Switchmate Bright Review: The short And easy Path To Smart Lighting
The second-generation Switchmate—Switchmate Bright—is even better than the original. The new model is about one-third narrower, it has a built-in motion sensor for hands-free operation (you may also operate it manually, after all), you can program a timer that can automatically turn the light (or ceiling fan, or whatever the switch controls) on and off, and it can be integrated into Wink-based smart homes.
Like the much bulkier original, the Switchmate Bright doesn’t require any wiring changes or even tools to install it. You just mount it over your existing switch and a pair of strong magnets hold the device fast to the screws holding the cover plate. If in case you have a multi-gang box, the narrower design enables multiple Switchmates to operate side by side (the app can control several Switchmates, with each assigned to a room and having a singular name).
The Switchmate Bright is about one-third narrower than the original, but it’s only slightly thinner.
The Switchmate is Bluetooth LE compatible, so you may control it with Switchmate’s smartphone app (available for Android and iOS), or you may enroll it to a Wink Hub and control it from there. A label on the box says it really works with Google Assistant, too, but I couldn’t find it listed in the Google Home app. After i quizzed the company about this on August 20, a spokesperson said just a few bugs had been discovered and that “this should be fully up and back running in two weeks.Amazon is within the means of certifying a Switchmate Alexa skill as well.
You possibly can issue voice commands from throughout the Switchmate app, but you’ll want to open the app and then touch the microphone icon first. That’s not at all convenient. I consider voice control a vital feature in any smart-home device—I have Echo Dots and smart switches within the walls all over my home, so I almost never touch a switch anymore. I hope those features can be found soon. Within the meantime, I’m holding back a half star on my verdict. I’ll revisit this review as soon as those features are enabled.
That is the backside of the rocker model. The motorized mechanism see-saws back and forth to show the switch on and off.
The Switchmate is out there in two versions—one for toggle switches and one for rocker switches—but in only one color: white. They operate on two AA batteries, which Switchmate says should last for eight months to a year. Unlike the unique devices, which required you to physically depress the button to operate it manually, the new devices are touch-sensitive, which is an enormous improvement. If you happen to were careless about the way you activated the unique Switchmate, you possibly can accidentally knock it off the wall.
You possibly can program the Switchmate to automatically turn off minutes or hours after its integrated motion sensor turns it on.
The new design activates with a much lighter touch, so that’s less likely to happen. There were several occasions, however, where I brushed up against the switch walking into a room and knocked it to the floor. Fortunately, it was installed in a carpeted bedroom, so no damage was done. And the longer the Switchmate was there, the less this happened because I was an increasing number of aware of its presence. The Switchmate’s case is high-impact plastic, but I’m unsure what number of impacts on a hardwood or tile floor it can withstand.
The motion sensor is a fabulous idea. It will turn the switch on as soon as you walk past it, and you can either leave it on or program a timer to have it automatically turn the switch off. You may also program the motion-based timer so that it’s only active during set hours. Switchmate has added Dusk and Dawn settings, too, but I believe they’re faking it. Once i set a rule to turn on my porch light at Dusk, the app set the beginning time to 7:15 p.m. After i pushed Dawn, it set the top time to 7:04 a.m. At my location on the day I wrote this review, sunset came at 7:39 p.m. and the subsequent day’s sunrise arrived at 6:33 a.m. I suppose pushing Dusk and Dawn buttons is easier than figuring out what time the sun will set and rise each day, but still.
It’s also possible to program two time-based timers that can turn the switch on and off at defined days and times (on daily at 6 p.m. and off daily at 5 a.m., for instance; at given times only on weekdays or weekends; only on Mondays; and so forth). That’s a big improvement over the original app. The Welcome Home setting—which turns the switch on once you expect you’ll arrive home after which automatically turns it off at a defined later time—has the Dusk and Dawn settings, nevertheless it lacks the flexibleness to have different active schedules. Welcome Home is identical routine seven days every week.
Two Switchmates can fit side by side, which is convenient if in case you have one switch controlling a light and the second a ceiling fan.
The Switchmate Bright is a superb product for people who want the convenience of a sensible home, but don’t want to invest a lot of money in new hardware and the labor to put in it. I’d think twice about putting them in when you have rambunctious kids tearing across the house (though they’d probably be fine in rooms with padded carpet). And if you’ve invested in a Google Home or Amazon Echo, I’d wait until Switchmate is compatible with whichever one you’ve. Other than that, it’s a no brainer.