White Piper on Wall

Piper NV Security System Review – A Peek In My Home

Our Security System of Choice

A Smart Home Security Option

There are several smart home security systems and cameras on the market these days. Nest has its Nest Cam (formerly Dropcam), plus there are set ups from Belkin, Canary, and Netgear, among others. But one that’s been garnering a lot of buzz lately is the Piper NV. I’ve known about Piper since the original one pulled in over $300,000 USD in its 2013 Indiegogo campaign — more than three times its original goal. So, as you might imagine, I was pretty excited when I was given one to test out.

White Piper Kid's Room

Piper NV On Guard

I got a Piper NV hub, which is really the heart of the system. There are several accessories and add ons for the Piper, and I was given two: a door/window sensor and a smart switch, both of which were easy to connect via z-wave using the Piper app.

I was given my Piper kit right before the holidays, which worked out great, as we were planning to be in Lyon, France for a few days before and after the New Year. What better way to test out a smart home security system than to have it watch our house when we were out of town? We were excited to get it all setup and see how it performed. Once we had the main unit, sensor, and smart switch where we wanted them, we were able to configure the whole thing in under five minutes. Immediately, I was impressed at how easy it all was.

Useful Piper NV Features

Before I even unboxed and set up the Piper NV, I was impressed at its multitude of features. Yes, it’s a security camera, and yes, it sends alerts and notifications, but it does more than that. For starters, the camera is controllable through the app; if you’re watching and something of interest goes off camera, you can pan over. The camera works even in low light (the NV stands for night vision), and there’s also a motion detector. And, if you see intruders or unwelcome entrants, the unit has a siren louder than 100 db to scare the life out of them.

White Piper NV on Shelf

Piper NV is really an all-in-one smart hub, as it also facilitates automation, thanks to the z-wave accessories, and monitors its environment. The main unit can sense temperature, humidity, ambient light, and ambient sound, helping you to make decisions about your home even when you’re not there.

It has a 180 degree fish eye HD camera, and I thought the best place to put it was on the far wall in the living room. It had a view of the front door, most of the house’s common space, and the hallway; if anything was going on in the house while we weren’t there, we’d see it. We put the sensor on the front door, and we used the smart switch for a pole lamp in the living room. Now all we had to do was pack and head out.

Piper NV Vacation Mode – Peeking In

I set Piper NV to Vacation mode, we locked our front door, and we were off. After sleeping through the majority of the travel time, we got to Lyon, and I was eager to take the Piper app for a remote test drive. Sure enough, everything was just as we’d left it, and I liked that I could control the camera to see every corner of the place.

However, I noticed on the camera that the house looked dark, which to me is always a sure signal that no one’s home and intruders are welcome. Piper NV’s environmental sensors confirmed that yes, it wasn’t very bright.

No problem: I was able to turn on the lamp plugged into the smart switch, and I saw it come on thanks to the camera. Then, to save myself the hassle of turning it on and off twice a day, I set up a timer so it would go on at dusk and switch off just before dawn. The app made this a breeze.

Piper NV Smart Notifications

So I could see how it all worked, I configured the Piper app to send me a notification if any of the sensors were tripped: the one on the door, the motion sensor, and even if the weather was going to be out of the ordinary.

Before we left town, we asked a neighbour to check in on things a few days into our trip, just to make sure that nothing was leaking or out of sorts. I got a notification right away when she entered our home at 11:14am on the first of the year, and I started the app. Sure enough, I could see her on the camera making sure everything was as it should be. She left at 11:21, and I got a notification about that too.

I’m positive that no one else came into our home before we returned on the third, or Piper would have let me know. I found the weather notifications to be helpful too: on the second, Piper let me know that we were going to have some snow and maybe some ice — good to know, as it was beautiful and warm in Lyon, as we would have had no idea. It prepared us for possible delays which thankfully did not happen.

No Ongoing Fees

One of the things that’s kept me from investing in a home security system is the ongoing fees. I don’t like knowing that I’ll be paying for something in perpetuity, and I know I’m not alone on this. So, one of the things that I like best about Piper NV is that there’s no contract and no cost after the initial purchase. This is rarely the case with a home security system.

Related: Best Home Automation UK 2016 – A Detailed Comparison

Of course, Piper NV can’t call the authorities automatically for you if an intruder or emergency is detected. You will, however, get an alert so you can make a decision about what to do next. Honestly, in exchange for not having to pay a monthly fee, I’m more than happy to call the police myself if I have to.

Also, if you like the home automation aspect of Piper NV, there are small charges for additional door/window sensors, smart switches, smart bulbs, and more. They all run roughly £30 each, but if you aim to outfit your entire home with these devices (and if you have a lot of appliances you want to automate), it could add up. However, that’s the case with most home automation systems and not exclusive to Piper NV.

Piper NV Reviews – Well-Liked By Others

The heavy hitters have all been submitting their reviews over the past year, and unsurprisingly, they are all positive bordering on glowing.

CNET – Rating 4.5/5

CNET reviewed Piper NV last year and absolutely loved it, calling it “an absolute delight to use.” The four and a half stars it received, thanks to its ease of use and overall performance, is high praise indeed from the sometimes hard to please CNET editors

PCMag – Rating 4/5

PCMag was equally impressed with Piper NV, saying that it “edges out the [Nest] Dropcam Pro as our Editors’ Choice for home surveillance cameras,” thanks to its slick appearance, consistent performance, and ease of use.

TechAdvisor – Rating 3.5/5

Finally, TechAdvisor was impressed with Piper NV’s controllable HD camera, environmental sensors, and home automation capabilities.

Our Conclusion – Piper NV is Pretty Great

While there are a few other options for smart home security on the market today, I’m not sure any of them are better than the Piper NV. This is a device — system, actually — that rates extremely high on functionality, usability, price, and looks. It does a lot, it’s easy to operate, the one time cost is very appealing, and with its clean, simple design and small footprint, it looks great too.

On a scale of one to ten, I would give the Piper NV a strong 9.2. I suppose there’s always room for improvement; a web app would be nice, and lower prices are always welcome, especially when it comes to all the add-ons. Still Piper NV is a great product for anyone who wants to improve the security of their home without ongoing expenses. It’s also a great introduction to home automation, since (like most smarthome systems) you can always add on to it.

Piper NV sells for £229 for the main unit, and it comes in black or white.

The Breakdown

Build and Design
Value for Money

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