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Is O2’s £17.50 a month smart home worth it?

Or is it better to buy the devices outright?

O2 is a company better known for phone contracts than smart home contracts, but it has now decided to use this model to make building a smart home more affordable. 

O2 Home is essentially a subscription service for smart home tech, helping people to spread the cost of fitting out their home. There are three contracts to choose from, and each comes with a variety of devices tailored around security, monitoring and comfort.

O2 isn’t the first company to do pay-monthly smart home deals. Hive has its own range of plans, which start at £6 per month, whereas you’ll be forking out £15 for O2’s cheapest plan.

We’ve priced up the devices you get in each bundle and checked any additional benefits to see if these plans are great way to get your smart home started, or if you’re better off shelling out upfront.

Top smart hubs for 2017 – the best way to control your smart tech.

O2 Home View

£17.50 for 24 months for a total of £420, then £10 per month after that.

What do you get?

  • O2 smart hub.
  • O2 smart plug.
  • Two O2 open and close sensors.
  • Samsung Wireless security camera.

This is a package centred around a smart camera, for those who want to keep a closer eye on their home. The Samsung camera in the box looks remarkably like the Samsung SmartCam SNH-P-6410, which led us to believe that O2’s hub would work with devices from other brands.

Unfortunately, we were told that the devices included were specially designed to work with the O2 smart hub and that other similar devices wouldn’t work. That means you won’t be able to buy any old piece of smart tech from your local Currys and connect it to your hub. You can, however, buy additional devices from O2.

The Samsung camera records in Full HD and syncs with the sensors to snap a picture when they detect movement, so it may be worth setting them up in clear view of a door or window. The sensors react to movement and send a text to your phone when triggered. The remote plug lets you switch it on and off from an app on your phone.

How much would it cost if bought separately?

  • The O2 hub isn’t available separately, but the average cost of closed system smart hubs that we’ve reviewed is £90.
  • O2 smart plugs cost £40.
  • Each open and close sensor costs £30.
  • The Samsung camera is £130.
  • Total cost: £320.

£320 is £100 less than the total cost of the plan over 24 months, so why bother? Well, there are some bonuses to taking out an O2 plan.

You get free advice on the phone or in an O2 shop, a 24-month warranty on all devices, free installation and a visit once a year to make sure everything is working. Whether all that is worth £100 is debatable, but the best smart devices are simple to set up and shouldn’t require an expert to install them.

The 24-month warranty is twice as long as you can expect from a manufacturer, but you are well within your rights to request a replacement if a device gives up the ghost within two years.

Have your requests for a refund or replacement fallen on deaf ears? Read more about your return and refund rights.

O2 Home Comfort

£17.50 for 24 months for a total of £420 then £10 per month after that.

What do you get?

  • O2 smart hub.
  • O2 smart plug.
  • Two O2 open and close sensors.
  • Tado thermostat.

This is the same package as O2 Home View, but instead of a camera you’re getting a smart thermostat. With it you can adjust the temperature from your phone, but it also uses your phone’s GPS to see when you’re on your way home and can make sure you return to a cosy house. It will turn off automatically when you go out, too.

As with the SmartCam, the Tado thermostat looks remarkably similar to the one we’ve reviewed, but the one sold by O2 will only work with its hub.

How much would it cost if bought separately?

  • The O2 hub isn’t available separately, but the average cost of closed system smart hubs that we’ve reviewed is £90.
  • O2 smart plugs cost £40.
  • Each open and close sensor costs £30.
  • Tado thermostat is £199.
  • Total cost: £359.

This deal is better value than the Home View one, but it would still be cheaper to buy the devices outright. If you were to buy a Samsung hub you would get the added benefit of being able to connect devices from different manufacturers. The choice of smart tech is vast and having a closed system like the one O2 is offering severely limits your options.

O2 Home Connect

£15 for 24 months for a total of £360 then £10 per month after that.

What do you get?

  • O2 smart hub.
  • O2 smart plug.
  • Two O2 open and close sensors.

This pared-back system removes the thermostat and wireless camera giving you just the sensors and a plug.

How much would it cost if bought separately?

  • The O2 hub isn’t available separately, but the average cost of closed system smart hubs that we’ve reviewed is £90.
  • O2 smart plugs cost £40.
  • Each open and close sensor costs £30.
  • Total cost: £190.

The Home Connect plan may be the cheapest, but it’s the worst value. You’ll save a massive £170 by buying the devices separately.

What happens after 24 months?

On all the plans the monthly cost goes down to £10 after 24 months. At this stage O2 will contact you to offer you its latest devices, but you could cancel your contract at this stage and keep the smart tech you’ve been paying for during the previous two years.

The benefit to continuing is that your devices would still be under warranty and you would get the yearly visit to check everything is running smoothly. The price drop is good, but £120 is an expensive warranty.

Should you get a O2 smart home plan?

O2’s plans aren’t good value for money. On every one it was cheaper to buy the devices outright and the added bonuses aren’t all that useful. You shouldn’t need help installing well made, intuitive smart devices.

The biggest issue is that O2’s hub is a closed system that will only support O2’s own devices. It’s better to buy a smart hub that can support devices from different manufacturers, giving you more choice and flexibility when you build your smart home.

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