Reviews

Qolsys IQ Smart Socket - 2-Outlet Z-Wave Controller Compatible w/ Qolsys IQ & IQ Panel 2

Good Plug-In Module
Submitted on 09/28/2020 Alarm Grid

The Qolsys IQ Smart Socket is a discontinued plug-in socket that uses classic Z-Wave technology. By plugging this device into an outlet and pairing it with your Z-Wave network, you can gain smart control for the connected devices. There are two (2) controllable outlets on the Qolsys IQ Smart Socket, and you can control them independently of one another. This makes it very useful for controlling connected devices the way you want. Unfortunately, the device has been discontinued, and it is largely seen as outdated for not using Z-Wave Plus technology. But it was still very good for its time, and some users with classic Z-Wave controllers still continue to seek it out. We give the Qolsys IQ Smart Socket a 5-Star rating.

There are many things to like about the Qolsys IQ Smart Socket. The fact that the two (2) controllable outlets operate independently of one another is a major benefit, as it gives you greater flexibility in controlling the device. The LCD screen on the Qolsys IQ Smart Socket provides wattage information for both of the connected devices. This can be very useful in ensuring that you do not exceed the maximum allowed power load. There are also LED lights on the unit that are good for verifying power and general troubleshooting. We like the fact that there is a slot for an outlet screw to help you secure the plug-in module to an outlet.

There are some downsides for the Qolsys IQ Smart Socket. For one, the device is discontinued, and it can no longer be purchased new. Although the outlets can be controlled independently, only one outlet (No. 1) can be controlled using Z-Wave technology. The other outlet can only be toggled ON/OFF locally at the device. The fact that this device uses classic Z-Wave technology is also seen as a downside, as it will not have as far of a range as a Z-Wave Plus device when paired with a Z-Wave Plus controller. But these downsides are relatively minor, and they do not stop us from giving the IQ Smart Socket a 5-Star score.

Good: Two Controllable Outlets Operate Independently, LCD Screen Offers Wattage Information, LED Lights, Slot for Outlet Screw

Bad: Discontinued, Classic Z-Wave, Only One Outlet Uses Z-Wave

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

Honeywell IPCAM-PT2 - Alarmnet Pan/Tilt IP Security Camera

Good Legacy Camera
Submitted on 09/28/2020 Alarm Grid

The Honeywell IPCAM-PT2 is a legacy pan-tilt camera designed for use with Total Connect 2.0. By activating this camera, you will be able to access its live feed from the Total Connect 2.0 platform. You can also live-stream it from certain Honeywell Panels and touchscreen keypads. The main highlight of this camera is its ability to pan and tilt, which can be very useful for scanning an area and detecting activity that occurs. Pan and tilt functionality can be conveniently controlled from Total Connect 2.0. The camera is triggered and begins capturing clips once its integrated motion sensor detects movement. This is a fine camera, and we give it a 5-Star rating.

There are many things to like about the Honeywell IPCAM-PT2. Arguably its best feature is its ability to pan and tilt. This allows you to adjust where the camera is looking so that you can scan the area to search for activity. We appreciate the fact that you can live-stream this camera from both TC2 and compatible panels and keypads. The camera offers a nice recording resolution, which is basically the equivalent to 720p. The camera can be paired with an IP network across either ethernet or WIFI, which adds some flexibility in setup.

There are some downsides for the Honeywell IPCAM-PT2. As a legacy camera, the Honeywell IPCAM-PT2 had to be online when Honeywell pushed down a critical firmware update to make it compatible with their new HTML5 streaming platform. If the camera was not online to receive the update, then it can no longer be used with Total Connect 2.0. Another drawback for the Honeywell IPCAM-PT2 is the fact that it does not have IR illuminators. It does have white LED lights that can be manually triggered, but these don't really work quite as well. The fact that this camera lacks audio recording capabilities is also a downside. But the Honeywell IPCAM-PT2 is still pretty good for a legacy camera, and it is still used by many Total Connect 2.0 users to this day. It gets 5 Stars from Alarm Grid.

