Abode offers three main controllers to choose from: the abode Gateway Gen 1, Gateway Gen 2, and the abode iota. All three hubs share quite a lot in common. However, of the three, the gateway Gen 2 and iota definitely have the edge. Is it time to upgrade? — Maybe not, unless 4G and Z-Wave Plus sound too tempting to pass up. But if you’re a new buyer, you should definitely consider the two later models to the Gen 1.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into the differences between the three and find you the perfect abode gateway for your home.
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abode Gateway Gen 1 vs. Gen 2 vs. abode iota — Differences
Difference #1: Built-in Motion Detector – From recessed door sensors to glass break and vibration sensors, there’s a wide range of abode motion sensors that you can use to monitor your home. However, only one gateway comes with a built-in motion sensor — the abode iota.
Iota’s built-in PIR sensor features a 110-degree radius to detect movement in the front within a 7-meter range. Even though the extra sensor is definitely a nice benefit, we feel like it’s better to place the main hub somewhere out of sight for security purposes. And if you feel the same, then you won’t really benefit much from the built-in motion sensor.
However, iota is perfect for open areas since it also comes with a built-in streaming camera, which brings us to the second difference between the three hubs.
Difference #2: Built-in Streaming Camera – abode iota comes with a 1080p camera so you can have a clear view of what’s happening at your home. The camera’s lens provides excellent coverage with its horizontal 127-degree field of view. Paired with the built-in motion sensor, abode iota is best placed at the living room to give you the front-seat view of your home.
Iota is the only abode gateway that features a built-in camera; the Abode Gen 1 and Gen 2 gateway both lack this feature. However, the question is — do you really need a camera built-into your main home security hub?
After all, you can always keep your smart home surveillance system separate from your security system for an additional layer of security. So, it all depends on your home’s setup. If you already have a few smart home cameras in place (like Arlo, Ring, or Nest), then you won’t really benefit much from the abode iota.
However, if you’re new to all this smart tech, then having a two-in-one main controller unit is definitely beneficial from the start.
Difference #3: SD-Card Support – abode iota offers local and cloud storage. And while cloud storage comes with a subscription plan, you can always rely on local storage since the abode iota supports a microSD card. There’s a certain benefit to having all your recordings saved locally. And local storage is backup storage in case the Internet goes down.
You can use a microSD card with up to 32GB storage capacity which should be good for a few weeks — Well, depending on usage. But we do believe that once the camera runs out of storage, it’ll just overwrite the latest recordings. At least that’s how other smart cameras local storage works, so there’s no reason to stress out about lack of memory on an SD-card.
Both abode Gen 1 and Gen 2 gateways have no SD-card support which is pretty obvious since they don’t have a built-in camera to begin with.
Difference #4: Two-way Audio – abode iota has a built-in speaker and mic so you can listen to what’s happening and talk back. This is a perfect feature for emergency situations so you can tell the burglars what you really think about them and scare them off even more (as if a 95dB siren is not enough).
Unfortunately, both the abode Gen 1 and Gen 2 gateway lack two-way audio. And from this difference onward, our comparison might seem really one-sided in favor of iota, however, these four features that we’ve already covered come in a full package with the abode iota’s camera. So, if you’re not interested in a camera, then there’s nothing major you miss out on.
Difference #5: Temperature & Ambient Light Sensor – Unlike the abode Gen 1 and Gen 2 gateways, the iota comes with a temperature and ambient light sensor which provides temperature and lux reading to panel regularly.
Difference #6: Cellular Backup – The original abode gateway features 3G whereas the new Gen 2 gateway and iota come with the 4G support.
Both 3G and 4G cellular backup connections keep you online even if there’s an Internet outage. What makes the 4G better than the 3G? Two things: the 4th generation network provides a faster, better, and more responsive service; plus 4G will eventually totally replace the 3rd gen network.
So, when is the 3G sunset date? Well, it’s definitely coming and it varies from carrier to carrier. For example, Verizon is planning a complete shutdown of the 3G network by December 31st, 2019, whereas the AT&T is expecting to execute it by 2021. The dates aren’t set in stone, however, it’s obvious that in the nearest future (or not so nearest — depends on your perspective), we’ll all have to switch to 4G.
So, if you’re a new abode customer, it goes without saying that abode Gen 1 is not an option. You’d rather stay ahead of future technology. For the existing abode customers, on the other hand, it’s a tough situation. Let’s put it this way, you’ll need to upgrade to Gen 2 or iota sooner or later. It’s just a matter of time. The good news is that there’s no rush.
