The Archos Smart Home consists of a home tablet as the central console, 2 mini-cam’s, 2 weather tags and 2 movement tags. You can also get additional peripherals including smart plugs and motion balls. We took the basic kit for a bit of a spin round our house in a few different scenario’s and here’s what we found.
The peripheral kit itself it pretty bullet proof as you can take it outdoors, get it wet and not have to worry if it will or will not work. It just works. Getting set up on the home wifi is simple and connecting each of the devices is easy enough just turn them on and follow the on screen instructions on the console. The app guides you through the process of adding the peripherals. Then it’s up to you to decide how you use each of them in combination and what alerts you use.
We tested two different scenario’s with this kit.
Scenario 1 – Baby Monitoring
The first one used the motion sensor and mini cam to see if we could monitor our little boy in his cot at night and for nap times to see what he does to get himself to sleep and to be aware if any cats came into his room. We have 3 cats and they can easily sneak into any room without us realising so we thought this would be a good test.
We found that the motion sensor was pretty sensitive and if our boy moved much at all they would detect it. All in all we were pleased with the motion sensors. The video/ photo output from the cameras however were not so good. There was a long delay of around 3 – 4 seconds between the movement and the start of the video or the capture of a picture. The quality of the images were grainy and poor and as such in this scenario you would be a LOT better off getting a dedicated video baby monitor. This device just isn’t what you would need for this.
Scenario 2 – BunnyCam
The second scenario we tried was setting up the cameras up in the rabbit hutch one on each level. We also set up the weather tags, one inside the hutch and one on the wall in the garden above the hutch. We didn’t bother with the motion sensors for this one as the bunny is pretty active anyway. Next we programmed a couple of alerts. One for the weather tag inside the hutch so that if the hutch got to over 21 c we were alerted and a second for if it got below 12 c we were alerted. Also if the humidity suggested it was likely to rain we got an alert to put the rain covers on the hutch. So basically we got reminders in the day to remove the covers if it got too warm and to add the cool plates into the hutch to look after little bunny.
The cameras we used just to see what bunny was up to and where he was without having to go outside and to show our little boy bunny playing in his hutch. Bunny did show some interest in the cameras at first but the sticky pads held well and he didn’t manage to get them down despite a few good goes. The weather tags did their job too and when the weather turned we got alerted to the incoming rain and put the rain covers on. Fortunately we don’t tend to forget to remove them on sunny days so bunny didn’t really get to over 21 c but it is a good way to ensure that he doesn’t get into a dangerous situation in the height of summer.
Overall in this scenario the kit did it’s job and whilst it would be nice to have higher quality images it wasn’t necessary. It did show what you could do without any technical knowledge and a few gadgets that connect in a connected home scenario.
Overall this kit is pretty cheap at £199 and for that money you wouldn’t expect two top spec remote cameras but it is worth being aware that the cameras aren’t great and do have delays so when you set up the kit take that into account. You do need specific scenario’s to make full use of the kit and there are addon components such as plug sensors, a higher resolution camera, siren and more. It is worth considering upgrading to the higher spec camera if you are going to use a camera indoors. The other thing that is a bit of a disappointment is the central console. From the images it looks like a slim tablet style device however it is more chunky than it looks and is more than an inch thick at it’s biggest point. This isn’t something you will have on your knee but more on a shelf or window ledge to pick up and view from time to time.
On the positive side of things it is good at tracking movement and weather changes so if you want to create your own bunny cam or detect who your child is bringing home from school with them then this would do the job.