Good: Pan-Tilt, Live-Stream From TC2 and/or Compatible Panel/Keypad, 720p, WIFI or Ethernet Option

Bad: Will Not Work if Didn't Receive Critical Firmware Update, No IR Illuminators, No Audio Recording

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

Leviton VRS05-1LZ - 5A Incandescent Z-Wave Switch

Better Light Switches Available
Submitted on 09/28/2020 Alarm Grid

The Leviton VRS05-1LZ is a 5 amp Z-Wave in-wall light switch for incandescent lights. The switch cannot be used with compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulbs. But it can support 3-way and other multi-pole lighting configurations when paired with other devices from the Leviton Vizia RF+ Series. The in-wall switch can be readily paired with a Z-Wave controller. It can be paired with both classic Z-Wave and Z-Wave Plus controllers, but its wireless range is not as long as a Z-Wave Plus switch when used with a Z-Wave Plus controller. Overall, this is a relatively limited in-wall switch, so we only give the Leviton VRS05-1LZ a 3-Star rating.

There are positive aspects regarding the Leviton VRS05-1LZ. For one, it provides smart control for the connected hardwired lights. The in-wall switch can be used with virtually any Z-Wave or Z-Wave Plus controller or hub, which makes it quite versatile. By adding other devices from the Vizia RF+ Series, you can use it in a 3-way or other multiple setup.

But there are also many drawbacks to the Leviton VRS05-1LZ. The in-wall switch is only standard Z-Wave, not Z-Wave Plus. If you have a Z-Wave Plus controller, you will want to strongly consider getting a Z-Wave Plus switch instead. Its maximum supported lighting load of 5 amps (600 watts) is quite paltry, and there are many in-wall switches available that are more robust. The fact that a neutral wire is required is also a letdown, as many newer switches do not have this requirement. We are also disappointed that the Leviton VRS05-1LZ cannot support CFL light bulbs. While the multi-pole setup possibilities are nice, it is important to note that a traveler wire is required for such a configuration. Due to these limitations, the Leviton VRS05-1LZ only gets 3 Stars from Alarm Grid.

Good: Smart Control, Versatile, Multi-Pole Possibilities

Bad: Standard Z-Wave, Small Maximum Load, Neutral Wire Required, No CFL Light Support, Traveler Wire Needed for Multi-Pole

Bottom Line: 3 Stars

2GIG BATTERY-GC3 - Backup Battery for GC3 & GC3e

Good Backup Battery
Submitted on 09/28/2020 Alarm Grid

The 2GIG BATTERY-GC3 is a replacement backup battery for the 2GIG GC3 and 2GIG GC3e Security Systems. A user will typically purchase this battery once the original one for their GC3 or GC3e has reached the end of its product life and its no longer capable of storing a charge. This usually happens after several years. Fortunately, the replacement 2GIG BATTERY-GC3 can be installed in the same way as the old one, and it should serve as a reliable backup power option for several years if used properly. This is a very good backup battery for a 2GIG GC3 or 2GIG GC3e, so we award it with a 5-Star rating.

There are many things to like about the 2GIG BATTERY-GC3. The battery has a maximum power time of 24 hours, which is quite long for a security system backup battery. This makes it very useful for users who may experience extended power outages. Any user who is prone to longer power outages is advised to get a power generator. The fact that the 2GIG BATTERY-GC3 has a convenient plug-in connector is also a positive attribute, as it makes the battery easy to install inside the GC3 or GC3e. We have found that the battery works reliably, which is very important for keeping the system powered on during an electrical outage.

There are not many downsides for the 2GIG BATTERY-GC3. Like any backup battery, the 2GIG BATTERY-GC3 will lose its ability to store a charge over time. This gives it a limited useful product life, and it will eventually need to be replaced. The backup battery compartment for a 2GIG GC3 or 2GIG GC3e cannot be accessed while the panel is closed, so you will need to open up the panel to remove the old battery and install a new one. But these downsides are largely insignificant, and they do not stop us from giving the 2GIG BATTERY-GC3 a score of 5 Stars.

Good: 24-Hour Max Power Time, Plug-In Connector, Reliable

Bad: Lose Ability to Store Charge Over Time, Requires Opening Panel

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

Honeywell 6152RF - Fixed English Keypad

Better VISTA Keypads Available
Submitted on 09/28/2020 Alarm Grid

The Honeywell 6152RF is a wired numeric keypad for a Honeywell VISTA Security System. It is a Fixed English Keypad, making it good for basic arming and disarming and bypassing zones. However, it is not recommended for programming a system. The keypad also includes a built-in 345 MHz RF receiver, which will allow you to start using wireless Honeywell 5800 Sensors with your VISTA System. Unfortunately, the built-in receiver is extremely limited, and it will only allow you to build up to 16 wireless zones on the system. Overall, we cannot recommend this keypad over the Honeywell 6150RF, which is better all around. We only give the Honeywell 6152RF a 3-Star rating.

