The components include a base station, motion sensors, entry sensors and a teeny weeny remote control. The app that is used to control the kit is available from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. You need to have a 2.4GHz wi-fi network and also enable Bluetooth on your smartphone. The kit is compatible with both Amazon's Alexa and Google's Home Assistant – so you can speak and hopefully it will listen.
The base station supports up to 32 sensors and six remote controls – it is powered by connection to the mains by using a USB Type C cable – supplied along with a mains plug. In case your electricity disappears into nowhere, there is also a backup battery giving you a 12 hour power supply. The kit reviewed here comes with four entry sensors and two motion sensors. It also comes with a sticky label that warns would be burglars that your home is protected. Personally, I wouldn't use this label because it might give blaggers the idea that there's something valuable in your house.
After plugging the unit in, you need to run the app to setup your devices.
After installation, you set up an account and that's verified by email. Plug in the base station, press a button on the side and follow the instructions on your app to add this unit to the menu. The app asks you to enable access to your smartphone's camera and voice. You need this to snap the QR code on the top of the base station to add it to your devices.
The instructions say that you may have to move the base station nearer to your router for it to connect. This could be a problem depending where your router is. For example, at my place, the router is upstairs. But there are a lot of devices up there and not quite enough plugs. You may not have this problem and it does depend how far your wi-fi extends across your property.
Once the base station is added, you have access to the settings, including volume control for the alarm. As this can be up to more than 100 decibels you need to decide whether your neighbours will be able to stand this for long. I live in a Victorian terrace house with thin walls – my neighbours would be alarmed by this sound but right now both houses to the left and right are empty. If you live in a detached house you might have no neighbours at all.
A useful feature for X-Sense to add might be to allow the system to alert the local cops or a trusted neighbour or family member or alternatively text message or email her or him. I set the alarm to zero sound for the purposes of testing because I don't want to wake up the street at a witching or even a bewitching hour.
Now to the motion sensors. They come with batteries included. For a unit to work, you need to open the top compartment and remove the plastic slip protecting the battery from its contacts. The sensors start glowing red. Then you have to open the hatch at the back, scan in the QR code with your smartphone and then add it as one of your devices. I am getting rather long in the tooth and found that opening the hatches at the back took quite a bit of effort. I had to ask a neighbour to help me with this.
The three sensors have screws and a base plate so you can attach them to the corners of the rooms you choose. Xsense recommends you place them high up so pets won't alarm the neighbours. In this Victorian terraced house I have four chimneys – now unused – and until recently they were uncapped.
Wood pigeons and other birds sit on them and occasionally fall down. They can flap around the house and need to be let out by human hands. So if you have similar chimneys in your yard, I'd recommend you cap them. Or if you have parrots that fly around your place or budgies I'd chain them firmly to their place or keep them in their cages when you go out.
The entry sensor battery has a 10 year life while the motion sensor has a putative five year life.
You enable the door sensors in a similar way to the motion sensors by using the app and adding them one at a time. The kit includes sticky strips to attach them to the doors.
This seems to be a pretty reasonably priced unit which is easy to install once you've got the app up and running. I took a quick look at the reviews of the product on Amazon and most of the comments were pretty positive. The price from Amazon or from the Xsense.com website is £170 for an eight piece system. The company also produces a number of other home products, including smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and others. As I smoke cigarettes, I don't need these as my GP sounds the alarm.