Smart Home devices are becoming more common place, with people keen to automate how their home works – I take a look at the Panasonic Smart Home – Home Monitoring & Control Kit to see how it measures up in the real world.
User Review( votes)
The nice folks at Panasonic sent me a Panasonic Smart Home – Home Monitoring & Control Kit (KX-HN6012EW) to try. There are a lot of ‘Smart Home’ kits out there, enabling you to monitor, control, and automate your home, but I was keen to see what the Panasonic Smart Home could offer, and it’s been fun testing it.
In the box of the Home Monitoring & Control Kit (RRP £229) that I was sent was
Smart Home Hub (KX-HNB600)
This is the ‘Brains’ of the unit, it connects to your Home WiFi quickly with a press of the WPS Button on the Hub and your Home Router. It also can also connect to the phone line, and you can use it as either a DECT Handset Base for a compatible Panasonic Handset, OR make calls through your landline on your mobile phone via the Home Network App. There’s a slot for a MicroSD card to take recordings from any cameras connected to it. This also acts as the ‘Siren’ for the Panasonic Smart Home if an ‘Alarm’ is triggered. More on that in a bit. Once connected to the Network, you can pair the more devices to your hub by pressing and holding the button on the Hub, and then doing the same on the button on the device. It will reassuringly chime once the devices are paired together.
Smart Home Indoor Camera (KX-HNC200)
This is a static indoor camera, ours is set up to give us a view of the lounge / hallway. The camera has an inbuilt microphone to listen, and inbuilt speaker to talk through and a temperature sensor too. It has inbuilt Infra-red LEDs which allow the camera to work at night, and it gives a pretty clear picture in black and white with the lights off. There’s no way of ‘moving’ the camera remotely, so once it’s in place, that’s it. It’s mains powered and can be wall mounted too.
2 x Smart Home Window / Door Sensor (KX-HNS101)
These detect if a Window or Door is open, they are battery powered (a long life battery is supplied), and fix to your door / window with either the supplied screws or sticky pads. The main part of the sensor should go on the door, and the smaller part on the frame – with the arrows on each lined up. It was a bit tricky to install it correctly on the Office window, so a bit of ingenuity was applied and it worked well. If you try to set the alarm with a door or window open it will warn you, similarly, if either is opened when the alarm is active, it will sound the alarm.
Smart Home Plug (KX-HNS101)
This sits in-between an appliance (say a lamp) and the wall socket / extension lead, allowing you to switch on the appliance from the Panasonic Smart Home App, or having it timed to switch on via the hub. It’s nice to be able to sit on the sofa and switch on the lamp as it’s getting dark, or switch it on as you’re on your way home so the house isn’t in darkness on your return.
You can buy more devices for the Hub – as well as the items above there is an External Camera (£99), Home Phone, Motion Sensor (£34.99) and Internal Siren (£39.99) too.
As it’s modular, you can add these additional devices in time, or as your requirements change. I’d certainly like to add a few more Home Plugs, and perhaps an external camera into the mix too.
So, everything in the Panasonic Smart Home is controlled via the phone app – it’s available on Android and iOS, and is pretty much identical across the two. It allows you to ‘Arm / Disarm’ the system, as well as watch the cameras, listen via them, talk back via them (and play lullabies). You can turn on and off Smart Plugs, and check the status of the Door / Window Sensors too.
Here’s a video of me turning on the Living Room Lamp via the app –
It’s pretty clever stuff, and generally works very well, the App certainly isn’t the prettiest thing, but it does the job. When you’re away from home, and you Arm the system, yo can set it to notify you if one of the sensors is tripped, or perhaps there is sound or motion detected on the camera. The alerts go to whoever has the app installed and paired to the Hub, so whilst Miss A and I were away, and the Window Sensor was triggered (it had was a false alarm) we both got a warning at the same time. There is a ‘Siren’ within the Smart Home Hub, but it’s pretty ineffective, the alerts to your phone are better, and it means you can quickly look on the camera if anything IS happening.
The Panasonic Smart Home doesn’t have to be used for Home Security either, you could use it in a Child’s / Baby’s bedroom too, the Camera could be used to keep an eye on them, and notify you if there is any noise (crying / shouting), and you can even play a lullaby through it to hopefully sooth them to sleep. The temperature sensor can tell you if their room is too hot or cold, and you could tie it up with a smart plug that turns a night light on if there is movement / noise detected.
There are lots of little things you could configure in the ‘Smart Control’ section of the App, perhaps even an Electric Heater that switches on (via a Smart Plug) when the temperature (monitored by the Smart Home Camera) drops too low. With lots of additional sensors, you can really automate your home easily!
It’s a pretty flexible piece of kit, and whilst it seems like a largish outlay, Panasonic are a GOOD brand, I’m sure you could get a ‘lesser’ brand from China or similar, but I trust Panasonic. The modular nature means that I can add on when needs / finances allow, and it is a fantastic route into a ‘Smart’ Home. I think the only thing lacking from this is perhaps a module that will fit to a ceiling light to allow control over that, otherwise it’s a good bit of kit that most homes could find use in!