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The Piper nv Home Security system is another in a long line of IP cameras that are branching out their detection capabilities, including door sensors and smart outlets to bring attention to break ins as they happen, and using WiFi and your smartphone to notify you as soon as a burglary is in progress. But does this system do enough to evolve beyond the same Internet of Things technology pieces we’ve already seen, to qualify as a best home security system that’s strong enough to protect your home on its own without your neighbors getting involved in the process?
Read on in my Piper nv Home Security system review to find out!
Price: $279.99 on Amazon
Summary: The Piper nv is a great home security system for those who live in urban or suburban areas with lots of neighbors around to respond to break ins, but may not be the best fit for rural customers who need actual police response to stop burglars in their tracks.
What We Liked
What We Didn’t
The Piper nv Home Security system that we tested came with three main components: the primary IP camera/motion/temperature sensor, one door/window sensor, and a smart outlet which can plug into a light or series of lights set to trigger if an intrusion is detected. The main camera uses a 3.4MP lens that records motion in a 180° wide-angle field of view, while the lens is surrounded by a series of IR LEDs that gives the Piper the ability to see in the night, hence the “nv” in its name. If you only need a camera with a HD camera, motion sensor, a siren, and a smoke detector, check out the Novi 4 in 1 HD home security system review.
Overall while the camera housing was quite a bit larger than what we’ve seen on competing IP cameras, on the whole it was still relatively easy to hide thanks to the wall-mounting kit which we used to place it in a high corner of the foyer, out of sight from any prospective thieves. The included door monitor was quite a bit smaller than what we saw on the Scout Home Security system, likely due in part to the lack of any RFID sensors that could be used to disable the system outside of the app itself. Ever heard of a security system with a 14-day trial period? Open the Protect America home security system review.
Like many other home security products in this category, the Piper nv is a 100% DIY operation, letting you take the product out of the box and have it up and running from your smartphone in a matter of about 30 minutes or less.
Getting all the different pieces of the Piper installed and talking to one another wasn’t that much different from what we encountered on the Scout, whether it was mounting the sticky sensors on the front door or getting the motion sensor dialed in to a point of sensitivity where it would ignore the rampages of a bored housecat, but still pick up the motion of a full-sized human who’s in the process of robbing your house blind. These systems are designed from the start to be so simple that any user can get it running on their own, but just in case you hit a snag Piper has a dedicated support staff that can walk you through the process too.
The Piper app is far and away one of the sleekest, most well-tuned pieces of software we’ve used in the home security sector to date…but that doesn’t mean it’s not still without its failings. First and foremost there’s the issue of no IFTTT integrations, which could be a sticking point for some, but also wasn’t an issue for us when we really dug into the app to see what it could do on its own.
The Piper Home Security app on iOS 10 was extensively equipped with just about every customization you could think of, whether it was defining how the alarm reacted when it detected personal movement, to acutely tuning how sensitive the motion sensor/camera would be if you had a pet wandering around the house while you were away.
All the expected additions were also here, including a timeline which broke down all the events that had been logged on the system since activation, as well as the option to set different arming scenarios depending on what level of protection you wanted for the time of day. This includes an “away” mode which will set the alarm into high-alert if anything goes wrong, down to a “stay secure” option which turns the sensitivity of the camera down to a minimum while still keeping the sensors alive in case you’re sleeping upstairs and need to know if a door is opened at 3AM without your consent.
One of the coolest features we found was a sort of “summary” view in the Home Vitals section, which showed off not only when motion was detected by the main camera, but also the temperature of the room it was in, the amount of noise, as well as other smaller notations like the humidity and brightness at any given point. Personally I didn’t have much use for this info, but if you’re someone who’s just as worried about getting burgled as you are about mold damage, this is definitely the all-in-one sensor system for you.
Without the inclusion of 24/7 monitoring, it’s difficult to rate the performance of the Piper nv from a pure “home security” standpoint. On the one hand, the siren on the camera unit itself is insanely loud, recorded at a decibel level of 128.6dB on our own sensor from around 10ft away. This ensures that no matter how deeply you sleep, you’re sure to be woken up by its ear-piercing screech at any time of the night. Plus, as long as your neighbors don’t have their home audio up too loud, they’ll be sure to hear it too.
On the other, we’re left with the fact that the Piper nv, for all intents and purposes, isn’t much more than a glorified IP camera in a security sheep’s clothing. When we tested the Netgear Arlo Q IP Camera, we found that its integration of IFTTT features made it easy to set up the same Trusted Circle alerts that came with the Piper, all for less money and less hassle than the latter offered in the first place.
In the stock setup, the Piper nv includes three sensors and unlimited access to the smartphone app for a flat fee of $279.
Unlike the Scout, the Piper nv includes no additional options to tack on 24/7 professional monitoring if you plan on taking your home’s security seriously. This means that if the unit is unplugged/batteries are taken out or the door sensor fails, your only choice of recourse is to have your neighbors included as a part of the Trusted Circle and hope that they’re both home and awake enough to trudge over to your house to see what all the hubbub was about.
The problem with the lack of actual monitoring on the Piper nv Home Security system, is that all it would take is about 20 seconds of the siren going off for a real burglar to get in the house, disconnect the camera, and call it a day. I remember years ago, Discovery Channel had a show where career (since reformed) burglars would showcase how quickly they could get in and out of a home with tens of thousands of dollars of valuables in a matter of minutes, often way before professional systems from the likes of Bay or ADT could even make the call for the police to show up at the scene.
If you’re looking for a full home security solution and you don’t live in an area where your neighbors will be able to act as the police to stop your house from being cleaned out, you’re better off going with the aforementioned companies. The Piper nv isn’t a device that’s going to completely keep your home safe, especially if you live in a rural area with neighbors that could take five or ten minutes to get to your place by the time the alarm goes off on their phone.
That said, if you want a one-time purchase option that will keep an eye on your pets while you’re away, make sure your nanny is doing her job correctly, or prevent your kids from throwing a raging house party while you’re on vacation – the Piper nv Home Security system is still a solid pick all-around thanks to its solid mobile app and simple setup for the average user.