The brand Halo might be relatively unknown in today’s saturated market of smart home devices. When we want to talk about smart smoke detectors, most likely our first thought will be the popular Nest Protect, which is rich in features as well as being popular. However, the Halo+ Smart Smoke Alarm is surprisingly a worthy competitor for the Nest protect, which makes it worth reviewing.
First things first, we should differentiate between the Halo Smoke Alarm and the Halo+ to avoid confusion. The main difference between the two is the inclusion of smart weather alerts feature found on the Halo+, which is more useful than what we expected and will be discussed again below.
The Halo+ does all the basic features of a smart smoke alarm: it will alert you when it detects smoke and carbon monoxide. However, it won’t only send notifications to your phone but is also equipped with a built-in speaker to give you voice alert. Rest assured, the voice notification won’t start blaring at full volume every time.
As also mentioned, it will also inform you when there’s going to be weather changes. You can fine-tune the weather alerts in your app, and it can especially inform you about tornado alerts.
So, let us begin this Halo+ Smart Smoke Review by discussing its key features.
Built-In Speaker and Color-Coded Light
Why is the ability to send voice notification from the alarm so important? We have to consider that during a fire and smoke hazard, or weather hazard, the power grid might be cut off. So, we won’t have access to our Wi-Fi network, and a conventional smart smoke alarm won’t be able to send any notifications to your phone. With the built-in speaker and color-coded light, you can understand what’s going on even when you are not connected. Blue light pulse means weather alert, red means smoke or carbon monoxide. Also, the LED light can be used as a night light when necessary.
In a tornado-prone area, the Halo+ can forecast local tornadoes by its own. It will detect distinct and rapid pressure drop, and will inform you when a tornado is imminent. The Halo+ can also receive alerts from NOAA (National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration). This signal will still come through even when cell phones and landlines are all cut off.
Very Intuitive App
The Halo app is very intuitive, with a very high level of detail of the setup. You can fine-tune your preferences to receive alerts, and you can choose which weather events you want to be notified of.
Third Party Integration
As with the Nest Protect, the Halo+ Smoke Detector can also act as a smart home hub. Currently, the Halo+ works with Iris, iControl, and ZigBee protocols, while other protocols like the Apple HomeKit and Control4 are already promised for the near future.
Sophisticated Smoke Detection
At its core, the Halo+ is still fundamentally a smoke detection system, and is actually very sophisticated at doing this job. It utilized both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms in conjunction with humidity, heat, and carbon monoxide sensors to give you clear alerts when necessary. So, the Halo+ can differentiate the smoke of your toaster machine with a real carbon monoxide hazard.
Halo Smart Smoke Detector Review
The physical unit of the Halo+ Smart Smoke Detector is a white, circular device with a 6.5 x 1.52 x 6.5 in dimension. In our opinion, it doesn’t look as sophisticated as the Nest Protect, especially when the circular LED light is turned off. However, it still looks quite decent with a modern-minimalist approach.
The Halo+ Smart Smoke Detector is installed with a hardwired setup, although it also has a built-in battery for backup. So, to install the physical unit of the Halo+ Smart Smoke Alarm, you will only need to plug the power cord into your outlet and mount the Halo+ where intended.
Now, you will need to download the iOS or Android app to connect the Halo+ to your Wi-Fi network. The initial setup on the app can be overwhelming with a number of details involved. You can adjust so many things on the app, especially regarding the weather alerts.
However, this is a necessary step, as the Halo+ will work automatically after the initial setup. You can choose which weather events are important enough, and you can set up the onboard voice alert volume and intensity.
The smoke detection feature works flawlessly, and it can even differentiate between giving you a quick trigger alarm for more dangerous events, and slower alarms for others. This is due to the ionization detection and photoelectric sensor, which in combination with a bunch of other sensors, can detect the different levels of smoke hazards and can determine whether it is dangerous. So, as a smart smoke detector, it is indeed very smart.
With the weather alert feature, at first, it will give you a voice alert to tell you what’s going on, and will tune to the local weather station of your choice. When the situation gets more severe, that is when the Halo+ will send you a full-volume alarm. Of course, you will also get a notification on your phone, depending on your set preference on the app.
Pros and Cons
- Very smart some detection system with a lot of sensors involved
- Very intuitive app with a high level of detail, you can fine-tune just about anything with ease
- Easy installation and overall use
- Excellent weather detection with smart alerts
- Onboard speaker for various situations
- Excellent third-party integration with various protocols
- No motion detection feature available
- When there’s a full-blown alarm, it will take some time to turn it off with the app
The Halo+ Smart Smoke detector is indeed a worthy competitor of the Nest Protect. The key highlight is obviously the smart weather alert feature, which is currently absent on the Nest Protect, as well as other competitors. It is also very decent as a standalone smoke alarm with a lot of sophisticated features.
Especially if you live in an area with a lot of sudden changes in weather and often in danger of tornados, the Halo+ can be extremely useful, and should be your first consideration. If you only want a smart smoke detector without the weather alert functionality, you can also opt for the cheaper Halo Smoke Detector.