The system centers around a new touchscreen Smart Controller, which connects to seven new devices—a keypad, siren, glass break sensor, motion detector, smoke detector, wireless key fob, and a security camera.
But unlike legacy security systems, Honeywell has thrown in extra smart features. The Lyric system can be controlled directly from your smartphone or tablet, and connected to a Lyric thermostat. It can also serve as a hub for Z-Wave devices.
Recently, we had a chance to see how the system works with a variety of existing devices—including Schlage locks, lights, and Somfy shades. While certainly a contender, Honeywell's Lyric System has some serious hurdles to overcome—especially if it wants to compete with Nest and, by proxy, Google.
Honeywell has really stepped up its game with the Lyric line. Gone are the ugly dials and switches of old. The new Lyric line comes in a crisp, clean white color, with metallic edges on the controller and keypad. It's a familiar look, if a bit derivative. All of the buttons are either touch-controlled or accessed via touchscreen, with the exception of the key fob.
With the Smart Controller, Honeywell has attempted to make its security system as future-proof as possible. It has a USB port on its bottom, as well as a cartridge containing the cellular radios, which can be swapped out as new wireless standards are adopted. There's another slot for housing additional radios, should ZigBee, Thread, or some other protocol take hold.
The controller has a built-in camera that can snap photos of whoever is using the device. It also has a microphone for voice control. Thanks to its built-in Z-Wave radio, the new Lyric system will work with 40 switches, 6 door locks, and 6 different thermostats, including the Lyric thermostat of course.
The Lyric's security siren has a beautiful circular design with a speaker grill pattern. It also has a light in its center that flashes red when the alarm is triggered; green when the system has been deactivated.
For a simple security panel, Honeywell seems to have nailed the software behind it. The touchscreen is pretty responsive, with smooth scrolling and sensitive button taps.
With an endless queue of layers and options, the menu seems a bit cluttered. But when you're dealing with home security there are a lot small settings that need to be tweaked. Thankfully, it's easy to arm and disarm your system from the main menu. And if you don't want to touch the panel, you can just use your voice instead.
The system listens for the command "Hello, Lyric." When it hears this it will prompt you for a command. For example, if you tell the Lyric "Wakeup," it could disarm the security system, turn on some lights, and unlock your front door. Of course, you would need a smart ecosystem of lights and locks for all that to work.
All of these commands can be customized as either "actions" or "events," with the former intended for temporary changes. For example, you could have a "dinner party" event where the system turns down the thermostat so your home doesn't get too stuffy with all those people.
The system can also be controlled from mobile devices through the Smart Controller. The app is an exact replica between phone and tablet, which may seem like lazy coding, but an identical interface means you don't have to learn multiple UI's for the same system.
The Lyric Security System is a logical addition to the Lyric family. For simple, security-focused home automation setups, the Lyric is ideal for Z-Wave radio and supported products. But if you're not invested in Z-Wave or the Honeywell ecosystem, it may prove a bit... burdensome.
You can control lights, blinds, and more all through your voice, which is cool. But I don't see this becoming a system that ropes in entertainment systems and appliances, given Honeywell's wheelhouse.
There's also the Apple HomeKit question. Honeywell was listed as a partner way back in June of 2014, but none of the Lyric products thus far support that ecosystem, including the new Security System.
Regardless, Honeywell is slowly becoming a stronger force in the connected home. And its new Security System will only strengthen its foothold. The only question is whether it compete with Google's Nest.
Meet the tester
Former Managing Editor, News & Features@danwroc
Daniel Wroclawski is a tech-obsessed editor and reporter. In his spare time, you can probably find him hurtling through the air in a tin can-sized airplane.
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