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Myfox Smart Home Security System review:

Myfox muddles DIY home security

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The Good Myfox's "IntelliTag" door/window uses vibration sensors to distinguish between a knock and a forced entry.

The Bad At $478, the Myfox Smart Home Security System is very expensive and it doesn't offer all that much. The app is glitchy.

The Bottom Line Myfox's camera is pretty good, although there are better options out there -- and the whole system is seriously overpriced. Don't get it.

CNET Editors' Rating

5.3 Overall
  • Features 6.0
  • Usability 5.0
  • Design 5.0
  • Performance 5.0

There are a lot of justifiable reasons to drop nearly $500 on a single purchase, but value is a pretty universal prerequisite -- is this worth it? While the answer to that question is often subjective, I can say confidently that the $478 Myfox Smart Home Security System (£418 in the UK), which comes with a 720p HD camera, a vibration-detecting door/window sensor and a 110-decibel siren is not.

The camera is pretty good (it costs $199/£169 a la carte), although the $150 Simplicam , the $199 Nest Cam and the $279 Piper NV in particular offer a lot more for the money. And the door/window sensor and siren kit ($279/£249 if you don't want the camera) is way too expensive when you consider what you're getting (a sensor and a siren...).. While I do like the design of these products and that they integrate with 'Works with Nest', the overall value just isn't there to recommend it to anyone.

Too much hardware, too little function

The complete $478 Myfox Smart Home Security System includes a plug-in Wi-Fi hub with up to 6-hour battery backup (it was closer to 4-5 hours for me), a 110-decibel siren, a vibration-sensing "IntelliTag" door/window device, a key fob for smartphone-free arming and disarming (all battery-powered and radio-frequency-enabled) and a 720p HD Wi-Fi camera with 1-hour battery backup.

You do have the option of buying just the "Home Alarm" Wi-Fi hub, siren, door/window sensor and key fob kit for $279/£249 or just the security camera for $199/£169, although you need all of these accessories for the complete Myfox Smart Home Security System.

The various Myfox components look nice enough. Everything except for the door/window sensor has a coordinating rounded shape with a white finish and the occasional silver accent. While the aesthetics are unobtrusive and shouldn't cramp any home decor, the sheer number of accessories, their size and in some cases, even their shape strikes me as completely unnecessary at least and oddly limiting at most.

Take the siren. While this large disc-shaped device does have a built-in tamper sensor that sends an alert if it's moved, it's just a siren. A loud siren that's likely to scare away an intruder, yes, but just a siren. Then there's a separate hub, which seems like it could have easily been integrated into the siren or vice versa. And, although the camera's rounded design does blend in well with the other accessories, it spoils any potential for angling or rotating the field of view to achieve an optimal position.

Screenshots by Megan Wollerton/CNET

All of these accessories also mean a more complicated setup process. Myfox offers an Android and iOS app so you can access these Wi-Fi-and radio-frequency-enabled products remotely. Download the app on your device of choice to get started. The app setup is mostly straightforward. It clearly identifies all of the steps, but there are many more steps than I would like.

Screenshots by Megan Wollerton/CNET

Installing the Wi-Fi hub, which Myfox calls "Link," was definitely the most complicated part of the entire configuration process. The first time I tried to set it up, I got a message that said "An unexpected error occurred. Try again." It worked the second time, but the hub was also difficult to reinstall when I moved locations.

Each time I switched to a different Wi-Fi network (I tested Myfox both at work and at home), I had to delete the accessories and start the configuration process all over again. That was pretty annoying, especially since DIY products are supposed to be designed for mobility.

After the hub was installed, the process flowed more smoothly to the siren, the door/window sensor, the key fob and the camera, which was the easiest to set up via a quick QR-code scan.

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