(Referenced product: Models SR-3xx)
I have owned one of these alarm systems for about 12 months now, and am finding myself increasingly frustrated with it.
To give a brief overview: The physical alarm sensors and control hub are an ODM product by Climax Technology in Taiwan (its original model number is MZ-1), this part of the package is quite well engineered. There are some tiny issues with the firmware on the control hub, but these could easily be fixed, provided that Yale ever asks them to. Here is the manual from another vendor who sells it, and we can see that it has an awful lot of handy features, but don’t get too excited, almost none of that is included in Yale’s cut of the product.
What really lets the package down is the App, which is the only way to interact with it. Despite two updates since I purchased, none of the issues I originally found/reported have been addressed, including the worst of them all: Excessive battery drain – which in the latest update, is now even worse. I strongly suspect it is developed by a different party, as in the case of other vendors, a smartphone app is not included.
I speak only from the point of view of having used the Android app, so cannot comment on the iOS edition, but can say that the two are functionally identical. There is little point in me detailing all the issues, as that has been done at length on the Google Play reviews.
Instead I would point any prospective buyers at what I think is the most significant pitfall of this product – that very attractive upfront promise: No monthly fees.
It’s true, you don’t pay anything per month, but quite frankly, I’d be happy to spare £5 a month for an alarm system that works and is issue free.
With every man and his dog wanting an app for something-or-other these days, app developers have become rather sought after, and therefore very expensive. Many work for app companies who also expect their own profits – Yale not being a company I would expect to have a large tech apparatus, It’s likely they are dependent on one or more such firms for their apps. This is bolstered by the observation of customer services using the term “Product Managers” instead of “Developers”, in reference to who issues are going to be passed on to.
That having been said, it’s not surprising, that Yale with only a bit of margin on successive retail sales to spend, has not got much to splash out on bug fixes, let alone adding all of the new features people are already asking for, ironically in many cases, features that the original package from Climax already supports.
My advice to Yale: A lot of people have expended significant effort physically installing one of these kits into their homes, and they’re clearly not happy. Get the issues fixed. You know what they are. If budgets are as tight as they appear to be, don’t even think about adding more features until what’s already there works properly.
Will we ever get a bug free system? In my case, likely not before my patience expires.