Armorax Home Security ReviewBy - 07/09/2018
Our Overall Rating
The Bottom Line
A few years ago, I tested an Armorax system and sang its praises. I had some concerns, namely their seemingly “spammy” tactics, but overall it presented a unique blend of self-monitored and professionally monitored security. At that time, there was very little competition. Things have changed. Fast forward a couple of years, and I’m looking at Armorax with fresh eyes. They have new equipment, a new app, and loads of new competition.
Getting Started With Armorax
Before we begin, I want to be clear about one thing: I have tested Armorax, but I tested their old equipment, not the new equipment they currently use. However, some of what they offer is still the same as what I tested, including their approach to equipment.
Armorax doesn’t include the equipment price in your monthly monitoring fee. Instead, they require that you purchase equipment upfront, and then you can add service from there. Their approach is most similar to SimpliSafe, Link (compared below) and Frontpoint.
Armorax starts with what they call “Base Equipment.” The price of this equipment package varies, but generally, the bundle sells for $499.00, or you can snag it for $99.00 if you sign a 3-year contract. The Base System includes an Interlogix touchscreen control panel, an LTE SIM card, a keypad, three wireless door/window sensors, a motion detector, and a key fob.
The Control Panel
The included Interlogix control panel has a 7″ touchscreen and acts as the brains of the system. It uses a cellular signal to communicate and controls all connected devices using Z-Wave. In addition to a cellular signal, Armorax provides the option of using internet backup. It’s UL compliant, allows for over-the-air updates, and supports IP to IP connections. It also acts as a home hub allowing you to control your security devices as well as smart home devices, including any connected security cameras. Finally, the hub offers battery backup and a built-in siren.
The technology the control panel uses is based on the Helix™ panel. The Helix™ panel was designed to provide a fast and easy installation process. There’s no drilling, no wiring, just simplicity. It even ships with a stand if you prefer to “set it and forget it.” Alternatively, you can mount the panel using screws. In total, Armorax estimates that the new system should take around 15 minutes to install.
Additional Equipment and Pricing
|Glass Break Sensor||$69.00|
|Carbon Monoxide Sensor||$89.00|
|Z-Wave Door Lock||$189.00|
|Takeover Module (Wired to Wireless)||$85.00|
While the “Base Equipment” package includes some equipment, you can expand on this by purchasing additional devices a la carte. Armorax makes this process easier by pre-programing the sensors to work with your base station before they ship them to you.
All of the sensors are wireless and can be self-installed using a 3M adhesive. They use replaceable batteries that Armorax claims last 7 years on average.
After choosing your equipment, you will need to add monitoring. Armorax requires that you activate your equipment within 72 hours of receipt.
|Base System w/ 3-Year Contract||$99.00||$143.00|
|Base System w/out Contract||$499.00||$413.00|
|Live Video and Cloud Service||$3/month||$5/month|
|Thermostat, Garage Door, Light, and Lock Control||$2/month|
|Return Period||30 Days||30 Days|
|Get Quote||Get Quote|
When compared to what Armorax offered in the past, monitoring and its associated pricing is an area where we start to see a negative change. Previously, Armorax was forthcoming with pricing; now they use a simple, one-page website with very little information. Second, two of three phone numbers I tried were disconnected. Finally, they’ve had some major swings in pricing.
From what I gather, they are now focused on one package. Just like before, you don’t have to sign a contract, but there are benefits to signing like equipment discounts and also a locked-in rate, which might be needed as we’ve seen pricing jump as much as $10 per month.
The base package is $44.95 per month, though Armorax often promotes a sale offering customers the option to sign right away and lock into a rate of $34.95 per month for three years. While they don’t state what this includes, their FAQ page implies that only monitoring and app access is included with a note that home automation features are an extra $2 per month and live video and cloud services adding another $3 per month.
(screenshot from Armorax.com)
On a positive note, Armorax’s professional monitoring is performed by COPS Monitoring. COPS is a UL-listed, CSAA-approved monitoring center and licensed to operate in all 50 states. With the right equipment in place, Armorax will monitor for break-ins, fires, and medical emergencies.
Building an Armorax Smart Home
Let’s talk about home automation. Home automation offers are available if you pay and if you purchase the right equipment to make it happen. Armorax’s smart home service allows you to add thermostats, smart lights (bulbs or switches), garage door controllers, smart locks, indoor cameras, outdoor cameras, and doorbell cameras to your system.
