Kidde RemoteLync Monitor review: This Kidde costs too much to earn its keep

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The Good The Kidde RemoteLync Monitor responds quickly to smoke and CO alarms that sound near it. It sends push notifications and works with IFTTT and the Kidde RemoteLync Security Camera for useful interoperability.

The Bad Unless you have a small house, you'll need more than one Monitor to cover all of your detectors as the range of the Monitor disappoints. It struggled to pick up alarms one floor above or below it.

The Bottom Line Though competent at its one job, the Kidde RemoteLync Monitor is a tough sell. For the same $100 price, you can find smart-home gadgets that do more.

6.4 Overall
  • Features 5
  • Usability 8
  • Design 6
  • Performance 7

The $100 Kidde RemoteLync Monitor promises to do one thing: it'll listen for the alarms of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and will send a push notification to your phone should they sound. You'll use the iOS or Android app to connect it to your Wi-Fi network, then it'll spend the rest of its 10 year life trying hard to be a good listener.

It succeeds if the sounding smoke detector is close enough, but don't expect it to cover your whole home if you have multiple floors. You can purchase the US-only Kidde RemoteLync Monitor now for $100 from the company's site, Amazon and Home Depot. Aside from an overlong setup process, it works well enough if you find it at a discount, but the Kidde Monitor doesn't do enough or hear far enough to be worth the $100 price.

I plugged the Kidde RemoteLync Monitor into a hallway outlet of the CNET Smart Home. When I set off a smoke detector from that hallway or an adjacent room, I'd reliably get a push notification within 20 to 30 seconds. That's a fine turnaround time, albeit not exceptional.

Still, it was responsive. Even when I shut the door of the adjacent bedroom, the push notification came through with the same moderate punctuality. In a room at the other end of the hallway, the notification sometimes took 40 seconds to arrive, but were still reliable. Once I moved upstairs, though, I had to have a clear line of sight for the RemoteLync Monitor to work. After I shut a single door or rounded a corner, the Monitor became sporadic at best and deaf most of the time.

The white, cube-shaped monitor is bland, but unobtrusive. The light on top can shine green, amber or red, and it's tricky at first to figure out what each color means. Keep the instruction booklet handy during setup.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The limited range of the Monitor wouldn't be a problem if Kidde's device was one of a kind, or if it was priced in line with it's capabilities. The $100 Leeo Smart Alert Nightlight and the upcoming $60 Mydlink Smart Alarm Detector do the exact same thing. Though, RemoteLync helps its case with interoperability.

The IFTTT channel allows you to use the Monitor's triggers to talk to your larger smart home. You can flash your Philips Hue bulbs red when the Monitor hears an alarm, for example. The RemoteLync device also works directly with the $200 Kidde RemoteLync Security Camera. If you have the latter, it will automatically record when the Monitor kicks into action.

You can control the Monitor and the Cam with the nicely designed app and it'll keep a log of all activity. You can also invite other users to watch your home and select their level of access.

Screenshots by Andrew Gebhart/CNET

All of that is more than enough to make the Kidde RemoteLync Monitor recommendable on its own merits. It's just not recommendable based on value. The $100 iSmartAlarm Spot listens for smoke and CO alarms, and packs in a motion sensing camera. Basically, it does everything that both RemoteLync devices do together. Everybody likes a good listener, but I recommend going with a multitalented smart gadget like the iSmartAlarm Spot over this one-trick device.