The desire to keep tabs on our homes while away seems to have been on everyone’s minds throughout last year, with DIY home monitoring and security systems growing to fill the demand. Just about all of the solutions on the market are geared towards smart home owners, tinkerers and just all-around tech-savvy folks. But as we covered at the beginning of the January, Tabs is a new security solution with simplicity at the forefront of its design.
Tabs enters the crowded home security and monitoring market with a series of kits designed to be as intuitive as possible. Part of this emphasis revolves around general simplicity, but is also accompanied by a focus on families. And after getting a hands-on look over the past few weeks, Tabs’ design philosophy has paid off, creating one of the most well-thought out home monitors I’ve seen to date. Each of Tabs’ system bundles offer a little something different, but the $230 Home Heath and Security kit is what we’ll be focusing on today.
As with any smart home, security or monitoring system, Tabs too is based around a central hub which interfaces with its peripheral devices. The white plastic casing sports a more diverse design compared to other connected hubs. But while its design isn’t revolutionary, its feature-set is anything but typical.
Tabs’ hub is based around a LoRa network, which offers a longer range than Bluetooth typically offers alongside perks that allow devices to cost less and get longer battery life.
Aside from just controlling the add-on devices, Tabs’ hub also boasts a fully capable 802.11ac Wi-Fi router. This is further fleshed out by the addition of two extra Ethernet ports as well as parental monitoring features. This lets you to restrict specific content as well as get a breakdown of how your family is using their devices.
Lets talk about sensors |
Accompanying the gateway, the Home Heath and Security kit also includes 5 add-on devices to provide coverage around your home. These sport a similar form-factor to the hub and utilize the LoRa communication. This inclusion seems to have paid off, as my sensors have yet to lose connection and are always immediately responsive.
The Door & Window sensors are the most typical devices included in just about any home monitoring solution. Other than the fact that they work reliably, there isn’t much else to say compared to others. The same can be said for the included motion sensor, which offers a wide-angle field of view, but is effectively like any other sensor on the market.
Tabs Healthy Home sensor on the other hand can detect spikes in CO₂, harmful components in the air as well temperature and humidity. The first two have been overlooked in my smart home setup thus far, and are great additions to my other sensor metrics.
I also able to test out a location tracker, which was surprisingly accurate despite lacking built-in cellular connectivity. It can stay charged for around a week before needing to be powered up. While I don’t have kids or anyone to keep tabs on, I’ve been using it as an item finder for my backpack, giving me some piece of mind there.
Adding additional devices to the starter kit is reasonably priced, making it easier to swallow the fact that the peripherals only work with the Tabs hub. This may be an issue for some, but keep in mind Tabs’ goal is to create an easy to use system; one not necessarily targeted towards tinkerers.
Effortless setup process |
Across the board, the setup process was incredibly straightforward and took around 5-10 minutes to get everything fully configured. Those familiar with HomeKit’s scannable code-based pairing system will know how convenient it is for pairing new gadgets, and Tabs’ implementation is just as quick, if not even faster.
Having just launched, Tabs is currently only compatible with iOS devices. While this is a bummer for Android users eyeing up the system, Tabs’ emphasis on simplicity fits in perfectly with Apple’s it just works mantra.
The app itself is generally well-designed and on-par with the rest of the monitoring system. Navigating though menu’s is concise and settings are just where you think they’d be. Interfacing with the system is nearly effortless, with one of the only changes I’d like to see being how long-term data is displayed. Checking to see current metrics is a breeze, but the app lacks any real analysis of data that wasn’t collected in the past 24 hours.
I’d love to see some changes here in the future, but for now Tabs’ app is all-in-all just as solid as any other piece of the monitoring kit.
It’s not perfect |
For the most part, Tabs is a walled-off home monitoring system; meaning that its user-friendliness comes at the tradeoff of lacking integrations with external services. Adding in support for other platforms often comes at the price of a less-simplistic end product, something Tabs was trying specifically to avoid.
In day to day use this wasn’t a real issue by any means, although the ability to query your Amazon Echo or Google Home for the state of your devices would be a nice feature. This is a small gripe, but it is something that many, including myself, would find beneficial.
Closing Thoughts |
Simplicity is the best word to describe Tabs’ home monitoring system. Everything from the hardware and feature-set to iOS application is well-thought out and offers a very compelling option for homeowners looking to introduce an extra bit of piece of mind. Tabs has kept its focus reeled in, which has resulted in an extremely reliable solution. Since setting up the system a few weeks ago, I’ve had 0 issues; devices are always paired and responsive and notifications fire on-time.
While Abode may be the DIY security system made for smart home enthusiasts, Tabs is the monitoring kit for everyone else. If round-the-clock coverage isn’t a must, Tabs is an easy system to recommend. And with its effortless setup process, solid cloud monitoring services and well-made hardware, Tabs is definitely worth checking out at its $230 price point.