There are some positive aspects for the Honeywell 6152RF. The keypad allows for basic arming and disarming and bypassing zones. The backlit keys and backlit display screen make it easy to use the keypad in a dark setting. The keypad has a built-in piezo sounder, which is good for alerting building occupants to a system alarm. While the keypad's integrated receiver is extremely limited, the fact that it even has one has to be considered a positive attribute. If you don't have many wireless zones to add, then the Honeywell 6152RF can work fine in that regard.

But the downsides for the Honeywell 6152RF should not be ignored. Since this is a Fixed English keypad, you will be operating blindly if you try to use it for programming. Therefore, an Alphanumeric Keypad like a Honeywell 6160RF is strongly recommended for programming the system. The fact that the built-in wireless transceiver only supports up to 16 zones is a disappointment, as unlimited zone wireless transceivers are readily available. We are also saddened by the fact that the Honeywell 6152RF lacks a tamper switch, and it does not have any volume control. One final negative aspect is that the keypad is discontinued, and it can no longer be purchased new. All things considered, we give the Honeywell 6152RF a score of 3 Stars.

Good: Basic Arming & Disarming and Zone Bypassing, Wireless RF Transceiver. Backlit Keys & Screen, Piezo Sounder

Bad: Not Useful for Programming, Transceiver Only Supports 16 Wireless Zones, No Tamper Switch, No Volume Control, Discontinued

Bottom Line: 3 Stars

DSC WS9LCDWF9 - PowerG Wireless Arming Station

Good Basic Keypad for PowerG Systems
Submitted on 09/28/2020 Alarm Grid

The DSC WS9LCDWF9 is a wireless push-button keypad for a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus or a DSC Iotega Security System. It is commonly referred to as the DSC PowerG Wireless Arming Station. Alarm Grid often recommends this keypad for Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus users who need a secondary keypad, but they don't necessarily need something as powerful and robust as the Qolsys IQ Remote. For reference, the IQ Remote has a touchscreen that mimics the IQ Panel 2, as well as automation control and the ability to live-stream cameras. With the DSC WS9LCDWF9, you get something much more basic. But for some users, that's perfectly fine, and they prefer to save money with this standard wireless keypad. We give this product a 5-Star rating.

There are many things to like about the DSC WS9LCDWF9 Keypad. For one, it can be readily used with any wireless PowerG Alarm System. These include the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus and the DSC Iotega. The keypad is great for arming, disarming, bypassing zones, and checking system status. It also offers Chime capabilities. We like the backlit keys on the numeric keypad, as they make it easier to control the system at night or in the dark. The keypad is small and compact, so it won't take up too much space. We also like the fact that the wireless keypad provides a good communication range, and it offers 128-bit AES encryption for enhanced wireless security. The fact that this keypad supports multiple languages (English, French, and Spanish) is also a plus. The keypad has multiple power options, as it can use a plug-in AC transformer (sold separately) or four (4) AA batteries. One other positive is that the keypad has a tamper switch to let the system know if someone opens it up.

There are some downsides for the DSC WS9LCDWF9 Keypad. The keypad cannot be used with the DSC PowerSeries NEO, even if a wireless transceiver has been added for PowerG support. The lack of a touchscreen is expected for a budget keypad, but many users won't mind spending more for a touchscreen keypad. The keypad lacks the ability to program a system, and it also cannot be used for automation control. It is also somewhat disappointing how the keypad cannot be used for programming the system. But these downsides are not very significant, and we are still able to give this product a 5-Star score.

Good: For Wireless PowerG Alarm Panels, Complete Basic Functionality, Chime, Backlit Keys, Small & Compact, Good Range. 128-Bit AES Encryption, Multiple Languages, Use AC Power or Battery Power, Tamper Switch

Bad: Not for DSC PowerSeries NEO, No Touchscreen, No Automation Control, No Advanced Programming

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

DSC SCW9057-433 - Impassa Wireless Security System

Much Better Systems Exist
Submitted on 09/28/2020 Alarm Grid

The DSC SCW457J, better known as the DSC Impassa, is a wireless all-in-one alarm panel. This panel represented an early wireless offering from Digital Security Controls (DSC), a Canadian security equipment manufacturer. The panel is actually still widely used as of 2020. It doesn't really offer any advanced or particularly powerful features, but it works quite well for basic alarm monitoring service. At Alarm Grid, we are not big fans of the Impassa, as we think other panels are easier to set up, and there are better options around. But if you move into a new home and find an existing Impassa System on the wall, then you can usually install an LTE cellular communicator and get it up and running for monitoring service. Otherwise, we don't recommend hunting down an Impassa or making it a go-to option for alarm monitoring. Based on our experiences with the DSC SCW457J, we give it a 3-Star rating.

