Gear Review: Simtek StealthALERT Security Sensor

More than five years ago, I reviewed the original Simtek security sensor device while they were still in the midst of a crowdfunding campaign to get that first product launched. Though it was Simtek’s earliest attempt at delivering their vision, it worked exactly as it was supposed to. Fast forward to today and the brand new StealthALERT sensor is available with refined features and additional functionality.

The original unit had a light sensor and an infrared motion sensor. StealthALERT improves on those and adds an accelerometer sensor to the mix. It even provides temperature and humidity readings via the mobile app.

Should any one of those three alarms trip on the StealthALERT, the Simtek system will, if you want (more on customizing alerts later), send you an SMS text message as well as a push notification via the mobile app.

Rather than being dependent on WiFi, a hardwired internet connection, or even 5G wireless, the StealthALERT operates via a 4G cellular modem with dual antennas. It runs a global SIM card and automatically uses whatever network has the most powerful signal, though it’s designed to successfully send alerts even with the faintest of signals.

Since the StealthALERT operates off a basic, worldwide (works in 200+ countries) cell phone system and sends end-to-end encrypted alerts for up to a year on a single battery charge, it’s pretty darn sabotage-resistant and will reliably send alerts even during power and internet outages.

The white geodesic dome looking thing is the light sensor. If the StealthALERT is in the dark, it alerts if it gets brighter. For instance, if it’s inside of a drawer, a suitcase, a liquor cabinet, a gun safe, a storage unit, a crypt, an RV or sailboat, the trunk of a vehicle, a closet, a coffin, a storage shed, a Pelican case, a secret lair, a toolbox… It’ll alert when those things are opened.

The sensor in the middle of that red area is the infrared motion sensor. It “sees” an approximately 15-foot by 15-foot area and detects movement inside of that area just like a typical security alarm motion sensor.

New to the StealthALERT is an accelerometer, which detects movement or vibration of the sensor itself. This is a smart addition as it will alarm first in many scenarios, such as an attempted safe break-in, vehicle trunk break-in, theft of a small safe or suitcase, etc. In those scenarios, the light and infrared motion sensors may not alarm until the container (safe, trunk, etc.) is opened, whereas the accelerometer is likely to trigger upon initial tampering.

Also new to the StealthALERT is the ability to turn off the light and vibration sensors. By opening up the external clamshell housing of the unit, the owner can flip a light switch style switch between “on” and “off” right there on the circuit board. There’s one for “LIGHT” and one for “VIBRATION” as marked next to each switch on the board.

Having the option to turn those off is great for certain use cases. For instance, turning off the light sensor in order to alarm an RV or boat with the StealthALERT located somewhere that’s exposed to natural light. Or turning off the vibration sensor to alarm a glove box, trunk, suitcase, gun case, etc.

If you aren’t looking to disable a sensor, but do want to mute alerts for a hot minute (e.g. you’re going in and out of your safe), this can be done via the mobile app. There’s a bell icon in the top, right corner of the main app dashboard, and clicking it brings up the menu seen above. Just choose for how long you want alerts muted, and it’s done. No more text messages or push notifications.

You’ll know alerts are muted, because that bell icon has turned orange and has a line through it until notifications are live again.

All that said, even while muted the unit itself still alerts and the app still logs the alerts. You just don’t get notified.

Within the app settings you can adjust the name of your device, the text of the alert message, whether or not to receive push notifications (if you turn that off you’ll continue to receive text messages), or mute all notifications more permanently than the bell option on the main page provides for.

Text messages look like text messages. As you can see in the previous screenshot, if you edit the name and message then it changes almost all of the text message you’ll receive, minus the part where it informs you what sensor was triggered in your StealthAlert.

The mobile app allows multiple StealthALERT sensors to be linked to a single account and you can adjust and name each one separately. In addition, you can add trusted people who will receive the same alerts that you do.

Clicking on any of the alerts that are logged within the app brings up the screen above. It shows a detailed map of cell phone network-triangulated location (accurate to within about a city block…I zoomed way out on the map for the screenshot above so you can’t see where my house is, because the default zoom showed like a four-by-four block area and the pin was only a few houses away), battery level, 4G signal strength, which sensor was triggered, the temperature of the unit, the humidity at the unit, and the unit’s approximate latitude and longitude coordinates with a handy link right there to open your phone’s default map program.

In my neighborhood, with the StealthALERT inside of my Lincoln Safe, it has a weak signal without the use of the included, external antenna and a good to strong signal with the antenna plugged in.

I won’t actually bother using the external antenna, though, as a weak signal is still more than enough. Because of how simple the message sent by the StealthALERT is, it makes it out just fine with barely any signal required whatsoever.

There she is, set facing forwards on the top shelf of my Lincoln Safe safe.

A micro USB port allows the removable 123A battery to be charged while it’s inside the unit. You can also pop it out of the bottom battery drawer and charge it elsewhere, swap it with a fully-charged one, or leave the unit plugged in at all times.

Then again, the battery lasts about a year even if the unit is alerting 10 times per month, so charging it isn’t a huge concern. Especially since the darn thing sends you an alert when the battery gets low, so you don’t even have to remember on your own!

Simtek’s new StealthALERT arrived in really nice packaging and took me all of like 52 seconds to set up. I used the app to scan the QR code on the bottom of the sensor, it registered the sensor to my app, I typed in my phone number, and it was done and active. Couldn’t be easier.

As with Simtek’s first release, the StealthALERT is simple and reliable. It does exactly what it’s supposed to exactly when it’s supposed to. The addition of internal switches to disable sensors, and the app’s ability to mute alarms, log temperature and humidity, and more is really great.

The StealthALERT is a fantastic product with dozens of meaningful uses. It’s pretty wild that it can be thrown in a suitcase while you travel around the world and it’ll just continue to work, connecting automatically to the cell phone networks wherever you go.

Which reminds me . . . the only downside to anything that operates on the cellular network is a monthly payment for the data plan. It’s probably less than you’d expect, though, at $4.20 per month or $46.20 if paid up-front annually (get one month free). There’s no contract and it can be cancelled at any time. You simply pay from within the mobile app.

I find everything about the StealthALERT to be simple, effective, and secure. There are so many great ways to use one or more sensors, and they’re also a solid backup to a household or commercial security system that relies on power and/or an internet connection to function. The StealthALERT can’t be hacked, is nearly invulnerable to typical power and internet outages, and alerts reliably.

Specifications: Simtek StealthALERT

Dimensions: 1.48” x 3.66” x 3.26”
Weight: 3.6oz / 104g
Material: ABS plastic
Battery life: Up to 1 year
Sensors: Infrared Motion (PIR), Light, Accelerometer
Sensivity: 15′ x 15′ Motion Range, Any Visible light, Medium Vibration
Connectivity: 4G Cellular (LTE/GSM/UMTS)
Cellular Range: Worldwide coverage. High performance global Simtek simcard preinstalled
Battery Type: Rechargeable Lithium Ion Battery: RCR123a 650 mah
Warranty: 1 year limited, includes technical support
MSRP: $200 (on sale right now for $150)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Overall  * * * * *
The Simtek StealthALERT is a great idea, well-executed. It serves an extremely clear purpose and it does it reliably and correctly, with the right amount of end-user customization to accommodate different use cases. It’s a smart addition to any security system, whether it’s keeping teenagers out of the liquor cabinet, alarming a storage unit, as a backup to an alarm system that’s dependent on power and/or internet service, or for any of the other potential uses (both silly and serious) listed in the review.


Source link