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Smart Home

Can the Scout DIY home security system outclass SimpliSafe?

Scout is a customizable home security system similar to SimpliSafe, with a couple of intriguing extras.

The Scout system comes in a white, black, or wood finish. Scout

Scout is a DIY home security system from Scout Security. Like Lockitron, Scout was successfully funded via independent crowdsourcing, rather than Kickstarter or Indiegogo. Unlike Lockitron (which has had some major delivery setbacks), the second batch of pre-ordered Scout systems are expected to ship this quarter.

Scout's a la carte-style reminds me of iSmartAlarm, Oplink Security AlarmShield, Viper Home, and SimpliSafe. Its $99 base station is supposed to plug directly into your router and communicate over Wi-Fi or cellular network with any of the additional security accessories you decide to purchase. And that's just it -- you don't have to buy anything you don't want. If you're living in a studio apartment and don't need a lot of activity sensors, you can tack on one $29 open/close sensor for your front door and call it a day. That's $128 for a more secure home.

There's a $69 arm/disarm Door Panel with a built-in Open/Close Sensor that you can arm and disarm using RFID key fobs -- a convenient alternative if you don't have your phone, tablet, or computer handy. Motion Sensors are available too for $49 a pop. And, Scout also offers Zigbee compatibility, so fans of Zigbee-based home automation devices like Philips Hue can add other devices to the mix, too.

Here's a quick rundown of Scout's features compared to other a la carte systems we've reviewed:

Scout Alarm iSmartAlarm Preferred Oplink Security AlarmShield Viper Home SimpliSafe
Upfront Cost Starts at $128 $199.99 $199.99 $229.99 $229.96 to $539.85
Monthly Fees $0 $0 $9.99 ($19.99 with camera) $0 ($9.99 with camera) $14.99 to $24.99
Live Monitoring Yes (add $19.99/month) No No No Yes (no extra charge)
Cellular Backup Yes (add $4.99/month) No Yes (add $9.99/month) No Yes (no extra charge)
Power Outage Backup Yes No No Yes Yes
Camera No Yes (add $149.99) Yes (add $100) Yes (add $149.99) No
Zigbee/Z-Wave Compatibility Yes No No Yes No

Like many of the DIY systems we've tested, Scout seems best suited for apartment-dwellers or anyone who likes the idea of customizable, portable security. Its camera-less design shares a lot of similarities with the SimpliSafe system in particular. We've reached out to Scout Security for a review unit, and we look forward to comparing the two systems further, along with our other reviewed security devices.

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