The DSC Impassa does have some positive attributes. The system has dual-path (LTE & IP) communicators available that you can add for alarm monitoring. Our favorite option is the DSC TL8055LTVZ. By adding this communicator to the Impassa, you can activate it and expect it to remain monitored for a very long time. The LTE networks are not going anywhere any time soon, so with a new communicator, you can have the fortune of keeping the Impassa as a mainstay in your home or business for potentially decades into the future. If you are fine with a very basic, no-frills security system, then this may be an option for you. The communicator will also allow you to set up a Z-Wave automation network with the system. You will also be able to control your Impassa remotely through Alarm.com, provided that the service is included in your monitoring plan. One other positive thing we must admit about the DSC SCW457J Impassa is that it does have a good build-quality. These things never seem to die, and we regularly hear from new customers who want to start service with an existing Impassa that they have around. Keep in mind that adding a cell communicator to an Impassa will require that the system is running Firmware Version 1.3 or higher. If your Impassa is on a lower firmware version, then you will almost certainly need to replace it.

While the Impassa is admittedly a viable security system, we don't necessarily recommend using one. This is for several reasons. The design is outdated. It's basically a large brick, and its numeric push-button keypad is cumbersome and difficult to understand. Unlike a system with touchscreen controls and clearly defined menus, new users will have a difficult time navigating the Impassa and setting it up. New users might also feel intimidated by the Impassa, and they will typically prefer an easier to understand system such as the Honeywell Lyric or the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus. There are no encrypted sensor options for the Impassa, which can be disappointing for users who want to set up the most secure alarm system possible. Local automation control is impossible for the Impassa, and all your Z-Wave operation will need to come from Alarm.com. Finally, the panel is discontinued, and you will be unlikely to find it new. And we don't necessarily advise seeking out a used model either, simply because there are so many better systems out there. For these reasons, we only give the DSC SCW457J a 3-Star score.

Good: LTE Communicator Available, Remote Z-Wave Capability w/ Communicator, Alarm.com, Good Build Quality

Bad: Dated Design, Numeric Keypad w/o Touchscreen, No Encrypted Sensors. No Local Automation Control, Difficult to Program & Use, Discontinued

Bottom Line: 3 Stars

Honeywell GSM-EAA - AlarmNet External Antenna Accessory

No Longer Needed
Submitted on 09/28/2020 Alarm Grid

The Honeywell GSM-EAA is an accessory that is used when connecting a Honeywell CELL-ANT3DB or Honeywell GSM-ANT antenna to a compatible AlarmNet Communicator. Only certain communicators require the Honeywell GSM-EAA when adding an antenna, due to the fact that they otherwise lack the necessary connector. It is mostly older communicator models that warrant the use of the Honeywell GSM-EAA, and you will rarely require one with any LTE communicator that you are setting up. As a result, Honeywell has discontinued the Honeywell GSM-EAA, without providing any replacement. But since the Honeywell GSM-EAA worked very well for its intended purpose, we still give the product a 5-Star rating.

The main thing to like about the Honeywell GSM-EAA is that it allowed you to complete the connection between the Honeywell CELL-ANT3DB or Honeywell GSM-ANT and certain Honeywell AlarmNet Communicators. The accessory was primarily used 2G communicators. These communicators connected with 2G cellular networks. The 2G networks have mostly been shut down by now. They were replaced with 3G and 4G networks, which have since been replaced by LTE networks. You cannot activate a 2G communicator for monitoring service, and existing communicators that were already activated have stopped working. This is because the networks are shut down and no longer in service. As for the Honeywell GSM-EAA, we also appreciated its good build quality.

