Securifi unveiled the latest version of its combination connected-home hub and Wi-Fi router at CES Tuesday night, beefing up its mid-range offering with a $119 model that delivers higher Wi-Fi speed and new plug-and-play support for Bluetooth and Z-Wave.
The Almond 3 takes the place of the Almond 2015, which lacked 5GHz Wi-Fi and Z-Wave support when it launched last April. Securifi tells us the Almond 2015 is set to be discontinued in the second half of this year, following the Almond 3’s release in the spring.
Buyers can expect speeds of up to 300Mbps from the router's 2.4GHz, 802.11b/g/n network, and up to 867Mbps on its 5GHz, 802.11a/ac/n network. Two ethernet ports are included, and the Almond 3 carries over the ZigBee from its predecessor.
Bluetooth and Z-Wave support can be added by purchasing USB dongles: $10 for Bluetooth, and $20 for Z-Wave. Since the router has just one USB port, you'll have to choose one radio or the other.
The Almond 3 is also the first of the Securifi routers to support mesh networking natively, giving users the capability to string several Almond routers together to increase coverage.
Owners of two of Securifi’s older routers are not out of luck. The company says a firmware update will give the Almond 2015 and Almond+ routers the same mesh-networking capabilities.
On the connected-home front, a new programmable siren adds to Almond’s security capabilities. Wi-Fi triggers arm the siren when an authorized smartphone disconnects from the router, and disarm it when that connection is restored. The siren can also be converted into a doorbell if the siren functionality isn’t needed.
Why this matters: While Securifi’s routers have certainly excited us with their touchscreen functions and router capabilities, the omission of 5GHz in the $79 Almond 2015 was a bit odd. While the new Almond 5 comes in at a price $40 higher, it still is a fairly good deal with the combined smart hub and router capabilities when compared to the much more expensive $199 Almond+.