Can Korner make home security simpler than ever?

A new DIY security option promises basic protection from a sensor that's just 7mm thick.

Ry Crist Senior Editor / Reviews - Labs
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.
Expertise Smart home technology | Wireless connectivity Credentials
  • 10 years product testing experience with the CNET Home team
Ry Crist
3 min read


EDITOR'S NOTE 10/14/2014: Korner's ship date has been pushed from December 2014 to March 2015.

Your do-it-yourself home security options are continuing to expand, the latest of which looks like one of the simplest and most affordable yet. It's called Korner, and it wants to keep tabs on your home using a simple, inconspicuous little sensor that's less than 7mm thick. Stick it to your doors and windows, and it'll alert you of any unexpected motion, with an optional ear-splitting screech from the Zigbee fob, along with a prompt to call the police or notify trusted contacts.

A three-sensor Korner kit will ultimately retail for $59, with a yearly fee of $39, but backers of the system's freshly launched Indiegogo campaign will be able to buy Korner for under $100 up front, with no yearly fees for life.

If Korner detects motion while the system is armed, you'll receive an alert on your smartphone, along with the option to notify the police or trusted contacts. Korner

This emphasis on ease-of-use with a low price point puts Korner at the far end of the home security spectrum -- simpler and cheaper than fee-free options like Piper and iSmartAlarm , which are already targeting budget-minded consumers. For renters, or anyone living in a small space who just wants a basic sense of security, a system like this might look particularly attractive.

For others, a system that relies entirely on entry detection likely won't be robust enough, especially when compared with the competition. For $199, iSmartAlarm features dedicated entry detection along with motion sensors, keychain panic buttons, and the option to incorporate a camera into your system. At a price of $239, Piper features environmental sensors, motion detectors, and a camera in a single, all-in-one unit, along with the option to connect peripheral smart devices via Z-Wave. If you're willing to start stomaching monthly fees, the Editors' Choice-winning SimpliSafe system offers a wide variety of easy-to-use sensors in a highly comprehensive, feature-rich system.

Convenience might factor in, as well. For instance, there's no option for arming and disarming the system outside of the smartphone app, so you'll need to pull your phone out whenever you come and go. I know that I'd prefer a system with a keychain remote or a wall-mounted keypad next to the door.


Korner isn't expected to ship out to Indiegogo backers until December of this year. That timetable seems slightly conservative for such a simple-looking system, but the conservative approach might be a wise one, given the production delays that have plagued crowdfunding darlings like Lockitron, Goji, and Canary. That said, a lot can change in eight months, and with the market evolving so rapidly, some consumers may be reluctant to lock in on a system this far ahead of time.

Still, I'm intrigued by Korner's unique, patent-pending design, which tracks entry using a unified sensor. Every other entry detector we've seen has been a two-part device, with a sensor that sticks to the door frame and a magnet that sticks to the door. The pedigree of Korner's team, which includes engineers with backgrounds at Amazon and Microsoft, is also encouraging.

Of course, it all comes back to that price point. At $99 (or even less, if you're quick) Korner is as low-priced a DIY system as we've seen -- half the cost of iSmartAlarm, our current pick for budget-minded security shoppers. As more and more options come to market, Korner looks like one worth keeping an eye on, at very least.