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(Pocket-lint) - Nest announced a range of new devices at its big event in September, including the Hello video doorbell and a new alarm system called Secure.

The Nest Secure alarm system is made up of three main devices that work in tandem together, comprising the Nest Guard, Nest Tag and Nest Detect. Like the doorbell, they offer a great design with an easy to use platform and you'll be able to get your hands on the starter pack from 2018 in the US, Canada and Europe.

Will the Nest Secure starter pack be worth the $499 asking price for the Guard, two Tags and two Detects? Here are our first impressions of the devices that make it up. 

Nest Secure preview: Design

  • All three have simple, sophisticated designs
  • LED lights to show actions on Guard
  • Tag fits on keyring, Detect sticks easily to windows, doors or walls

The Nest Guard is the heart and brains of the system, designed to sit on a table or somewhere accessible by your front door. Offering a nice, premium design, as many expect from Nest devices, the Nest Guard is a circular device that measures 95mm in diameter, 53mm in height and has a 6ft cable attached to it that you'll need to ensure is plugged in, though there is a back-up battery in case of a power cut.

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The top of the Guard features a keypad with 12 raised circular buttons on it. All the buttons are plain with no detail present until the LED lights appear marking the numbers and other functions. There is also an LED ring surrounding the keypad which lights up various colours depending on the action. For example, when the alarm system is being enabled, the LED ring will turn blue, while disabled will show a yellow LED ring.

At the bottom of the Guard are speaker holes, which is where the piercing alarm will sound from should the Guard or one of the Detect devices detect motion in your main room or hallway, or wherever you have positioned them in. There is also a Nest logo present in the centre of the device but there is no camera lens present on the Guard so you would need to invest in a Nest camera in order to see any activity surrounding the Guard that might trigger the alarm.

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The Nest Tag is designed to slip onto your keyring and it has the ability to arm or disarm the Nest Secure alarm system. Two Tags come in the box with the Guard but they can also be bought separately for $25 each. The Tag is a small, circular device that measures 37mm in diameter and 7mm in thickness and it has a plain white, plastic finish with a blue or grey loop for attaching it to your keys.

A quick tap of the Tag onto the top of the Guard's keypad will arm or disarm the Nest Secure system and you can adjust the time for arming and disarming between 30 seconds and five minutes to ensure you have enough time to get in or out of your home before the alarm goes off. The alarm can also be disarmed or armed in other ways but we will go into those in more detail in a minute.

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The third of the three devices is the Nest Detect, which is a window, door or wall sensor. It also has a white plastic finish like the Guard and Tag, though it takes on a tubular shape rather than circular with a button at the bottom that also has an LED ring. The Detect is designed to be stuck to doors, windows or walls and it works on a magnet system like many other sensors, alerting you via the app if a window or door is opened.

The Detect also offers a nice design, as far as sensors go, keeping in line with the rest of the Secure system and it is easily installed, sticking to wherever you want to place it rather than you needing to drill holes anywhere. It measures 80.5mm in height, 20.4mm in width and 22.2mm in depth so it too is simple and subtle and like the Tag, two Detect's come in the box with the Guard though more can be bought separately for $59 each.

Nest Secure preview: Features and hardware

  • Easy to use
  • Three ways to arm or disarm Secure system
  • Remind Me alerts and Open Quietly function 

The Nest Secure system is designed to be "tough on the bad guys and easy on you". It's supposed to take the hassle out of traditional alarm systems and based on our brief demonstrations with the devices, it certainly seems like it will be a system that is easy to use.

As we mentioned above, there are no cameras on any of the Nest Secure devices, meaning you'll need to invest in one of the Nest cameras if you want an entire security system, though Nest Secure does have some good features on its own.

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Arming and disarming can be done using the Nest Tags, as we briefly mentioned previously, but you can also use the Nest app or key in a passcode to the Nest Guard's keypad. The LED ring that surrounds the keypad on the Guard will show you, via the coloured LED ring, the remaining time you have left to get out of the house or disarm the alarm. As we said above, you can change this time frame to suit you between 30 seconds and five minutes.

Nest Secure will offer Remind Me alerts if you leave the house and forget to arm your alarm, which you can then do remotely via the Nest app and if the alarm goes off, you'll get a security alert.

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There is also an Open Quietly function that allows you to press the button on the bottom of the Nest Detect to open a single door and get out of the house without setting off the alarm. You can therefore pop out for a run in the morning through the specific door you've chosen and your house will stay armed and the alarm quiet without you needing to disarm the entire system.

Nest Secure: Software

  • Connects to Nest app, iOS and Android
  • Alerts when alarm goes off
  • Disable lost Tags and schedule alarm through app 

Nest Secure works with the Nest app, which is available for iOS and Android devices. Those with others Nest devices will get a familiar experience, while those new to the Nest ecosystem will get an experience that is easy to control and manage.

The Nest app will allow users of the Nest Secure alarm system to arm or disarm their system from anywhere, as well as check in on your home anytime, assuming you have Nest cameras in order for you to see what's going on. If the alarm goes off, you'll get a security alert as we mentioned and as you would expect, and you'll also be able to view history and see which motion sensor set off the alarm. 

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Through the app you'll also be able to disable any Nest Tags that go missing and you can also set schedules for the Secure alarm system to allow certain people to enter your home at certain times without the alarm triggering, such as the dog walker.

First Impressions

Nest Secure offers three devices, all with a nice design, coupled with what appears to be an easy to use alarm system. It's not cheap, with a $499 asking price, but you get a complete package with the option of adding to the system, rather than having to buy the main device and sensors separately. 

Some of the features will no doubt be useful, like the Open Quietly function and the ability to disarm and arm the system with just a tap of a Tag so based on our initial impressions, we're looking forward to trying it out properly.

We suspect you'll need to invest in the Nest cameras to get a better rounded experience of the Nest Secure alarm system, allowing you to see what's going on rather than just being alerted to a problem, but the Nest Secure certainly seems like a great place to start for an easy to use, accessible alarm system. 

Writing by Britta O'Boyle. Originally published on 20 September 2017.