Unfortunately for the Honeywell GSM-EAA, it isn't really used today. Newer AlarmNet Communicators already have the connector needed to support an added antenna, so the GSM-EAA isn't needed. The product is discontinued, and you are unlikely to find it new. You probably shouldn't look for a used model either, as it isn't needed for any practical purpose. The only reason we give this product a 5-Star score is because it was once useful, and it never really did anything wrong.

Good: Complete Connection b/w Communicator & Antenna, Strong Build Quality

Bad: New Communicators Don't Need It, Discontinued

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

DSC WS4938 - 1 Button Wireless Key Fob, 2 Sec Delay Panic

Good Panic Button
Submitted on 09/24/2020 Alarm Grid

The DSC WS4938 is a single-button panic switch for security systems that accept the 433 MHz wireless frequency. Compatible systems include the DSC Impassa, a DSC PowerSeries with added receiver, and the 433 MHz Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus. The device is very easy to use, as you simply press and hold the single button on the fob for at least two (2) seconds. Many users will keep the device on-hand at all times in case an emergency situation occurs. Overall, we think this is a simple, yet effective single-button panic switch. We give the DSC WS4938 a 5-Star rating.

There are many things to like about the DSC WS4938. For one, the button is large and easy to press. The fact that you need to hold the button for two (2) full seconds is a nice touch, as that helps prevent false alarms. We like the fact that the device comes with a neck strap and a multi-function clip. These accessories make it less likely that a user will lose the DSC WS4938. Another positive aspect is the fact that the device is water resistant, so a user can carry it in the shower or bath. However, it should not be fully submerged in liquid. Finally, we like how the device can be programmed to trigger an intrusion, fire, or auxiliary medical panic, depending on the needs of the user.

There are not many downsides for the DSC WS4938. One limitation is that the device is only for 433 MHz security systems, which does restrict how the device can be used. We also don't like how the panic switch is very bare, with nothing more than a base black design. We're not expecting a grand and glorious design, but this is indeed one of the plainest sensors we have ever seen, and some users may forget its function as a result. There is also the consideration that you will need to replace the CR2025 coin battery every few years to keep the device running. But really, these downsides are nothing major, and they do not stop us from awarding the DSC WS4938 with a 5-Star score.

Good: Large Button, Easy to Press, Requires 2-Second Input, Prevents False Alarms, Included Accessories, Water Resistant, Program as Needed

Bad: 433 MHz Systems Only, Very Bare & Plain Device, Will Require Battery Replacements

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

Honeywell LTE-L3V - Verizon LTE Cellular Communicator for L3000

Great L3000 Communicator!
Submitted on 09/24/2020 Alarm Grid

The Honeywell LTE-L3V is a Verizon LTE Communicator for a Honeywell L3000 Security System. By installing and activating this communicator, a Honeywell L3000 can communicate with the AlarmNet servers. This is necessary for getting the system monitored and set up with the Total Connect 2.0 interactive service platform. The module is extremely reliable, due to the fact that it relies on cellular connectivity. Overall, this is an excellent communicator option for anyone with a Honeywell L3000 System who wants to receive reliable alarm monitoring service. We give the Honeywell LTE-L3V a perfect 5-Star rating.

There are many things to like about the Honeywell LTE-L3V. For one, the communicator connects with the Verizon LTE Network. It is very important to choose an LTE communicator, because the LTE cellular networks are going to be kept in service for a very long time. Older 3G and CDMA networks are in the process of being shut down in favor of newer LTE networks. Even once 5G is inevitably released, LTE networks will be kept running as a backup. We also like the fact that the Honeywell LTE-L3V allows for connectivity with the Total Connect 2.0 platform. This service is great for controlling your Honeywell L3000 System remotely using a web browser or an app on your phone. And of course, as a cellular communicator, the Honeywell LTE-L3V provides reliable connectivity.

There are not many downsides for the Honeywell LTE-L3V. Like any communicator for the system, the Honeywell LTE-L3V will need to be installed inside the L3000. This can be slightly inconvenient, but you only need to do it once. There is also the consideration that you must pay for cellular monitoring service with the LTE-L3V, which is more expensive than IP-only monitoring. Finally, the Honeywell LTE-L3V is for the L3000 only, which does limit how it can be used. But these downsides are nothing too significant, and they do not stop us from awarding the Honeywell LTE-L3V a perfect 5-Star score.

Good: LTE Communicator, Total Connect 2.0, Reliable

Bad: Must be Installed, Cellular is More Expensive, For L3000 Only

Bottom Line: 5 Stars