Still very simple: anyone can get up and running in minutes
The professional monitoring option costs only $10 per month
Some operational kinks have been ironed out over the years
Still no way to expand the system to include cameras or other more sophisticated features
Requires bulky always-on bridge to connect to Wi-Fi
Professional monitoring doesn’t exactly change the game for Notion, but it does provide extra security at a reasonable cost.
Price When Reviewed
Best Prices Today: Notion Starter Kit (3 sensors and bridge)
Five-year-old Notion has become a fully mature member of the smart home community—to the point where Comcast acquired the company in 2020. Surprisingly, Comcast never rolled Notion’s devices into its own Xfinity security offering, and the two security brands continue to operate independently.
In fact, unlike in the aftermath of most corporate acquisitions, Notion has continued to enhance its offerings. Its latest addition: The Notion Pro monitoring service, which can keep tabs on all your Notion gear for $10 per month, with the first three months available as a free trial.
This review is part of TechHive’s in-depth coverage of the best smart home systems.
Notion’s monitoring plan is cheaper than most, and that’s probably intentional, because Notion’s sensor devices are simpler than most. Notion’s hardware revolves exclusively around its multifunction sensors, each of which works as a motion-detecting door/window sensor, a water leak sensor, a fire/CO alarm relay that listens for the sound of an alarm going off, and a temperature/freeze sensor. A plug-in bridge connects these sensors to your Wi-Fi network.
If something goes awry, you receive a push notification to the Notion app on your phone. Nothing appears to have changed (at least not outwardly) about the sensors or the bridge since the last major update in 2018, and even the app appears to look almost identical.
I can say that the setup process and operation are both streamlined and more stable than in the past. Previous experiences with Notion often ended up with broken battery tabs, crashing apps, and vanishing network connections, but I encountered none of those problems this time around. Setup requires a quick scan of a QR code on the back of each sensor along with some basic in-app configuration, after which you’re asked to choose what the sensor is monitoring and the various sensor types you’re enabling. (Each sensor can be set to monitor as many or as few types of events as you’d like.)
I never encountered any operational issues throughout my testing—although water leak detection felt on the slow side, taking the sensor about a minute to recognize it was submerged in water before it sent an alert.
As mentioned earlier, what’s new with Notion is the Notion Pro professional monitoring system, which I subscribed to using a credit card in the app. It’s important to note that Notion Pro isn’t one-size-fits-all. Different types of events beget different types of responses, which you can find outlined on Notion’s site. The major difference is that door or window sensors as well as fire alarm detection events can be configured to notify emergency services, while water leaks and freeze warnings cannot.
I tested out Notion Pro by simulating a water leak at Notion’s suggestion—so as to avoid having the police show up at my door—and found it worked mostly as advertised on its website. A minute after I received Notion’s push notification, I received a text notifying me of the leak. After another minute, a second text arrived. One more minute later I received a phone call from someone who identified himself as calling from “NATO Pro,” asking if I required help. He was thorough in his inquiry but was ultimately happy with my explanation that I did not.
Notion specifies that you will only receive one text, not two, and that the first phone call should come after two minutes, not three; but other than that—and the small flub from the phone operator, who was clearly working for numerous different monitoring services—I was generally pleased with the response, although things do seem to take a long while to escalate compared to other monitoring services. If my Vivint security system goes off, the phone is usually ringing before I’m out of my seat.
The third-generation starter kit reviewed here costs $149 and includes three sensors and a bridge (down from $199 in 2018). Notion isn’t just easy to get started with, it’s also affordable. The company also a 5-sensor starter kit for $199 and an 8-sensor kit sells for $279. Three-sensor expansion kits are available for $39 each, and the $10-per-month professional monitoring plan feels fair. It’s worth noting here that first-generation Notion products are no longer supported in the Notion app, and that third-generation sensors won’t work with the second-generation bridge. You can, however, operate second- and third-generation sensors together provided you purchase a third-generation bridge ($59).
Notion is not and never will be a basis for a robust security operation, but for users with simpler needs—and no interest in mucking around with a dozen types of cameras, control panels, and various sensors—it can get the job done. Professional monitoring ups the level of protection without adding an onerous amount of cost, or really anything in the way of complexity.