Getting a smoke/carbon monoxide detector is a normal ordeal these days, but a detector with Amazon’s Alexa in it? Now, that’s something. It’s a smart idea well executed in the First Alert Onelink Safe & Sound.
It’s intuitive, really. A smoke detector in every corner and each one has a loudspeaker, and it’s mounted high up on the wall or on the ceiling. Instead of the device being a lifeless barnacle, it has a mic and a digital assistant and does more than inform you if there’s carbon monoxide or smoke in a room.
More than just a smoke detector, the First Alert Onelink Safe & Sound can also control your smart home, retrieve info and all sorts of news, play music or games, and all the other things Alexa is capable of doing.
Onelink Safe & Sound: The Smartest Smoke Detector
The Onelink Safe & Sound works well as an Alexa system. The speaker is loud and clear, and the microphone is sensitive and precise. Based on reviews, it’s easier to hear and recognize the regular Alexa requests than the Echo Dot at the same range. And the quality of the music that it plays is on par with the Echo Plus, comfortably filling a fairly large room.
The Onelink Safe & Sound can also be used as a regular Bluetooth speaker, giving you extra flexibility, particularly if you’re not on the Alexa train yet. And First Alert says that support for Apple’s AirPlay 2 is arriving later this year. If you’ve built your smart home around Google Assistant, First Alert plans to ship a new model based on Google technologies later this year.
The app itself is incredibly simple, allowing you minimal control over the configuration of the device, including the ability to toggle on the Bluetooth connection, turn off the Alexa microphone, or tweak the color of the lighted ring located in the middle of the unit’s face.
This ring is color-tunable, but can’t loop through its color palette, and while it can’t be programmed to turn on only at night (like Nest Protect’s night light), it can be set to automatically change its brightness during the daytime.
The Safe & Sound is only available as a hardwired, AC-powered unit (with a 10-year lithium backup battery), and although Safe & Sound reviews indicate it’s a little difficult to wedge into its mounting bracket, it installed simply and without incident.
If your home is set up with smoke detectors wired in succession, you can add several Onelinks so that they can respond to problems in unison. In addition to Alexa, Safe & Sound also supports Apple’s HomeKit, which makes the app setup modestly faster if you have a HomeKit-enabled hub.
According to Onelink Safe & Sound reviews, the device performs moderately when responding to the presence of smoke, and it takes a while to set off the alarm.
Once it goes off though, the alarm is ear-piercingly loud (it’s fitted with an 85dB siren), and it sends push alerts to your device automatically. A problem though is, by default, the notification pops up and disappears quickly. If you install the Onelink app—and you should get the most out of this product—make sure you set notifications to “persistent” instead of “temporary” so you don’t overlook the fact that your house is burning down.
Should You Buy It?
At $250, Onelink Safe & Sound is by far the most expensive smoke alarm on the market, but the capabilities of Alexa, Bluetooth, and HomeKit add real value that might justify the price tag.