Putting in any type of gentle swap the place no wiring is already current is troublesome to do by yourself and costly if you happen to pay an electrician to do the work. For those who’re trying to management Philips Hue good lighting, you would possibly discover Senic’s Mates of Hue Out of doors Good Swap to be dear at $79, however you’ll be able to set up it your self in much less time than it takes to fetch a screwdriver.
The key behind the simple set up is that the Mates of Hue Out of doors doesn’t hook up with your property’s electrical wiring—it doesn’t even depend on batteries. As an alternative, the swap harvests the kinetic power generated by urgent one of many swap’s 4 buttons (one on the prime and one on the backside of every paddle). This generates sufficient power to ship a radio sign to a second-generation Philips Hue Bridge, utilizing the Bridge’s Zigbee mesh community. For those who don’t have already got a Bridge, or if in case you have a first-gen mannequin, you’ll want to purchase one (they value about $55 on Amazon). The Bridge itself requires AC energy, and it should be hardwired to your router.
For those who’re within the Apple HomeKit ecosystem, it’s going to additionally management any HomeKit-compatible good residence system: Good audio system, thermostats, garage-door controllers, motorized window shades, and extra. You’ll nonetheless want the Hue Bridge to faucet into HomeKit, even if you happen to don’t use another Philips Hue lighting merchandise. You’ll additionally want an iPhone or an iPad and a HomeKit hub (an Apple HomePod good speaker, a third-generation or later Apple TV, or an iPad that gained’t go away residence. You may study extra about HomeKit on this story).
This evaluate is a part of TechHive’s protection of the very best good switches and dimmers, the place you’ll discover critiques of the competitors’s choices, plus a purchaser’s information to the options you need to think about when searching for one of these product.
The Mates of Hue Out of doors Good Swap is similar to Senic’s earlier product, the Nuimo Click on we reviewed in 2019, and it operates on the identical energy-harvesting know-how Senic licenses from EnOcean. The large distinction is that this new product doesn’t require the Nuimo Hub to connect with your community, it depends on the Hue Bridge as a substitute.
Straightforward set up
The Out of doors Good Swap will be mounted to a wall with screws or the offered two-sided adhesive pads. When mounted, it takes up much less house than two standard rocker switches in a two-gang electrical field. Alternatively, you’ll be able to carry it round with you and use it like a distant management. It’s coated with a rubbery sleeve and it’s weatherized to a ranking of IP44, which implies it’s not significantly dustproof—it’s protected in opposition to objects bigger than 1mm (0.04 inches)—however it’s sufficiently waterproof that it may be sprayed with a backyard hose.
As soon as put in and configured as an adjunct within the Philips Hue app, you’ll be able to assign an motion to every of the swap’s 4 buttons. For those who’re utilizing the button to manage Philips Hue lights or fixtures, these actions can apply to particular person Hue units, to all of the Hue units in a selected room (you’re restricted to choosing three rooms), or to each Hue system in your house. Your motion decisions are to modify the lights to their last-on state, to show them off, or to decide on one of many Philips Hue scenes or gentle recipes. You may also outline what occurs if you maintain the button down, however your decisions are extra restricted right here. You may improve brightness, lower brightness, flip the lights off, or have the motion do nothing in any respect.
Senic’s swap could be most helpful in areas the place you wish to remotely management good lights without having to put in new wiring. You may set up one in your porch to show in your porch gentle, your panorama lighting, and lights inside your own home.
That mentioned, one different that will accomplish the identical goal could be to put in a movement detector linked to these lights. One thing just like the Philips Hue Out of doors Movement Sensor, nonetheless, could be much less environmentally acutely aware as a result of it will depend on battery energy. A 3rd different could be to drag your cellphone app and use the Philips Hue app, however the first two options are rather more handy, and also you gained’t all the time have your cellphone in your pocket.
Utilizing the Philips Hue app vs. HomeKit
To check the swap, I first set it as much as management 5 Hue bulbs put in in a fixture that hangs over my pool desk. I created a room known as “Pool Desk” within the Hue app and assigned all 5 bulbs to that “room” (regardless that it’s really a bit of furnishings), so I might management all of them concurrently. I programmed the highest button to show these 5 bulbs on to the Focus scene (a really cool white) and to brighten the bulbs after I maintain that button down.
Word that you could’t simply maintain a button down and improve its brightness from the off state—you will need to press the button to show the lights on after which maintain one other button down that you just’ve programmed to dim. You can, nonetheless, program a button to show the lights on at an already dimmed state after which brighten them by holding the button down. I programmed the underside button to show all 5 bulbs off when pressed, and to lower their brightness when the button is held down.
Curiously, Senic’s swap is much less refined relating to controlling Philips Hue lights if you happen to configure it by Apple’s Dwelling app. You may flip bulbs on to outlined scenes and values and switch them off with a second button, however you’ll be able to’t program the swap to dim or brighten the lights if you maintain the buttons down.
Alternatively, utilizing the Dwelling app allows you to management any HomeKit-compatible good system past Philips Hue merchandise. You may also set off scenes that you just create within the Apple Dwelling app. Scenes can make the most of numerous HomeKit-compatible good residence units, so you’ll be able to set a temper with lighting, music, window coverings, ceiling followers, and anything you’ll be able to think about. I created a scene known as “Let’s Rock” that began a Sonos playlist in two rooms, dimmed the lights to an ice blue, closed my motorized window shades, and triggered the fan to chill the room. All of that occurred with one button press.
When you can program the buttons to carry out a number of different actions, you’ll rapidly run out of buttons since you’ll wish to reverse every motion. I created a second scene known as “That was enjoyable” that paused the music, turned the lights to a heat white, opened the shades, and turned the fan off, and assigned that to a second button. HomeKit would additionally let me use inform Siri on an iPhone, iPad, or HomePod speaker to launch these scenes with a voice command: “Hey, Siri. Let’s rock” and “Hey, Siri. That was enjoyable.”
However if you happen to simply wish to take heed to music, you’ll want a third button to show it on and a fourth button to show it off. And when you can program a button to alter the quantity, it merely units the quantity to a set stage. As with lights within the HomeKit setting, you’ll be able to’t maintain one of many swap’s buttons all the way down to decrease the quantity and one other to lift it.
I think this can be a limitation with HomeKit, for the reason that Philips Hue app acknowledges if you maintain the buttons down and might carry out gradual actions, comparable to dimming or brightening.
It is a supremely intelligent good residence gadget for anybody who has Philips Hue good lighting of their residence. Being in Apple’s HomeKit ecosystem opens a number of different use instances, however oddly takes away the swap’s capability to dim and brighten Philips Hue lights. It’s additionally unlucky that the swap can’t modify the quantity of a sensible speaker that it controls, buttons can solely be programmed to set off set ranges.
All that mentioned, you get a robust diploma of good residence management for $79, and I think anybody who buys one shall be trying to purchase extra of them briefly order.