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Myfox Home Security review: Reality fails to live up to the promise of the demo

Michael Brown | Aug. 5, 2015
As is too often the case, my enthusiasm for the Myfox Home Security System--engendered by a 30-minute pre-launch demo--has waned following real-world testing in my home. Quality-control concerns let some air out of the balloon; discovering the system's limitations lowered my opinion a bit more.

Because the siren is battery operated (four D-cells) with no provision to run it on electrical power, the 110dB siren automatically shuts off after three minutes. More typical alarm systems operate on AC power with battery backup in case of power failure, which is how the Myfox bridge and camera operate (the bridge will run for six hours on battery power, while the camera lasts just one hour). The IntelliTag relies on a single AAA battery, and the key fob operates on a CR2032 coin cell, since it wouldn't be practical to plug those devices into receptacles. Myfox says each of the replaceable batteries should last one year.

Myfox key fob and alarm modes

All that silicon renders Intellitags somewhat more expensive than their "dumb" cousins: They're $50 each, compared to $30 to $35 for the more conventional type. One Myfox system can support a maximum of 50 Intellitags. You can also add up to 50 four-button key fobs to a Myfox system (These cost $30 each). The key fob has four buttons to control the alarm system: Arm, disarm, night mode, and panic. The first two are self-explanatory. Night mode arms the system without activating the motion sensors in the cameras (if you've added them), and a panic mode that can invoked even when the system is otherwise disarmed. Press the panic button once and the system will send an alert to all registered users. Press it twice and it will also immediately sound the siren.

Key fobs can be assigned to each member of the family, and a proximity sensor in the key fob can inform the system who's home and who's away. The key fob can also automatically disarm the system when you return home. You can also configure the key fob to control the camera differently, based on who's home. You might want to leave the shutter open when your younger children get home, but have it automatically close for privacy when you, your spouse, or your older kids are in the house.

There won't be a Myfox in my house

The IntelliTag--expensive as it is--is the best element of the Myfox system. Even then, it's a bummer that it can't report the status of a door or window as being open or closed (apart from a tilt- or roll-up garage door, thanks to its tilt sensor). The rest of the package leaves even more to be desired (I'm reserving judgment on the security camera for now). The Wi-Fi bridge has limited range (328 feet if there are no obstacles in between), the siren is dependent on battery power (disposable batteries at that), and I my installation experience lends me to question the company's quality control.

 

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