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Secure some time with SimpliSafe (pictures)

Don't be fooled: this basic-looking security kit is anything but.

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Ryan_Crist2.jpg
Ry Crist
Originally hailing from Troy, Ohio, Ry Crist is a writer, a text-based adventure connoisseur, a lover of terrible movies and an enthusiastic yet mediocre cook. A CNET editor since 2013, Ry's beats include smart home tech, lighting, appliances, broadband and home networking.
Ry Crist
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DIY installation

SimpliSafe packages start at $230 and run as high as $540. Each package includes a base station and a variety of sensors. You can add more sensors to your system as needed -- the base station can control up to 41 of them. No matter how big or small your system is, you'll need to install it yourself, but SimpliSafe makes this process about as easy as it gets.

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Controls on your keychain

You'll be able to arm and disarm your system or activate the panic siren from the convenient keychain remote. This remote is also a USB flash drive; plugging it into your computer will open up a handy system setup menu.

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Simple setup

The setup menu will walk you through each step of the installation process, or help you tweak the system settings.

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Plug on in

Once you've got your system installed, just insert the keychain USB drive into the base station. Doing so will automatically transfer all of your settings into the system within seconds.

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Base station ports

The base station is the only wired component to the system; you'll need to plug it into an outlet to keep it powered. You also have Ethernet jacks in case you want to back the system up with a wired connection, but this is optional.

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No power? No problem

If the power goes out (or if you unplug the base station), its battery backup will automatically kick in and keep your system fully operational. The battery recharges automatically whenever the base station is plugged in, and a full charge will keep the system running for up to four days.

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Keypad controls

In addition to the keychain remote, you'll be able to control your system using a keypad that you'll mount to your wall. You can program multiple codes capable of disarming the alarm, and even a special "Duress Code" that will appear to silence the alarm, but still actually alert the authorities that something is wrong.

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Smartphone app

You can download the free SimpliSafe app to your Android, iOS, or Windows device. Then arm, disarm, or monitor your system from anywhere, right on your phone.

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SMS alerts

You can also choose to have SimpliSafe send you text messages alerting you to changes in your system.

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Multiple plans

Some of these features will require you to pay a higher monthly fee, so make sure you understand your options.

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Entry sensors

Each package comes with at least one entry sensor capable of alerting you if a door, window, or anything else you stick it to has been opened.

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Motion detection

The system also uses motion detectors capable of spotting movement throughout your home. SimpliSafe claims that they won't be fooled by pets under 50 pounds.

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Panic siren

Some packages include a 105-decibel panic siren to help scare off intruders. These sirens are weather resistant, so you can even put them outside.

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Panicked?

You can trigger the system at the touch of this standalone panic button, which you can mount anywhere you'd like. You can also set the button to "Silent Mode," which will alert the authorities without triggering the alarm. That's a feature small-business owners might prefer.

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Extra add-ons

SimpliSafe offers a variety of additional sensors that you can integrate into your system, such as leak detectors, freeze detectors, and this rather sad-looking carbon monoxide detector. Smoke detectors seem like an especially wise option -- if they go off while you aren't home, SimpliSafe will be able to call the fire department on your behalf.

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