eTiger Security Kit ReviewBy - 12/01/2016
eTiger is unlike other self-monitored systems I’ve tested, and for the most part, that’s not necessarily a positive thing. eTiger is a self-monitored security system for those who want to use an existing phone line. If that’s not you, you might want to check out other options like Ring or Nest Secure. If that is you, read on.
eTiger Works Best With a Phone Line
The Security Kit S4 Cell + Line can use either GSM (cellular SIM card) or a landline. If you want to use a SIM card, you must purchase one, find a provider, and pay to activate it, which to me makes little sense as so many other security systems include SIM cards like Ring, Nest, abode, etc. What does make sense is connecting the system to your active phone line (ADSL box compatible) as there are very few self-monitored systems that can use a phone line. In fact, I would say that this is eTiger’s most distinguishing feature. It doesn’t use internet or even require it.
The Kit Includes a Hub and Sensors
What’s included with your kit will depend on the kit you buy. eTiger has three options.
The first option is the Security Kit S4 Cell + Line which ships with a hub that provides battery backup using two lithium-ion batteries. The batteries are powerful enough that they can power the system for 8 hours if needed. If you choose to activate the SIM card, the system will also continue to work should your landline go out or if someone cuts your landline in an attempt to disable your system. Finally, the hub also acts as a keypad, allowing you to control your system and the sensors connected to it.
The S4 Kit ships with several sensors which connect to the hub using a radio frequency. For $250, you will get two motion detectors, two door/window contacts, two remote controls, and two RFID tags.
In addition to the S4 kit I tested, there is a kit called the Security Kit Plus. This Kit includes everything I just mentioned plus an HD IP Camera. Of course, you can always add the camera to your S4 Kit at a later time if you choose to do so. Keep in mind that the camera is controlled using the mobile app, and the app requires a SIM card.
Finally, you can forgo the hub option altogether to create a local alarm. eTiger sells a standalone siren. You can connect the siren to an eTiger remote control and to at least one sensor (motion, contact, etc.) If someone opens the door, for example, the siren will sound.
Adding Additional Sensors
Of course, you can expand the kits by adding more devices. In total, you can add up to 50 sensors which is easier than it sounds as all of the sensors are battery-powered and wireless.
- Door/Window Contacts $20.00
- Outdoor Siren
- Wireless Motion Detector $25.00
- Pet-Immune Motion Detector $30.00
- Wireless Smoke Detector $25.00
- RF Remote Control $20.00
- RFID Badge
Hands-On With the eTiger Security Kit S4 Cell + Line Kit
Though the system is wireless, installing it wasn’t overly simple.
First of all, I decided not to purchase a SIM card for testing. Instead, I decided to test a landline connection. I don’t have a landline and don’t plan to get one. Fortunately, my dad uses a VoIP service called magicJack, and he agreed to let me leave the system at his house for testing. And yes, the system works with VoIP too.
Second, the control panel is designed to be wall mounted. As I wasn’t planning to use the system long term, wall mounting the control panel was a commitment I wasn’t willing to make. Also, in my dad’s house, his phone line is in the laundry room which isn’t an ideal location for a control panel.
Third, app access requires a SIM card. An app makes installation so much easier. We had to use the control panel to connect sensors, and it was a slow and irritating process.
Fourth, we couldn’t install the contact sensors as they were too big to fit on the decorative frame of my dad’s door.
Finally, using the system wasn’t overly intuitive and involved a slight learning curve.
Once you have the sensors connected to the panel, you will assign them to a zone, and there are four of them: Normal, Home, Delay, and 24 hour.
Zones tie into modes, and they dictate how a sensor will behave depending on if your system is armed, disarmed, or triggered.
Normal: Normal is pretty, well, normal. When your system is armed, and a Normal assigned sensor detects motion, it will trigger the alarm. When the system is disarmed, the siren will not sound.
Home: If you assign a sensor to Home Mode, it will not trigger the alarm when you’re home. This is ideal for night time as it will arm all of your perimeter sensors like door/window sensors but disarm sensors like motion detectors.
Delay: This zone allows you a sort of entry delay as it will trigger sensors but only after a set amount of time. eTiger recommends that you use this zone for entry sensors which will allow you to enter your home, make it to your panel, and disarm the system before the siren sounds.
24 Hour: When you assign a sensor to this zone, it is always on, always monitoring. eTiger recommends you tie smoke detectors to this zone.
Responding To and Managing Events
My dad was kind enough to test the system since it lived in his home. He set his phone up as the primary emergency contact and tested all of the sensors on and off for a couple of weeks.
When a sensor is triggered, it will send a message to the control panel. From there, your siren can sound, but it will also call your phone. The phone call alert was not instant. On average, it took about 30 seconds to come through. Once connected, the system played an automated message and offered up options for responding to the event. For example, you can press a button to disarm the system.
On the other hand, if you add a SIM card, the system can send text alerts. Also, you can control the system using the mobile app. For example, you can rename zones, rename your sensors, adjust the siren volume, and more.
Without a SIM card, you can control the system using the control panel, but there is a sort of workaround for controlling the system while away from home. You can reverse call the system to access the same menu that is presented proactively post a triggered event. You can work through the phone menu to arm the system, disarm it, and you can even turn the siren on and off.
Finally, you can use the key fob to arm and disarm the system without your phone and without an app.
The eTiger Security Kit Review S4 Cell + Line is the only self-monitored system I’ve tested that works with VoIP or a phone line, but if you want a system that works without internet, I highly recommend you invest in a cellular system. abode has a cellular only option if you want something you can self-monitor or you could go with a professionally monitored system like Frontpoint.
If you must use the eTiger system there are pros and cons. I like that it includes battery backup. I also like the phone call alerts.
I dislike the system design and the fact that the control panel ships without a stand. I also dislike that you have to add a SIM card to use the app.
You can purchase the eTiger kit from Amazon.
Disclaimer: The S4-CL Security Kit was provided to me for testing by eTiger though this did not impact my opinion.