The other thing worth noting is that the cellular backup is only available on abode Connect and Secure Plans.
Difference #7: Built-in Battery Backup – What happens to abode gateways if the power goes down? They keep on working to make sure your home is secured and protected. All three abode controllers come with a built-in battery backup. The battery lifetime is slightly different with abode Gen 1 and Gen 2, both estimated at 5 hours, and the abode iota at around 6. That one-hour difference might not seem much at first, however, we can see it being crucial in certain situations when you can’t get home as soon as you’d like to.
If you plan on using the built-in battery backup, remember to slide the battery switch “on” — it’ll activate the battery and charge it via the AC power adapter while you supply power to the gateway. The built-in battery takes quite a while to fully charge, approximately 72 hours, so make sure to charge it beforehand.
Difference #8: Internet Connection – Once you connect your abode gateway to the Internet, you’ll be able to control abode security system remotely straight from your phone (assuming your phone is connected to the Internet). There are two ways to connect to the Internet: via WiFi or Ethernet cable, with each connection being advantageous in different situations.
Let’s start with the fact that all three abode controllers offer Ethernet connection: just use an Ethernet cable to connect your WiFi router with the abode hub. And if you’re looking for more flexible Internet connection options, then abode iota is your best bet. Besides Ethernet connection, abode iota also supports WiFi connection, which makes it super flexible when it comes to placement.
So, whichever Internet connection option you choose, abode iota will support it whereas the abode Gen 1 and Gen 2 gateways are limited to the Ethernet connection only.
Just keep in mind that Ethernet connection is more stable and reliable when compared to WiFi. WiFi connection, on the other hand, is hassle-free due to absence of cables and better placement options. However, if you live in an apartment complex, the WiFi spectrum might be very crowded and you’ll probably be better off with a wired connection instead.
Just check how many WiFi networks are available on your smartphone right now — they’re all competing for the same frequency space which can cause some devices to disconnect often. So make sure to check your home’s WiFi situation before opting in for abode iota.
Difference #9: Supports Z-Wave Plus – abode Gateway Gen 1 supports Z-Wave, whereas the Gateway Gen 2 and abode iota come with a Z-Wave 500 Series chip onboard that levels-up security protocol to Z-Wave Plus. It is a big deal? Actually yes, Z-Wave Plus is the next generation of Z-Wave technology. Among all, Z-Wave Plus devices offer increased range, better battery performance, and 250% more bandwidth compared to standard Z-Wave.
Z-Wave Plus is backward compatible so all your Z-Wave devices will work just fine with the new Z-Wave Plus abode gateway.
For more details on the differences between the two technologies check out our take on Z-Wave vs. Z-Wave Plus — What’s the Difference?
Difference #10: Voice Prompt Reminder – Since the abode iota has a built-in speaker, it opens doors to voice-related features, like voice prompt reminder. Every time you change the system mode, the abode iota will play voice prompts to remind you about the system status change. This feature adds an extra layer of confidence by confirming vocally your change between modes.
abode Gateway Gen 1 and Gen 2 lack a built-in speaker, so no voice prompt reminders. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Difference #11: Size – abode Gen 1 and Gen 2 are pretty much identical design-wise, measuring in at 7.7 x 5.7 x 1.7 inches, whereas abode iota is slightly shorter and more square-ish measuring at 7.1 x 3.06 x 3.06 inches.
When it comes to color, all three abode controllers share the same palette of black and white which blends in okay with pretty much any interior.
abode Gateway Gen 1 vs. Gen 2 vs. abode iota — Comparison Chart
|abode Gen 1||abode Gen 2||abode iota|
|Smart Home Hub||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Built-in Motion Detector||No||No||Yes|
|Built-in Streaming Camera||No||No||Yes|
|Built-in Siren||Yes (93db)||Yes||Yes|
|Temperature-Ambient Light Sensor||No||No||Yes|
|Built-in Battery Backup||5 hours estimated||5 hours estimated||~6+|
|Max # of connected devices||160||160||160|
|Supports Z-Wave Plus||No||Yes||Yes|
|Works with Amazon Alexa||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Works with Google Assistant||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Voice Prompt Reminder||No||No||Yes|
|Size||Height: 7.7 inches (196 mm)|
Width: 5.7 inches (145 mm)
Depth: 1.7 inches (43 mm)
Weight: 1.7 lbs (700 g)
|Height: 7.7 inches (196 mm)|
Width: 5.7 inches (145 mm)
Depth: 1.7 inches (43 mm)
Weight: 1.7 lbs (700 g)
|Height: 7.1 inches (180.3 mm)|
Width: 3.06 inches (77.7 mm)
Depth: 3.06 inches (77.7 mm)
Weight: 1.25 lbs (570 g)
abode Gateway Gen 1 vs. Gen 2 vs. abode iota — Things in Common
Smart Home Hub – All three abode gateways combine a main security control panel with a smart home hub. Since abode controllers support Z-Wave and Zigbee, you can use them as the main hub of your smart home.
