We all want our gear to be safe when we’re not home, so why not an electronic Doberman? With a growling bark, and those gnashing teeth, it’s sure to keep all our gear safe. Today, we’re taking a look at the Doberman Product’s Home Security line. It is designed as a complete suite of products to keep your home safe and secure. This review will cover most of the lineup (I believe we’re the first to review it)! After all, I don’t know of anyone using their Sony Aibo as their electronic watch dogs. For those who don’t wish to feed and walk their dogs, this may be a perfect solution.
Burglar Window Alarm
First up is the Doberman Security Burglar Window Alarm. The unit retails for $10.99. This is designed to protect a window opening from a break in. It contains a vibration sensor that when triggered will set off a 95 dB tone.
Out of the package, it is a slim design with an attractive black and metallic silver design. Note the speaker on the top portion of the device.
The lower portion slides off to reveal three included watch style batteries. It fits securely back into place.
The left side of the Burglar Window Alarm has a small on/off switch.
The alarm attaches to the window with an adhesive pad that is exposed by pulling off the covering. From the outside, a burglar would see “Warning: protected by electronic surveillance.” I think this is a clever way to incorporate a warning sticker into the device.
The Burglar Window Alarm attaches to a window, and goes off if jolted, or moved quickly. If the window is broken by a rock for example, the loud, shrill alarm is triggered. This is simple, and effective, and best suited to a window that either does not open, or only occasionally such as an attic or basement window.
The Burglar Window Alarm has two shortcomings. First, if the window is opened slowly, it will probably not go off. Also, after it goes off, the burglar could easily find it and turn it off with the switch. Some type of simple coded keypad would make this device much harder to turn off quickly and therefore considerably more effective.
Door and Window Defender Alarm
Next up is the Door and Window Defender Alarm. This one retails for $12.99. This device incorporates the feature set of the Burglar Window Alarm, and adds in a window sensor. A 95 dB alarm is triggered by either a vibration as above, or if the magnetic sensor gets separated by the window opening.
Here we can see the Door and Window Defender Alarm out of the packaging. When the lines on the smaller piece containing a magnet, align with the main piece’s arrow, the unit knows the opening is closed. When they are separated, or a vibration is detected, the unit will sound its alarm.
The Door and Window Defender Alarm is powered by three included watch style batteries. They are contained under the lower gray panel.
The side of the unit has an easily accessible on/off switch. It’s definitely too accessible to the burglars as well.
Peeling off the adhesive to stick this on the window reveals this warning. At least it will give thieves something to think about, and perhaps move on to an easier dwelling.
I find this device more complete protection for a door or window opening. A thief will set this off if they open, or break a window. It is appropriate for most doors and windows in a house. My problem is that the thief, after they set it off, can too easily turn it right back off.
Infrared Home Defender
I was definitely intrigued by the title of the Infrared Home Defender, which promises to defend “any area or valuable.” The idea is to detect a person’s body heat, and sound the alarm. It retails for $19.99.
Out of the package, we can see that there is an infrared sensor, and a mounting bracket.
The device can be switched to sound an alarm when set off, or a chime. The chime mode is great for testing this, and also if you want to set this up in a business to alert you to a new customer entering the store.
Take a look at the mounting holes, and how the detector swivels in the base. The unit is powered by a 9 volt battery which is not included.
This Infrared Home Defender is begging for a remote. While it did detect me when in front of it and sound the alarm, I could not figure out a way to turn it on, and leave it covering a doorway I wished to exit. Also, I could not go to turn it off without setting it off when it was guarding a door way. Similarly, it was easy to silence, just slide the switch. I doubt this would seriously delay a thief for more than 10 seconds at most. A remote control, or at least a keypad to turn it off would make this a lot more potent.
Door Chime Security Set
These last two items are the two that are designed to work together.
The Door Chime Security Set has a dual purpose. The first is as a wireless doorbell. The second is as a base station to the Wireless Window Sensor (see below). This is more of what the whole alarm system should be. The suggested retail price is $24.99.
Included in the package is the base station, the doorbell, mounting screws, and directions. No batteries are included.
The base station unit is powered by a 9 volt cell (not included). It can be attached by a clip, or by a single screw. As such a key component, it should attach more securely to the wall with at least a few screws.
The doorbell requires three AAA cells for operation (not included). It has a red LED, and attaches to the wall with the included two screws. As a wireless doorbell, it functions as expected. Press the button, and hear the chimes.
I’m just not sure how one could leave the house, without setting off one of the Window Sensors on the way out. The only way would be if the door was not part of the system. Again, the base station is too easy to disable once set off as there is no code involved. I’m starting to sound like a “broken record” (aka: a “corrupted MP3” for those born after 1990), but again a wireless remote would really enhance this device.
Wireless Window Sensor
The last piece of the system is the Wireless Window Sensor. This is designed to work with the base station which can support up to 15 of these units. It retails for $14.99.
The Wireless Window Sensor has a magnetic switch, similar to the Door and Window Defender Alarm. With the arrows aligned between the two pieces, all is quiet. When they are separated, the alarm will sound. This is useful to protect a window from unauthorized entry. Unfortunately, there is no vibration sensor to protect from a broken window. The sensor and magnet are installed onto a window with the included adhesive. For some reason, there is no warning sign on the back of the sensor like on the other pieces of the system.
With the battery cover removed, we can see the included cell. This is the uncommon battery that many car remotes use (which I always have trouble finding). Also note the simple, and easily defeated, switch on the right side of the unit. Finally, note the four levers. This is to set a corresponding code to the base station so that all the sensors form one network. While this is not exactly 256-bit encryption, it does allow for 16 different possible codes.
Strengths & Weaknesses
– battery powered and included adhesive pads for very easy installation
– included visible warning on glass
– multiple codes from window sensor to base station
– base station can support up to 15 wireless window sensors
– loud shrilling alarm
Stuff fenced on eBay…
– Did I mention there’s no remote?
– only window sensor is wireless
– very easy to disable once set off
– invest in Energizer: some batteries not included
Who should buy this product?
The budget minded apartment dweller with minimal security needs and agoraphobia should look at these products and select an assortment to protect windows and the door. Just don’t leave the house as you’ll set it off as you exit.
In short, the sum of the parts does not create a larger whole. Maybe I was expecting too much, but I was anticipating that the various components of the product line would integrate into a comprehensive security package. In this era of gee-whiz electronics, biometric security, remote controls and wireless networks, a lot of this could be applied to a comprehensive home security line. For now, I’d keep my real Doberman to keep my house safe. On the other hand, this is the first attempt by a young company. With another generation of product development, the home security line will hopefully mature, and be ready to keep the burglars out.
Special thanks to Doberman Products for providing samples for review.