or AU$362.70) battery-powered monitor that can sense smoke and motion and send you picture notifications when something's amiss. Basically, Novi Security took what looks like a plain ol' smoke detector and hid an HD camera, a motion sensor, and a siren inside too.

While there are several DIY security systems that offer great features and incredible design, the Novi presents an intriguing, pared-down alternative. Not everyone wants a design-oriented DIY security system that might pique the curiosity of potential intruders rather than deter them. The Novi might be preferable for others, since it's a modern, app-enabled system that's also largely camouflaged by its nondescript smoke detector exterior.

This may not make the Novi the sleekest DIY home security system we've seen, but it might just end up being one of the smartest.

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Novi Security

The Novi system consists of a base station, a ceiling-mounted monitor, and an app. When it detects motion or smoke activity, the following is supposed to happen: an alarm will sound, the monitor will send three images to the base station, and the base station will transmit the photos to the Novi app. Once you receive the alert, you have several options that you can access directly from the app: call 911, call home, disarm, or request another image.

While a lot of DIY systems are essentially fee-free, they have optional fee-based plans for video storage and professional monitoring. Since the Novi is strictly photo-based, there aren't any monthly fees. It's limited for sure, but it's also one of the most straightforward systems we've come across -- one that could appeal to folks who move around a lot and still want the basics of DIY home security.

Novi

Scout Alarm

iSmartAlarm PreferredOplink Security AlarmShieldViper HomeSimpliSafe
Up-front
cost
$199

Starts at $128

$199.99

$199.99

$229.99

$229.96 to $539.85

Monthly
fees

$0

$0

$0

$9.99 ($19.99 with camera)

$0 ($9.99 with camera)

$14.99 to $24.99

Live
monitoring

No

No

No

No

No

Yes (no extra charge)

Cellular
backup

No

Yes (add $4.99/month)

No

Yes (add $9.99/month)

No

Yes (no extra charge)

Power outage backup

No

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

CameraYes (photos only)No

Yes (add $149.99)

Yes (add $100)

Yes (add $149.99)

No
ZigBee/Z-Wave compatibilityNoYesNoNoYesNo

Still, the Novi has some drawbacks that border on deal breakers. The base station doesn't have a backup battery and the monitor doesn't have cellular backup, so you're totally out of luck if your home temporarily loses power or Internet access. But, if Novi Security reaches its $150,000 stretch goal on Kickstarter (its original goal was $80,000 and it has already raised $111,014), the startup plans to add additional features that might turn the Novi into a solid entry-level home security option.

You can get your own Novi kit with a minimum pledge of $199 (about £116 or AU$362.70). Units are expected to ship in January 2015; add $40 (about £23.30, AU$42.40) to ship outside the United States.

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Where to Buy

Novi Security Novi

Part Number: CNETNovi Security Novi

MSRP: $199.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

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