Review: Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Is a Hub Above
The IQ Panel 2 remains the Swiss Army Knife of alarm panels with a strong lineup of security and home automation features.
While the panel appearance and ease of use may be the initial attraction, it is the integration features that create a dependence on the panel far and above what you’d expect from an alarm panel. Case in point: thermostat integration.
Prior to installing this panel, I had two HVAC zones, each with Nest thermostats, which were switched out to Alarm.com devices. They weren’t as pretty, but they added a few features including remote sensors that allow you to do temperature averaging across rooms.
As with Nest and others, you can set sophisticated schedules, but arming the system Away also sets a temperature bypass, raising or lowering your temperature to save energy.
Also, opening a window for longer than a preprogrammed duration turns off the heat or AC in that zone. In both cases, the schedule resumes when you return or close the window(s).
One feature that was tested extensively was remote Bluetooth disarm, and I was surprised at how well it worked. Enrolling a phone allowed it to disarm the system from Away mode when the phone showed up, subject to rules set up through Alarm.com.
The process was invisible; you show up with your phone and the panel is disarmed, and in our case the front door was unlocked as well. The phone could also be connected to my car stereo or Bluetooth headset at the time of disarming and this feature would still work like magic.
During the test period I grew so attached to this feature that I was reluctant to move the panel away from the front door as I was concerned it would reduce the Bluetooth range and therefore reliability.
Alarm notifications through Alarm.com were also well implemented. It was nice getting instant messages on my phone (through the app, via text, or both) if I left and did not arm the system, if there was a pending alarm, or for other preset events.
The image sensors can be used to take a picture the first time they are activated each day and email it to you, so if this is used in a store or office you can see who the first person in is, who entered the storeroom, or any other programmed event.
Lights can go on or off based on motion detectors, time of day, sunrise/sunset, arrival of a specific person (there is geofencing for enrolled phones as well), or a host of other features.
The Qolsys IQ Panel 2 remains a well-designed, solidly built alarm panel that can serve as the brains of a smart home while reliably handling routine alarm duties.
Qolsys actively promotes these home automation features, rightly stating that the Qolsys/Alarm.com integration can serve as a home automation hub, and I would agree in many (if not most) cases.
In my application, I already have a fairly sophisticated home automation system incorporating almost 100 devices and I found it made more sense just to run the two systems in parallel, but it’s good to have choices.
When my phone arrives, Qolsys disarms, unlocks the door and sets the temperature, and SmartThings turns on and off certain lights, with both being controlled through Alexa when needed.
On the one hand, there are things I can do with SmartThings home automation that would be far more difficult, if not impossible with the IQ Panel 2. But the area where the IQ Panel has it over all others in this field is reliability.
Alarm events are instantaneous and (in my experience) 100% reliable. It is fairly common to see periods of high latency with Cloud-based home automation; not so with the IQ Panel 2 and Alarm.com.
In fact, it is tempting to tell Qolsys that I want out of the beta program so I can dump my old monitored panel and use this one instead. It’s that good.
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In the past 30 years, we have had three security systems and the last one was q u o l s y s! If there is a lemon law for security systems Q ol sys would win the prize. Almost a year ago we moved into a new house and had the qolsys professionally installed. The first one was defective and had to be changed out for a second one. For the past 9 months we have struggled with and tried to stay with the q o l s y s. The fourth digit on the keypad does not function until after the alarm sounds. This month when the qolsys was not even armed, the automated voice yelled out garage door tampered with garage door tampered with and continued until we open and closed the door and then it stopped. The straw that broke the camel’s back was last week when we went shopping and when we return and opened the garage door the alarm started screaming and would not shut off. The entire time that we have had the qolsys, the keypad was defective in both units. We hated arming it because when we returned home, we never knew what we were going to be walking into. The day that we decided that we could no longer tolerate this system it said that all doors have been tampered with, the alarm was deafening and the monitoring company called several times and finally disabled it from their end. We now have an entirely different type of keypad with a different maker.
I have installed a Qolsys Panel 2+, a 16f hardwire translator, a IQ-remote, added wireless D/W sensors, internal and external aux sirens, 3 smoke detectors and a few wireless motions. This is all the latest versions of the equipment, so maybe any of the bugs that you had are fixed. It has worked perfectly so far. I use AlarmGrid & the Alarm.com app to arm and when I return the Bluetooth disarms it. It has video options too, but I have a great separate video set up and don’t need them to be together.
I am really impressed with the quality of the hardware and the quick support when needed.
The bugs are definatley not fixed. I updated my 2GIG and had the Qolsys Panel 2+ installed not quite 2 months ago. I have had some bluetooth hiccups during that time but no real issues until today. As what happened to K North, I came home, opened my overhead garage door (that has no sensor) and unknowingly the garage man door triggered as did the panel glass break. I heard a god awful deafening sound from the garage and realized it was inside, the panel inside sirening. My poor dogs were panicked! I was able to disarm it and the deafening sound stopped. I contacted Qolsys because I absolutely cannot have this happen when I am not home. I was told by Kyle that there is no way to change the siren pitch or turn it down. He stated “these sirens are made to be loud and obnoxious, its the purpose of an alarm to scare away burglars” You have to completely turn off the siren. So basically if I do have an alarm I wont know it until I get a text message. Or I can take a chance and the alarm goes off when i am not home(which is the point of an alarm) and my dogs hearing will be damaged. I realize an alarm has to be loud, but this particular sound is just deafening and damaging to your ears. I have never heard an alarm panel make this sound. If I had known this I would have never updated to the Qolsys. I am scheduling to have my 2GIG reinstalled.