However, as of now abode’s support for Z-Wave and Zigbee devices is limited to this list. So, at the end of the day, an abode gateway is not a total substitute for a smart home hub, however, it does offer pretty impressive integration with the most popular smart home devices.
We’d still use the SmartThings or Wink as a smart home hub for all those Z-Wave and Zigbee devices around your home, and keep the smart home security separate. You know, just to add an extra security layer.
Built-in Siren – With the 93db siren you can scare off intruders and definitely let them know that your home’s security has been triggered and that they’re in trouble. Combine it with an abode add-on siren for an extra-loud effect, though your pets might disapprove of it.
Supports CUE – CUE is abode’s enhanced automation engine. Think of it as their own IFTTT (If This Then That) service. You can create different rules based on your location, sunrise & sunset, and other conditions. For example, you can set a rule to turn on the lights for 10 minutes if any door or window is opened after sunset. CUE offers extensive support for a wide range of rules to make your life even more comfortable with automated triggers.
Max # of Connected Devices – You can connect up to 160 Z-Wave/Zigbee devices to your abode gateway which is perfect for small to medium houses.
When it comes to Zigbee devices in particular, the controllers come with a built-in Zigbee module that can handle up to 40 Zigbee devices. And in case you plan on adding more Zigbee devices, you must increase the network’s maximum device capacity by adding extra Zigbee routers into the gateway’s Zigbee network.
However, a total of 160 devices is normally more than enough to cover even some bigger houses.
Smart Home Integration – Even though we recommend keeping your smart home devices separate from your security system, abode has an impressive smart home integration that we can’t ignore.
abode system works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, it also integrates well with Nest, Philips Hue, LIFX, Schlage, Yale, Kwikset, ecobee, and First Alert devices. Combine it with CUE and you can get orchestrated smart home automation at your fingertips. It’s simply amazing, especially when compared to other smart home security systems.
abode Gateway Gen 1 vs. Gen 2 vs. abode iota — FAQs
Do I Have to Pay Upfront?
Not really, just select Affirm at checkout on abode’s website to break up payment over months-long periods. Affirm offers 0% APR on abode purchases so you’re free to pay as you’d like.
Trade-ins for Gen 1 to Gen 2
Unfortunately, there are no trade-ins, however, abode offers existing customers the option to buy the Gen 2 gateway separately from the kit for $199.
How to Replace abode Gen 1 with Gen 2 Gateway?
Abode will need the MAC address of your Gen 1 and Gen 2 gateways to transfer your user profile over to the Gen 2 which includes the subscription if you have one. However, when it comes to devices, you’ll need to re-enroll them manually which might take awhile. So the more devices you have the more of a hassle it’ll be. You can get all the detailed instructions at the abode support site.
What Happens to abode Gen 1 Gateway?
Even though the Gen 1 gateway is no longer available on abode’s website, abode will continue to support it. They’ll keep on developing new solutions for all three abode gateways: Gen 1, Gen 2, and iota.
How About Support for Apple HomeKit?
Coming soon — that’s all we know. Abode works hard on delivering the most anticipated feature, however, as of now, there’s no ETA as to when to expect it.
abode Gateway Gen 1 vs. Gen 2 vs. abode iota — Our Thoughts
While we’re pretty sure your dog or cat can guard your home like no one else, it’s also good to have a Plan B in place. With that being said, if you’re new to abode, it makes sense to opt-in for the latest tech and get either the abode Gen 2 gateway or abode iota kit.
A majority of the differences between the Gen 2 and iota gateways are pretty much circling around iota’s built-in camera with two-way audio. While having the camera and support for WiFi is great, we’d actually recommend getting the abode Gen 2 over iota because we feel like it’s way more secure to keep the main control unit for your security system out of sight.
If you’re an existing customer and wondering whether to upgrade from Gen 1 gateway — well, you’ll need to upgrade sooner or later. Is there any rush? Not really. So, honestly, we’d wait on the upgrade. Plus, maybe abode will offer more favorable conditions for an upgrade over time.
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Last update on 2020-01-17 at 14:39 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API