The control panel works with Z-Wave devices. Although Z-Wave is a universal protocol, some Z-Wave devices will work with the system and some will not. Before purchasing third-party devices, check with Armorax regarding compatibility or you can purchase Z-Wave equipment directly from them to ensure compatibility.
Before we dig into Armorax’s smart home offer, we need to take a moment to discuss the app. While the control panel can certainly “control” connected devices, so can the app. Currently, Armorax is using the Smartlink App. The app can do everything the control panel can do. You can use it to arm and disarm your system, monitor your sensors in real-time, and also control connected smart home devices.
From the app, you can turn lights on and off, close and open your garage door, and even adjust connected thermostats. In addition to controlling devices individually, you can use the app to group them together. For example, you might choose to group all of the lights in your living room together so that you can turn them on and off at once or perhaps dim them all to the same level with one click.
Armorax supports a web app, Windows app, and an app for Android and iOS devices.
Armorax offers an indoor security camera, indoor pan and tilt camera, an outdoor camera, and the system works with the Ring Video Doorbell.
Armorax previously worked with Alarm.com, but they’ve ditched that partnership in favor of a new one. Currently, their system works with Wansview cameras. The cameras support basic features like live streaming, two-way audio, motion detection, and night vision.
My biggest problem with Wansview cameras is that they are cheap cameras made in China. Though I have not tested any Wansview cameras, nor would I feel comfortable doing so, I have tested other inexpensive Chinese cameras. Generally, I’ve found the cameras to be less secure. I’ve even found that most send private information overseas. Now, that may not be the case with Wansview, but if you plan to add cameras to your Armorax system, I would certainly recommend digging into the details. In fact, Shenzhen, the company behind Wansview has been at the route of several security breaches including one that allowed their cameras to be remotely hacked.
In case I haven’t made myself clear, I do not recommend Armorax’s security cameras; however, I do recommend their video doorbell.
Ring Video Doorbell and Cameras
I was a Ring Video Doorbell user for a long time before swapping to Nest Hello, and I certainly didn’t swap because there’s something wrong with Ring, but because it’s my job to try new things.
The integration allows users to toggle between the Ring app and Armorax’s app which isn’t that useful. Unlike other integrations, you can’t actually control your security cameras from the Ring app nor can you view your live feed from the Armorax app. When I say toggle, I literally mean that it’s a link that helps you quickly jump from one app to the other.
As it’s not really an integration and more of a quick link, it doesn’t matter which video doorbell or Ring camera you use as everything is still done and accessed using the Ring app. And unfortunately, in ditching Alarm.com, they also lost most of their other integrations including Skybell and Google Home, but they did retain their Amazon Alexa integration.
The Smart Link skill works with all Alexa devices. Using your voice, you can arm your system to specific modes. For example, “Alexa, tell Smart Link to arm to away mode.” You can also check your alarm status and adjust the temperature.
Armorax Customer Service & Support
Armorax offers a 3-year warranty for equipment. They also have a 30-day trial with a money-back guarantee. If you don’t like the system, you can return it within 30 days for a full refund. They even promise to pay for return shipping.
As Armorax’s system is wireless, you can take it with you if you move. Moving with the system is free. All you need to do is inform them of your new address, and they will take care of the rest.
Armorax offers the option for no-contract service and 3-year contracts. The 3-year contract requires you to use their service for 3 years. If you terminate the agreement prematurely, you will be subject to a penalty fee. The fee will depend on how many months remain on your contract.
After signing a contract, your monthly fee will be locked in for the duration of your contract and continuously if you decide to renew after three years, your monthly fee will always be the same.
For any concerns or issues, you can reach Armorax via email, phone, or live chat. According to customer reviews, they are prompt to respond to issues, and their customer service is excellent. However, when secret shopping their service, we found excessively long wait times for sales support both in chat and on the phone. I called on a Friday at 10:00 am and waited 27 minutes before giving up. And as mentioned above, two of their previously used phone numbers are no longer valid.
Perhaps my biggest issue with Amorax’s availability is that it’s all reliant on being able to reach them. They do not offer any self-help documents or videos online to help you troubleshoot, which means that if you need help, you’re going to be completely reliant upon them.
I’ll wrap this up by stating a slight concern regarding their commitment. Armorax is still new, and they’ve already made major changes. They’ve also removed almost all information from their website including their former blog. Plus, they haven’t been active on social media for a long time. I’m concerned about Armorax’s ability to hang in there with the big guys, especially with so many inexpensive options now available like Nest Secure and Ring Alarm.
My personal opinion? If you are considering Armorax, I hands down recommend you check out Link Interactive.
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