Reviewed by Louise Totton
Lots of us are harnessing the power of the Internet and taking advantage of how affordable technology is becoming to help us to protect our homes. We can, for a relatively small investment, install motion sensitive cameras that can reassure us that our homes are safe, use smart assistants to interface with them and answer video doorbells and use our mobile phones to see where in word our car is at any given moment. But what if you have concerns about your personal privacy? What if you don’t like the idea of having cameras installed in your home – the place where you are truly at ease? Or the idea of potentially having technology potentially listen to private conversations just doesn’t sit well with you? And what about those of us who already have security alarms installed, albeit not ‘smart’? Well, the Minut could be just the product for you, and we’ve spent the last week or so trying it out.
The Minut is so much more than a smart alarm system – its tiny form houses a multitude of sensors to monitor your home and keep it safe, without any cameras or microphones so allowing you to feel completely at ease. The Minut can monitor movement, noise, temperature, atmospheric pressure, humidity and even mould risk in the house, feeding all of the data into a smartphone app for you to easily monitor. On top of that, the sound sensor (not a microphone), can detect any alarms in your home (even non-smart ones), and will send a push notification to your phone warning you about the sounding alarm, effectively turning your old intruder alarm or smoke detector into a smart device. It almost sounds too good to be true, so we were very keen to get ours installed and get started!
The Minut is minimalist from the moment you clap eyes on it – it’s a hockey puck shaped device with no visible buttons and gorgeous, smooth surfaces, a bit smaller than most smoke detectors. The first thing we needed to do when we unpacked it was pop it on to charge, via the included USB C charging cable. Whist it was charging (it takes around 5 hours, which should see it powered for up to six months), we downloaded the app and got our Minut connected to my phone. This part was a doddle, as setting up things like this have become; getting it fully set up took a matter of five minutes and it’s done via a QR code that is stuck to the back of the Minut. Once this was done and the device had fully charged, we were ready to install it in the house.
Minut recommend that the device is installed in a main thoroughfare – in our home like many others, this means the hall. If you have multiple devices, you can then install the extra ones throughout the house; one in the kitchen would probably be very handy! The simplicity of the device continues with the fitting, you can either opt to install it by screwing it into the ceiling of by using the sticky pad on the back of the mounting plate. A circular metal plate is either stuck or screwed to the ceiling, and the minute just attaches on to this magnetically. It couldn’t be easier and makes it so easy to remove it for charging or if you’re decorating. We went for the sticky pad option and had it installed in 2 minutes flat!
That’s literally it – once it’s up, it’s then monitoring your home for you, in the background and completely unobtrusively. From the app, you can then monitor your home environment, from the humidity level to the temperature. The Minut can be fully customised with regards to its tolerance levels, and it will alert you if the environment changes to outside of those thresholds. So it can tell you if the temperature drops below, say, 7 degrees whilst you’re at work or even if the temperature in the kitchen gets too high (maybe you left the oven on?). Maybe you’ve gone away for the weekend and want to be reassured the kids aren’t throwing wild parties whilst you’re away? The noise level monitoring can do that for you too, and you can set your own decibel tolerance level.
We thought the alarm monitoring was a fantastic feature and it’s possibly one of my favourites. Our smoke detectors aren’t the modern, connected, type and this feature effectively turns it into a smart alarm, sending a notification straight to my phone when it ‘hears’ any alarm in the house. I thought this was fantastic peace of mind, and it works in the background all the time, so it isn’t something that you need to remember to switch on.
Our hall, like most, is a main hub of the house. The front door, the garage, the stairs and two of the downstairs rooms are accessed from it, so it really is the best place for the motion detection aspect of the Minut. Minut uses PIR (passive Infrared) to detect movement, and there really is no way of getting past it without it detecting you. When you have Minut armed and it detects motion, a thirty second countdown commences for it to be disarmed or an alarm will sound. The alarm is disarmed from your smartphone using the app, if no one disarms it, the Minut will sound in the house (and it’s loud!) as well as emitting a flashing red light and most importantly, sending an immediate notification to your phone warning you about the intrusion.
We found that the sensor was incredibly sensitive, and it was impossible for us to so much as enter the hall without the alarm being triggered when the system was armed, which I found really impressive. You can silence the alarm in the house by pressing the alarm, but this won’t cancel the notification to the app, and we found switching it off in the app to be a handy way of managing it. The app can also be silenced via Google Assistant, by dictating your PIN code, but we don’t have a Google Assistant so we couldn’t check this.
The interface on the app which allows you to view and monitor your home environment is really clear and intuitive, and we found it to be a doddle to see at a glance when we have noise spikes in the house, when the temperature drops (you can see so clearly when the heating switches on as there’s an almost instant spike!) and more. These can be viewed on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, allowing you to identify trends in temperature, motion and more in the house. After 7 days of use, it will even use all of the data to compile a mould analysis risk, as well as providing practical advice if it does detect an issue.
There are no on-going costs with Minut either; you can opt for their Pro subscription for £7.99 per month which allows multiple users to receive notifications from your Minut and stored unlimited data, but we found that the Basic, free version was more than adequate for our needs and stores 90 days of data for you. Although if you did go for the Pro version, you can set your trusted neighbours to receive the notifications whilst you’re at work, allowing totally hands-off monitoring if you tend to be unable to look at your phone during the day.
The alarm detection function works just as well – we tested it with our smoke detector, CO2 alarm and non-smart burglar alarm (by accident!), and all three events sent an instant notification to my phone. Obviously it can’t tell you which alarm is going off, but it’s enough so you can pop home or ask a neighbour to check on the house, and it definitely provides reassurance that all is well when you don’t receive the notifications! As well as detecting sounding alarms, Minut is also able to detect the sound of breaking glass, and whilst we weren’t able to try this feature out, I have every confidence that it will work as well as everything else that Minut does.
We absolutely loved Minut and for the two weeks that we have had it installed, we have found it to be absolutely reliable and very useful when it comes to monitoring our home. I love how it doesn’t record conversations, take videos of inside our home or feel in any way intrusive. Removing and replacing it for battery charging takes seconds and doesn’t require any screws or tools at all. This device provides an awful lot of reassurance to us and can monitor so many aspects of our home, I can’t believe it’s all packed into such a compact and attractive form!
RRP: £129 (one-pack) / £215 (two-pack) / £299 (three-pack)
For more information or to buy, visit www.minut.com.