CNET First Look
Is Iris worth it?The home management system from Lowe's covers all of the automation bases, but how well?
-Hey, I'm Ry Crist from Cnet and today we're looking at the Iris Home Management System from Lowe's. Now this is a system that you can get in a variety of kits, the two options that cost $179 are the Safe and Secure Kit and the Care and Comfort Kit. Safe and Secure will give you the keypad the motion sensor and the two-contact sensors for doors and windows, along with the hub that controls it all. If you go with the Care and Control route you'll get the thermostat and this plug-and-play module. Your third option is the Smart Kit which costs $299. That will give you everything that you see here plus this range extender that help make your system a little more robust. As home automation network system go, Iris does shine for its wide compatibility with the variety of Z-wave sensors and devices that you can use. Smoke detectors, and leak sensors, you can use the whole multitude of sensors to monitor your home, and the Iris app and website will cover it all. As pretty comprehensive, we like that quite a bit. However, some of the components that come in the system didn't work quite as well as we'd like. They work reliable and they do what they're supposed to, but take this keypad for instance. From one, it's not that loud. If the alarm goes off it's not hugely significant alarm. I don't think it would be frightening or alarming to an intruder as you'd like it to be. Also, it's a little bit laggy. The buttons, when you press them you don't always response as quickly as you'd like. When the alarm is going off, I put my code in and hit off and it would take a couple of tries to go through and disarm the system. That will be a little annoying if I do that every time I came in from work at the end of the day, so I'm not sure I like this keypad that much. I also don't like that it doesn't have the inherent cellular backup. You can get that as an add-on but that will tack on an additional $5-$10 a month in your monthly fees. As far as fess go, you have to pay $10 a month to access the full features of the system, and that includes automating things and scheduling things, and doing all the stuff you'd probably wanna do with it. If you decide you don't wanna pay that $10 a month, you can still use the system but it's in a very limited capacity. I think you'd probably gonna wanna be ready to pay that $10 a month. Iris gives you two free months of access to the complete play of features, so you can decide for yourself if it's worth it. I think you probably will. So if your hoping for a fee-free option, this probably isn't the one for you. All-in-all I like the potential of this system for home automation, a little less for home security. I think that it's got a great amount of compatibility with Z-wave devices. You can have locks, lights, anything that you can think of Z-wave, you can probably work with it. So that's great. However, like I said it's not perfect. I don't really like that you have to pay $10 a month for everything when they're fee-free options like smart things that do great job. So I would shop around before committing, but give it a consideration. For Cnet, I'm Ry Crist.