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Myfox Smart Home Security System review: Myfox muddles DIY home security

The DIY security kit you don't want

While the Myfox app looks pretty good, you really have to dig to find the information you're looking for -- it isn't intuitive at all and some of the features are similarly confusing.

For instance, you can adjust the sensitivity of the door/window sensor, but there's no in-app feature that lets you adjust the motion settings to suit your needs, or even opt-in or -out of motion alerts. Everything is dependent on you scheduling or manually arming and disarming the system. And if the system is armed, you'll get motion alerts every time an event takes place, with no ability to set zones or change its sensitivity. If it's unarmed, you won't receive any.

Myfox also doesn't come with sound alerts, so there's no chance of getting an alert based on someone breaking a window, unless you have a door/window sensor attached to it.

To add to the confusion, if the system is armed and the door/window sensor is triggered, it will turn on the loud 110-decibel siren. However, if the camera's motion sensor detects activity, you simply get an alert instead of a triggered siren. There are also other features, like auto-disarming with the key fob that's supposed to deactivate the door/window sensor and the siren when it senses that you've arrive at home, but it never worked correctly for me.

I also got a lot of server-based error messages while using the app. "Request failed: bad gateway (502)" and "Data unavailable" were regular occurrences and made it very difficult to work inside the app.

That said, the system worked fairly well (when the app was functioning correctly). I received regular alerts, I was able to review motion-related clips and the door/window sensor really did a good job of differentiating between someone knocking on the door and aggressively shaking it (as in a forced entry).

Screenshots by Megan Wollerton/CNET

Unlike Piper NV , Flir FX or Foscam's FI9826P , Myfox doesn't offer free cloud storage. 1 day of continuous recording costs $5 a month and 7 days of continuous recording costs $10 a month. With so many fee-free services around -- and brands like Nest Cam even boosting their subscription from 7 to 10 days of continuous recording for $10 a month -- Myfox's fees are actually kind of steep.

I don't think IFTTT functionality has hit the US just yet. Screenshot by Megan Wollerton/CNET

Myfox is part of Nest's "Works with Nest" program, though. So I was able to successfully program my Myfox camera to turn off when my Nest Learning Thermostat was set to Away mode and back on when the thermostat was set to Home mode. That's a pretty limited feature, since you can already set the camera to turn off when you disarm the system and on again when you arm it, but third-party integrations are key in today's smart-home market.

Myfox also has its own IFTTT channel, but I ran into a problem here. Myfox is a French company and it has had products overseas for years. When I tried to create an IFTTT recipe, the Myfox API rejected my log-in information and gave me an error message in French. I reached out to Myfox about this issue, but haven't yet heard back from them. I'll update this review when I do.

Conclusion

Whether you look at the entire $478/£418 Myfox suite of products or its standalone components for $279/£249 (siren, sensor, hub, key fob) and $199/£169 (camera), this system is a bit of a jumble. Its features are limited, its app is confusing and occasionally glitchy and it's very expensive. If you're on the hunt for a simple DIY security camera with a built-in siren as well as motion, sound and a variety of other sensors, the $279 Piper NV is a solid bet. And, if you're looking for more door/window sensor-style accessories, something like Viper Home has a simpler setup and gets the job done for much less.

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