It may look like a miniature alien spaceship, but the Simtek Duo does something much simpler: it sends you an alert when it sees the light. As in literal, visible light and/or motion. What’s the point? Put it inside of a safe, a drawer, a suitcase, a closet, a storage unit, etc., and receive an alert if it’s opened.
The Duo is on Indiegogo right now. Yes, crowdfunding. I know a lot of us don’t much like that method of raising capitol, but the Duo is way beyond pie-in-the-sky napkin sketch stage. I received the loaner prototype seen above back in October, and it did exactly what it’s supposed to.
I took it out of the box, plugged one of the cellular antennas into it, installed the battery (it’ll run for a year on a CR123, or use a rechargeable and plug the unit into a USB charger), and . . .
Synced it up with my phone. Seen above, the Duo’s app now just has you scan the QR code and you’re done. With my prototype I had to send a text message to the serial number on the bottom of the unit and it did the rest. It’s easy either way (and the serial number trick is still a back-up on the production units).
I then threw it in my closet on top of my safe. As you saw in this review, my Snap Safe was assembled inside of my office closet. Nobody opens that closet but me, so I figured I’d prefer an alert as soon as the closet door is opened rather than have it wait for the safe door to be breached.
Many users will put the Duo inside of their safe instead, which might make more sense if your safe is exposed in the garage or elsewhere rather than in a dark room by itself. But there’s definitely an advantage to being warned earlier, rather than later, of any trespass.
Over the course of the next couple months the Duo never failed me. If I opened that closet door, I got a text. Sometimes I’d get a couple texts if the unit recognized the light and then caught my movement, which was a little annoying. Though well worth the additional peace of mind when I was away from home.
When I was testing the prototype it was a text message-only affair, but Simtek now has an app. The Duo still works via cellular network to provide functionality when WiFi would fail (power outage, internet outages, etc.), but text message notification is no longer the only option. App-based notifications give you more control and allow notifications from one unit to hit multiple devices.
To summarize…open up your Duo and scan the code on the bottom.
Put it in your gun safe…
Your storage locker…
Your nightstand. Your vehicle’s trunk. A vacation home. Etc. etc. etc.. Receive notifications if the Duo senses light or motion (visible light sensor plus passive infrared motion sensor = “Duo”), which can be put to use in dozens of cool ways unrelated to firearms storage.
New versions will also have location tracking functionality. So, should it be inside your safe and the entire safe is stolen (P.S., bolt your safe down), you’ll be able to track the location of the unit regardless of whether the safe has been opened yet.
I’m guessing Simtek is named after its founder, Mr. Simpson, but it could just as easily stand for Simple Tech. The Duo provides security and meaningful peace of mind in a simple, functional way.
It’s nearly instant to set up and does exactly what it’s designed to do. And it’ll do it from anywhere on earth with GSM cellular service to anywhere on earth with GSM cellular service.
Better yet, the Duo is security and safety that doesn’t slow you down. It’s one of the very rare solutions in this vein that even the most vehemently anti-gun and pro-gun people can get behind. I returned my prototype loaner but will be picking up a production unit, as I enjoyed the peace of mind it gave me while I was away from home.
Specifications: Simtek Duo Portable Security Sensor
Dimensions: 1.48″ x 3.66″ x 3.26′
Weight: 4.3 oz
Material: ABS plastic
Battery Life: up to 1 year
Sensors: visible light and passive infrared motion
Sensitivity: any visible light or 15′ by 15′ motion detection range
Connectivity: cellular (GSM)
Battery Type: rechargeable lithium ion CR123a
Warranty: 1 year limited with free tech support
MSRP: $400 with lifetime unlimited data plan (currently on pre-sale via Indiegogo for $199. Other options available, too)
Estimated delivery date is October 2018
Ratings (out of five stars):
Overall * * * *
The Duo does exactly what it says it will and it’s simple as can be. I think $400 seems awfully rich, though. $199 is more like it, and I hope to see them hit a high enough production volume to make $199 (or less!) a permanent price. The Duo provides a service that many of us can take advantage of, but its cost is going to be a barrier for many.