Want to know when the kids get home?  How about when your pet comes and goes from the immediate area? What about finding your misplaced keys? How are you supposed to track everything without staring at a camera feed all day? The Samsung SmartThings Arrival Sensor may be the answer you’re looking for. But how does the Samsung SmartThings Arrival sensor work?

The Samsung SmartThings Arrival sensor works by sending an email alert to your phone whenever the sensor is within range or out of range of the Samsung Wi-Fi hub.

That seems pretty straightforward, but as with everything in this smart world of ours, there are caveats and additional information to be provided. In the remainder of this article, we’ll discuss how the SmartThings Arrival sensor works and how you can use it to your advantage.

How Does the SmartThings Arrival Sensor Work?

The Samsung SmartThings Arrival Sensor is initially paired with your Samsung SmartThings hub or a Zigbee hub.  Once the pairing is established, you utilize your SmartThings panel to set the parameters.  Basically, you determine if you are notified when the sensor comes or leaves the established range of the hub. 

The Arrival Sensor is preset for a range of about 500 feet, depending on obstacles and barriers.  The hub “pings” for the sensor; a response indicates the sensor is “home.”  No response indicates the sensor is “away.”  These are the only two options you have.

If the panel is set to notify you when the sensor is away, you will get a push notification when the sensor leaves the “ping” range of the hub.  You should also receive a push notification when the “ping” indicates the sensor has returned with hub range, indicating it is now “home.”

Additionally, there is a feature where the sensor will beep on demand.  This is an excellent idea if it is attached to your keys, and you are trying to locate where you put them down last.

Connecting Your SmartThings Arrival Sensor to Your SmartThings Hub

Samsung offers the following directions to connect your Arrival Sensor to your SmartThings hub.  Of course, they recommend you utilize their proprietary hub or SmartThings Wi-Fi, but in the interest of full disclosure, you can use any Zigbee hub you prefer.

  1. From the home screen of your SmartThings panel (found on the SmartThings app you will need to download), press the Plus (+) icon.  Then, select “device.”
  2. Select “SmartThings” and select “Presence Sensor” or “Arrival Sensor,” depending on the model you have purchased.
  3. Touch “Start.”
  4. Identify a hub for the device.
  5. Choose a room for the device, then touch “next.”
  6. While the hub is searching, pull the “remove when connecting” tab you will find on the sensor.

Your hub and sensor have now been paired and are being managed by the SmartThings app on your phone. This will allow the hub to send push notifications as you have programmed them.

If, for any reason, these steps fail, you can also manually reset the connection:

  1. Remove the cover from your sensor.
  2. Hold the “connect” button for 5 seconds.
  3. Release the button when the LED button starts blinking red.

Pros and Cons of Samsung SmartThings Arrival Sensor

Of course, nothing is perfect, and that definitely includes the Arrival Sensor.  Below are some pros and cons to using the sensor:

Benefits of the Samsung SmartThings Arrival Sensor

Here are some of the benefits provided directly from Samsung:

  • A user-friendly app used to monitor the sensor, along with other connected SmartThings technology.
  • Receive alerts if unexpected arrivals or departures are identified.
  • Automate other connected devices (such as lights, temp, etc.) to turn off or on when the sensor is detected as “home” or “away.”
  • Inexpensive. On Amazon, you can get an Arrival Sensor for less than $30. 

Drawbacks to Samsung SmartThings Arrival Sensor

With an Amazon rating of only 2.7 of 5 stars, based on over 470 reviews, clearly this is a piece of technology with some issues. The biggest complaints noted were:

  • Frequently disconnects from the hub.
  • Inconsistent performance, particularly related to “ping” times.  Reports as long as 30 minutes without status updates were noted.
  • Battery vampire.  The Arrival Sensor requires one (1) CR-5 battery.  This battery is rated to last 2000 to 2100 hours.  If the sensor is “on” constantly, you will use that 2000 hours in less than three months. 

Final Thoughts

The Samsung SmartThings Arrival is an excellent addition to your smart home if you need to keep track of anything, from keys to even your kids. Although the product itself has low ratings, it is only a matter of time before Samsung comes up with updates or new generations of the sensor to improve its overall reliability and performance.